Well, it seemed like another day ‘out back of wood shed’ with Chelsea being the latest victim fed to the wood chipper. Sounds better than another day in the office or walk in the park I think. Manchester United took care of business and disposed of Chelsea in what must go down as one of the most exciting end-to-end matches between the sides. This game had a bit of everything and it could easily have ended up in a 5-5 draw. Both teams played well offensively and both had numerous scoring chances but in the end the difference was our width and our touch of class when it comes to finishing off our chances even though we were wasteful today and oh so very sloppy.
But before I comment on the game and what we have learned from it and what we can take forward with this win, let me first shout out loud in complete anger at the clown act mistaken for officiating today. Phil Dowd has to be amongst the worst referees in the history of the Premiership. Every time I see a game refereed by him I just cringe and that goes for the muppets he uses as linesman who yes, gifted United the first goal as it was offside. But still, it couldn’t happen to better bunch of ass clowns than Team Romansodov.
Simply put, the Ashley Cole tackle on Chicharito was far more than red card offence. Instead, it was borderline criminal. I am truly and thankfully amazed that he never broke the lads leg or caused another serious injury to him comparable to say Eduardo’s infamous leg break. Who cares if it should have been a red card and a penalty, this bastard must be dealt with by the FA regardless of what Dowd did about it. Now is the time for the FA to show us there is not a concerted effort to conspire against United. How can the FA suspend Evra, Rooney and Fergie for nothing at all and allow a player to get off who clearly could have ended another player’s career with the harshness of his vicious and very cynical tackle? But then I am talking about the FA so I expect Cole to be called in to be awarded the player of the week medal for his effort.
As expected, Fergie was rightfully enraged by the tackle and his words explained the incident plainly and to the point;
“To me, it was a shocking tackle,” Ferguson said of Cole’s challenge which came as Hernandez was attempting to shoot at the back post off a rebound. The referee’s booked him and, if he’s booked him, I don’t know why it wasn’t a penalty. We don’t know how Hernandez will be. We’re going to have to wait until the morning but, at the moment, his leg is very numb. He’s hardly got any feeling in it so he could be out for a couple of weeks.”
“The referee booked him, so I don’t understand why he hasn’t given a penalty. Ashley Cole is very reckless at times. He is committed of course but being committed you can sometimes go over the edge a bit. That was an example of that.”
I couldn’t agree more Boss, but what really gets me is that Fergie will probably get suspended for criticizing the official for that heinous ignorance of the law. Oh the irony man! Then you have the new kid on the block Andres Villas-Boas opening his trap to agree that the tackle was harsh but also offering as asinine a remark as I have ever read from manager defending a dirty act by one of his players.
“Maybe he wouldn’t get sent off if the linesman does his work,” said Villas-Boas. “He would have been less emotionally drained”.
WTF??? Is he serious? My God, it is understandable to justify crippling an opponent because the linesman had gotten a call on an offside wrong earlier in the match? This kind of thinking is sheer madness. This is similar to understanding and condoning hooligans trashing downtown shops and buildings after their team loses a cup final I guess simply because they were upset their team lost. Or it reminds of the old Sean Connery line from ‘The Untouchables’, “He sends one of your men to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way” This kind of poor sportsmanship and whining is beneath a Premier League manager other than Rafa Benitez who made up classless garbage like this on a weekly basis. The FA tolerates this BS and blatant disregard for player safety but punishes Rooney for swearing while celebrating in front of a camera and suspends Evra for supposedly fighting with custodial staff at the Bridge by taking the word of one of the custodians. Unbelievable and total utter BOLLOCKS!!!!
Anyway, enough on that stuff. Hopefully Chicharito will not miss too much time and lets just move on because it is like usual in England, us against the League and the FA. As for the game, like I said earlier, this match could have ended 5-5 as it was even and it was a wide open and end to end affair. However, in the end what separated the two combatants was that United had that extra touch of class that made the difference. And when I say class I refer to three players in particular, Phil Jones, Ashley Young and especially my man of the match Nani. Nani was outstanding. One of his greatest ever games for United. He showed Fergie that he could really bring it in a big game especially against tough physical Chelsea. For years we have had to endure anti-football inclusions like Park or of late Valencia as Fergie felt they were less prone to mistakes than Nani. Well perhaps they are but they are also less prone to creating scoring chances and scaring the crap out of Chelsea’s defenders.
Lesson number one learned on the day was that Nani should never sit out a big game against top opponents. He along with Ashley Cole on the other side were the reason we won this game and were clearly our best players of the match along with young Phil Jones. Regarding Young, man this lad is really fitting in well with the team and he has done two things that make him an MVP candidate. He has evened out our attack as it used to be Nani or Valencia on the right side and that was it. Now we can attack from both sides and secondly, he gives us total and complete width supremacy over the opponent. Our width and utilization of that width was the determining factor in the victory.
But before I comment on Jones lets not forget about Nani’s performance. A fantastic goal, the luckiest assist he will ever have and a display of ball control artistry and distribution not seen here since Giggsy was young and since Ronaldo patrolled the right side. He was superb and brought a world class performance with him. And he was very tidy and made all the smart moves today. Unlucky to not score two as he hit the post with a great effort he was buzzing all around the Chelsea end and never allowed them to relax and not panic. I feel bad for Tony Valencia who I feel is a very good player but if I were managing, he only sees playing time in the Carling Cup. Nani is just too valuable to ever sit on the bench, especially in Premier League games where his speed and one on one skill is just vital to our success.
Now let me offer up a little love for Phil Jones. Lesson number two, never ever sit down Phil Jones. He is a monster. What presence, what instinct, what skill and what guts. Always makes a top notch tackle, offers up great runs and fights for every ball. His effort on the third goal was fantastic and although he is to blame for Torres’ goal, can you blame him? Who the Hell wants to waste time for 90 minutes marking a girl? I have to say that as much as I love Vidic, Nani and Rooney, Phil Jones is fast becoming my favorite United player. I am not one for buying jerseys simply because I can never find them big enough for my rather large girth but if I were to buy a shirt, it would be a Phil Jones model. He’s my kind of player and to think that I bitched and whined when we signed him instead of spending the money on a greedy, selfish mercenary midfielder who shall remain nameless (cough cough Sneijder cough cough).
Fergie had little to say after the game about how well some of our players played. He was disturbed by some of our shoddy and sloppy passing and disappointed in our midfield play as both Fletcher and Anderson did disappearing acts for most of the match which let Chelsea off the hook considering the played a very narrow and congested game. We capitulated the midfield like we did to Barcelona but Chelsea never had the class or finish of the Catalans to punish us for those breakdowns. Anderson was woeful and very sloppy in his passing and for once I have to say I felt sorry for the lad because of late he was really starting to win me over. But I did warn people before that I wanted to see what he could do in a big game against a top opponent. One more performance like that and it’s back to ‘double secret probation’ for him. What will we see from him in the future and if he is the real deal, how does he recover from this match? Inquiring minds want to know.
Fergie seemed very impressed in both Nani and Jones and had this to say;
“Phil Jones is a marvellous young lad. Look at the third goal for instance. He wasn’t going to lose the ball,” Sir Alex stated with excitement.”
The Boss also added;
“He’s only 19 and has great enthusiasm. He’s quick, can pass and has a fantastic will to win. He’s been sensational since he came to us.”
Describing Nani’s man-of-the-match performance, he said;
“Nani’s finish was sensational. Today we saw him at his very, very best. When we got the ball wide, they couldn’t cope.”
Frankly it’s about time Fergie offered up some strong praise for Nani. Quite often when he plays well, he gets very little love via official quotes. This was short but sweet.
As for his analysis of the game he had the following things to say which really fall in line with my thoughts as well;
“For the neutrals it was fantastic and open. Some of our football was terrific but we were so careless we could have thrown it away. We did OK when we got the ball to Nani and Ashley Young in the wide positions but when we tried to be clever in the middle of the field we kept botching it up and Chelsea kept counter-attacking. We were guilty of making things hard for ourselves by giving the ball away so many times in attacking areas”.
And later, when asked about Dimitar Berbatov’s awful missed opportunity correctly blamed Rooney for “a terrible pass, a really bad pass”, although I still think a sharp and in game form Berba would have scored. This is what you get when you let a player sit and rot on the bench. Don’t expect his best when he shows up once in a blue moon. Just had to neg out on Fergie a bit, sorry. J
The game was quite something with Rooney missing a penalty in the manner of a John Terry, Torres missing an absolute gimme but scoring a beauty, Nani scoring a world class rocket launch of a goal and Smalling scoring on a great Young free kick cross albeit being a shade offside in the process. I also feel special praise should go to often maligned David De Gea who I felt had his best game for United. His distribution was fantastic and he made some very good instinct and reflex oriented saves at crucial times and cannot be blamed for Torres’ moment of magic and the couple of easy chances that Chelsea squandered due to sloppy giveaways and shoddy marking. His save against Ramires was sensational even though it was a poor finish, he did what was expected of himself. Kudos to the lad.
So Let us move forward then. It’s Leeds midweek in the Carling Cup then it’s a Saturday match against Stoke who got thumped by Brucey’s Sunderland today 4-0. They will want to improve after that performance and they love the long high ball a lot and now Smalling is injured and doubtful. Our injuries and lack of height back there could be a problem against that kind of club. Hopefully his groin will recover in time and as well, lets hope Rio and Vidic return sooner rather than later.
As for Chelsea, well mission accomplished and another entertaining Premiership win playing my kind of football, albeit a little sloppy around the edges. Well done nonetheless to the lads and Fergie for taking care of business by ‘pitchkrieging’ Mother Russia once again. I hope Roman is crying in his yacht wondering what is life worth living for. And finally let me offer up one last observation regarding the new Chelsea manager. It’s official, Andres Villas-Boas knows Jose Mourinho but to Andres Villas-Boas I say this; I know Jose Mourinho and sir, you are not Jose Mourinho. And neither does his team visit Old Trafford in the same manner as a Mourinho led Chelsea team that used to come to Manchester with arrogance, confidence and swagger. Those days are long gone and good riddance I say.