You might have heard, but Davey Moyes could rather do with a no nonsense home win. It's also a Big Weekend for Southampton, Benteke, Norwich and the Berb...
A midweek bonus takes in master intercepticons Man United, Arsenal's wealth of scorers, Liverpool's set-piece mastery and Eric Lamela tackling but not creating...
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Moyes Has Balls
To F365 and all others blaming both sides for bore draw please just consider this. Moyes picked a side with three strikers - Jose picked a side with none. Moyes brought on Giggs to try to open them up - Jose brought on Mikel to close up shop. In short, Moyes showed he has balls - Jose showed, well, he's Jose.
Chelsea may well win the league this year but they'll bore us all the way to May in doing so!
What Did You Expect?
There seems to be a lot of negativity towards United and Chelsea on the back of last night's match. I am amazed that a nil-nil draw could cause so many knee-jerk reactions - neither team lost or won and they are both being written off as boring, negative and unwilling to take a risk. It was the second weekend of the season and so many other variables (Moyes's first match at OT, Moyes's first 'big' match, Mourinho's first 'big' match in this spell as Chelsea boss, Rooney-gate etc) meant that this was always going to be a tight, tense affair with both teams cancelling each other out.
A moment of madness or brilliance could have won it, but this never happened with both defences in particular performing admirably. Neither team wanted to lose this game so early on in the season and both would probably have settled for a draw before it kicked off. Take note for next time, that's what happens when you fix the fixture list and give United loads of hard matches at the start of the season...
For these reasons I refuse to draw too many conclusions from the game - Fergie and Mourinho's previous matches were often similar affairs. Both teams will play better football and attack with more verve as the season goes on. But it does show that the chase for the premiership will be very tight this year; throw City into the mix (Cardiff - ha ha) and we'll have an exciting three-way race which will make up for the odd stalemate when the top teams meet.
Furthermore, this game suggests that Moyes should be able to set us up to be hard to beat when playing tough matches - this is especially important when playing away from home and in Europe. That is not to say I wouldn't like to see a bit more imagination in attack, particularly at home, when we are facing a team who 'parks the bus' such as Chelsea did last night. Strange that Mourinho seems to take umbrage at teams who are set up to defend against him away from home, but when he does it he never mentions it.
In conclusion, just WTF else did you expect?
Garey (forget one or none Minty, it'll be all 3 points to us thanks) Vance, MUFC
...The United v Chelsea game was boring, so give everyone a clap who reached that conclusion.
But looking deeper sadly I fear Mourinho was trying to show other teams how they can get a point at Old Trafford. And thus many other managers will have seen a UTD side unable to break down a 4-6-0 formation creating very little, and think they will try the same.
Mourinho was delighted with a point, but possibly more importantly was delighted Utd created sod all, and therefore the self-proclaimed special one is showing how negative football at Old Trafford can work.
Aaron (Where's Hernandez when you need him ?) MUFC
It Wasn't That Bad
Granted, placed alongside other recent games between the two sides, it wasn't a classic. It wasn't awful either (certainly not to be compared to a clash between relegation fodder), and both sides showed promise with a few spells of possession and tidy passing (and let's not forget also that both sides are adjusting to new management). I think I'm the only person who believes there's a grey-area between great game and s**t game. Ultimately the razzle-dazzle was taken out of the game by impressive defending from both sides, and the lack of players kicking, spitting, swearing at each other throughout.
Strangely, there was very little comment on Chelsea's performance in this morning's mailbox (only one mention of Ashley Cole's shocking dive?). I have to admit that John Terry had a very good game and looked more reliable than we have seen for some time. However I think Ramires looked out-of-sorts and this had a real impact on Chelsea's play on the whole - I'm a big fan of his marauding style and I just wonder whether Mourinho's rigid tactics might not suit him, but it remains to be seen.
Scathing criticism this morning for Evra (more than two years since he became crap) and of course Welbeck (useless mid-table player, no future as a Manchester United player). Yet United were noticeably far more incisive down the left through these two, than the right. But Welbeck failed to score and missed a hurried chance, so he's gone from good to s**t again. Can we all stop jerking those knees so much please? That said, before Young's introduction, not a single quality ball was delivered into the box from either flank. Young somehow managed three into dangerous area, although no United player made a decent run.
I'm sure the quality of play will pick up after the tough start for United, but we might see cagey, drab affairs for another few weeks yet. Whether you agree with the sentiment of it or not, these games are more 'must-not-lose' than 'must-win' form Moyes at this stage.
Chris, SAF Stand
Kagawa Will Play A Part
In response to the mails calling for Kagawa to play a greater part in the team, let me remind you that he didn't have a full pre-season, was given an extended(later) holiday than the others due to his involvement in the Confederations Cup and is therefore unlikely to be up to speed physically for the demands of any Premier league match let alone one against a title rival.
I love Kagawa, like most Utd fans and I think he'll have a big say in our title challenge this season. Two games in, thirty six to come, plenty of time for him to impact on a title race, but put him in when he's not quite ready and you open up an opportunity for niggles and other injuries that may have a greater impact on his season.
In short, calm down. It's a long season and he's going to be influential, he just needs to be 100% fit and not 80-90%.
Micky(Brackets are overrated) MUFC
Is Levy Trying To Screw Arsenal?
Been sadly keeping tabs on the snoozefest that is the Gareth Bale Transfer for a while now. Levy must be resigned to the fact that Bale is going yet by delaying the transfer for as long as possible, it got me thinking that this will surely impact some of Tottenham's rivals. I doubt Madrid will sanction the selling of Benzema, Di Maria or Ozil until Bale is officially in the bag and if the Bale transfer is dragged out till the last possible moment, this would leave Arsenal (if they ever are going to sign anyone) and Liverpool with very little time to complete the signings of any of the above players. Canny fox that Levy.
On a side note, I'd like to belatedly thank Al Fayed for everything he did for Fulham. Never quite achieved his aim of being 'The Manchester United of the South' but his bankrolling of the club has provided some memorable moments over the past years. Certainly more memorable than seeing us d*cking about with Torquay for bottom spot in the entire league in the early 90s. Prepared to give Martin Jol and Shahid Khan a while to get things sorted (let's face it, our fans are hardly renowned for vociferous protesting) but it would be nice to see us sign some youth, pace and creativity - and no, turning down the option on Eyong Enoh to sign Scott Parker is not the answer. This pensioners brigade can't last forever and considering our U18s have been tearing it up the last few years, it'd be grand to see some of them start to get some game time this year.
Happy, Chelsea Fans?
Following last night's game (and the first game of the season) I just wondered how Chelsea fans are feeling at the moment? They have got rid of that terrible, useless fat Spanish waiter that they all hated and their idol has returned, but going on the first two games the football has hardly been an improvement on how they were playing last season.
Also two of the stand out players from last season and arguably the fans most popular players (Fwank and captain, leader, legend, c**t aside) in Luiz & Mata don't seem to be in Jose's plans and could potentially be sold. Does the team come first (in which case why the attitude to Rafa?) and it doesn't matter who is playing as long as your winning, or is Jose risking the wrath of the A4 brigade by alienating their favourites?
He mentioned after the game that Mata is an important player, but his lack of game time - he should be one of the first names on the team sheet - doesn't back that up.
Mark James (the cartridge world shop by the bridge must do a roaring trade...) LFC
Rooney seemed a lot like his old self last night, running everywhere from back to front, putting in tackles, nice 1-touch passing and interplay (although a few "Hollywood" passes to go astray. He had a shot on goal from just outside the box when he could have laid it on for RVP, G.Neville claimed it was due to rustiness but the skeptic in me believes he didn't actually want to pass it to RVP. I have not the same towards Rooney since his first transfer request but I do hope he can concentrate on his football now and wish the best for him.
Although the formations more or less mirrored each other I do think United's was more attacking than Chelsea's. I know a fair few have commented on how dull it was but Jose setup his team to defend, defend, and defend. United did at least try and attack and try and get a goal, which was summed up by Terry getting MoM. Chelsea are not a mid-lower table side, there should have been at least some ambition from them to try for a goal.
Did Jose get confused and think he was still in Spain, setting up his team without a recognised striker a la the Spanish national team and setting up his team to have at least 10 men behind the ball, maybe someone should have told him that United aren't Barcelona and there was no need to be so conservative?
I had hoped after the Swansea game that Danny Welbeck might have turned the corner with his finishing but the old Welbeck was back last night. He arguably had the best chance of the game and skied it over the goal not even making Cech work for it. I like him for the fact that he works hard and does bring something to the team but United need him to be able to finish those sort of chances because against Top Top ¿ teams. The thing that really annoyed me was when he turned around from the shot, he was smiling and did not look disappointed at all.
RVP was rather anonymous wasn't he? Had a couple of half-chances but other than that was very quiet but I suppose that's something you have accept when you have a striker that can change games with just one shot on target.
I really believe that United were far the better team than Chelsea and played pretty well, a lot of people may say that they could not break Chelsea down but it's not surprising when Chelsea had so many players behind the ball. I would have been happy with a point before the game because I was kind of terrified for Moyes if we had lost but I definitely think United deserved the win.
Half way through the match I was wondering what had happened to Shinji Kagawa and then the camera panned to him sitting on the bench and I cried a little inside, I really hope he gets a good run of games but I found myself wondering if he may be gone at the end of this season?
Monty Burns (maybe you should just rename Mediawatch's "Non-Football Story of the Day" to "Mangled Penis Story of the Day" or something because I see story's in papers now and KNOW they are going to be in Mediawatch)
...I do wonder if half the United fans that write in actually watch the match or remember previous seasons?
United played Chelsea 5 times last season in all comps, stats are - W1, D1, L3. We lost our league home game for those with short term memory loss.
Chelsea have strengthened, a lot, they may not have had a striker out there but their 6 midfielders are all very quick (apart from fat frank), technically excellent and capable of playing in any position across the midfield or forward line. I thought our defence and midfield did extremely well in dealing with their pace and constant inter changing, especially since we played with 3 forward players who were trying to play further up the pitch to try and attack.
It is no surprise that we found it hard to break down their defence, have people forgotten they won the champions league by defending against Barca all night? they happen to be pretty good at it when they set their stall out to defend.
For those breaking Welbecks balls for his chance, he was crowded and had to get a shot off quickly. Did anyone see Rooneys tame ass efforts all night? In particular one in a similar situation in the first half where he cut back onto his right foot then nicely side footed a pass into Cechs arms? How about that long range effort from outside the box that had no chance of flying in that he took on instead of playing it wide to RVP or Welbeck in better positions?
For those talking about Kagawa...my heart was breaking along with Klopps as I watched him warm up on the sides for what seemed like most of the second half, but he wouldve only came on for Rooney and I think Moyes wanted to make a statement by playing him for the full 90. Giggs was the better option to get quality crosses in from the left - something we missed all night. So whilst I cried for our little play a maker, I understood the decision.
For those going mental over Ashley Young, in his time on the pitch he put in two excellent crosses from the right which we almost scored from (havent seen tv replays yet but from my seat it looked like a fierce whipped in ball that Welbeck almost got on the end of?) something Valencia didnt manage all night, so give him a break eh, he hasnt been fully fit for a long time. He deserves a chance.
Final conclusion - most United fans who write in here are all delusional and need to start doing what most sane fans do - support your team!
Orts (SAF Stand since 2005) MUFC
Enjoyed Matt Stanger's W&L this morning, but was a bit surprised not to see my team (Villa) in the losers section. After a pretty nasty start to the season, I'd argue we deserved a point each at Arsenal and Chelsea, and having three points from three games is more than I'd hoped for; so it's not time to break out the gin or anything.
But we got absolutely schooled by Liverpool on Saturday, and their approach is now going to be the blueprint for every team coming to Villa Park as it worked so well. Hopefully a more rounded squad should lead to us having different approaches to playing games in future; but for the moment, long balls to Benteke flicking them on for Agbonlahor is depressing.
Don't read this as me moaning about Paul Lambert - we'd have to go down with 0 points and Alex McLeish playing in goal before I'd start complaining about our manager; and hopefully when we play some of our competitors in the bottom half we'll see something a bit different. But it'd be a shame to see all 2013's good work undone by becoming too predictable.
Considering where Matt Stanger watched the Cardiff v Man City game (Winners and Losers) maybe you should ask him what Twerking is, I'm sure in between goals he would have seen a fair amount of it.
As for him letting a colleague choose the venue? Yeah Matt, ok. "...and that's how I ended up in the establishment Your Honour"
Chris ITFC, Liverpool