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post #51 of 2457
Excellent summary of Owen's current situation, couldn't agree more. The classic system was to stick him with a Heskey or a Crouch, the little and large combo, and ask the big guy to hold it up or flick it onto Owen and he would finish. This did work, even until recently against Russia at Wembley, but I'm grateful that Capello has introduced a passing game designed to break down opposition instead of lumping the ball forward. I HATE that style of play.

I saw in the paper today Dowie's in line for the Birmingham job if they don't go up, I seriously hope that's tabloid crap.

What has gone wrong at Hull? It's like the novelty of Premier League football wore off after a couple of months and they forgot how to win. The first months of season were amazing with them beating the likes of Spurs and Arsenal at their own grounds!

You can't fail to be amazed by their away record against the Top 4 this season: Won at the Emirates 2-1, drew at Anfield 2-2 after being 2-0 up, drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, and lost 4-3 at Old Trafford. Incredible!

Spare a thought for Luton, their current management and players punished by a careless past regime and a cruel FA. I remember when they dumped Newcastle out of the FA Cup in a replay after drawing 1-1 at St James'. I know it seems like I'm constantly pissing on Newcastle but that's the Luton result that sticks in my mind!
post #52 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Geoff, that anti-Keane jibe stung!

Re: the England forward line, I'd gamble with Owen and Rooney. At least, for a game or two. As much as I love the theory behind the "little and large" striker partnership (always a mainstay of my Pro Evo Master League sides), Wayne could and gladly would do the hard graft Geoff outlined. It might not be an ideal work-ratio but it's still better than going down the Crouch/Cole route. Presumably, with Gerrard and Lampard in support, Rooney & Owen would rightly trouble a defence or two.
post #53 of 2457
Thread Starter 
post #54 of 2457
Thread Starter 
We did it. If there were an award for "Most Difficult Team to Watch", I think we'd nail it.
post #55 of 2457
What a game at Stamford Bridge, don't think anyone saw that coming. My prediction was way off! Good win for Utd, great goal, most difficult team to watch? Please! Nervous moments towards the end though, but looks like the return of Ferdinand has indeed brought back the steel to Utd's defence.

Utd-Arsenal should be lots of fun to watch.

Re: Newcastle's forward line, the forgotten man lived up to his name... Viduka! In line for a return against Spurs, he could still do a job for them he's been unlucky with injury.
post #56 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Totally, Russ. I know I didn't see that one coming. Usually, I make a point to never watch Liverpool, unless we're playing them; they angry up the blood.

I stand by my remark, though, about us being supremely tough to watch. I'm not alone in that. Yeah, the "Gooners" promise even higher tension. Nervous already!
post #57 of 2457
So what's the feeling about the semi-finals this weekend?

I'm seeing victories for Utd and Arsenal, but if Everton get an early goal and play well I could see them winning. Be a strong test of Utd's confidence if they went behind early on.

Be interesting to see if Chelsea's recent leaky defence at the Bridge appears in their game. If that back four is shaky and Arsenal start playing their fluent game, Cech will concede 3 or 4 again. Does he need a rest or something?
post #58 of 2457
Thread Starter 
If United don't win, I'll be ragin' but unsurprised. Everton aren't to be underestimated. Also, fair play to Rooney for not shying away from his feelings for Everton. He shouldn't be expected to simply "forget" his love for his team just because he plays for another. You'd think "real" football fans would understand that your team chooses you, not the other way around...

As for Arsenal/Chelsea, the Gunners' defensive situation may be crucial. I'd rather see them win, though. Don't know what the craic is with Cech, honestly.

What does everyone think about the Fergie/Benitez slagging match? I'm more than a little tickled by the whole thing. It wouldn't be football without a bit of theatricality.
post #59 of 2457
Does anyone have any thoughts on the relegation battle which is as close as it's been in years?

I'm hoping for Middlesborough, Sunderland and Newcastle to wipe the North East off the premiership map for a season, but I expect it to be West brom Middlesborough and Sunderland. I would love it if Newcastle go down but they always seem to stay up.

To come up Wolves (natch) The blades, and hopefully reading in the play-offs but they've had such a crappy run lately, it will probably be birmingham - anyone but Burnley.

Does anyone else think that Fergie's going to go if they win the quintuple?
post #60 of 2457
No way, I see Fergie going for at least two more seasons whether they win the 5 or not. Plus, the thinking is that he wants to beat Liverpool's league title total before he steps down. Not sure if he said that himself though.

Since Mourinho left the Prem we've been missing the antagonism between bosses, I welcome any spat.

I'll say again my relegation dream is West Brom, Newcastle and Blackburn.

Reading's run lately has been unbelievably bad, they're at risk of missing the play-offs altogether. I'll go for Wolves, Blades and a Brum/Cardiff play-off final that I couldn't possibly call.
post #61 of 2457
Thread Starter 
I was just looking at the table earlier on Football Focus. Beyond West Brom, it's too tough to call. I can't see Newcastle going down either; they'll scrape by. Boro' would surprise me if they drop. Hull still have the sweat on. I'm rubbish at anticipating stuff like this, and I don't have enough animosity towards any of the clubs involved (as Citeh are, sadly, safe) to really want to see any drop.
post #62 of 2457
It'll be interesting to see what Man U's post-season transfer activity will be. I've a suspicion this will be Ronaldo's last year. If Real or some other club offer £50 million I think Man U will sell. Ronaldo can't be replaced like-for-like (barring the possible exception of Messi, who seems happy at Barcelona) but with that much remuneration Fergie could buy two or three world class players for various positions.

Whilst Ronaldo has shown outstanding form recently (the goal against Porto was a screamer), United have played with (in poor form) or without him for much of the season. They could run with Nani on the left and sign players such as Agüero and Gourcuff. That would be one hell of a side.

Not that the United youth set up is a poor one. Far from it. I mean, they've already got the two (Brazilian?) brothers who play left and right back and are regarded as certainties.

It's little wonder English clubs are having tremendous success in the Champions League at the moment. Even in these depressed times the EPL is rolling in money (the next TV deal is expected to knock the NFL down to second spot on the richest sporting competition list). English clubs are hoovering up the bulk of the world's talent. Which makes a bloody change.

I'm no fan of Abramovich and the rest of the billionaire benefactors, but when I hear the likes of Real Madrid moaning about Chelsea or some other club "poaching" players from Spanish football my hypocrite detector goes off the scale.
post #63 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Absolutely, Geoff. I always enjoy snowballing blue-sky transfers with people. Part of me thinks you're right about Ronaldo. Truthfully, there are times when I would support the acceptance of a potential bid like you say (and the opportunities that might enable.) Then again, the thought of Giggsy imparting his industrious mentality and all of his experience upon him makes me want to see him at O.T. for good. If Ronaldo - right now - could have modern-day Giggs's mentality he'd be an all-time great before his late 20's.

For me, Nani isn't good enough for United. Rafael and Fábio da Silva, on the other hand, absolutely are. See also Agüero and Messi (great calls!)

The present English dominance of European football featured prominently on the Sunday Supplement this morning. Anyone catch it/usually watch it? Sean Custis and Oliver Holt engaged in a thinly veiled slagging-off match on the behaviour of the British press during Japan and South Korea '02 and the "support your local club" debate. Custis won.
post #64 of 2457
God that game was dire. Fergie's team selection will be ripped to shreds in the papers tomorrow I imagine.

Won't lie I was rooting for Everton, if only to avoid a repeat of the mind-crushingly boring 2007 cup final.
post #65 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Not a classic, for sure, Russ. Especially hard for me. Good to see so many youngsters getting a run-out (though, Wellbeck struggled on his weaker side.) It's disappointing but not devastating. Everton's fans definitely wanted it more and I'm glad for Moyes. I'll now fully back them to dispense with Chelski.
post #66 of 2457
Wow Liverpool know how to deliver entertaining games recently! But the wrong result for them overall, Bobby do you reckon it's in the bag for Utd now? Can't see them losing any points against Pompey tomorrow and tonight might have done Liverpool's title bid confidence in.

I was at The Valley on Saturday to see us relegated. 2-2 draw after being 2-0 up, conceding 93rd minute goal. Tonight against Cardiff? 2-2 draw after being 2-0 up, conceding 89th minute goal. I can't even imagine where we'd be in the league if we'd managed to hold onto leads. Surely you've gotta blame the manager for that? He should know tactically how to kill a game off in the dying minutes.
post #67 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Yeah, that's pretty cool for neutrals. Honestly, Russ, I'm still not 100% confident about United. We look too rocky under pressure. A better side than Porto would've done us. After that, all bets are off. For me, anyway.

Sorry to hear that, Russ. I think Kamara brought it up on Sunday; it's a tragedy a great side like Charlton have slipped so far so fast. And I think you're bang-on about management.
post #68 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Big result for us tonight. Everton doing us a favour too! Did it do wonders for my confidence, though? No. That's how pessimistic I am.
post #69 of 2457
Very pessimistic! You should be busting out the champagne already.

Did anyone else feel that Benitez making any "Game over" gestures against Blackburn isn't a big deal? The game was over! Yeah respect blah blah, but I just don't see the need for a fuss.

On a Utd-related note, glad to see Keane back in management.

Hmm what's this, Van Persie ruled out of the semi-final with Utd? No Van Persie, no Arshavin... Bobby, even you must be feeling a wee flicker of optimism!
post #70 of 2457
Thread Starter 
It is, Russ! I'm not the only one who feels this way, though. Trust me, the Scouse look just as ominous to us as we must do to them. Champagne remains a shade premature for my taste.

Roy Keane is a legend and it is, indeed, tremendous to see him back in management. I'm upset for big Jim Magilton, though.

The Van Persie/Arshavin news is certainly heartening. Truthfully, there was more than a flicker at the sight of that. As for "Rafa", I agree that it didn't need to be blown up to what it was. Still... I abhor what it represents and think he should know better.
post #71 of 2457
Um, it was very obvious that Benitez was not making any gestures/comments at Allardyce. He was signalling to Alonso to take the free kick a certain way, he never and we scored as a result so Rafa gave a shrug and a "what do I know?" gesture. Funny how outraged Allardyce was but never made any mention of it until Fergie piped up, he was soon sucking right up to him.
I am pleased to see most of the papers over here picked up on how pathetic the whole thing was of Fergie.

Anyway, I don't think we'll catch Man U. Didn't really believe it before the Arsenal game in fact but I can still dream! Your run in is a bit harder and the European Cup semi should hopefully tire a lot of your players. We need a perfect run in and need you to lose twice, highly unlikely.

I'm just really pleased that we have sustained a title challenge until the last few weeks, I'd have bitten your hand off if that was offered to me at the beginning of the season.
post #72 of 2457
Thread Starter 
My only experience with that incident came from Goals on Sunday. The consensus on the show was that Benitez meant it as a slight or an unflattering signal regarding the opposition. It was presented as such. I'll grant you that it's easy to have your opinion coloured when stuff is presented to you in a certain way, but I never got what you said from it at all, Rusty. It's got nothing to do with what team I support either.
post #73 of 2457
Thread Starter 
It may be a few days old now, but Saturday's result at Old Trafford must be paid the requisite respect. That comeback, as my learned, Red brother pointed out, was United. Furthermore, Lineker and other pundits should be ashamed of themselves for chastising Carrick and dismissing Gomez's foul on him. Never has the "one rule for United, one rule for the rest" attitude of many been more pronounced or shame-worthy. It was, truly, disgusting. Worse still was how the incident was portrayed as a "turning point" that somehow rendered Tottenham a non-entity. Redknapp offered as much himself, after the game. Did he admit that they were out-done in every way? No. That would've been too noble and just. It's easier to just pass the buck. And did any of these other individuals (and they know who they are) give United credit for blitzing Spurs? Of course not.
post #74 of 2457
All credit to Utd for blitzing Spurs as it were, but didn't you feel that Gomes got the ball and then Carrick? He definitely took Carrick out, but looked like he touched the ball first. Ronaldo's "ripping shirt off" move was a two-fingered salute to those who said he wasn't bothered about Utd anymore. Me included!

Disappointed with Barcelona tonight, Chelsea were extremely well-organised though. If Barca go out, Bojan will have nightmares about that late header.

Keane off to a flyer! Ipswich fans will be on cloud nine all summer, dreaming of promotion next year.

Regular Charlton update: another pathetic away performance, thank God away trips are done for this season. In more worrying news, last Tuesday's game against Cardiff had an attendance of around 11,000. In a 27,000 capacity stadium that's shocking. The fans are revolting!
post #75 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Faraday View Post
All credit to Utd for blitzing Spurs as it were, but didn't you feel that Gomes got the ball and then Carrick? He definitely took Carrick out, but looked like he touched the ball first. Ronaldo's "ripping shirt off" move was a two-fingered salute to those who said he wasn't bothered about Utd anymore. Me included!
I never once thought that, Russ. Carrick knocked it clear, then the contact occurred. Every angle I saw it from confirmed as much. At the risk of this becoming a catchphrase, I'd say that even if I didn't support United. And that was a pretty nice moment for Ronaldo. Still think it's ridiculous to get booked for it, though.

Very surprising result, indeed. It's amazing how quickly some fans can change their tune - last night before the game, Messi was depicted as little short of a hurricane in human form. Shortly after the game, I noticed a discussion on Football 365 along the lines of "so... is he over-rated after all?" No wonder so many good people dismiss football enthusiasts.

That sounds horrible. It reminds me of the current Old Firm situation. Some Rangers and Celtic fans now seem somewhat indifferent to their clubs. They disparage them, the situation in the SPL, and don't follow events very closely; according to them, this has as much to do with boredom at the two-horse race aspect as it does the diminished quality of their football. It's sad to see, so I can only imagine how bad it must be to see your fellow fans grow frustrated or fall of the wagon. It's worse still given that most of those Charlton fans are probably one-team people, as opposed to so many of the Old Firm fans here, for example.
post #76 of 2457
What's your view on Webb admitting it was a mistake to award the pen? In any event Ferguson hit the nail on the head straight after the Spurs game when he mentioned the one that wasn't given in the Everton semi-final. It happens, referees make mistakes, but it's easy to jump on the bandwagon of accusing a ref of favouring Utd and caving into the Old Trafford crowd. I'll admit I did that.

Quote on 606 sums up the general feeling:

"It's bad enough only four teams have a realistic chance to win the league. Add the referees' perceived favouring of them, and the question for the rest is why bother?"

I wonder if those disinterested Old Firm fans are gung-ho about this proposed "two-tier" Premier League or whatever it is, incorporating Rangers and Celtic. I can't even imagine it myself, just seems wrong.

The Charlton board know the reason the fans are staying away in droves, now just to see if they do something about it. But I'll say this about the rumoured appointment of Lawrie Sanchez: NO.
post #77 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Lawrence has his detractors (not least of which, many of my countrymen after he left us holding the bag) but many clubs could do a lot worse. He'd do a job alright.

I was just thinking about that earlier. It winds me up, not least because it only highlights the countless stonewall non-penalties (or off-sides) that have gone without apologies. How many of those decisions were legitimate turning points in games? The difference between a 1-0 and a 0-0, as opposed to a convincing 5-2 win? Webb shouldn't have done it because it lends credence to the notion propagated by Lineker, Souness, Green, Redknapp et al that that one call "gave" United the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Faraday View Post
I wonder if those disinterested Old Firm fans are gung-ho about this proposed "two-tier" Premier League or whatever it is, incorporating Rangers and Celtic. I can't even imagine it myself, just seems wrong.
I inherited Rangers fandom, growing up here, like so many. They're very much second fiddle to United in my heart (though I always like to see them doing well and check results, etc.) Every opinion I've heard on that proposal - from one fellow casual Rangers fan, pundits, and writers - has been negative. They reject it like bigots reject reason. There seems to be no way it could happen, for them, without it becoming a travesty of some kind. I don't wholly share their skepticism. Having the Old Firm vacate the SPL would be deeply odd. It would simultaneously benefit and detract from the League. At this rate, the SPL seems destined to remain on a similarly predictable course to the Premiership forevermore. If only for entertainment value, it would spice thing up and give a lot of fans a shot in the arm. All the same, I don't think either/both clubs would have the brass to do it, or the fans to back it. Something tells me they'd be happier in stasis, being the big fish.
post #78 of 2457
Thread Starter 
That was a great game. We should've destroyed Arsenal and put the tie to bed tonight. Almunia and some wasteful finishing prevented it. There were many great performances, but Fletcher, Carrick, and Rooney all stood out. The referee was suspect, at times, too.
post #79 of 2457
Blast I was without Sky Sports so didn't see it. Wenger's gotta be happier with the result. I'm gonna check out Ronaldo's attempt that hit the bar, sounded special. Second leg should be quite something, unless Utd just try and go for the 0-0.

I agree with pretty much everything you said regarding the Old Firm switch, the pros and cons.

God I hate Jamie Redknapp. HATE. I did a facebook thing for 5 Football People I Hate and the 5 were Iain Dowie, Andy Townsend, Jamie Redknapp, Ashley Cole and David Pleat. A real rogue's gallery of twats!

So Shearer's been in charge for 4 games now. 1 goal, 2 points, 0 wins. What's going through Mike Ashley's head? Plus this is just more proof that Dowie is totally incompetent, but will that stop him getting another job after this? Ha!
post #80 of 2457
Thread Starter 
If you can, I'd recommend catching extended highlights, Russ. Ronaldo's strike was almost another goal of the season contender. 33 yards or so at just over 60 miles an hour, I believe... stunning. Almunia just watched it fly over him. I don't think we'll play for a draw. It's just not United.

I'm glad you said that about the Old Firm. It's encouraging to finally here an opinion other than the prevailing one from someone else.

Redknapp Sr. and Jr. are lamentable. Your Dowie contempt still tickles me, by the way! I just can't dislike the guy. He did too much in the Green Shirt.

Shearer's (lack of) impact only confirms my bafflement at his appointment. I pretty much conclude with my brother, though: anything that minimizes my exposure to his unique brand of punditry is a good thing.
post #81 of 2457
Agreed on that last point, I never wanna hear Shearer's views on anything ever again. Can't understand why the Match of the Day team isn't just set as Lineker, Hansen and Lawrenson for the entire season.

I wish I could get across just how much I hate Dowie, it's not entirely his fault. He's utterly useless but Charlton did employ him in the immediate post-Curbs era. That he then proceeded to waste £12m or so and give us a nice comfy position in the bottom three is his own doing! I understand his service for your country would leave you unable to hate him though.

In fact you must just find it hilarious that he keeps getting jobs, whereas it makes me angry!

Curious what you dislike about Harry though?

My gut is that Utd have to go for it at the Emirates, I hope it's a classic. Fergie has already started the mind games/moaning!

Stockport have gone into administration, damn shame. They were an example of a manager working miracles with pennies. Would it be callous of me to hope Charlton take advantage of this and nab Jim Gannon to replace Parkinson?
post #82 of 2457
Thread Starter 
It's quite a relief to learn that. Yeah, that line up would be great (I always love it if the Beeb get Martin O'Neill in during tournaments. The craic between him and Hansen/Lineker is excellent.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Faraday View Post

In fact you must just find it hilarious that he keeps getting jobs, whereas it makes me angry!
I did chuckle quite a lot, especially at the "utterly useless" bit. This was due partly to your attitude towards Dowie reminding me a little of my own on Harry Redknapp. I don't really mind the guy and the whole 'Appy 'Arry, archetypal "Landan Lad" made good thing doesn't annoy me like it does some. Harry's reaction to Saturday's game was the first time he really annoyed me. I don't mean to go on about it so much, but it really irked me how, instead of admitting his side were bested, he just blamed their defeat on Webb's penalty decision. Never mind the 4 other goals that United scored. He saw an opening - "the turning point" - and he grabbed it. His definition of turning point seemed to translate as "when United pulled a fast one and prevented us from fighting back."
post #83 of 2457
O'Neill makes for an excellent tournament pundit, agreed. Who did Sky Sports provide for the immense Real Madrid-Barca game? Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink... Another useless one. As if to qualify having him give his views, when his name came up beneath it was a record of his one-year tenure at Atletico Madrid. 10 years ago!!

But what a game that was, Barca were out of this world. If they're in that mood on Wednesday, we're in for quite a night.

Another clinical Utd victory, I saw the game and they never really needed to move out of first gear. Boro just lack everything.

I'm gutted I won't see Liverpool vs Newcastle tomorrow, goddamn early Championship kick-offs!
post #84 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Great result, indeed. Park's goal was sublime. Always great to see Giggsy on the score-sheet too. "Boro just lack everything" cracked me up.

Caught a fair chunk of El Derby in the pub. Very enjoyable stuff. Barca were playing some Unitedesque possession football. Messi was rampant and Madrid's shaky defence made for some very entertaining moments.

I always liked Hasselbaink as a player, but I have only a faint recollection of him being an average pundit. That said, I'd sooner listen to an average Dutch pundit than most others (except for one important exception; more on that which later.) Got a lot of time for the Netherlands. It's funny you should mention that, though; nearly every time we've watched any Champions League stuff on Sky lately, we've been comparing just that about those in the studio. It goes something like this:

My Brother - "Graeme Souness: Multiple European Cups, Multiple League Titles, League Cups, Charity Shields. The list goes on."
Me - "Ruud Gullitt: European Cups-"
My Brother - "Dutch Titles, a European Championship, Serie A's, Italian Cups. The list goes on."
Me - "Jamie Redknapp..."
My Brother - "A League Cup."

Did you see Kanouté's daisy-cutter against Villarreal, by the way? Great strike. And speaking of pundits, I've been meaning to ask your views on Irish treasure Eamon Dunphy. For anyone not familiar with the man, I recommend watching this (even/especially if you're not a football fan.) While I don't agree with everything he says, the man's entertainment value is undeniable.

Dunphy (shouting down Brady) - "It's called an-al-y-sis!"
(Souness laughs.)
post #85 of 2457
In reference to what has happened at Hully City. Its quite simple according to Phil Brown is that at the start of the season his squad was extremely fit for the season and have since lost that fitness and are struggling.
post #86 of 2457
I liked Hasselbaink as a player, ignoring the one season where he was clearly past it and turned up at The Valley to cash a hefty weekly paycheck and do nothing more. But again, manager takes the blame there.

Nothing beats Desailly on the BBC during World Cups etc. The man's English is rather bad, puzzles me why the Beeb saw fit to employ him.

Why IS Jamie Redknapp there?? Why should I be expected to listen to his views? Uggghhh I hate him.

Dunphy looks like a treat, I've heard someone before raving about him. English TV could use someone like that, the most 'unstuffy' pundit I've seen was probably Ian Wright during England games on BBC. But, oh no, ITV snatch the rights so now we get Townsend and God knows who else.

I saw some of Shearer's post-match comments yesterday and my eyes immediately started glazing over.

I'll be watching Villa-Hull tonight, could go either way. I like both teams, my loyalties are torn!
post #87 of 2457
Thread Starter 
I've always enjoyed Desailly too. The man's enthusiasm is undeniable. Dunphy is an absolute delight. That's just it, Russ. I'd sooner watch RTÉ, thanks solely to him.

Speaking of Charlton, I saw the (brisk) highlights from the Norwich match. Very enjoyable game for a neutral. Still find it hard to believe what's happened to both clubs. Desperate times.

My brother thinks Newcastle are down, without question. I'm hard pressed to disagree, at this stage. If they'd even got a point against the Scouse, I might have been more optimistic for them.

As for Villa/Hull - my O'Neill fondness wins the day, once again!
post #88 of 2457
That's it, you look at the teams going into League One - Charlton, Norwich, Southampton - these were Premier League teams not so long ago. Norwich's relegation also saw TV studios digging out the highlights of their win in Bayern Munich in 1993 or whenever it was.

I can't remember where I saw it, but there was an interesting article about the ramifications of Premier League relegation, naturally using Leeds as an example of a team that slipped out of that league and kept falling. The article suggested some of the teams at the bottom now were even less equipped to deal with going down and could be in serious trouble if they fail this season.

Can't forget Bradford of course, they were a Premier League team and now they're in League Two.

Hull remain in deep trouble, it doesn't help when your two strikers confront each other at half-time! Geovanni continues to think he can win games on his own.

The report in Super Goals on the Blackburn-Wigan game focussed a lot on Blackburn being bloody awful to watch. They really are, and that won't change next season because it's the Allardyce style. I used to really rate him, and he performed miracles with Bolton and keeping Blackburn up this season (if they stay up), but Lord would I not like him to manage my team.
post #89 of 2457
Thread Starter 
What a game!

Enough ink will -rightly- be spilled on the good aspects of that game, so I'll highlight some negatives that are less likely to receive appropriate exposure. After the first two went in, Tyldesley and Beglin wasted no time making excuses for Arsenal. We were "gifted" both goals (it's not like Park had to still finish his or anything.) Both goals "could've been avoided." No kidding, Clive. Almunia could've stood closer to the left posted. It's like saying Maradona could've used his head and not his hand. He didn't. Deal with it. You too, Townsend.

Although they caught themselves on a bit later on, they were still offensively short-sighted to begin with (anyone in doubt should note that Ronaldo's superb second goal didn't get their usual nit-picking treatment... because even they couldn't justify attacking a goal so clearly above it.) Like my brother said, "if that had've been Barcelona, they'd have been foaming at the mouth." It's interesting how they don't seem to have a problem getting behind any other English teams.

Totally agreed with you, Russ. Allardyce's style typifies everything I hate about Premiership Football from teams outside the top 6/7. That said, the way fans and media types fawn all over it annoys me even more. Someone needs to call them out when they confuse "bravery" with cowardly, route one football.

One last thing...

Fletcher played brilliantly. The ref had a nightmare. That the decision can't be corrected is a travesty. It's a blot on an otherwise great night, but not nearly enough to spoil it. I'd love to be back in Manchester right now. Rome, here we come!
post #90 of 2457
As after the Spurs game, all credit to Utd. They had Arsenal pegged from the kick-off - Anderson, Fletcher and Carrick in front of the back four worked a treat. Whenever Arsenal did get forward there were 7 or 8 blue shirts around them.

What a nightmare for Kieran Gibbs, and I didn't support the pundits blaming Almunia for the second at all. Sure he maybe could have done better, but sometimes you just have to take your hat off to a strike like that.

As for the third goal... my word. When Park spread it wide to Rooney I saw Ronaldo busting a lung running forward and found myself actually hoping he would get the pass the run deserved.

A terrible decision saw Fletcher sent off but, and I know you disagree with this Bobby, it's the same as the Spurs penalty in my eyes. Fletcher touched the ball, as did Gomes, but the referee didn't see it and gave the wrong decision.

Beglin is an absolute tool. I just don't like him.

As a neutral once Utd had gone 2-0 up the life went out of the game. I was disappointed in Arsenal, Utd were excellent defensively but the Gunners just didn't raise their game, it's like the belief had collectively sapped out of all 11 players.

Hope tomorrow night's is a classic, not sure who I want to win! Utd-Barca in the final is a glorious prospect, but there's something about another all-English* final that appeals.

*No matter how few English players might actually be in both teams.
post #91 of 2457
Thread Starter 
I know what you mean. United/Barca promises epic sparks, but I really don't like Chelsea.
post #92 of 2457
Suck that, chelsea.
post #93 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tati View Post
Suck that, chelsea.
Dude, too far.

It was a tremendous game to just enjoy. The juvenile post-match antics from Drogba, Lampard, and Terry tainted it. From a United perspective, I'm slightly happier with Barcelona. On tonight's evidence (and Saturday's), they have more reason to fear us than we do them.
post #94 of 2457
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tati View Post
Suck that, chelsea.
And with that, some Chelsea fans took a flight to Buenos Aires.
post #95 of 2457
I felt gutted just as a neutral, I can't imagine how Chelsea fans feel, especially those inside the stadium. After Blackpool's 93rd min equaliser at The Valley a couple of weeks ago, I was sorely tempted to destroy the seats around me!

At least two stonewall penalty claims weren't given, but the behaviour was unacceptable. First Ballack for near enough clobbering the ref, and then Drogba swearing into the TV camera. Hilarious, but unacceptable.

As I said I felt gutted for Chelsea but you can't let Barca have that much possession and not expect to pay the price. Extra kick in the teeth for them that it was Barca's only shot on target though.

Loved Guardiola's Jose-style run down the touchline.

Final should be a good'un.
post #96 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Even with my feelings about Chelsea, I wouldn't rub that shock in. I was agog when Iniesta scored. Barcelona seemed like they couldn't buy a goal, until then. I totally agree with you, Russ. Fans, players, and managers should always be gracious in defeat. There's a way to do these things and that just wasn't it. Guardiola is a man I have a lot of time for (always liked him as a player.) He and Hiddink wrapping arms around each others shoulders was a great wee moment.
post #97 of 2457
"Agog" is the perfect word, I had the same reaction. It really did seem like Barca weren't gonna make Cech sweat never mind get a goal. That was a great moment between Guardiola and Hiddink, nice to see.

Obviously the media will focus on the non-given penalties, but I can see some criticism that Chelsea didn't go for the second goal after Abidal was sent off. Already heard words to that effect from their fans. If only Drogba had scored that gilt-edged chance...
post #98 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Totally. Thanks, Russ. Flicking between RTÉ and Sky was very interesting tonight. Dunphy et al were much more measured than Souness and Redknapp. The general consensus there was that Barcelona never gave up, showed great courage to do so, and took their chance. Yes, they conceded that Chelsea should've had other goals from a myriad of circumstances, but they didn't. They accepted it and moved on.

I know there's never gonna be the same "let's get behind" them attitude on Irish television like you might see on British TV (if, say, Celtic or Rangers advanced) but the difference between them was plain. Redknapp was almost stammering with rage over the penalty claim incidents and, when the notion of a potential UEFA "conspiracy theory" or "plot against English clubs" was floated out there, Souness side-stepped it before adding that, essentially, "they" won't be sad to avoid another all-English final. Disappointing stuff.

At the risk of this thread needing to be re-named "Premier League Pundit Analysis", I'll throw open the floor to final speculation. What do you say, Chewers? Who's gonna lift the trophy? I'm up for the game in a big, big way and I think United have every reason to feel the same, but Barca are gonna think their name's on the trophy, after tonight. It's too hard for me to call.
post #99 of 2457
Oh God Redknapp... I detected a bit of an atmosphere between him and Souness tonight, started when Redknapp claimed the ref being from Norway was a major factor in making the wrong calls. I woulda loved it if Souness snapped and said "Why are you here?! What justifies you sitting there in a suit giving your views on this CHAMPION'S LEAGUE game??"

The final's extremely tough to call, I'm gonna predict a Utd win. Can't say why for sure, but it could be a tight game that ends up coming down to Fergie's experience against Guardiola's lack thereof. Could be a situation where come 70 minutes Fergie knows what needs to be done to win the game.

But the optimist in me is hoping for goals, lots of goals!

So Chewers feel free to slap some money on the following result...

Barcelona 4-5 Manchester Utd.

You heard it here first.
post #100 of 2457
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Faraday View Post

I woulda loved it if Souness snapped and said "Why are you here?! What justifies you sitting there in a suit giving your views on this CHAMPION'S LEAGUE game??"
What a prospect! Oh, how I laughed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Faraday View Post

So Chewers feel free to slap some money on the following result...

Barcelona 4-5 Manchester Utd.

You heard it here first.
I want to hear more on your proposed final. It sounds like the Aliens of football matches.
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