This was so bad as to be comical in the Karaiskakis Stadium tonight in Piraeus. Throughout the team is a recurring theme of a bad dream. There’s no heart, no fight, no desire and no apparent idea. Excellent has-beens like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra are beginning to become ruthlessly exposed to being on the wrong side of the proverbial hill. Never-will-be’s like Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Chris Smalling are being shown up even worse, through not having the quality around them that they have had in the last couple of years. This is through to the obvious decline brought on by Old Father Time of the aforementioned trio.
View for United fans in Karaiskakis Stadium tonight (photo courtesy of Lee Thomas)
The worst thing about the result yesterday is that nobody was really surprised. The front cover of the latest United We Stand fanzine labeled United as the unpredictables. I’m struggling to think of a more accurate cover which that fanzine has had in its near 25 year existence. United had so many crosses during the game as to be comparable as to the amount at Golgotha Calvary. While the deeply religious David Moyes won’t be crucified on any of those crosses just yet by most match-going reds, it’s only a matter of time before the mood changes dramatically, especially after this result. At full time, Moyes understandably had the exasperated demeanour of a man who couldn’t figure out just what had gone wrong. Moyes said on Match of the day that “today was probably as bad as it gets”. I hope for his sake that he’s right as I’ve seen things a lot worse at Old Trafford, albeit many years ago. My memory tells me however, that things could be a lot worse Continue reading As Bad As It Gets – Manchester 10th February 2014
I sometimes think that the London press faint in orgasmic hypnosis to the words of Arsene Wenger. If you believe the press, you could easily imagine Wenger at nightime sitting serenely in his personal oak panelled library at his house in Totteridge, digesting Richard Feynman’s thesis on Quantum Physics with a background ambience of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.5, whilst sagely sipping a glass of 2006 Bourgogne Chardonnay. Wenger is calm personified, an economics graduate from Strasbourg University and a man who invented modern urbanity. He also, for an educated man, talks an awful lot of bollocks. Continue reading Always Hurting The One He Loves – Old Trafford November 10th 2013
Shinji Kagawa scored in injury time of a dreadful first half to calm a nervous Old Trafford crowd. From where I was in the ground (B Stand/South Stand), there was a split second delay in reaction to the goal as we all thought it had hit the side netting. The reaction of the rest of the ground is what alerted us to the goal. It was one of relief as both teams had looked clueless up until then. Rarely has a final score of a match and the players who scored the goals in that match given such a misleading impression. A couple of minutes before Shinji Kagawa scored his and United’s second of the afternoon, Tom Cleverley came on for Anderson. The fella next to me was calling for Kagawa to be brought off as we saw Cleverley waiting on the sideline. There wasn’t much disagreement either from me or anybody near me to his wish. I have never seen a player score a hat trick and have such a poor game. When Kagawa completed his hat-trick on 87 minutes, we exchanged wry smiles at what we’d just witnessed. Wayne Rooney, who three minutes later scored the kind of goal that a team scores when winning by three goals, didn’t have a much better game himself. He did improve once a subdued Robin Van Persie was substituted for Danny Welbeck on 66 minutes but Rooney is due a showstopping game for United, this coming Tuesday is a good time to have it.
The success United enjoy in modern football commenced in my eyes against todays opponents, Fulham in August 2006. That day, United went 4-0 up in the first twenty minutes, of the first game of the season at Old Trafford, a match United ended up winning 5-1. Later on that season, United nicked a slutchy 2-1 win against the same opposition at Craven Cottage with a last minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo which induced a celebratory dance from Sir Alex Ferguson which has gone down in United folklore. The results of that seasons fixtures nicely encapsulate the matches between United and Fulham in recent times. In March 2009, United murdered a terrible Fulham team 4-0 in the FA Cup quarter final, only to go there two weeks later and lose 2-0 to the same side. Last season just prior to Christmas, United won 5-0 at Craven Cottage, later on in the season, United stole a 1-0 win against Fulham at Old Trafford with a goal from Wayne Rooney, just like today in fact.