I came across this video today and decided that it is without doubt the future of football. I might start a Government petition to get it included in the Olympic Games too. Even if you don’t like football and think it’s a bunch of overpaid sissies running after a bag of air, you’ll want to watch football if it was played like this. Dubbed boblefotball, it was invented by those crazy…Norwegians. Now every player can bounce and roll around like Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo whenever another player comes near them. Actually, thinking about it, we should wrap the original man of glass, Michael Owen, up in one of these the next time he steps out in a United shirt.
Wow, where to start with this one. United have been looking shakey for the last few matches, first against Norwich and then against Liverpool, it couldn’t have been any more different to the first few games of the season where they were like a poor man’s Barcelona and looking awesome.
This 6-1 defeat is United’s biggest ever defeat in the Premier League and I guess Man City have made it quite clear that they intend to be a lot more than just the noisy neighbours – more like the new landlords of Manchester I would think.
First thing’s first. United were awful from the kick-off. There was no fluidity, none of the intricate passing we had seen in the earlier matches and Young and Nani could rarely beat Micah Richards and Gael Clichy on the wings. The defense was a mess, Johnny Evans had another calamitous match which culminated in a sending off at the start of the second half, Ferdinand couldn’t keep up with City’s pacey forwards and even the normally fleet footed Evra struggled to contain Milner.
By the time the game got to 80 minutes, United’s back line literally looked like it had given up or had no more energy left to run and City just went rampant, none of the defenders could keep up and De Gea was pretty much blameless for all the goals.
When Abramovich bought Chelsea the title by buying all the best players it was often said that you need to grow a team and not buy a team. Mancini has bought a team of individuals and somehow got them to play as a team. No doubt they’ll go through a slow patch like all teams go through during the season but on this performance I think City are the team to beat this year.
Oh, and of course, being more than a little bit bitter about the humiliating defeat, I can’t just say congratulations, so let’s not forget the amount of money being spent by Man City; any success they get is because they have taken shortcuts and bought it. The sooner the FIFA financial fair play rules come in the better, we can’t have foreign sugar daddies coming in and manipulating the game like this.
Today it was the giants of the Premiership. Not in a figurative performance sense, but in a literal, oh my god they are fricking massive, sense. Stoke have forged something of a winning strategy by being bigger and stronger than any other team in the Premiership and with the arrival of Peter Crouch in the summer have raised the average height of the squad from 6ft 6″ to a lofty 6ft 11″. In a word, Stoke City are HUGE!
And that’s why so many teams struggle against them, which is what happened with Man Utd today. Stoke used Crouch as the point man to great effect. The football isn’t pretty, it isn’t technical but damn it caused problems for Uniteds back line. At every opportunity the Stoke keeper or defenders would literally hoof the ball in to the United box and hope that Crouch could get on the end of it, which since he’s a full head taller than even Ferdinand or Jones, happened quite often.
What’s more, Stoke closed down United so quickly, it was like the charge of the light brigade every time a United player touched the ball, Stoke’s giants would rush on in. In the past this kind of pressing play worked great for the first 80 minutes and then everyone dies and United said thank you very much, Goal. Now though, I’ve noticed that teams that have to press United can do so for the full 90 minutes.
There was less of the tiki taka football on show today, Anderson continued with his loose balls and as I’ve mentioned before De Gea still really needs to work on his distribution, especially when you are playing against a team the size of Stoke – I don’t think any of his hoofs was caught by a United player. That said, he pulled off some exceptional saves and he’s looking a bit more comfortable than a few weeks ago and looks like the quality United need at the back.
Nani was once again the best player for United, the last season or so he’s finally beginning to fill the boots to match his ego. Always written off as a poor man’s Ronaldo, he’s more like a middle class man’s Ronaldo now. Rather surprisingly was that Owen managed to last the full 90 minutes, but his contribution, yet again, didn’t do justice to his ability. A good run to draw off defenders to help Nani’s goal, but apart from that when he did get the ball there didn’t seem to be any killer strike, there was too much hesitation and on more than one occasion there was too many touches. Maybe with more games he could get back to his goal scoring ways and with the injury to Rooney and Hernandez (how many injuries do United get in a season!) maybe he’ll get his chance.
Two points dropped here, but Stoke were a very tough side to deal with.
United just beat Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford but the scoreline certainly didn’t reflect the nature of the game – it could have been 5-3 or even more. United offered a bit more of their tiki-taka football but Chelsea were pressing and closing down very quickly throughout the match which disrupted United’s flow somewhat. United were very fortunate with all their goals because any other day they’d have been ruled out for offside and the third was just the kind of luck you sometimes need in a match.
Overall, Chelsea were the better side showing more desire to attack and shoot which I think was reflected in the stats with Chelsea having 20 attempts on goal vs United’s 12, however once again Torres proved what a £50m waste of space he is, missing sitter after sitter until the dying minutes where he managed to miss an open goal which even my granny could have converted.
Rooney uncharacteristically missed a penalty after he slipped on his run up, but there was a semblance of fate about it because the penalty was very soft and again on any other day would never have been awarded. Berbatov too, missed an open goal when Cole came back and cleared the line – it was getting to the point where people were queuing up to take a shot but no one wanted to score!
Rooney was easily the man of the match for United but Anderson was the weak link today, giving the ball away far too many times. It was only thanks to Torres’ uselessness that he didn’t pay for his mistakes. Anyway, another victory for United, the Red Devils march on-on-on.
I’m talking about his yoga exercises here of course, not about his sordid private life. I was at the gym this evening about to embark upon my hellish cardio regime which involves running your heart out until you can stand up no more, which is only slightly worse than the muscle building session which basically involves being laughed at by muscle-strapped oafs as I try to bench press 18kg, when I was asked if I wanted to take part in the yoga class downstairs.
Yoga. That’s just fannying around in different postures and chanting Om all the time isn’t it? Sounds better than a 5km run on the treadmill! Well, I discovered two things about yoga today: 1. It’s not about saying Om and 2. It’s actually not about fannying around because it’s harder than it looks! “Make a nice upside ‘V’ shape with your body” he said but the best I could manage was like a wobbly ‘U’, “now stand straight and touch your toes” I was instructed, I discovered that I could just about touch the top of my knees, “now extend your legs and raise your arms above you” (like a lunge), instead I lost balance and fell over.
Yoga. It’s not what you think!
England has produced its fair share of calamitous goalkeepers; Paul Robinson, Calamity James, Ben Foster, Scott Carson and Robert Green spring immediately to mind (which kinda sucks since these are or were all our national keepers at one time or another) and even the less well known goalkeeper, Peter Claridge who once famously managed to reduce Ridgeway’s 7-1 lead over the mighty Little Bowden to just 7-6 in fifteen minutes before he decided on a career change and became a computer geek instead.
Anyway, it turns out that Belarus are equally good at churning out naff goalkeepers as FC Torpedo Zhodino (What!? You haven’t heard of them?!) discovered when their keeper, Artem Gomelko managed to divert a 70 yard speculative shot which was going wide in to his own net. No doubt Capello will be on the phone soon to see if he’s eligible for England.
I’ve just watch United destroy Bolton, usually a tough team to break down, without really breaking a sweat. If you haven’t watched Man United play this season then you owe it to yourself to get down the pub and watch one of their matches. The statement of intent was cast in the Charity Shield when they thrashed the Man City Wannabes and then went on to beat, an admittedly weakened, Arsenal. The style of play reminds me a lot of tiki-taka, the beautiful, intricate football pioneered and practiced by Barcelona. Some of the interchanges, passes and run-ons have been sublime. The situation and location awareness the players are showing is like no other United team I’ve seen before.
The only chink in the armour so far seems to be with the young keeper, David De Gea. No doubt he’s a talent but it’s quite obvious that his distribution needs a lot of work along with some of his decision making skills. Still, when I was 20 years old I couldn’t even get in to the university football team let alone one of the biggest clubs in the world, so I guess he’s not doing too badly.
On the performance of the last 4 matches, United will run away with the title, but we all know the Premiership is a marathon and not a sprint.
Any self respecting football fan will have seen Christiano Ronaldo’s penalty technique with the trademark stutter half way in to the run up. Well, Amir Sayoud, who plays in the Egyptian league tried to emulate Ronaldo’s party piece and it very almost worked. Except he fell over. And then saw his penalty saved. And then got booked for being stupid. Even my good friend Jeff doesn’t manage to fluff his spot kicks this badly!
Some are branding it as the worst penalty kick ever but I still think Peter Devine’s attempt remains the worst penalty ever.
I’m going to put my neck out on the line and give some Premier League predictions. No doubt they’ll be totally wrong and in 9 months we can all have a good laugh how naive I was. Anyway, here we go, my predictions:
- Manchester United (Champions)
- Manchester City
- Blackburn Rovers
- Swansea City
- Norwich City
What do you think? Am I well off the mark or on to something here? What are your predictions for this season.