Hell is a place that’s often been described, though it has never been seen. A cold, windy and rainy afternoon in Stoke, however, would gain a rather large consensus if the description of hell was to be put up to public vote.
Everything is quintessentially awful about Stoke. Their fans, their manager, the horrible football they insist to practise, their players and their horrendous wind-swept ground, where footballers and fans are at the elements’ mercy, with sudden gusts of wind making play almost impossible.
Deadline day was a largely uneventful 24 hours for fans hoping to witness the debut of a new arrival at Stoke City today, a match United MUST win.
The betting odds for this match suggest United will be too strong for The Potters but they’ll have to do it without a host of youngsters and also a surprise deadline day target.
Things might have gone very much quiet on the arrival front at Old Trafford after the signing of Juan Mata, but the exit door has been incredibly busy on transfer deadline day so far, with many youngsters been given the opportunity to gain crucial first team experience on loan at other clubs.
Wilfried Zaha has finally completed his loan move to Cardiff for the remainder of the season and one can only hope the youngster will grab his chance to prove his worth between now and May.
Away from the transfer deadline day shenanigans, ITK Twitter accounts and the dreaded “Sky Sport sources” line, for Manchester United and David Moyes there’s the small matter of a second Premier League game in four days to deal with.
Having finally got back to winning ways against Cardiff on Tuesday night, United travel to the Britannia, which, while it clearly isn’t the fortress the press have spent the last five years harping on about, remains a hotbed for dire football, generally windy and unpleasant days and, more importantly, some of the worst fans the Premier League has ever seen.
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola might have just given United fans a reason to remain glued to TV screens and radios tomorrow, after admitting that Toni Kroos could leave the Allianz Arena before tomorrow’s transfer deadline.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has been on David Moyes’ radar for quite some time, after the European champions’ Chief Executive, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, admitted that the club was struggling to come to an agreement with the midfielder over a new contract.
Phil Jones has claimed that Juan Mata’s arrival has had a positive impact on the Manchester United players, lifting the dressing room morale and delivering a much-needed psychological boost to a team that had endured a catastrophic season up until last week, when the Spaniard was signed.
Mata’s debut against Cardiff on Tuesday coincided with United getting back to winning ways in the Premier League and Jones described the Spaniard’s signing as the sort of exciting news capable of lifting the players’ morale and delivering fresh impetus for the remainder of the season.
1) The (not yet) Special Juan
From the moment he signed, last night was always going to be about a man and one man only: Juan Mata.
The atmosphere as he entered the pitch was one of febrile anticipation, one we hadn’t witnessed at Old Trafford since Robin Van Persie made his debut in a red shirt last season and while the expectations were only partly met, Mata’s first game for United was a largely positive one.
David Moyes has insisted that Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie are the men that will lift Manchester United out of the doldrums and the doom and gloom that has crippled the champions this season.
Mata, a £37.1m signing from Chelsea, made his long-awaited debut against Cardiff last night, while United also welcomed back Robin Van Persie after a 11-game spell on the sidelines, with Wayne Rooney also returning to the first team fold after overcoming the groin injury that had forced him to miss the last three weeks.