Closing Thoughts on the FA Cup Semi Final and Looking Ahead

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I haven’t actually written a match report on this but there was a pseudo report yesterday when Stephen Darwin wrote on Berbatov which also sparked off heated debate on his value.

I’ll try to touch on some of the things I didn’t talk about in the comments over the past couple of days.

The main issue that’s perhaps divided a lot of fans was team selection. Fergie has been criticised for picking a side with four teenagers and resting a huge chunk of our first team players. This has upset a lot of fans because they felt Ferguson had a responsibility towards the paying public and he had to field a strong side that could win.

Whilst I was surprised with the team selection when it came to fielding the twins at the same time, and handing both Macheda and Welbeck starts, I was actually looking forward to our young stars turn up for the game to see if they could cut it.

And I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really disappointed with either of the da Silvas or Macheda or Welbeck. They all showed enough desire and promise that was lacking in some other senior stars in the side. Ferguson sees these players in the training ground everyday and I suppose playing these boys in the big game against one of the better sides in England means he really trusts their abilities.

Did he take it easy in the cup? Well, if not having Rooney or Ronaldo on the bench is any indicator, the answer is yes, he did take it easy. But is he cheating the fans for fielding a weak team? Well that is open to debate.

It was a fact he clearly acknowledged in pre-game, which means he recognized that his selection may not have satisfied many fans. But what often many fans tend to ignore in the heat of the moment or perhaps justifiably in the midst of having spent a fortune to travel to the game, is the big picture. Ask most United fans to decide between winning the FA Cup or conceding the league title to Liverpool (thus letting them get to 19 titles) and you’ll get a stare like you don’t understand football.

Fergie’s decision was made on the grounds of pragmatism; United were going to be playing almost every three days for the next few weeks. If there was any time to make use of its squad, it was now. The league takes priority any day, and preventing Liverpool from taking the honours (and going level with them) makes this title all the more important. To hell with the FA Cup! (As blasphemous as that might sound to a lot of fans who spent a good part of the 70s, 80s, and even the 90s, bathed in the glory/romance/prestige of the FA Cup.) It was a hard decision to make, and really, we were one penalty call — even Moyes and Jagielka later admitted was penalty — away from going through to the finals. Had we done that, it would be interesting to see the tune sung in the media and sections of fans.

But if I had one selection concern, it was in the non-selection of Nani. When he seems so obviously not in Fergie’s plans for a first team slot in the league, the FA Cup could have been a nice place to throw him in. His delivery gives good service to our young forwards who stayed in the box more often than some other senior strikers in our side, who will not be named. Welbeck was wasted in a wide position when he could have better worked alongside Macheda up front. Although, for all Welbeck’s efforts, I feel his footwork seems very ungainly and indecisive for a striker.

Another player much understated for his performance was Darron Gibson, who more than held his own on the pitch.

What I don’t understand is the amount of stick Fergie got for this when managers like Wenger get hailed for their bravery to field young stars in the FA and League cups. While sections of media have questioned Wenger’s tendencies to pick young sides, by and large, fans and a good majority of the pundits have been gushing in praise and admiration for the French manager. It just seems all to convenient to link Fergie’s rant on Rafa’s arrogance with his fielding a weakened side. A part of the blame, of course, would have to go to Fergie himself for making such an unnecessarily, pointless rant.

Moving on, Liverpool play Arsenal today. We all know where our loyalties for the day lie. Keep your pins and Liverpool voodoo doll — if not a tranny Torres doll — ready. But I don’t trust Arsenal to do it. They are also missing Adebayor and van Persie with Easter Island Head having to play central defence. Looks doomed from the outset, but let’s hope they manage to snatch a draw to give us more breathing space.

Tomorrow we play Portsmouth. If Liverpool win today, they’ll once again put pressure on us. Our job, in theory, is quite simple: win next game, move on to next game, also win that game, repeat till end of season, take trophy home, get drunk with joy, enjoy the summer, declare desire to play for Madrid.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has an interview with the da Silva twins up. I must admit, I didn’t know Fabio was already married. Jeez! I feel so old.

Also, I must inform you that I was casually trawling through some youtube videos, and came across the Ronaldo screamer against Porto. I encountered a comment that was really eye opening, and I shared it on my twitter account with my twitter followers. So I thought it only fair that I also share it with my readers.

God and Man

I spent the next hour trying to put my puny brain to test. I came to the conclusion that since this was under a video that displays a glorious Ronaldo goal, it refers to Ronaldo as God. So I take that this means Ronaldo the God, tries to talk to man. Which seems quite plausible.

So let me try to explain some of those lines to lend it some context.

Speaks the Kings English […] my land of David of England.

If people in London speak the Queen’s English, I can only assume the proud northerners/Mancunians/foreigners, in a show of defiance, would choose to speak the King’s English. The usage of the word king, however, remains hazy. It may refer to a king Cantona that ruled England in the 90s A.D, to whom God, Ronaldo, is being compared with. Land of David England could refer to another Manchester United player, who captained England and has the last name Beckham.

The second paragraph talks about sins which could be cynical tackling from defenders or temptations faced by God himself, in the form of Real Madrid, that’s a part of the axis of evil.

I am not a man drop the he

Now this is tricky. It could mean, he is not he-man referring to his humility, or that he can’t score 42 goals every season. Or perhaps, he’s not even a man, in literal terms. But in literature as dense as this, that is highly unlikely, however much his sweat pants try to convince us otherwise.

I am Creator Life

Little doubts over that, I am sure.

Amen.


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