With City and Arsenal now assured of top four, Manchester United and Liverpool are now locked in a battle over who is the worst of the best. A sort of consolation prize that modern football and it’s obsession of finishing top four now sees as more important (financially at least) than winning the FA Cup. A contest that should’ve been all over now, is still in play, due to United’s infuriating habit of doing the hard bit, then ballsing up the relatively easy bit. At St James’s Park two years ago, there were pictures of the Arsenal side celebrating coming fourth with more vigour than how Liverpool celebrated their last title win in 1990 (if they knew what was to come, I’m sure they wouldn’t have been so blasé). With United beating Crystal Palace today and assuming that Liverpool somehow beat Chelsea tomorrow, United still need three points to be guaranteed top four. Should United get back into the Champions League next season, it will be good to see the reds back where I believe they belong. That said, having watched the Barcelona V Bayern Munich match the other night, United are a year or two off having a serious stab at winning the thing. Should the qualification happen (and it really should now), I don’t want to see any of triumphant photographs, à la Arsenal. It’s the minimum requirement.
At Selhurst Park last season, the literally untouchable Michael Oliver, Continue reading Looking At A Bear – Manchester 9th May 2015
’twas the 24th minute. A dreaming Angel di Maria was gazing admiringly at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the ball. He was dreaming of his new flat in town, he might even have been dreaming of getting a decent corned beef butty in his local shop on Quay Street. What di Maria wasn’t doing was watching Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal, who he was supposed to be marking. Monreal strolled through on the left flank to beat David de Gea on his near post. Five minutes later, di Maria partially redeemed himself when he whipped in his first decent cross since walking to the other side of the road in Prestbury last December. Wayne Rooney scored with a free header from six yards, after Arsenal’s defence somehow surpassed United’s abysmal defending a few minutes prior.
David de Gea watching a United attack in the first half (Photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)
This was the best game I’ve seen at Old Trafford this season and played in the best atmosphere. The first half, United played with some speed and attacking verve. It was far from perfect but Continue reading Dreaming – Manchester 9th March 2015
On Friday, Louis van Gaal said that whatever happens, United must not go down to ten men. Chris Smalling scuppered that plan when he got sent off in the 39th minute after two bookings which matched the stupidity of Branislav Ivanovic at Old Traffford last week. Against a mediocre side, you can cope with a man down but against a side as good as City, it’s going to take a miracle to stop them from scoring. From the resulting free kick of Smalling’s red card, Marouane Fellaini blocked his fellow Belgian, Vincent Kompany, from heading into an unguarded net on de Gea’s far post.
A £57.00 view of the match. Photo courtesy of Lee Thomas
Referee Michael Oliver had a stinker of a game. I have no argument with the bookings Continue reading The Kind of Lads ‘n’ Lasses – Manchester 3rd November 2014
Before this match, there was a hell of a lot of hype about Eric Cantona masks whipped up by Her Majesty’s press. Sami Mokbel reported in Friday’s Daily Mail that Palace officials “will stop any supporters wearing a Cantona mask from entering the ground, while those who try to put them on during the game will be told to remove it or face ejection”. With this in mind, I’m interested as to what may have happened if Eric Cantona turned up at the match yesterday. Would he have been turned away from the turnstile for looking like himself?
Continue reading With All The Finesse Of Dave Clark – Manchester 23rd February 2014
Today was one final blast of decent weather for this year before the light draws in and the departing masses leaving Old Trafford, begin to resemble a Lowry painting for six months. After last Sundays thrashing at City and the midweek joy of beating Liverpool, there was a lot of confidence going into Old Trafford today. Despite that defeat last week and the armageddon-esque rhetoric of forthcoming doom from some reds, United went into todays fixture trailing the league leaders by five points having now played Liverpool and City away as well as Chelsea at home. The widely agreed difficult start was out of the way and United were only five points off the pace and we all know, at this stage of the season, that’s nothing. There was only one problem with that assertion, West Brom hadn’t read the script.
Continue reading Shooting Fish In A Barrel – Manchester 28th of September 2013