No other club could attract the a full house at Southampton for such a insignificant end of season game. No other club could take the volume (in both senses) of support to the other end of the country, that United took today for such a meaningless game. United fans decided that no matter what, we were going to have an end of season party today. The noise from reds was, apart from a five minute lull/breather in the second half, relentless. The concourse at half time was like an experience in a time machine which took us back to the ’80’s. In that respect, it was a reminder of The Dell, the decrepit old shitheap that Southampton used to play in. A toilet that was too small and which had only one entry/exit caused a crush and could’ve caused a riot if it wasn’t for well ordered and self policing reds. Inside there, the air was thick with tobacco smoke and other exotic aroma emanating from extended hand rolled cigarettes. The United calypso started half way through the second half and lasted until the end of the game. Reds at the bottom of the stand were dancing a conga, with news seeping through that Liverpool were losing and City being two up, the atmosphere was relaxed. Our biggest fear of Liverpool winning the title was not to be realised.
Nobody I know fancied this tonight. Bayern Munich are to my eyes the best team on the planet at the moment and it’s fair to say that United are a street or two behind them. The bookies were offering 1/2 on a Bayern win and I personally thought prior to kick off, they were relatively generous odds. Reds had all seen that video in the past week of Bayern literally running rings around City, the same City side that had outclassed United at Old Trafford exactly a week ago. Bayern Munich were confirmed champions of Germany the very same night that City murdered United. To say things didn’t bode well tonight was an understatement.
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)
It’s funny how quickly things can change and the mood around a result can shift. In this fixture eleven seasons ago, a 2-2 draw had Sir Alex Ferguson skipping to the United fans at the Clock End of Highbury with a clenched fist of celebration. A draw away at Arsenal can rarely be classed as a bad result. Whilst there was nothing wrong with tonight’s result, it was the turgid performance put in from United which has angered most United fans of my acquaintance.
The Arsenal stadium, just after the second half had kicked off
Last week, United beat Swansea City 2-0 with goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck to seize a losing run. It was at times sloppy and Swansea gave United a scare or two in the first half, but United ended up winning comfortably. Yesterday, with United’s recent results in mind, some bookies were offering 4/1 on a straight United win. I reckon it’s over twenty years since odds as good as that, were offered on a United win. Even with odds as enticing and knowing that even now, United are capable of beating anybody on the right day, I don’t know anybody who had a serious punt on a United victory. Most reds I spoke to prior to yesterday were secretly dreading the potential leathering United could have got. The 3-1 result looked emphatic for Chelsea, anybody who watched the game will know that was far from the case.
Yet again a merciful United attackspared the opposition when playing well. It was a surprise to nobody watching the match that with United dominating the early part of the game, Chelsea took the lead in the 17th minute. Samuel Eto’o sold Phil Jones far too easily on the right flank and then let fly with left footed shot that hit the back of the net right in front of the traveling reds via a Michael Carrick deflection. Before that, Ashley Young had forced the excellent Petr Cech into a save in the first minute. For all that possession up to Eto’s goal, I’m convinced that United, Young, Rafael and Evra in particular,would struggle to deliver a news paper, never mind a decent final ball. The quality of the crosses when in a good position was as bad as anything I’ve ever seen Nani deliver. Continue reading An Empty Gesture In A Fit Of Pique – Manchester 20th January 2014