The roof first truly fell in on Louis van Gaal’s philosophy at Arsenal in October when, after 20 minutes, the home side were 3-0 in front. For all that, United actually won the game in van Gaal’s eyes due to having 62% possession. Another thing which helped him immeasurably that day was the sacking of Brendan Rodgers – following a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
Juan Mata lines up a free kick which ends up in the freight Terminal behind the Stretford End (photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)
According to the fourth estate, the early part of Summer saw Manchester United rocked by Harry Kane staying at Tottenham Hotspur. We were shattered by David de Gea’s imminent departure (he hasn’t gone yet), snubbed by Paul Pogba and had more links than Houdini’s chains. United have been preparing, readying or launching bids for Uncle Tom Cobley, whilst at the same time getting rid of Paul Scholes’s replacement, Tom Cleverley… (having written that sentence, I suddenly had a choking fit).
In early July, Nani left United for Fenerbahçe. The Lisboan arrived in a huge fanfare of expectation in the Summer of 2007; some people claimed that he was better than Cristiano Ronaldo… (oh Christ, I’m off again). Nani looked like Michael Jackson but played football like Janet Jackson. A player of undoubted skill occasionally, he will always be remembered by me as a winger who took worse corners than Mads Timm and whose crosses would’ve been comfortably dealt with by a blindfolded Jim Leighton. To use the words of Brian Clough, he floated like a butterfly and he stung like one.
A seminal moment from Nani at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica da Luz in 2010. Cristiano Ronaldo turned Gerard Pique inside out, his exquisite goalbound shot from was gliding over Iker Casillas’s head and into the net. Nani decided to add the finishing touch, from an offside position. Ronaldo’s reaction was priceless
Another player joining Nani in Kadiköy isRobin van Persie, who has left United after three seasons. He came to Old Trafford having turned down a better offer from Manchester City (quelle surprise), and Continue reading Joined The Choir Invisible
Up to and including the match against City on the 2nd of November, there’s only one United match that is not being shown live on television. That is United’s next home match against West Ham in a couple of weeks. By then, United’s first six games will have been shown live on television. That is quite something for a side that finished 7th last season. No matter what is going on at Old Trafford, for good or bad, United are the biggest show in any town it happens to be.
Liverpool, having won the League after beating United at Anfield just under four weeks ago, have done what all teams do who win the title early and gone sloppy. Having lost at home to Southampton on Saturday just passed, tonight they lost at Old Trafford with a team that included the return of Bram Stoker’s favourite Uruguayan and also skipper, Steven ‘sussudio’ Gerrard. Prior to tonight’s match, a sizable amount of coaches carrying Liverpool fans entered Old Trafford from Trafford Park Road. Almost every single one of them had Liverpool fans banging furiously on the windows shouting all kinds of incomprehensible but clearly very excitable rhetoric. Once off the coach and mingling towards the turnstiles for the upper tier of the Scoreboard End, they weren’t quite as forthcoming. About forty five minutes before kick off however, I could clearly hear the Munich song being sung loudly on the corner of Trafford Park Road and Warwick Road by what was to my eyes, a firm of about 30/40 young Liverpool fans whom were obviously ‘up for it’. How they managed to get so close to the ground and evade the attention of both the local police and some of United’s more ‘lively’ fans is a mystery to me. Inside the ground, just before Luis Suarez hit the bar on 74 minutes, a Liverpool fan threw a live distress flare into the K Stand. I know plenty of reds who were unhappy about being placed under the scousers for tonights match. After the rarely reported but notorious incident at the FA Cup game at Anfield in 2006 where a plastic cup loaded with excrement was thrown onto United fans by Liverpool fans in the upper tier of the Anfield Road, I don’t blame them. I know that United fans are not perfect, only a one eyed fool would think so but bearing in mind that United have had ticket allocations slashed at Anfield for comparatively spurious reasons, after what happened tonight, I think it’s time United did the same to Liverpool for the League game that’s due to be played in March. I’m aware that strictly speaking, distress flares shouldn’t be lit in football grounds. Personally, they don’t really bother me but it is bang out of order when they get thrown indiscriminately at opposition fans in the tier below, no matter who’s playing who.
Liverpool fans about to launch a distress flare down into the K Stand (Photo courtesy of Rob Mager)
Such is the feeling of anti climax when United get a corner nowadays that when Kolo, Kolo-Kolo, Kolo-Kolo, Kolo-Kolo Toure conceded a soft corner into the Stretford Paddock on 46 minutes, I was expecting it to hit the first available Liverpool player before being cleared harmlessly. That was also the feeling around me in the K stand. When the angry, confused and most definitely revitalised Wayne Rooney found Continue reading A Very Welcome Dose Of Morphine – Manchester 25th of September 2013
The last few days have to be the best days the bookies have had in recent memory with football scores. All weekend, shock after shock results occurred with QPR and Norwich getting beaten at home by lower and none league opposition respectively. Sunday continued the surprises with a clean sweep of shock results. Chelsea drawing away at Brentford, Tottenham losing away at the Leeds scum and the magnificent game and result at a three sided Boundary Park where Liverpool were knocked out of the cup by (come on) Oldham. That afternoon, Brendan Rodgers brief tenure as Liverpool boss reached a new depth as he gallantly blamed the young players in the Liverpool side for letting them down as opposed to his team selection and a choice that he made to leave Steven Gerrard on the bench. United and City both went through with almost mundane efficiency. On the Sunday night draw, United were for the eigth consecutive time, drawn against Premier League opposition in the FA Cup by drawing Reading at home. City were a different class to Stoke and it was only a matter of time before they got a deserved winner, which was scored by the excellent Pablo Zabaletta. That performance was replicated by City last night when they went to Loftus Road and murdered a QPR side 0-0. Another banker gone up the wall and I have rarely been so happy to see a result make a town halls of my fixed odds coupon as I was to see that draw of City’s last night. Tonight, both Liverpool and Chelsea surrendered two goal leads, Chelsea succumbed at Reading to add another fixed odds upset and Liverpool threw away a two goal lead to disrupt recently reached quadragenarian Brendan Rodgers plans to have Liverpool in the top two at the seasons conclusion. United were hot favourites tonight to beat Southampton but United were very, very lucky not to be joining all the other teams previously mentioned in the shock results.