The Return of the United Spurned – Manchester 26th of August 2013

It’s hard to be sure where Wayne Rooney is going to be this time next week. If United stand by the public stubborn stance regarding his future, he’ll still be at Old Trafford. There are strong rumour’s that both Rooney and United want a parting of the ways, the sticking point is as to where Rooney could end up. Wherever Rooney is going to be, one thing is certain, tonight he was outstanding against a club who have spent all summer trying to unsettle him with a discretion, subtlety and class which they are in their own league for. Tonight was a frustrating game, United whilst not rampant, should have beaten an efficient but painfully dull side. This summer, there has been an awful lot of hype over the return of the United spurned Jose Mourinho. The deposed champions side that he left by ‘mutual consent’ in 2007 had an aura about them. Sure they weren’t invincible but they were a team which put me in mind of Bob Paisley’s Liverpool sides, such was their machine like efficiency. Tonight, Chelsea didn’t have that aura. They were lucky and all good sides have their fair share of luck. Maybe they’ll build on the luck to create a solidity that they had a few years ago but I doubt it. Unlike the 2004/2006 era, this Chelsea side look to me like they’re going to drop some daft points. The bookies have United as third favourites behind City and Chelsea but from what I’ve seen this weekend, they must be basing their logic on the hype surrounding Mourinho’s return and on City employing a manager who has won as many honour’s in his European career as David Moyes. I’ve seen nothing from either City or Chelsea that should keep David Moyes awake at night.

United were denied a definite penalty when slim Frank Lampard handled a Tom Cleverley shot on 62 minutes. How referee Martin Atkinson didn’t see that as a penalty has me wondering just what exactly is a handball. It was as blatant a penalty as I will see this season. Nine minutes later, in a tussle with Phil Jones, the truly odious Ashley Cole tried conning the referee to try and win a penalty in front of the Scoreboard End. Cole should have been booked for his dive. Chelsea had a game plan which was simply not to lose. With the dangerous and brilliant Juan Mata left on the Chelsea bench, they also started the match without a recognised centre forward and stayed that way until the possible bastard son of Adrian Heath, Fernando Torres was introduced on the hour. There’s always a nagging fear when Torres is around that Chelsea could steal a win in the same manner that they did so well during their successful period some 6/8 years ago. A Chelsea win tonight would’ve been a travesty but if they had have capitalised on the occasional chances they got, United would’ve only had themselves to blame. Cleverley and Rooney were both unlucky in the first half not to score whilst Robin Van Persie hit the side netting. Danny Welbeck squandered United’s best chance by shooting high and wide into the Stretford End on 57 minutes after some good work by Wayne Rooney.

We ended up with honours even. Bearing in mind United’s lousy record against Chelsea at Old Trafford, a draw is not the end of the world. Chelsea were there for the taking but I believe that if United play most games like they played tonight, they’ll be in serious contention for the title come the end of the season. I suppose if Chelsea can grind out results like they did tonight, they probably will be as well but the operative word there is grind. Christ, imagine having to watch football like that every week?

3 thoughts on “The Return of the United Spurned – Manchester 26th of August 2013”

  1. Did I watch a different game to the media last night?

    I listened to the post match post mortem on 5live whilst walking home from OT and both Chris Waddle and Henry Winter were damning in their view of the game as an entertaining spectacle. I on the other hand thought United were great, that the game was entertaining throughout and that Rooney was first class. I thought we were more than a match from the so called Champions elect and looked dangerous throughout.

    I was pessimistic prior to the game last night but think there is sod all to worry about, except for the lack of a world class central midfielder of course.

  2. First things first. If that was Rooneys last game for United, he showed why we bought him in the first place. He just wants to play football. So good luck to him whoever or wherever he goes. Can United really afford to see him leave? If Chewcee are genuine favs as the bookies would have us believe, then they hid it well last night.The ‘ Special One’ was jumping around as if he had a Spanish flea up is arse. Most of the ambition came from United. They rarely give us fans much to worry about. John ‘can I be in your photo’ Terry was reasonably voted MOM. With a bank of midfielders in front of him, its hardly surprising . But how many games has he got left at that level. It brings me back to Rooney. How would he have gone on in that set up? When he tried it for us in Europe, he never looked comfortable. Be careful what you wish for my Mickey friend. Look forward to reading your piece and replies in the coming weeks Cheers Murph.

  3. Another good read Tony, I thought united were the better team, but Valencia is not the player of a couple of seasons ago, shouldn’t be in the team

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