Sunday, September 25, 2011


I don't have a television. So for getting a glimpse [yep, sometimes literally due to power cuts, Mother Nature's mood, etc. as mentioned in an earlier post] of the Red Devils in action I make a trip east from my present accommodations to a friend's place. A round trip of about a hundred miles when work permits but this weekend, it did not. And it seems I won't regret not being able to make that trip. Making a return journey when the team don't win is quite a bummer though I must admit coming away with a point from the Britannia Stadium is not the worst of results. But United not winning leaves an aftertaste that is often hard to swallow. I guess United fans are a pampered bunch especially with the sort of start we have had to the season [very unbecoming(?) of a Premier League United side who are traditionally slow starters] not to mention the achievements of the Ferguson era.

From what I've read of the match reports, it was a disjointed performance from the champions due to the injuries suffered by the players who were key to this season's flying start. Rooney was a big miss and Vidic towering presence was sorely missed against an aerially adept attack like Stoke's. The Little Pea's early departure from the action was a further blow as his replacement, Michael Owen, though a poacher like the Mexican, was not going to trouble the Stoke defenders with his lack of pace.

But there were positives that could hardly be missed. Nani is making great strides towards his goal of becoming the best in the world. I've always liked him, and yes, I get frustrated with him like every other United fan. But that I think is because we, the fans, know that he has much more to offer as a player and it is very pleasing to see that he has slowly begun to add consistency to his displays. Jones is turning into everyone's favorite player. And it seems de Gea did a lot towards changing some early notions about his goalkeeping abilities. I think, and hope, that he will prove his doubters wrong come the end of the season.

So, level on points again with the blue-fourth of Manchester. That Manchester Derby on the 18th of next month keeps getting bigger and bigger with each passing week, doesn't it? But next up is FC Basel at home in the Champions League and then the first of the new boys, Swansea I think, to come visit us. Can we rediscover our start of the season verve? I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Where to begin? The first full game of the season that I get to see uninterrupted by power failures or Mother Nature [Arsenal game I'm talking about - my version finished 3 - 1 to United]. And what a game!! End to end stuff from the start to finish, two great goals, some unbelievable misses and the usual Man United vs Chelsea fare - refereeing errors. It was indeed a Super Sunday for real. And to top it off, a United victory that maintains their 100% start to the season while the oiled noisy neighbors dropped two points at Craven Cottage.

What about the match? Well, the linesman failed to spot Smalling, marginally offside for the first goal, headed in from a Young free-kick. He was poorly marked by Lampard. Another assist for the former Villa winger. He's had a wonderful start to his United career. Another missed offside infringement, this time by Nani led to the second goal. A bullet of a shot that rifled into the top corner after the right winger was given too much time and space by the Chelsea players. Then Rooney swept home a third just before half time after another lung bursting run from Phil Jones, very similar to the one he did against Bolton a week ago. This young lad has become a fan's favorite with his powerful all-round displays. And to think he was only considered to be a future prospect when United signed him. Can't wait to see the day when he truly fulfills his apparent potential.

Amidst the goals, Chelsea weren't mere spectators. In fact, they could have gone in level at the break. Torres missed a good chance [this was just the beginning] after Anderson made a mess of his pass near the United box. Then, Ramires got in on the act, contriving to hit the goalkeeper when it was easier to score from a Torres lay-off and De Gea did very well to get back and push the ball away to safety when a goal seemed the only outcome. The misses would continue.

The second half started brilliantly for the Blues. Just half a minute into it, a wonderful through-ball caught out the United backline and Torres scored for only the second time since he switched colors to blue at the beginning of the year. It was a brilliant goal from a man who seemed to have lost his prowess in front of goal. He did atone for it near the end of the match with an unbelievable miss, one which will live long in the memory. But I think the Torres of old is very close to returning. If that had gone in, United might have failed to hold on to their lead and the papers would have been full of talk about the Rooney penalty miss. A reprise of John Terry's Moscow Tragedy. A slip of his standing foot made him kick the ball against his own foot and send it towards the corner flag instead of the goal. He would also scuff one against a goalpost which could have led to Hernandez's leg being broken by Ashley Cole with a reckless tackle. As it turns out, the Mexican has escaped with only bruises when it could have been much worse. Berbatov came in place of him and would miss a very good opportunity right at the end to add a bit of gloss to the scoreline. Rooney's layoff was not the best and the Bulgarian could only direct the ball goalwards with no power and Cole was able to clear it off the line.

The match ended 3-1. And it could have been so much more for either side. Chelsea could even have gone home with a win if they had taken their chances. But it was not to be. The Chelsea Blog has been moaning about the missed offsides that led to two of United goals but I don't think he would have minded the decisions that went in their favor the season before last. But then again, what else are fans supposed to be if not biased?

It was a good weekend. Arsene Wenger gave Arsenal fans more ammunition to question their faith in him or is it the players, it's hard to know. They lost to Blackburn 4-3. King Kenny talked of a refereeing conspiracy against his Liverpool and saw his side dismantled by Spurs with help from the referee. I wonder what he'll make of that? Mancini didn't have enough midfielders to protect a two goal lead against a plucky Fulham side at Craven Cottage. And all this means United are at the top of the Premier League pile alone and looking down on everyone else. I can only hope that after the ups and downs of the season, they are similarly perched come May next year.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Rooney made it back to back hattricks while Hernandez bagged a double and got his season up and running. And I missed the whole game. Oh man!!!

Guess I'll be seeing them grind out 1-0 results later in the season. For the moment, they are flying and long may it continue. I'd even miss the whole season and read about their exploits if they were to keep winning and winning handsomely.

Next up, the return of Champions League football and we're away to Benfica in Portugal. Then, there's Chelsea to come on Sunday. Can't wait for the weekend to come. Forget about what I said earlier. I won't be missing that game. Is it too optimistic to expect another Arsenal-like thrashing? I'd settle for a Tottenham-like bashing though.


Saturday, September 10, 2011



Arsenal - a young team, a team in transition, a team for the future - it was said a couple of years back. And Arsene Wenger was hearing his name being heaped with praise. A genius at spotting young talent and nurturing them to become world-class, they said of him. Then, along came Theo Walcott and Arsenal has only been promises unfulfilled ever since. Just like the lad. And now this, barely a week after Arsene's finest product decided to leave him and his beautiful football project for a much more beautiful football project plus trophies.


And I missed most of the game.


What more can I say?