Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One step forward...two steps back.

You would think they had won the cup the way they celebrated, but I can confirm Liverpool were only awarded three points for their win against United on Sunday.

As I start to digest the result from Anfield, I feel it would be easy to blame the referee for his inconsistent decisions throughout the game. But for such a committed contest in an intimidating atmosphere, he could have got a lot more wrong than he did, and he never truly lost control. He easily could have done though, with the Liverpool fans baying for blood every time a United player went in for a tackle.

No, what United lacked was desire, a desire Liverpool had - no doubt borne out of the frustration of four straight defeats. And in the end what they lacked in fluid attacking play, they made up for in aggression and commitment, and I admit a moment of class from Torres.

As for United, it just looked flat. I felt Fletcher was missed in the centre of the park - Scholes was out muscled too easily. I also felt the lack of a target man meant our options were limited; this game was always going to be won ugly and we didn't have the players to do so.

At the back Rio Ferdinand still looks out of sorts. He was far too slow for the opening goal and I'm sure if Sir Alex Ferguson had the players available he would seek to give him a rest. But he doesn't so we have to hope he can play his way back into form.

It’s turning out to be a mixed month and although I think the side is yet to click properly, the erratic form of the other sides around us means we are not slipping behind the leaders. It seems like the top four are taking turns to upset the football odds and lose at the moment.

However, we still need to compete because any more performances like Sunday, which should have required no motivation, and it seems a safe Premier League bet that we will again fall short.

8 comments:

  1. The moment I heard Scholes + Giggs on the pitch, I knew very well we would lose. For heavens sake don't we have other options after SAF has boasted we got depth in the squad?

    Time for Rio to retire.

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  2. Regarding Rio,

    IF Fergie REALLY had his finger on the pulse he'd have signed Lucio for £5m last summer and flogged Rio for £20m to whoever would have him...

    Fergie's problems go much deeper than Scholes and Giggs. We needed to sign a top quality striker in the summer, then when we face teams like Chelsea and Liverpool we'd have the option of flooding midfield, but instead Fergie signed Owen, who is ok but he cannot lead the line on his own like Drogba, Torres and Adebayor. Not making a bid for the latter was unforgiveable.

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  3. James, that really is the underlying problem. Also add on top of that cash-rich clubs who will overpay now for top talent and we will get priced out of the market thanks to City, Chelski and Madrid. The interest on that debt is not paid off so it will be interesting to see what movement we make in January. One would surely think City will inflate the market.

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  4. Evgenii,

    I think you're right about City, they will continue to inflate market prices for the forseeable.

    The Glazers' debt mountain is something that should concern all right thinking supporters.

    And let's be frank about this, Ferguson is the Glazers' lapdog - I doubt he'd speak out even if there was a spending embargo.

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  5. Did anyone watch the NFL game in London this past week? I am a big Patriots fan and as an American was happy to watch. But if you watched, did you see how terrible Tampa Bay was? Their owners have gutted them from being a championship team a few years ago to paying total of salaries well underneath the league average. We all obviously know who the owners are.

    I hope that it is because they are putting money into United that they don't have money for the NFL (the NFL franchise owners share a majority of their profits so teams that are terrible still make a lot of money for not trying) but I am getting worried. Aren't there any other Sheiks, Amirs, or KGB linked billionaires that would be interested in throwing billions of petrol dollars at the club, without buying it with debt on future earnings?

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  6. Evgenii,

    This might not surprise you but American football is for most people in the UK, a big turn off. Unlike, REAL football, it's one of those sports that few other nations play, just like Baseball (we call it Rounders - a game for girls here in the UK :0)).

    Having followed United on the whole of their USA tours I know how passionate some Americans are about soccer in places like the state of Washington. We have to live in hope that one day the US public at large takes to soccer.

    I'm really not sure what the Glazers' exit strategy is, I think they became fixated with the idea of owning "the world's best sporting franchise" etc.. ergo, I think sense went completely out of the window because they really couldn't afford to buy the club without borrowing massively. The sad fact is if United wasn't such a well run club prior to takeover and if they'd had a fair chunk of debt then the Glazers' would not have got anywhere near owning United. That is what I call irony.

    Anyway, what I do know is the Glazers' won't be hear for much longer - certainly not in five years time.

    No doubting they have been sounding out potential buyers from the middle east, but those boys aren't silly and if it doesn't stack up for them why would they pay silly money when they could wait until the Glazers' crash and burn? Because after all, once the Arabs own United (if it ever happens) they'll won't there be anyone to sell at huge profits will there?

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  7. James, I whole-heartedly agree with you. I can see why American Football is boring to Europeans and think it's laughable when the NFL talks about opening an expansion in London. Oddly enough, the Mirror made my point this morning about how underbudget the Bucs are but I think because of the NFL's ownership configuration, the Glazers can afford to be super cheap whereas that wouldn't work in Football (non-US) where relegation is always a possibility when teams don't try.

    Oddly enough, I am from Seattle and can attest to Washington State's passion for soccer. It's really only by circumstance that I ended up in Texas for work but we do have a Second Division team here in Austin owned by Stoke City. Soccer is catching on more and more as children play it more and then become adults, similar to my situation where I played as a teenage in the 90's and many of my club colleagues where on the Under 17 US national team. I still enjoy American sport, though I don't get the arrogance of baseball when it claims soccer is boring.

    I think that soccer is still quite a ways off for massive popularity in the US because Americans are so used to high scoring games that a 0-0 draw might not feel good. But, my sister and her family have seasons tickets to the Seattle Sounders and say that every match is sold out. In fact, they had to limit the number of season tickets to the matches because there would have been no left over general admission tickets. Not too bad.

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  8. Evgenni,

    The point you made was a good one and The Times also picked up on it on Monday.

    I was in Seattle in 2003 when United were in town, we had a great time too, though it seemed a fair few of the locals were on Cyrstal Meth - especially in the Space Park (aptly named ;0)).

    I think the US media have done a good job of keeping soccer at arms length in some ways.

    I will say that you have some great stadiums over there and we had a great time. I hope the game catches on one day because if it did the US would no doubt have a great team.

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