What’s The Mata You… – Liverpool 22nd March 2015

As Steve Gerrard was warming up on the touchline during the first half, he was as expected, ruthlessly abused by United fans in the Anfield Road. Songs such as Have You Ever Seen Gerrard Win the League, have you fuck… and also And Now You’re Gonna Believe Us, You Nearly Won The League… The scene was set, Steve Gerrard, an experienced professional, captain fantastic and all that, was going to come on in the second half and take control of the game. He was going to ram United fans piss taking back down our throats and he was going to love it like Kevin Keegan whilst doing so. Martin Tyler on SKY Sports couldn’t contain his excitement. He described Gerrard as having an “encyclopedic knowledge of this fixture”, whatever the bleeding hell that means.

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Celebrating reds immediately after the final whistle (photo courtesy of Lee Thomas)

There was apprehension amongst my red brethren in the Bishops Blaize. We were wary of the fact that even though Gerrard’s legs have gone, he’s lethal from a dead ball (now for some reason, known as a set piece). Over the years, I’ve seen Gerrard have some incredible 90 minutes, I’ve even seen him have some incredible 45 minutes but this performance, all of 43 seconds has to be the coup de grace. Continue reading What’s The Mata You… – Liverpool 22nd March 2015

No Pleasing Some People – Manchester 22nd November 2014

This was a great win for United. Lucky, very lucky but a great win, and the luck has been overdue this season. Arsenal can (and knowing them, will) moan endlessly about the referee, Mike Dean, missing Marouane Fellaini’s push on Kieran Gibbs. This in turn led to United’s first goal, and then to Wojciech Szczesny’s rib injury. They will, like Match of the Day, conveniently ignore Jack Wilshere sticking his beak into Fellaini in the 30th minute. This was twelve minutes after Wilshere had sniffed at a chance of putting the home side in front when one-on-one with David de Gea.

United fans celebrating outside the stadium after the match

The longer Arsenal went without scoring, the more the anxiety rose within their team and supporters. United, with an inexperienced and makeshift defence, were in a state of siege in the first half. David de Gea was again outstanding. When United went in front with a Kieran Gibbs own goal in the 56th minute, the home side and fans visibly lost heart. The goal, which came from an Antonio Valencia ball which he just clobbered across the Arsenal box, was as comical Continue reading No Pleasing Some People – Manchester 22nd November 2014

In A Day – Manchester 23rd of March 2014

In a day when Arsene Wenger celebrated his one thousandth game with a record equalling defeat at Stamford Bridge; in a day where Andre Marriner made a refereeing mistake that will give him indefinite sleepless nights; in a day when Daniel Sturridge bravely shook off the national vilification for his disgraceful antics last week with a goal at Cardiff (waddya mean you’ve heard nowt about it?), Wayne Rooney equalled, then surpassed Jack Rowley’s scoring tally and stole the headlines with a goal from 58 yards at the Boleyn Ground. It’s hard to say which is Rooney’s best ever goal and it can obviously only ever be a matter of opinion anyway, but it’s comfortably the furthest goal he’s ever scored. The goal has been constantly compared to David Beckham’s goal against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in August 1996. Personally, I think it’s more akin to Nayim’s fantastic goal for Real Zaragoza against Arsenal in the 1995 European Cup Winners Cup Final in Paris (shown below). Like Andre Marriner, West Ham United keeper Adrian will have a few sleepless nights coming up. Even with admiring the brilliance of Rooney’s initiative, a keeper should never be beaten from that distance (unless you’re David Seaman)

Continue reading In A Day – Manchester 23rd of March 2014

If He Was Holding An Ace – Manchester, 25th of November 2013

Marouane Fellaini has now played ten times for United and he has impressed on precisely none of those appearances. Some players, like Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie make an immediate impact, others, like Gary Pallister, Andy Cole and David De Gea need a so called bedding in period. I really hope that Fellaini is of the latter. The harsh truth is though Fellaini needs to start asserting whatever midfield authority he has on games like the one United played against Cardiff. At the moment, he looks like a rabbit in headlights. It’s one thing being outplayed by Yaya Toure soon after you’ve signed for a new club, another thing altogether to be anonymous in virtually every other match since. The most damning thing about United’s midfield options however is that I would still pick a dazzled and dazed Fellaini over Tom Cleverley and Anderson. Continue reading If He Was Holding An Ace – Manchester, 25th of November 2013

Magpies squawk to high Evans – Newcastle United V Man United , 7th of October 2012

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.

David De Gea pulls off an amazing save from Papiss Cissé Continue reading Magpies squawk to high Evans – Newcastle United V Man United , 7th of October 2012