De Bruyne: The new Beardsley
Great finale in the Man City game.
I can give no higher praise to Kevin de Bruyne than to say his goal made me immediately think of Peter Beardsley at his peak.
The cut inside, little shimmy, and a shot with power and perfect accuracy – at a moment of massive importance. Awesome!
Tom. Geordie in Toronto
Rooney is stuck in this rut
As we hit the halfway point in the Champions league Group stages, enter the part of the season where the league table starts to take shape, it’s time to start to question if Wayne Rooney is ever going to get out of this rut? Or is it a permanent slump, time catching up on a player who has played regularly for 13-14 seasons and has only just reached 30? Either way, can we as United fans still defend him and should we be questioning his place in the team which is now becoming detrimental to the teams performances?
His supporters will say “well Costa and Kane haven’t scored much?” or “well he’s not a number 9.” But its not his lack of goals that’s the problem. It’s the basics. His touch is awful. His passing laboured. His movement static. He almost looks disinterested and in need of a new challenge. The argument that he is not playing in his best position is pointless too as he has played in his supposed best position in recent weeks – Number 10 – and still been awful. He shouldn’t be shoehorned into a position when every position he plays has better options (Mata/Ander at Number 10 – Martial at number 9).
Back when the rumours of a new contract under Moyes were materialising, one of the more fanciful stories was that he was demanding some outlandish clauses like club captain and a guaranteed starting spot if fit and available. I’m now convinced this was authorised and added to his contract. I just don’t buy Van Gaal being this stubborn, even by his high standards.
Besides, maybe if he was dropped, it could be the kick up the backside he needs…
John “not quite sure why a draw away in Russia is a bad result when it was always applauded under Fergie?” Morgan, Kingsbury
‘Rooney needs pace around him’ – Oh ffs.
When are people going to stop making excuses for Rooney. Paul Scholes saying “Wayne Rooney needs pace around him” typifies what is now becoming borderline negligence from the mainstream media/ex pros in their analysis of United games.
This quote from Scholes would have you believe that the whole team needs to change in order to accommodate a slow/heavy Rooney and is typical of analysis of United this year. Anyone who has watched United this season can see what United need is not players with pace around Rooney but rather a player with pace up front who runs in behind. What is the point in having players like Mata and Herrera in your team, players who thrive alongside players who run in behind rather than towards them.
We are now seen our quickest and most dangerous forward Martial being shunted out onto the left wing to make room for Rooney. Martial spent most of the first half defending, he gave away a penalty and offered zero threat. As soon as he got into the box in the second half he scored. Rooney had a far easier header In the second half and never looked like scoring.
Rooney is simply not quick enough to play at no 9 (anyone who watched the Everton game and seen him beaten in a straight race by Phil Jagielka will know that) and his touch and passing is not good enough to play no 10.
We have better players in every position than Rooney. His confidence is shot, his pace is gone and he wouldn’t get a game for any other team in the top half based on his form in the last 12 months. When was the last time you watched Rooney and said Wow, When was the last time Rooney won United a game single handily, when was the last time Rooney truly influenced a game. The answer to them questions lies somewhere in google rather than recent memory. Within two seasons Rooney will be playing in America or retired. Here’s hoping anyway.
What is it that Schweinsteiger actually does?
The end of the first half in Moscow, and yet another United game without Schweinsteiger providing anything positive for United.
What exactly is he in the team to do? He isn’t providing anything defensively and his attacking contribution is passing it short and slowly to the feet of Rojo and Martial in such an obvious way that they have no chance to beat their man as they are already surrounded by the time they get the ball.
He slows United down, loses possession and is in no way a defensive asset except in as much as he stands a bit in the way. It’s just so infuriating. Schneiderlin is actually capable of playing the role that Schweinsteiger is repeatedly fluffing, but is relegated to sitting behind the ball so the German can float about further forward doing nothing, but that’s not the player who should have Schweinsteigers place.
Herrera and Schneiderlin is a dream midfield, determined, creative and with bite, with Mata and Martial ahead to provide pace and guile.
United cannot afford to keep playing Schweinsteiger, certainly not in the role they currently are. He is slow, obvious and toothless, so I suppose he is having the influence on United you all seem think is so important.
More on Batigol
Loved Daniel Storey’s piece on Batigol, great player – terrible nickname. I had the honour of witnessing his thunderbastard against Arsenal at Wembley in 1999. It got me thinking of a feature on him that I read in FourFourTwo or one of those mags around the turn of the century.
The part that struck me most was they claimed that outside of playing it, Batistuta had no interest in football at all. He said he never watched a game his whole life (that watching it bored him); he just showed up, scored goals and afterwards went home and forgot all about it. He never looked at a league table to see where his team were, so his willingness to stay with Fiorentina is understandable.
The world of football to him extended no further than the walls of a stadium. Goals and the fans. I can think of no other definition of a footballing puritan than that.
…Just want to give some love for your site with your tribute to Batistuta. He was big part of why I fell in love with football, but it’s hard to explain why to people who didn’t watch him. Thanks Daniel Storey for expressing what a lot of us feel.
A warrior and leader, able to absolutely thump a shot at goal but with perfect placement. Not a mere brute but a strong forward with more skill than those around him….I always thought of him as similar to Shearer…..except with long hair and purple shirt.
I feel lucky to be watching football at an age when Messi plays, but I feel more love for 90’s football. Gabriel Batistuta and Ariel Ortega circa France 98 have a lot to do with that.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide
…I loved the piece on Gabriel Batistuta this morning. Daniel Storey has set his bar for “icon” incredibly high, with first Dennis Bergkamp and now Batistuta.
As others have pointed out, Batistuta is almost as synonymous with Football Italia’s heyday in the early 1990s as James Richardson. Before there were football hipsters, there were those of us whose parents wouldn’t pay for Sky Sports, so we had to look elsewhere for our football fix. The fact that most of us are now either football hipsters or are in denial about our football hipsterism, is by the by.
This was a time when the reigning English champions sold their mercurial genius for £1m and spent three times as much on an old-fashioned, functional, battering ram of a striker. However, Batistuta was, in keeping with most strikers in Serie A, a more rounded, more skilful type of forward.
He, like many of his contemporaries, was a player appreciated by people who valued skill and tactics over blood and thunder. It’s fun to be reminded of these things, albeit with the caveat that Serie A was always a league where positional discipline in defence was valued more than getting in your opponents’ faces.
That said, the defenders Batistuta came up against on a regular basis were incredibly tough (Pietro Vierchowod, for example) and in some cases incredibly dirty (Paolo Montero), making his and his contemporaries’ achievements all the more admirable.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven (I walk home the wrong way, hoping I’ll go astray)
Batistuta’s first match for Fiorentina
Excellent article on Batistuta, who I attribute greatly to getting me into football. The first match I ever attended was Roma-Fiorentina the year Roma won the Scudetto. It was also Batistuta’s first match against his former club.
I was behind the net in Curva Sud, crammed amongst thousands of chain smoking, fanatical Roma supporters and for anyone who has been to Olimpico can attest, from that area you can barely see anything, but the atmosphere is the most electric. There were M-80s and flares going off all the time and so much red and yellow smoke that the whole match was viewed in a tint of the giallorossi’s colors.
It was a tense game, with Roma leading the Serie A by a small margin and the score locked at 0-0 until Batistuta scored an outrageous goal in the 82 minute. In the link you courteously provided it is at 1:20.
I have never experienced anything like that at a sporting event. I saw a ball suddenly rocket towards the net and didn’t see it go in, but the reaction of everyone around me told me exactly what had happened. There was an explosion of noise and the crowd surged forward towards the pitch. I lost track of my friends and ended up about 15 rows forward and maybe one section to the left, joining arms and singing songs with Italians I’d only just met.
But it was Batistuta’s reaction that really stayed with me. He broke down in tears, inconsolably sobbing while his teammates put understanding arms around him. It was clearly a hugely emotional moment for him to score against his old club that he adored. It wasn’t one of those fake no celebration things players like to do these days, this was genuinely from the heart, and you could tell he really struggled with the idea of being responsible for a Fiorentina loss.
The impact signing of “Bati-gol” is certainly what brought Roma its Scudetto that year. Unfortunately it was probably the last effective year he had with them, and in subsequent seasons he struggled with injuries and form, and the fans admitted that he was past it. But he is undoubtedly a class act, and that year in Rome was possibly one of the best the Serie A will ever see. It was also what got me hooked on football, so thanks Bati and I wish there were more out there like you.
An American Gooner in Hong Kong
Bayern Fans: Bloody great
JazGooner yesterday made a point of how good Bayern fans are & I couldn’t agree more. When they beat City a couple of years back I was out in town that night and got the night bus back home (which also happens to go towards the airport) & was greeted by a top deck full of Bayern fans.
They were amazing. At like 3am they were still so buoyant and banging out song after song (except for one lad who’d had a bit too much fun and had passed out at the back of the bus). I got chatting to a few of them and they were nice enough to translate some of the lyrics for me so I knew what was going on. In my drunken state I tried to join in but outrageously butchered the German language (except for the David Alaba song, hard to mess that one up).
The only downside to that ride was that we got one knobhead who decided to do the whole “2 world wars, 1 world cup” sh*te but he was very quickly laughed off by the Bayern fans.
What a great bunch of lads.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
The coefficient lives again
Am I missing something or where are the victory day parades, the spitfires streaming triumphantly overhead, while the jubilant crowds cheering below through masks of Her Holiness the Royal Hodgson, while the man himself declares the clouds of terror have been defeated as Juve and Roma both succumb to draws this week.
Kev (God save the co-efficient) Shanghai
The last word on bus-parking
It really is very simple.
It’s parking the bus if the other team does it.
It’s counter-attacking if your team does it.