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Closing Thoughts on the FA Cup Semi Final and Looking Ahead

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.




  1. m34ch

    21 April 2009 at 19:17

    @ROOOOONEY: Agreed. He’s supposed to be the superior of the pair. 😀

  2. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 19:22

    @Red Ranter: Craig will love this. Did you notice how easily Park went to ground when he was surprised? That boy does have a hard time staying on his feet. 😆

    What’s frustrating about these types of stories is that the Park’s and Tevez’s actually speak a little English but still refuse to do so in front of a camera. Lets put it this way, it’s impossible to build a bond and a friendship when you cannot communicate in a language all can understand. These three use English as best as they can but not in front of us.

  3. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 19:24

    @NicoQB: “Spending an evening with”? Mate, that could be interpreted in so many ways. 😛 😉

  4. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 19:31

    @Mr.Muhozi: I know what you mean mate. Yes I am Greek and Turkish football is not one of my favorites but having been born in Canada and away from that historical and cultural bias, I don’t prescribe to it. I do understand it though. For me, I live for German football. I know what is happening there and who the new faces are or the ones expected to make it. So you having that kind of knowledge of Brazilian football is a real thrill for me as I look forward to your list and your feelings on some of these young hopefuls. I have to say though with all honesty, I do not get the Anderson thing. What is it about this talentless moron that excites blokes like you and RedDevil Eddy? It’s a puzzling mystery for me. I get it if you are talking about Kerlon, Robinho, the Twins etc, but Anderson? 😕 🙄 Anyway, looking forward to your list. 🙂

    And as you hate Argentina so, I guess there is no convincing you that Riquelme is a gift from the football Gods? The sam ones that created Pele. I know, blasphemy.

  5. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 19:33

    @Darth Red Diablo: Who is Miranda Kerr?

  6. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 19:35

    @Darth Red Diablo: I know that feeling but her name was Nastassia and she haunts me regularly…… the bitch! 👿 😈 😡

  7. Jon

    21 April 2009 at 19:43

    @Grognard: Well, a big reason for them supporting Liverpool and Arsenal is because they were just so sick of seeing United sweep everything season after season, especially during the late 90s. Liverpool fans have had a history over here since the 80s, but really, Arsenal supporting cunts only had their love for them blossoming when they were they were winning in 2002 and 2004.

    United’s marketing strategy has been really successful around Asian and perhaps now, African countries. The legacy and weight of the name of such an illustrious club is recognized regardless of where you are in the world. Know football, you’ll know United and our (supposedly) attacking brand of free-flowing football.

    The tsunami didn’t affect us much, our peninsula is shielded by Indonesia, who took most of the hit, unfortunately. We’ve never experienced an earthquake here before, so tsunamis have to travel a long way before reaching our shores!

  8. Jon

    21 April 2009 at 19:45

    @Grognard: some Australian model…i googled it 😉 :mrgreen:

  9. Red Ranter

    21 April 2009 at 19:46

    @Grognard: It must be noted that this was done for a Korean channel for the Korean audience. Park speaks pretty decent English actually, but Tevez struggles quite a bit with his English.

    But that video was a confirmation of what I’ve been seeing for quite sometime, that Tevez, Evra and Park are a close knit gang of friends, and it’s quite fascinating to see people from diverse backgrounds become such close buddies.

    It’s also nice to see three really down to earth blokes. You wouldn’t think they are millionaire footballers from the video.

  10. Jon

    21 April 2009 at 19:48

    @ROOOOONEY: same here bro! he has one hell of a long range cracker! Thinking about it, so did Anderson (yes, he did!) when he was at Porto.


    21 April 2009 at 19:59

    so what do you guys think , will arsenal do us any favors , i personally dont think so , with that keeper of theirs and bendtner

  12. Jon

    21 April 2009 at 19:59

    @Grognard: We can’t sack Phelan any sooner. Really. If only Mourinho took up the Portugal job, we’d still have good ol CQ, who by the look of things, might find himself back at OT again if he gets the boot. His take on management must be really poor, as he also failed miserably as the head coach of Real. As a 2nd-in-command he seems to do fantastic, but as the boss of his own team, he might lack the tactical know-how.

    I also believe the influx of foreign players is the acquisition of feeder clubs, like Fluminese (how do you spell it?) and to some extent, Sporting. Royal Antwerp hasn’t brought us any talent, but it seems a decent place to give some of the young ones a run out and a good spell of games.

    As to how effective this influx will prove to be, as compared to simply purchasing ready-made foreign players, is yet to be truly analyzed. But so far things are shaping up well…Fabio, Rafael and Ronaldo all have matured very well…Only time will tell with the likes of Possebon, Ljajic and Tosic.

    Anyways, I’m off to bed. It’s 3 in the morning here, and my second day in a row spent refreshing the RedRants page over and over!! Not too good considering I have an exam on Thursday! Will talk to you all again when I rise tomorrow, at which time YOU will be sleeping, Grog! 😉

  13. Mr.Muhozi

    21 April 2009 at 20:21

    @Grognard:I would love for you to compose a list about german football, being my grandma was a brasilian born in germany, i’ve always wanted to get into german football but never really had the chance, if i would pick a team it would be the Bavarians Bayen since she was from there
    I really do not know much about riquelme to be honest, except gilberto silva owns him whenever Brasil play Argentina 😆

    now this list is the top ten talents in Brasil not Brasilian talents from around the world, the brasilian league is massive with millions of teams, divided by state, having a heritage from sau paulo
    I doubt you never heard of them, a few may even be a third of your age, they have the potential for super stardom, if i could find a video of them on youtube i will post it to give you an idea on how they play, so here is the list of my top five players in Brasil

    1. Hernanes-23-Sao Paulo- being two footed is one thing, being two footed and skillful is another thing, being born two footed and blessed with a talent the size of Jupiter is just unfair, that is Hernanes, cross breed the versatility of O’shea with the skill and ability of Kaka minus the speed and add the vision and poise of Rai you have Hernanes, how long he stays at Sao Paulo God knows, but i expect him to make a big money move to a big club, I just wish it was united
    heres the videos

    2. Keirrison-20- Palmeiras, dubbed K9, for the life of me i do not understand the comparisons to Romario, he has nothing in common with him at all, except the God given ability to score, an ability that i believe can not be taught, decent speed technique, loves to be inside the area to make things happen though he can score goals both in and out the area, pretty good with both feed, he can header too, a natrual striker and i really can not wait for the day he is in the canarinha squad leading the line with Pato
    Here’s a video of him, not he likes to slot the balls between impossible areas, that my friend is a striker

    3. Douglas Costa-18
    The sky is the limit for him, gremio are currently competing with Sau Paulo to see who can produce the most stars, anderson and ROnaldinho come from this conveyor belt and douglas costa looks ready to follow in their footsteps, a joy to watch on the ball, with an unbelievably quick feet i some times have to watch them in slow motion to comprehend what he just did, great vision and a good free kick taker too, the ronaldinho comparisons where soon to come, if he keeps his heads down, avoids the night life and focuses on improving he WILL be BETTER than ronaldinho, the future is in his hands
    10 mins of his best bits from last season, shows mostly skills, some free kicks, passing and shooting ability, one to watch

    4. Alex Teixeria-19-Vasco-
    Quite funny rio has had no luck creating talent recently, the da silva twins are probably their best export in the last 5 years, enter alex teixeria another attacking midfielder vying for the number 10 spot, right footed, he is decent with his left, an absolute cannon shot and great workhorse striker with good a mentality and technical attributes, a rare breed of a workhorse with flair good on the ball, won’t be long before he goes to portugal to ply his trade before a big club pays £20m+
    for him in 2012
    highlight video

    5.Neymar-17-santos- he has not made it on to the big stage yet, but trust me when he does he will make an incredible impact, keep an eye on him, there is a reason why all the top scouts are avoiding to call him the new “insert brasilian name”, but the first neymar, the sky is the limit for him

    hope the list gives you an insight to brasilian football, and takes you away from the darkside of Argentina to be gold and green machine


    21 April 2009 at 20:38


  15. themec

    21 April 2009 at 20:39

    Arsenal Score!!! Are we gonna get lucky tonight?????

  16. themec

    21 April 2009 at 20:40

    FAB–IANSKI. GO on son!!

  17. themec

    21 April 2009 at 20:44

    Can’t believe this… The Arse are NOT lying down. I repeat…ARE NOT LYING DOWN. SO FAR.

  18. Dan

    21 April 2009 at 20:50

    I think i understand the park, tevez evra connection, they’re all wank and no ejaculation 🙄 they’ll run around without any end product which makes you think whats the point!

  19. Red Ranter

    21 April 2009 at 21:18

    Arsenal have defended like a pub side.


    21 April 2009 at 21:18

    aw , it was fun while it lasted


    21 April 2009 at 21:26

    wow what the fuck arshavin owns my balls


    21 April 2009 at 21:29


  23. Eric the Red

    21 April 2009 at 21:31

    Arshavin again!!! 2-3 l’arse!

  24. Eric the Red

    21 April 2009 at 21:33

    I’m going to shut up now. 3-3. 😥


    21 April 2009 at 21:50


  26. Dan

    21 April 2009 at 21:50


  27. Dan

    21 April 2009 at 21:50



    21 April 2009 at 21:54

    4-4 LOL

  29. Dan

    21 April 2009 at 21:54

    FUCK SAKE! Why did we ever sell silvestre to them! he might of just cost us the title again!


    21 April 2009 at 21:56

    a draw is good , we have a chance

  31. Dan

    21 April 2009 at 21:58

    Yea a 4-4 is good, granted we actually win tomorrow!

  32. LB

    21 April 2009 at 21:58

    It was a jolly good game.

  33. Kal

    21 April 2009 at 22:00

    What a game…Can’t defend can they?

  34. RedDevilEddy

    21 April 2009 at 22:02

    YEEEEEEAH!!! FUCK YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!!!! 😈 😈 😈 4-4, my balls have swelled and my temperament is fucking high! This was what we wanted, come on United! For once, I repeat, FOR ONCE, take advantage of a Liverpool slip-up. This is the chance to get 6 points clear, and if you dont win against Pompey I will fucking murder my fantasy-cat. I will cut its head off!!! 👿

    Oh, and yes. I know I really have to chill after slagging Berba to the max, talking like Ive just come out of the mental hospital, but Im so fired up right now!!! Man of the match in my own big game, and then I come home and read 4-4. 4-4 for fucks sake!!! :mrgreen:


    21 April 2009 at 22:02

    i am glad arshavin isnt playing in the champions league against us

  36. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 22:03

    @Red Ranter: Yes it’s nice to see but for me it has always been second nature. Even going through school my best friends were either Chinese, Filipino, East Indian, Scottish and German. Currently my closest friend is Hindu and another is Chinese. But that’s the way Canada is. We are a melting pot culturally but we also seem to blend well with other cultures unlike our neighbor to the South that has had a lot more difficulty in that area. I understand how that might seem strange in other parts of the world but for me and other Canadians, mingling and befriending people of different cultures is second nature. We don’t even think about it. We are religiously tolerant and above all, color blind. With that said, I hate Scousers and any kind of trash form Liverpool. 😀

  37. m34ch

    21 April 2009 at 22:03

    Great game, reminded me of the 4-3 thrillers between liverpool and newcastle of previous seasons. Great match, can’t believe the scousers drew level though! Come on the lads for tomorrow. 😆

  38. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 22:08

    @Jon: Queiroz’s talents are more running training sessions, dealing with the Latin speaking contingent in a big uncle kind of way and also implementing tactical and personnel changes in training so that they are understood and repeated to perfection. As far as man management, making changes in a game and running a team on game day and on the fly, he seems out of his element. Bottom line is Carlos is a great coach but he is not a manager.

  39. RedDevilEddy

    21 April 2009 at 22:08

    Lessong to learn from the Liverpool-Arsenal game?

    1. Attack Arsenal, and you are definite to score.

    2. Arshavin is a monster, the defense will need to be on top!

    3. Selling Silvestre to Arsenal may cost us some trophies… Because he is bad, not because he is good.

    4. Fabianski is terrible in the box, but an ariite shot-stopper. Like PIG.

    5. Sagna is a shadow of his former self. Double with Evra and Ronaldo on Arsenals right side and we will create chances.

  40. Liam

    21 April 2009 at 22:12

    Liverpool showed tonight that their defense is a shambles, any game that Torres/Gerrard/Benayoun (yes he is in that bracket because of his infuriating late goals) they are liable to lose imo

  41. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 22:15

    @Mr.Muhozi: I’ll get back to you on the list of up and coming young Germans. I too am a big time Bayern supporter. In fact I have been a Bayern supporter longer than I have been a United supporter. My all time favorite club team to the chagrin of many United fans is the 1974 Bayern Munich squad with the greats Beckenbauer, Mueller, Maier, Breitner and Hoeness. I’d put any team in world club history up against them and I still think they would win. Perhaps the 72 Ajax club would beat them but nobody since would come close. They had class, finesse, could be physical and play numerous styles and adapt well to conditions as well as opponents. And to this day I absolutely love Bayern but my heart has more room for United. They both wear red and so I bleed their forms of red. It killed me to see them play against each other in the 1999 Champions League final, but every year, I still hope for Bayern vs United final because I cannot stomach anyone else beating either of my two clubs. So they might as well beat each other. I’ll get back to you on the German talent pool.


    21 April 2009 at 22:15

    rafa tried to take something out of fergie’s book , when he introduced el zhar for kuyt i loled

  43. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 22:18

    @Dan: And who was crying out his name for months while being told off by you and others? 😕 🙄 Arshavin is a fucking God mate. And Fergie was a prick to not sign him especially as he watched him last year when he played for both Zenit and Russia. I’ll never forgive Fergie for passing on the Russian Maradona.

  44. colver

    21 April 2009 at 22:19

    Damn if only we’d spent the Berbatov money on Arshavin. He is one helluva player and would have fitted right into our team.

    Title does seem to be almost ours even if we lose to Arsenal in the league.

    The biggest question I have is why are Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal scoring goals galore while we serve up 1-0s with an alarming consistency?

  45. Eric the Red

    21 April 2009 at 22:21

    @RedDevilEddy: Arshavin is cup tied, so we don’t need to worry about him.

  46. RedDevilEddy

    21 April 2009 at 22:23

    @Eric the Red: League game in May…

  47. Eric the Red

    21 April 2009 at 22:25

    @RedDevilEddy: Got ya. Hopefully that game is irrelevant by then. 😀

  48. Darth Red Diablo

    21 April 2009 at 22:26

    That was one HELL OF A MATCH!
    Arshavin is one of the best players. Seriously

    And Groggy you don’t know about Miranda Kerr? GET OUT OF HERE! 😆 😆

  49. t_reason

    21 April 2009 at 22:28

    @Eric the Red: actually we do face him the penultimate game in EPL…he can still be the one to make the difference then

    edit: point posted

  50. Grognard

    21 April 2009 at 22:30

    @RedDevilEddy: Now ask yourself, can you see United score four goals against anyone yet alone Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool? These teams score for fun. We struggle to scrounge out one goal a game. It disgusts me. To Hell with defense, I want goals. 😈

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