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
The footballing silly season has already commenced. Constant speculation about David de Gea’s long term position at Old Trafford (clue, there isn’t one), Jake Livermore of Hull Tigers has tested positive for cocaine and this morning, the Daily Star had a front page lead about a player who had been keeping his teammate’s wife company. But none of that could beat yesterday’s drama.
I had a late night last night and an early morning today, leaving me somewhat foggy-headed. With that in mind, it was very decent of United to turn out a performance of such clueless tedium, that I’m sure I managed a nap during the match. It was either that or I can simply recall nothing of it until Southampton substitute Dusan Tadic put the Saints in the lead in the 69th minute after Graziano Pelle’s shot had come back off David de Gea’s near post.
A rare United attack from a di Maria corner on six minutes
Piccadilly rail station, 10.25 AM and it is deserted as the Euston bound trains were going out to Stoke for this game. I have never seen this arterial train station so quiet. Gradually some hungover reds turned up. They were saying variants of goodness gracious* as for the second time in a week, they’d had an early kick off imposed on them by the whims of live TV. However, compared to getting to Tottenham for a midday kick off, this was a doddle.
Ryan Shawcross losing Phil Jones in the 2nd minute. Seconds later, he put Stoke 1-0 in front
It’s been 362 days since United last played Tottenham Hotspur and both games were very similar in the way they worked out, with one crucial difference: United didn’t lose this match. On New Year’s Day, United played Spurs off the pitch until getting caught with a sucker punch from Emmanuel Adebayor and eventually losing the match 2-1. This time around, with good chances missed by Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie, United could and should have been 3-0 up by the half time whistle. In the 68th minute, when Juan Mata ballooned a good chance so far over the bar that the ball ended up on Paxton Road, I was beginning to fear a Tottenham smash’n’grab akin to last year.
View from the United section of White Hart Lane (photo courtesy of Toby Cecil)
Well, that’s what should have happened. Tottenham, who with Mauricio Pochettino as manager, are a noticeably fitter side and finished the match the much stronger team. We ended up relieved at the 0-0 draw when, due to wasteful finishing from United, particularly in the first half, Continue reading With A Stark Choice – Manchester 28th December 2014