Suddenly we are not ‘injury proof’. Rafael has been added to the list that includes Evans, Brown, Neville, O’Shea and, for all practical purposes for the day, Vidic.
Mourinho reckons a ‘worried’ United may be defensive. Fergie brushes that aside with a we-rarely-play-for-draws rebuttal. Ronaldo mumbles something about killing or being killed which, for some reason, sounds to me like the job description of a suicide bomber.
Wenger talks about how his club looks to educate people… as opposed to United.
So, as you see, it’s an exciting day indeed, and everyone’s chirpy.
My day, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as exciting. I have work, you see, which coincides nicely with today’s game. For Fuck’s sake.
But I’m none too optimistic about today. Unless, of course, Jonny O’Shea steps in at centre back and stuffs the sizeable Ibrahimo-watsisname-ovic into his wee back pocket. If pigs could fly and if George Bush could say disestablishmentarianism. (Yes, the smart ones may have noticed the Black Adder reference.)
Fergie, despite the tough talk about rarely ever playing for a draw, he’ll surely make today one of those rare occasions. He’ll go for his most defensive formation ever. A 4-3-3 that would really be a 4-5-1. A midfield of Carrick, Fletcher and Giggs. A forward line of Ronaldo, Rooney and Park. And a back line of Evra, Rio, O’Shea (if he emerges from Fergie’s smokescreen of being ‘doubtful’) and Fabio.
If he doesn’t make it, then Fletch would most likely partner Rio (the horror!) with Carrick, Giggs, and Park pushed in to the middle. This way Tevez would be brought into the mix alongside Rooney and Ronaldo.
Defence will be key today. And hence you’ll see Fergie pick players like Park, Tevez (and Rooney) who will cover every inch of the pitch for 90 minutes. I can’t see Fergie picking Berbatov today.
Had Vidic been available, I really wouldn’t have had any worries about today. But he isn’t, so we can’t expect to play like Barcelona and the Harlem Globetrotters rolled into one.
Prediction: 1-1. Our goal coming off a set-piece.