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Blog: Well after the most hyped up, over the top, “we’re right, you’re wrong” build up to a game in many a year, we go out 2-1 to the Scousers after what was a fairly controlled performance, undone by a single moment where our defence and one Patrice Evra went to sleep, handing Kuyt the winner on a plate.
I for one am just delighted the game is over, the media led hand wringing all of last week was getting unbearable. Both tabloids and broadsheets did their utmost not to be seen to be stoking the fire before the game but you could tell that both were hoping for the worst both on and off the pitch on Saturday so they could then preach from on high to both clubs supporters about how to “act properly”. Considering the s**t the UK print media has been involved in the last few months, they as an industry should be winding their collective necks in….but anyway. As for the whole Evra/Suarez thing? My view is that LFC should just accept the verdict, the longer they harp on about the supposed injustice of the decision, the more ridiculous they look. Their fans didn’t cover themselves in glory at the weekend either and as the United end reminded them, why is it never Liverpool’s fault and always someone else’s? No wonder its labelled the European city of self fucking pity.
As for the game, I saw very encouraging performances from Tony V (predominantly in the first half) and from Rafael (his full throttle 50/50 with Gerrard being my favourite moment of the match). Other good shifts were turned in from Carrick and Scholes. As for De Gea, I’m willing to persevere. Still young, I see huge potential in him but I will say this…if they cannot get him to command his penalty area then he has no future in England, end of story; my approach would be to have an hour of non stop crosses every day in training and have the likes of Smalling, Rooney, Berbatov, etc. batter him non stop - trial by fire…then again I’m not Fergie…but if you’re reading Alex, you can thank me later! We have to remember that he is just 20, still getting to grips with playing in England and also trying to learn a new language. Its a huge task for anyone, even worse when you’re between the sticks for United and every JCL on twitter wants you to be shot after making a single mistake. If you are one of those said JCL (read: Johnny Come Lately) twitter dopes, I pray to god you decide to p**s off and support the bitters in a few years. You’re supposed support we can all do without.
So we’re out of all cup competitions by the end of January. Who’d a thunk it? Well that’s football for you. And as I’ve said before, its never dull watching this club. We’ve a huge couple of weeks upcoming, I for one will be very surprised if we’re still in contention at the end of it, purely based on the injuries we have. It will take Cleverley coming back in at full throttle and Rooney taking up the goal scoring slack for us to have any chance. We shall see.
BLOG: Reading some of the reaction to the Blue Jays (that would be the Toronto Blue Jays to you non baseball loving philistines) off season, it would appear that many in the media are running thin on patience both in terms of our off season acquisitions and the modus operandi of our young GM, Alex Anthopoulos (or AA for short).
Where once he was lauded for his shrewdness on the trade front and his miracle work in getting rid of Vernon Wells albatross-like contract to the Angels, many in the Toronto media at least, seem to be ready to start turning the screw on A.A. The whole issue now seems to revolve around the recent Rogers/Bell acquisition of that “other” Toronto team….I hear they play hockey or something….anyway, with the acquisition of said team, there now seem to be conflicting viewpoints on whether Rogers a) have the money to spend on the Jays payroll and b) even if they do have the $$, do they really want to spend it on the Jays or is it more in their interest to just maintain the status quo? I have my suspicions but no concrete facts. Rogers are a very coy outfit. What I would like to know is whether they view the Jays or Leafs as being their priority or are they both to be given equal importance? Some say its in their interest to deliver a winner on both fronts, others say them and Bell will just be happy to maintain things the way they are. Hard to call but I don’t like the fact that Anthopoulos was making noises at the winter meetings that the team had to operate within “payroll boundaries”, etc. It smacks of the goalposts being moved for him and Paul Beeston. If Rogers have backtracked on their supposed willingness to invest in the Jays, it can hardly be blamed on Anthopoulos or Beeston surely?
So far this winter AA has seemingly shored up our closing pitching role with the addition of Santos from the White Sox and also bringing back Jason Frasor gives us more depth in the bullpen. However he hasn’t up to now delivered on a power bat or another top of the rotation starting pitcher. At this stage I think after us failing to land Yu Darvish as a starter, a lot of fans want to see us spending huge money bringing in the likes of Prince Fielder. Although I think he would not be a great fit for the Jays and cost far too much money, I think some fans want to see the team deliver someone of stature, purely as a statement of intent, especially within a division with the Yankees and Red Sox.
My view? I am still willing to give AA time but I would also like assurances from Rogers that they are really willing to lay down serious money if needed to drive the Jays over the top, should the correct opportunity arise. The coming season could be a surprise in many ways IF our younger players manage to gel and have breakout seasons, most notably on the pitching side with the likes of Morrow, Alvarez and Cecil. I have high hopes for Brett Lawrie to continue his bright start from last season and we should see a big upside in a full season from Colby Rasmus in a Jays uniform. If we are somehow in a position where we are contending up to the trade deadline, surely AA is in the drivers seat in terms of pushing Rogers for further investment?
The other thing not to forget? Its still mid January…plenty of time for AA to pull a rabbit out of a hat before Spring Training. If he does, expect everyone in the Toronto media to be back on the bandwagon for the start of the new season.
Blog: Despite another valuable 3 points at home to Bolton yesterday and what appears on paper to have been a relatively easy win, my god we laboured to victory. Parts of the 1st half seemed like a continuance of the 2nd half vs city from a week before. Scholes popping up at the back post just before the half time whistle was a relief but really only papered over the cracks of the overall team performance. The second half was somewhat better with plaudits to Tony Valencia who kept on running at Bolton all day long and Carrick’s lovely finish for United’s third goal.
Our midfield is so bereft of anyone who can actually grab hold of the ball and control play that its absolutely astounding that Fergie hasn’t done something about it. And I don’t count bringing a 37 year old out of retirement as doing anything. It says more about his lack of confidence in Anderson, Pogba and Morrison at the current time than anything. We’ve obviously got bugger all money available for a transfer of any nature, hence we’re going cap in hand to get former greats out of retirement. It saddens and annoys me but then again, hardly surprising considering the ownership and the black veil of secrecy that covers everything at Old Trafford these days.
He will no doubt do something transfer wise in the summer but not before selling someone, most likely Berbatov and one/two others I suspect. This is Manchester United in 2012. Supposedly the “biggest” football club in the world but without a pot to piss in. If we had any other manager except Ferguson, god only knows the level of shit we’d be in.
Video from mufc-pics.blogspot.com of our trip to the Emptyhad last Sunday.
Blog: And there was me forecasting a nervy 1-0 win at eastlands or my new favourite name for the ikea flatpack shithole, the Emptyhad….anyways it turned out to be a somewhat “eventful” game after all. City controlling most of the possession early on, then before you know it, United are out to a 3-0 lead! Rooney showing some great form after one of his usual 6 week gaps. I thought we looked very purposeful in the first half and we were rightly rewarded with our lead at half time. I was particularly pleased for Danny Welbeck, took his volley brilliantly and nice to know there was one Manc lad on the pitch in a derby. As for Kompany and the red card, any player diving in with two feet into a tackle in plain sight of a referee these days leaves the door wide open for this kind of reaction. Lesson learned then? I doubt it.
With us facing 10 men into the second half, I honestly thought we’d put at least a couple more past whats his name…ah I can’t be bothered to even look up the spelling of his name. What we got was one of the nerviest 45 mins of the season, to the point that I could almost sense city getting an equaliser if we had played another 10 minutes. We even went retro, bringing in an unretired Paul Scholes into our midfield (I’ll save my views on this & Fergie’s decision on it for another post). However, we hung on (just) and dumped the holders out. Although they do have the comfort of having secured a well earned moral victory…is it any wonder it was 35 years between trophies?
Bolton at home on Saturday which means an early flight to dirty Leeds for me first before hopping on the transpennine express to Piccadilly, pints then round to W16. Roll on the weekend.
“Bomb It”, part 2
Great graffiti documentary, “Bomb It”, this is part 1