Despite Manchester City being erratic lately, I expected them to turn up at Old Trafford yesterday and for the first ten minutes, they did. They had Manchester United chasing shadows. In the 6th minute, Jesus Navas brilliantly beat United’s offside trap and only a poor finish stopped City going a goal up. Two minutes later, James Miner fed David Silva on the left flank who, in turn, set Sergio Aguero up to make it 1-0 in front of the Stretford End. Seeing this goal had me wondering if United’s defence will ever learn. Silva is the best player I have ever seen in a City shirt and over the years, I’ve repeatedly seen him tear down the left flank against United and set up a goal.
Thank God the football is back. Since United last played a match, a 2-1 win against Everton on what seems like a lifetime ago, Roy Keane has released a book every bit as blunt as everybody expected it to be. Everybody seems to have forgotten Rio Ferdinand’s relatively bland tome released just prior to Keane’s second memoir. The most interesting thing to emerge from Ferdinand’s book was the shocking revelation that David Moyes had banned United players from eating oven chips the day/night before a match. It’s fair to say that Keane’s book has been a little bit more interesting than that.
First half at The Hawthorns as West Brom attack the Smethwick End (photo courtesy of Daniel Burdett)
We also had two sleep inducing matches where England won on their march to inevitable European glory/first round knockout in 2016. Last Sunday saw The Sun on Sunday with the startling revelation that Antonio Valencia is as good at delivering photographs of himself to the right place as he is delivering a cross. Continue reading See You At The Other Side – West Bromwich 20th October 2014
Sometimes and this is most definitely one of them, you have to just hold your hands up and admit that you’ve just seen your side outclassed. From literally the kick off, City were the better side. United were murdered by Liverpool the other week but at least considered the idea of giving them a game for the first half hour. United were level against City for just over half a minute tonight. United’s third touch of the ball was the centre ball they had after City had gone in front. A Samir Nasri shot hit David De Gea’s near right hand Stretford End post and out for Edin Dzeko. Not even Dzeko could miss from that distance although by putting the ball in the roof of the net, he had a good go at it.
Things have changed at City. As Daniel Taylor from The Guardian pointed out, time was “when you might bump into Curly Watts or Eddie Large at Man City games. Tom Cruise is here today”. It was one of them days, I saw the Riot squad tearing down Every Street at 12.50 when all seemed quiet. Later on after the match, a prominent member of Uniteds firm was seen embracing a GMP football intelligence officer on Ashton New Road in a scene which had me thinking of the 1914 Christmas day truce in the Somme..
Former Arsenal & Scotland goalkeeper, BBC sport anchor and all round nice guy Bob Wilson recently said that when he was a goalkeeper “you could tell where the ball was going to go five yards after it left your opponents foot, nowadays a goalkeeper doesn’t know where the ball’s going to go until it’s five yards away from him“. I quote this because Uniteds’ talented but heart stopping goalkeeper, David De Gea, gave a performance today which reminded me of what Wilson said. His handling of crosses is diabolical. If a keeper comes out for a cross then his defence should know about it through a shout. This is something you learn at the age of eight. The fact that he ends up challenging his own defenders for a cross means either he’s not putting a shout up or worse, his defenders don’t trust him. On other occasions he flaps and completely misses the ball and creates chaos in his own area. A mistake of his from a cross on the 51st minute nearly caused a goal for Newcastle United. Newcastle fans were screaming at referee Howard Webb and linesman Darren Cann to award a goal after Papiss Cissé headed the ball goalbound following De Gea’s mistake. The referee and the linesman called it right due to the fact that they had to be sure it crossed the line. Having now seen the incident from more angles than a protractor can give, you still can’t be sure it’s a goal so how they can tell it in real time is a mystery. How the on form Papiss Cissé didn’put the ball away with almost the entire goal at his mercy is the biggest surprise. David De Gea did what he does best and made a fantastic instinctive save even if he did cause the problem in the first place, today, in the space of 30 seconds, we saw the best and the worst of our young Madridian goalkeeper.