A cagey game saw Chelsea win 1-0, with a goal scored against the run of play from Eden Hazard in the 38th minute. Some say John Terry fouled Radamel Falcao in the run up to the goal, maybe he did but to be fair to the referee, it wasn’t blatant. It’s goals like this which show a team who’s going to win the league. Chelsea didn’t play well and were there for the taking should United had posed any decent threat upfront. After the Chelsea goal, I couldn’t envisage a Manchester United equaliser. John Terry and Gary Cahill, never looked seriously threatened by United’s forward line. Prior to that, United’s best chance came from a Luke Shaw cross, which fed Wayne Rooney sixteen yards from goal in the 3rd minute. Rooney calmly sidefooted the ball high into the stanchion of the side netting. The ripple of the net deceived the travelling reds in the Shed End and David de Gea, into thinking United had scored.
Earlier in the pre-season, United had bid £12,000,000 for Leighton Baines and £16,000,000 for Marouane Fellaini. These bids were, according to the media consensus, ‘angrily’ refused by Everton. United have recently come back with a cunning plan, offer a combined £28,000,000 for the pair, surely Everton would fall for that. Despite what some of my fellow reds may think, most scousers are not thick and even if so, not even the thickest scouser would have fallen for that ruse. There is now speculation that United’s next move for Baines and Fellaini is to offer four payments of £7,000,000 staggered over five years. There’s clearly some real guile controlling the transfer budget at Old Trafford.
Marouane Fellani scoring the winner for Everton against United in August 2012
Twice in the first eleven minutes Petr Cech was caught badly out of position to allow United to run up a quick 2-0 lead. When Javier Hernandez was found by a perfect Michael Carrick cross in the third minute I was convinced the ball was going over the bar, so was Peter Cech as it looped over his head and into the net. Eight minutes later after a foul by Victor Moses on Nani, Wayne Rooney floated the resultant free kick into the Chelsea box and past a crestfallen Cech to make it 2-0. United looked like running rampant here, by thirty minutes Hernandez had nearly made it 3-0 and then Petr Cech reminded me why I think he´s the best keeper in the Premier League by making an incredible double save to stop a David Luiz own goal.
It’s kinda cute and highly amusing watching City fans suddenly pretend to be all radicalised about the prices Arsenal are charging for this Sundays match. Us reds and fans of other bona-fide big clubs like Tottenham and Liverpool are watching City fans in the same manner that a bloke in his thirties would look at a suddenly politicised sixteen year old who’s begining to realise that the world isn’t a very fair place. The followers of Manchester City making a stand on a moral or principle of conscience does not correspond or sit easily with any of their behaviour historically. Are these are the same City fans who were gleefully manipulated by the Daily Mirror for the ill fated Forward With Franny campaign in 1993? In 2008, they enthusiatically welcomed the fugitive and deposed Thai prime minister and at the time, alleged human rights abuser and now convicted crminal, Doctor Thaksin Shinawatra. If City fans had a history of millitancy in the way of, for example, West Ham fans whom succesfully fought the imposition of a bond in the 1990s or the way Liverpool fought to destroy the blatantly obvious cover up over Hillsborough and the way United fans revolted in 1998 against the BSkyB bid (succesfully) and the Glazers in 2005 (not so), I’d have more respect. The fact is that the club and its fans have willingly dropped their drawers when owners came along throwing money around like confetti without any thought of principle, particularly during the Thaksin Shinawatra regime that makes the boycott/protest risible.
Thaksin Shinawatra and Sir Alex Ferguson in the pre season of 2001
Two long, long weeks of of no club football but a couple of international friendlies for England, a storm over poppies, Sepp Blatters blarney and an embargo on transfers ’til January mean newspaper journalist get ever more desparate to fill their pages. The day after United beat Sunderland, a frenzy was brewing up over FIFA’s refusal to allow England players to wear poppies on their shirts for the forthcoming friendly against Spain. Amongst the usual knee jerk reaction of political correctness gone mad and such forth (waddya mean you’d forgotten about it ??). Exactly six years to the day before England played Spain, England played against Argentina without wearing poppies, there was no clamour for the team to wear poppies, can anybody tell me what’s changed in the last six years ? By sheer coincidence, prior to the poppy furore, England skipper John Terry, had been accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers centre half Anton Ferdinand. This allegation had taken up a lot of column inches in the national press and the FA, with admirable common sense had decided to adopt an innocent ’til proven guilty stance. I wonder why they didn’t take that stance with Johnathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer in 2001 or with Rio Ferdinand in 2003? The problem the FA have with the John Terry allegation is that, like badly pasted wallpaper, the bubble gets pressed down, only to resurface, just as bad, pretty close by. Still the poppy fury sold a few papers, got an awful lot of people wound up about something they’d forget about a week later and ended up with the farcical gesture of players having poppies painted on their boots to circumnavigate a ban that had never existed in the first place.