Three weeks ago, walking out of Old Trafford, Manchester United had just beaten Manchester City 4-2. The world seemed a different place. United had won and won well too. What we didn’t know at the time was that United were to lose the next three games in the bounce; something they haven’t done since a similar odyssey in 2001.
Robin van Persie about to miss his penalty in the 72nd minute (photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)
This could’ve been tricky. Newcastle have a lousy record at Old Trafford but on their last visit here, just over a year ago, they beat United at Old Trafford for the first time since 1972. The protests that were raging against Alan Pardew’s incumbency a few months ago have gone somewhat muted in recent times as Newcastle had built up a good run of results which included beating this seasons likely champions Chelsea, a few weeks ago at St James Park. Such was the revival in Newcastle’s fortunes that paper handkerchief manufacturers were in serious danger of laying workers off due to the fact that Geordies weren’t crying in the stands, their broon ale or threatening to burst the banks of the Tyne with their relentless squawking after a bad result. A last minute goal from Adam Johnson the other day for Sunderland and United’s eventually easy win today should see normal service resumed for Kleenex pretty soon.
United players celebrate Robin van Persie’s goal in the 53rd minute (photograph courtesy of Neil Meehan)
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.
Old Trafford wasn’t overcome with confidence pre match tonight. Sure we all knew that United could and should beat Olympiakos, but after the first leg and the shambles on Sunday, it was a cautious crowd walking down Warwick Road.
The crowd were frenzied early in the game. The noisy contingent of Greeks in the upper tier of the Scoreboard End were drowned out by the fervour of United fans. This isn’t always the case for home matches in Europe but a comprehensive defeat in Piraeus three weeks ago had rallied the Old Trafford crowd in the hope of rallying the team.