Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool’
I’m going to get murdered for this, but I think that Liverpool could run us closer for the title next season than in any other Premiership season. Liverpool have only finished above us once since the Premiership was founded, in 2001/02 when Arsenal won the title by 7 clear points. They’re certainly better equipped to do it again next season than they have been at any other stage.
For all the crap we can talk taking the piss out of “King Kenny” (something I have been guilty of), Liverpool have picked up more points than anyone else, scored more goals than anyone else, and have a better goal difference than anyone else since he took over. They smashed us 3-1 at home. It seems that, without Gerrard dominating their play and with their players given freedom to attack, they have come good. Read the rest of this entry »
A lot of Manchester United fans have been bashing Michael Carrick, demanding he dropped, sold or hung, drawn and quartered. When he signed a new three year contract last week you’d imagine countless United fans were throwing themselves off the Arndale Center in disgust given the chat that’s been going around.
All this because Carrick hasn’t been better than a cross between Lionel Messi and Jesus and won us the league single handedly already.
When we signed Owen Hargreaves the summer after we signed Carrick, the medium term plan appeared to be Carrick and Scholes in midfield pushing on with Hargreaves running around tackling people. Darren Fletcher had yet to become awesome, and with Rooney, Ronaldo and the Argie Troll running around up front everyone was shitting themselves.
Even when those lot didn’t play together, Carrick’s role was more advanced, much like the role he played at West Ham and Spurs. This was in tune with his natural game, which is as a passing playmaker. I’m thinking Andrea Pirlo as opposed to Gennaro Gattuso.
Given that Scholes has gone on longer than anyone could have dreamed of, we probably expected Carrick and Hargreaves to be our midfield two in the long term, with Carrick going forward balancing Hargreaves holding.
However, due to the injury nightmare that Hargreaves has endured, Darren Fletchers poor form and Scholes’ age, Carrick has often been the best choice to hold this midfield this season, playing further back where he is not as comfortable and can’t influence the game in the same way. Here is a comparison between Carrick’s role in the Liverpool game and a random victory plucked from the start of the 07/08 season.
The percentages show the location of Michael Carrick when he played a pass. The top example, against Liverpool, shows Carrick making 48% of his passes in his own half, and only 19% in the attacking third. Whilst he’s also making more passes, his completion isn’t great for a midfielder, with only 77% being successful against Liverpool.
The other example (A 2-0 win over Chelsea) three and a half years ago shows him making 62% of his passes in the opposition half, and a quarter of his total passes were in the attacking third. His pass completion was also better (83%) suggesting his preference for the more advanced midfield role.
Michael Carrick is doing his best for the team. As others have pointed out, he regularly makes the most interceptions of anyone IN THE LEAGUE, and consistently makes the most of anyone in the Manchester United midfield. He is being asked by Ferguson to play a role he is unfamiliar with, and is giving it a very good go.
He also doesn’t moan about anything. Remember, this is the same Carrick who got on with it when he was asked to play at center-back last season during the height of our injury crisis. As we have seen with some of our Premier League rivals this season, it’s fucking annoying and makes your team shit if you’ve got some idiot in your squad moaning all the time. No names.
So, having an experienced professional who has been part of title-winning and Champions-League-winning sides in our squad for the next three seasons, who is also capable of playing a variety of roles with some success, is supposed to be a bad thing?
If I had shown you this league table in October and told you that this is what it would have looked like on March 7th, you’d have bitten my hand off. Absolutely nommed it up and chowed it down. The fact that we have just lost two games on the bounce really DOES NOT MATTER on the grand scale of things. It would have been nice to have won them but that’s the beauty of this league.
When we came back from 2-0 down to win at Blackpool, THAT is the kind of result that buys you the breathing space that you come to rely on after weeks like the one we’ve just had. We are still top because we have earned the right to be there. We haven’t had a shitty spell where we’ve dopped loads of points to shit teams like Chelsea have.
What is important now is what we do against Arsenal. If we lose that then, yes, we are in a spot of bother, but again, I remind you that Arsenal WILL drop more points before the end of the season. They are bottlers of the higest order.
I’m starting to enjoy this hilarious media witch-hunt that’s now going on. We’re apparently the ultimate evil, responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the north-west of England (or so you’d imagine from our press coverage) and the other clubs in this league can do absolutely no wrong.
If you want an example of hypocrasy in action, look at the two challenges made by Carragher and Rafael. Both were vile, and both were clearly worthy of red cards. The difference is that the media jump all over Rafael’s challenge, demanding he be banned retrospectively (something that, if it happens, will be in direct contravention to the rule book), whereas Carraghers is dismissed as “crude” but “accidental” as he is “not that type of player”.
It’s an insult to Rafael, as it implies that he is that type of player.
Who gives a shit if Carragher apologised to Nani? It doesn’t mean he didn’t assault his leg. Equally, the fact that Nani is injured doesn’t make the foul any worse. It would have been equally vile if he’d escaped.
Fergie is quite within his rights to not speak to the media, be it in the rules or not. It’s ludicrous. Say what he thinks and he’s slapped with a fine. Not talk to the media and he’s labelled “pathetic” and will quite possibly be fined. Yet when, in a post match interview, Dalglish COMPLETELY SIDESTEPS A QUESTION it’s let go. Why is that any worse than just not speaking to them at all?
The one positive on the pitch after yet another game in which our midfield got bossed was yet another goal from Hernandez. The kid is a genius. Even on an afternoon as bad as this, he continues to enhance his reputation, and with the goal difference being so, so close, that could be the goal that wins us 19.
All in all, it’s been an absolutely fantastic week to be an ABU, the best in six years. We need to remember that we could still very easily win this title. It’s still ours to lose as we still get to play Arsenal.
On the topic of Liverpool; yes, Suarez looks the real deal, Carrol offers them something new, and yes, they might actually have a chance of winning something next year.
The big news yesterday was that Fernando Torres has finally ended his long-term unrequited relationship with Roman Abramovic and signed for Chelsea. This has been on the cards for about 18 months, but has finally come about. King Kenny obviously couldn’t persuade him that Liverpool were going to be challenging for the title any time soon, which isn’t surprising since they haven’t won the league in the Premiership era. Read the rest of this entry »