Posts Tagged ‘Blackpool’

A third away win for Manchester United in this season and that puts the gap between them and Arsenal at 5 points. Arsenal, meanwhile, on the same day, ended up booking a place at Wember-ley for the Carling Cup final. We now know that their opponents on that day will be Birmingham City who beat West Ham 4-3 on aggregate.

More on that in a bit, but first lets start off with Man United’s terrible first half performance at Bloomfield Road.

You know there’s something wrong with a United performance when Nemanja Vidic almost scores an own goal. I don’t even know where to start. The defence, the midfield, Wayne Rooney? I don’t even understand why Sir Alex started with the 4-3-3 formation when the 4-4-2 has been working wonders thus far. Of course, it was changed before half time with Rooney playing up front with Berba and Gibson moving to the left leaving Scholes and Fletcher in the center of midfield. After that they played as if their life depended on it. Those of you who don’t sense sarcasm in that statement can kindly kill yourself in a painful manner.

As woeful as United’s first half was, Blackpool’s was fantastic. Charlie Adam was spreading the ball here, there and everywhere, and more often than not, Patrice Evra was caught of out position leading to Blackpool attacks. Evra was perhaps at fault for the second goal after he was caught ballwatching while DJ Campbell headed it into the back of the net. What’s worrying for United is that defending from set pieces has traditionally been one of their strengths, but this time the marking was all over the place.

What changed it in the second half was the introduction of Ryan Giggs who brought more urgency into the game. Another pivotal moment was the removal of the ineffective Shrek, for whom a certain Javier Hernandez came on. If Rooney continues playing like this, United fans will have to change his chant slightly from “White Pele” to “White Adebayor” perhaps.

By the way, Berbatov is top scorer for United with 19 goals and Hernandez has 8. Nani has more goals than Shrek who has only netted 3 in the season. Why on earth aren’t Berbatov and Hernandez United’s front pairing? Its a question only the gum chewing bespectacled wise old man can answer.

Entertaining - but he might pay the price for it

In the end, it finished 3-2 in favour of United. This was perhaps as much because of Ian Holloway’s policy of attacking as because of United’s policy of attacking. Towards the end, United were easily breaking and stretching Blackpool. Its definitely entertaining football, but will it help them fight off relegation this season is anyone’s guess. After all they’re only 6 points clear of 18th placed Wigan.

Arsenal are going to Wember-ley

Its been so long since Arsenal have gone to Wembley that their coach driver claims he’s forgotten the way. He was quoted as saying “I think I’ll have to go and buy a map. But the problem is, the mapmakers are holding out for a buck and Arsene [Wenger] has said that he won’t pay more than 50 pence.”

The crisis was resolved after the map paid the other 50 pence.

By the way, this blog (and me specifically) predicted that Arsenal would end their trophy drought this season. So I hope they beat Birmingham.

Richard Keys is doing too much Crystal Meth
“There are some dark forces at work here. I asked if we could make people aware of the fact that [Massey and Keys] had had a conversation and thought it was best for both parties to move on. I was told ‘no’. And 24 hours passed, by which time the world had gone mad. I don’t know why I was told ‘no’… I remember saying to Sian ‘I need to make this official, on behalf of Andy and myself we unreservedly apologise for our behaviour. It was wrong.’

.

Careful with that meth, Keysey

That’s part of the official apology tendered by Richard Keys. Who on earth are the dark forces here? Sauron? Voldemort? Silly me, of course he’s referring to the Sith Lord Palpatine.

Fact of the matter is – Keys was wrong. I don’t know what difference it would’ve made if he’s apologized on Monday or on Tuesday, so long as this Monday are Tuesday isn’t a year, five or twenty down the line.


 

 

 

Drawchester United

Man United have done it again. They have drawn another match. This time against West Bromwich Albion at home! Thus far they have won all their home games and drawn all away games. But now they’ve started drawing the home games as well. Excellent! Just what the doctor ordered.

Costly Van der Sar error saw West Brom take a point at Old Trafford

The worrying thing for a United fan is the fact that they still haven’t played the tougher teams in the Premier League. Granted, given Sunderland’s current form, they are one of the better teams in the league, but they still haven’t played Man City, Spurs or Villa which are bound to be tougher than the likes of WBA. They have played Liverpool and home and won, and played Everton away and drawn. I don’t think this is good enough. In the 2008-09 season United didn’t have a great record against the other big four teams, but hammered smaller opponents, thereby amassing 90 points in the season and taking the title.

United are still unbeaten in the league, but that’s little consolation and so long as Man City are above them in the league (as is the case now) United fans will worried.

Fighting Blackpool

Every once in a while you see a team come up from the Championship and play exciting football. Blackpool are doing just that. They played Man City at Bloomfield over the weekend and boy were they unlucky to lose. Tevez had a goal given to him which should have been ruled as offside and Taylor Fletcher had a goal disallowed after incorrectly being ruled offside. The final score was 3-2 and David Silva scored a beautiful third goal amongst all this chaos.

Blackpool really looked threatening and for a while it seemed that all the money City pumped in had gone to waste. City were really lucky to win the game. I feel sorry for Blackpool because for teams like them, every point counts and could save them from taking the drop.

Teams like Stoke came up from the Championship and they decided NOT TO LOSE, whereas Blackpool decided to WIN. The strategies are different, but if the end result is the same (staying on in the Premier League) then the manager and the team, both, have achieved something worth remembering. You could argue that its boring watching teams like Stoke play. The Stoke board will tell you that they’d rather have boring football on display than earn lesser revenue by going back down to the Championship.

Chelsea held at Villa

Didier Drogba didn’t play the game and therefore my Fantasy Football gameweek went for a toss. The result was a pretty fair one in my opinion and I don’t think Chelsea will be too disappointed about getting only a point at Villa. Ancelotti certainly isn’t disappointed.

Jack Wilshere’s dark side

Poor Arsene Wenger. He goes on and on about bad tackles and then suddenly one of his own players lunges in with a really dangerous tackle on Zigic. Arsene Wenger has been very vocal in his criticism of dangerous tackles by other players on his own team and this time when the tables were turned, didn’t come off so strong.

Welcome to the Dark Side. We have cookies.

“We know Jack Wilshere is not a dirty player, but it does show you players can mistime in this hurly burly game in football. Everybody has to recognise that.” – Arsene Wenger

But when Paul Scholes does it, it means he has a dark side. Hypocrisy much, Mr Wenger?

It was a bad tackle and its a good thing Zigic wasn’t injured, Alex McLeish would have cried after spending 6 million on his transfer from Valencia.

Merseyside is blue

Everton absolutely pushed Liverpool out of the game. It was a really dominating performance from Everton and they deservedly ended up winning 2-0. Goals from Cahill and Arteta settled the encounter, Arteta’s strike being fantastic (not that Cahill’s goal wasn’t good in itself). Arteta (once upon a time, England’s midfield hope) and Cahill pulled all the strings in midfield making Liverpool’s summer signing of Meireles seem completely pointless.

Liverpool played two Defensive Midfielders – Meireles and Lucas and were still not able to get the ball enough. Steven Gerrard had to occasionally track back and anchor midfield. Yakubu looked three times a better striker than Fernando Torres, and its not everyday that something like that happens.

Let’s be honest, Everton ran out winners and deserved it.

Barcelona versus Valencia

Barcelona versus Valencia was the clash of the weekend in La Liga and was a really really good match. Barcelona were dominating the game in the second half with the score at 1-1. Barca won the game in the end with a commanding header from Puyol. Final score there was 2-1 to Barca. Iniesta and Puyol on the scoresheet for Barca and Pablo Hernandez for Valencia.

Real Madrid absolutely hammered Malaga with Ronaldo scoring a brace and two from Higuain as well. Higuain’s goals were set up by Ronaldo as well so its fair to say that he was probably the player of the match.

Ronaldo and Higuain celebrate after the first goal against Malaga

 

With that win, Real go on top of La Liga thanks to Valencia’s loss and Villareal drawing 2-2 away at Hercules (who seem to be giving a headache to the big teams). Sevilla also lost to Sporting Gijon which was quite unexpected.

Waaazaaa Wazza?

Wayne Rooney has reportedly refused to sign a new contract with Manchester United. All the newspapers have tipped him to make a move away from Old Trafford and claim that he has had a bust up with Sir Alex.

I’ll give you my two cents on the entire thing. It is too bad if Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United. He’s a good player going through a bad patch, but he needs to be a little bit more mature when dealing with people and the media (especially).

Sir Alex has his best interests at heart and has tried to focus attention away from Rooney and he keeps bringing the spotlight back on to himself. He countered Sir Alex’s story that his ankle had a problem which was why he was going through a bad patch and said instead that his ankle was absolutely fine.

There’s no doubt that Sir Alex would’ve been furious with Wayne Rooney for this and perhaps it was one of the reasons Rooney started on the bench against West Brom.

I read elsewhere that Rooney is holding out for 200,000 Euro a week on his new contract which seems quite ridiculous considering he’s getting 120,000 Euro a week now. Apparently United offered him170,000 which seems quite fair to me.

Rooney needs to grow up.

Tonight’s Champions League clashes

For those of you who are in India and wondering which games will be telecast by TEN tonight –

Shakhtar Donetsk versus Arsenal on TEN Sports at 00.00 hours

Real Madrid versus AC Milan on TEN Action at 00.00 hours

Spartak Moskva versus Chelsea on TEN Action at 21.30 hours