Dec 18

A bitter man and the best fans in the world between United and a semifinal spot

Tag: Match Preview @ 8:05 am

139603229_Stoke_465509bA trip to Stoke on a, presumably, cold Wednesday night in December is nobody’s idea of glamour, but tonight’s Capital One Cup quarterfinal at the Britannia could prove to be a lot more important than it would have in seasons gone by, where the League Cup was the least important competition of the season.

The tournament might have lied way down United’s priorities order at the start of the season but, given the current circumstances, United could do worse things than focusing on the Capital One Cup, particularly given that a place in the semifinal is only 90 minutes away.

Those 90 minutes, however, promise to be far from an easy task. First and foremost, there’s United lengthy list of absentees, with Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling and Robin Van Persie ruled out through injury, while Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa remain doubtful, after missing Sunday’s 3-0 win at Villa.

Both, Hernandez and Kagawa, could, however, be in contention to play a part in tonight’s game, with David Moyes set to limit his rotation policy and keep Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones in the starting XI, while there could be rare starts for Anderson – who could set up a heavyweight with Charlie Adam – Ashley Young and Alexander Buttner.

Moyes’ wafer thin squad isn’t the only obstacle standing between United and a place in the last four, with Mark Hughes – you know, the former United glory who turned bitter after leaving the club and hasn’t missed a chance of spouting venom onto them ever since? – and his team looking to give the self-proclaimed best fans in the league something to shout about.

Stoke’s transition from Tony Pulis to Hughes has been seamless, in the sense that very little has changed at the Britannia, with the Potters still adopting a back-four made up, shall we say, no-nonsense defenders, while Wilson Palacios, Steven N’Zonzi and Glenn Whelan are tasked with providing energy and guile – more of the former, very little of the latter – in midfield, with Marko Arnautovic and Oussama Aissidi looking to support Peter Crouch.

Earlier this season, United – who haven’t lost to Stoke since the 1993 Coca Cola Cup – rode their luck before winning 3-2, thanks to late goals from Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, after Stoke had twice gone in front courtesy of goals from Crouch and Arnautovic, which prompted Hughes to claim that United had lost their aura.

Would winning the League Cup be enough to convince the many who doubts the former Everton manager is the right man for the job? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be such a bad start and a place in the semifinals would keep that door open and, besides, who really wants to see us losing against Stoke – one the many teams that treat a game against United like their cup final – ?


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Tags: Match Preview

10 Responses to “A bitter man and the best fans in the world between United and a semifinal spot”

  • The domestic cups are our only realistic chance at a trophy this season. I think a lot of the players miss winning domestic cups as Ferguson was too busy with the title race and Europe to bother. If nothing else it could be the only way we can get into the Europa league next season! But then again we would have to get past Manchester City and they love nothing more than rubbing it in our face that they are now assuredly the best club in Manchester now that David Moyes is in charge.

    • @colver: So glad City is still in it.

      I haven’t seen the fixture list but if we end up facing City again I will be so happy.

      My hope is that City beat us badly and knock us out thus denying Moyes the opportunity of winning something and buying more time for himself.

      I think our games against City (Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool) are great indicators of the caliber of manager Moyes is.

      David Moyes can beat the middle table and bottom table teams most of the time but it’s his record against the best in the business that will expose him as mediocre or back up Sir Alex’s faith in him if he rises to the occasion.
      So far this season we have beaten Arsenal 1-0, we drew against Chelsea 0-0, we suffered our first defeat of the season against Liverpool 1-0 and then City thumped us 4-1 in the league. Moyes’ record against the big 4 currently stands as follows:

      Won: 1

      Drawn: 1

      Lost : 2

      That’s the first round of exchanges. We still need to play the big 4 again. I have some serious doubts about Moyes’ ability to overturn the results against Liverpool and, especially, Man City in the league. I also suspect Mourinho’s Chelsea won’t be shy to give it a go next time around now that we have been exposed at home. Under Moyes we have lost our fear factor.

      The week after our thrashing by City we did manage to get a 1-0 win against Liverpool in the capital One Cup. Moyes’ overall record against the top 4 in all competitions, therefore, is: won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2.

      So I’m really looking to City to give Moyes a stern examination in the Capital One Cup.

  • I can’t blame Moyes for his team selection.

    He has picked a strong side in my opinion.

    Welbeck is the inform striker considering Rooney and RVP are not available.

    Anderson and Cleverley combo is one I always like seeing especially with Jones backing them up. (I would prefer Januzaj and Kagawa be given the opportunity however)

    I like this formation though.

    RVP would by the ideal replacement for Welbeck if we were to take this kind of setup into the league. (and yes, no Rooney or Carrick)

  • It was a good game against Stoke tonight.

    Moyes played all his cards right tonight.

    He put out the right team and got a comfortable win.

    I was really glad to see Fletcher out and about again.

    Good job by Moyes tonight.

    Looks like he is about to turn a corner.

    I expect a win against West Ham as well.

    But Moyes’ games against the big 4 will tell me everything I need to know about him.

    • Andrija Djuranovic

      @The_Philosopher: I would say that in game against City Moyes was too brave for his own good :) His worst derby performance was Liverpool away in my opinion, his best Arsenal home.

    • @The_Philosopher: Wow that seems like a bit of a turnaround Phil! “Looks like he is about to turn the corner”. Incredible! Mind you, I agree with the idea of reserving judgement until we see the next lot of results against the big four. With a bit of luck we might be playing a Wembley final against City in the next few months. That will be a huge test for a manager who has never beaten a major rival away from home let alone actually winning something. If he lands that one then maybe as a manager he has indeed turned the corner and we can all face the future with a bit more confidence.

      • @Julian: When I say Moyes is turning a corner I mean he won’t lose back to back games anymore. he will probably keep it tidy.

        Personally I would like to see him lose more and more games cause that means he will be out soon.

        No matter how much of a corner he turns I still want him out.

    • @The_Philosopher: You are confusing me. Within the same post you say you prefer City to destroy United so you can get rid of Moyes quicker…
      “My hope is that City beat us badly and knock us out thus denying Moyes the opportunity of winning something and buying more time for himself.”
      – United is bigger than anyone, even manager, so if United is doing well, I don’t care if Mickey Mouse is the manager. Doing “well” is of course subject to interpretation (Finances vs. Results vs. Entertainment), but I would never want United to suffer defeat at hands of major rivals for the sake of teaching a manger or player a lesson.

      United > 1.

      Then you state that team selection is not by choice given injuries:
      “I can’t blame Moyes for his team selection.”

      But you go on to praise him for the selection:
      “Moyes played all his cards right tonight.”

      Then you finish by stating that it “looks like he is about to turn a corner.”

      I do, however, agree with you that Moyes’ next round of rival games will set the tone for his first year’s judgement, which I will hold until all medals have been dished out or United is mathematically eliminated from contention of places, whichever comes first.

      Are you drunk when you post these or on ‘shrooms? :-D You take an awful lot sides of an argument.


      • @Opti: Just cause i don’t like David Moyes doesn’t mean I can’t see it when he does something right.

        On a micro level he did the right thing.

        From a macro perspective I still want him out.

        While I have no choice but to sit through his football I will point out when I see a good move.

        But that won’t stop me from stating my wish to see him gone.

      • @Opti: why do people always come with “United is bigger than any one man…”? Of course we’re not. That was some – what I refer to as – “marketing bullshit” that Fergie used to feed us…the same Fergie that ironically believed and acted the exact opposite. In fact, United is not even bigger than Malcolm Glazier. (In fact, being treated like a desperate bitch by Rooney shows we’re not even bigger than him).
        The club might be older than most people by being around for longer than the people, but it is the people that gives it its spirit and legacy. In case anyone’s blind or outright ignorant… the spirit, culture, legacy, values, etc. that the club operates with today as vastly different than those of the past. That is because the “important” people defined and changed it.

        AND, despite what marketing bullshit they feed us of how important we are as fans (and how we are the 12th man on the pitch)? We”re NOt. They have shown over the years that they don’t really give a shit about supporters and their views. We are just “consumers” who “don’t quite know what they want” and need to be tolerated and “managed” (by continually feeding us marketing bullshit).

        Why should some people (managers and players) be “given a chance” (when its blatantly obvious that they’re pretty useless) while others should be treated with disdain (when the whole world can see they are “talented” or “right”)? Just because Sir Alex Ferguson said so???

        Who’s really the ones eating the mushrooms?

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