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I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t think Daley Blind was good enough to make the step up from Manchester United to Ajax, but he really proved me wrong.
Fifteen problems with Manchester United
There are so many areas to criticise from last night’s performance that I’m going to have to try and take them individually. I’ll try and keep it brief.
1. De Gea – what the hell has happened to him? Last night was a disaster. He might have made a few good saves afterwards but his error, along with the first goal, killed us, so it mattered little. To an extent he kept it from being a cricket score but that’s like being glad that you only died from three bullet wounds instead of five. His kicking, yet again, was also extremely suspect. He’s gone this summer, isn’t he?
2. Lindelof – inexplicably shunted out to right-back (especially with Dalot on the bench), where his obvious lack of pace was always going to be a problem. He acquitted himself well, clearly doing his utmost to mitigate his disadvantage, and was our best defender on the night, though that’s hardly a high bar to clear. The only one of that back four who looked even remotely capable of playing at this level.
3. Jones – this was nothing we haven’t seen before. The utter absence of any grey matter behind that gurning face of his is always his biggest downfall. Backing off Messi and letting him on to his left foot is just unforgivable. Removed his bandage on 65 minutes, because that’s obviously what the problem was. Get rid at any cost.
4. Smalling – quite simply put, he has no talents. He’s as thick as Jones, slower than Lindelof, has the positional awareness of a lamp post, and makes about as many tackles. The way he just stood off Coutinho and allowed him all the time and space he needed to place a (beautiful) shot exactly where he wanted is indicative of how useless a defender he is – he didn’t even offer a cursory attempt at a block. Get rid at any cost.
5. Young – I mean, where do you start? Beyond useless, he was pathetic in every regard; we would have been better off playing Lee Grant at left-back last night, so abysmal was his performance. The worst thing is that this was entirely predictable, if not guaranteed, based on the last month. The decision to award him with a contract extension is arguably the worst we’ve made since Ferguson left, but almost as bad is that there’s no signs of him losing his place any time soon. I don’t really need to say get rid, do I?
6. Fred – it was always going to be a tough task for our midfield and I thought Fred performed alright. He made too many fouls and lost possession a bit too often but he and McTominay were having to work doubly hard to make up for the permanently AWOL Pogba. His energy never waned and was trying his best to close down the Barca players but there was little else he could do really. There’s hope for him yet, so keep him.
7. McTominay – again, probably our best player. The fact that he was one of only a handful of players who looked like they were capable of playing at this level is both a positive and a negative. I’m glad he retained his place over Matic and hope that continues in the league too, but he really shouldn’t be the outstanding player in a £140m midfield. Obviously keep.
8. Pogba – again, again, again – just absolutely bloody useless. His pathetic performance was perfectly captured when he attempted a ludicrous shot from the halfway line when there was a break on. He’s only out for himself and his own reputation, and his strops were those of a pathetic loser who expects everyone around him to carry him. He didn’t put in the required effort in any regard on a night when a £90m “world class” player should really be standing up as an example to follow. Please, God, just get rid.
9. Lingard – doing a brilliant impression of his best mate in being completely anonymous the entire game. He’s obviously not match fit but still, at least try something. I barely remember his name being said in commentary at all, which is never a good sign. He was lucky to stay on as long as he did. Keep but he must do much better.
10. Martial – played well for all of two minutes before joining Pogba and Lingard on the periphery. Martial is a talented attacker with obvious ability but he’s definitely not the player to use in a game where hard work is required. He’s too happy to stay on the outskirts of a game and keep quiet, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get stuck in and try to make something happen. He’s a confidence player so hoping he dazzles against a team like Barca when he’s at a low point is never going to end well. Keep but he needs to work much harder.
11. Rashford – if he had taken that first chance then maybe things might have panned out slightly differently. As it was, poor decision making/technique saw that chance wasted, and he was never really in the game from that moment on. His supporting players created absolutely zip for him all night, and it’s not as if he can take on the entire Barca defence on his own, so there was little he could do really. If we lose him then we’re absolutely screwed, so we really have to keep him.
12. Dalot – should have started the game in place of either Jones/Smalling (so Lindelof could be at centre-back) or Young. Actually managed to put in a few crosses, which is more than can be said for any of his counterparts but his reputation certainly shouldn’t be tarnished by this particular shit show. Keep.
13. Lukaku – what was the point of bringing him on? What, we were just biding our time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike? If you’re not getting on the pitch until 20 minutes from the end, in a game that we absolutely had to attack, and when the players ahead of you in the queue are performing so badly, you know you’re not rated. Maybe fits in to the managers plans but it’s hard to see where. Square peg in a round hole, if the right bid came in then I wouldn’t be sad if he left.
14. Sanchez – other than Rashford, he came the closest to scoring, despite featuring for around 10 minutes. He actually forced the ‘keeper into a save, so that alone puts him head and shoulders above his attacking counterparts. Also, what was that horrendous facial hair? Has been off filming a cameo role in Narcos? Give him these last few games to see if there are signs of life in him, but otherwise he also should be on the list to ship out this summer.
15. Solskjaer – picked the right formation – playing five at the back hasn’t worked, so I was relieved to see we hadn’t used that system. But then made numerous other mistakes, including (but not limited to): starting Jones, starting Young, playing Lindelof at right-back, failing to sub Pogba, Martial and Lingard early enough to make a difference, waiting until the game was completely lost to make any kind of changes at all. Granted, his options are limited at the moment but showed disappointing naivety last night.
All in all, last night was a predictable disaster. There’s no shame in losing to a team as good as Barca but there is enormous shame in the way we did so. Only two of the starting 11 (Lindelof and McTominay) can come out with any kind of credit at all, while the rest were various shades of awful. Ole might be at the wheel but the tyres are bald, the turbo is busted, the windscreen is shattered, the battery is buggered, the doors are hanging off and the fans are just about ready to give out. This vehicle is not even close to being roadworthy. If we don’t go through a major rebuild this summer – and I mean change as many of the faulty parts as possible at once – then nothing is going to change. We are years away from being able to compete for anything with this current squad and while major upheaval can be disruptive, this clubs desperately needs disruption, if only to shake it out of this horrible malaise. Five games left and I would be surprised if we didn’t lose four of them.
Looking at all those Man Utd players…
Long time reader of Football365 that never quite found the right topic to write in about. Just spent 45min writing this in work and will probable spend another 30min reading all the other Man Utd mails that will no doubt be sent in the morning!
De Gea – needs to decide whether he wants to stay or go with the money on offer. Ironically the mistake last night will only hurt his chances of getting Sanchez money. Also needs to take into account he has become one of the best in the world at United and the grass is not always greener by moving to another club (see Spain form and criticism he’s getting)
Young – good servant for the last few years but not even mid table level standard in the Premier League anymore. Lack leadership which might be the only reason he’d be kept on.
Jones & Smalling – again good servants and value has been got for their time served – no more contract extension unless the money stays the same.
Lindelof – has potential, too early to call.
Bailly – Young player who has made mistakes but never really given a proper run in the team (see Lindelof and that worked out). Evra made some mistakes at the start with United and turned out well.
Rojo – off you go.
Dalot – needs to be starting full back next year. Mistakes will happen as he’s young (not Ashley Young) but needs game time.
Shaw – good season this year.
McTom – bit of a work horse which isn’t a bad thing.
Herrera – be sad to see go as would be a shoo-in for captain next year.
Fred – like how he plays in Champions League. Still relatively young and in his first year in England. Brazilians and United don’t do well together tho.
Pogba – maybe it’s United being an average team that’s not getting the best of him but would rather see average players that give everything on the pitch start ahead of him. Would snap your hand off for 100m for him but what does that get you in transfer market these days especially if we aren’t in the Champions League.
Matic – Was good initially but legs are gone. No one going to buy him off us but is useful to have with lack of midfield options.
Periera – Academy product that Utd fans want to see do well but doesn’t seem quite good enough. Premier league loan is needed but may need to stay for lack of midfield options.
Mata – Nice guy but isn’t quick enough for pacey football Ole will look to play.
Lukuku – Great scoring record for a relatively young forward. Can’t see him being happy not to start.
Lingard – doesn’t seem to offer anything.
Martial – seems to be very average recently. Hasn’t kicked on as much as we hoped but hopefully given starting left role from start of next season will see him come good again.
Rashford – not sure what money he’s looking for but if it’s Rooney money he must be mad – Rooney had years of winning titles (incl Champions League) before getting the kind of money Rashford is looking for (perhaps this is all paper talk).
Sanchez – seems to be a player broken however last summer was the first summer he had a break in donkeys. Don’t think he has the legs and certainly not worth keeping for the money he’s on. The reason he managed to get extraordinary big pay package is due to United not having to pay a big transfer fee to Arsenal (20 mill or whatever it was now seems far too much)
Transfer needs – CB with leadership qualities (Alderweireld or Godin), out and out striker, Right midfield (never really seen Sancho), x2 Central midfield (a tackler type & play maker). Stay away from the big money players like Greizman. Need to get the scouts working and find players that aren’t playing for the big teams but are still good quality (outside top 2 Germany, outside top 4 Spain etc)
Good luck picking a player of the year this year!
Jumper (yes it’s my nickname and it’s not coz I jumper to conclusions :p)
Unpopular Barca v Man United opinions
– Messi really wasn’t that brilliant. Didn’t see the third goal but for the first two he did nothing exceptional. For the first, the United defense pretty much gave him a clear pathway to the goal. It was simply shambolic defending rather than brilliance by Messi. Granted he hit it well but De Gea should have stopped it. And the less said about the second the better. Even Young would have stopped it if he were the goalkeeper.
– De Gea has been poor all season. For the past few years he has been the best stopper but he still lags far behind elite goalkeepers in terms of passing, communication with the rest of the defense and being the leader where required. You can’t play from the back with a goalkeeper like De Gea. And as I wrote a year ago, too often he remains glued to the goal line when he should be more proactive in averting the danger. He would certainly not be first choice at City and one has to wonder whether United may not be better off without him after all.
– A year ago, United were leagues ahead of Ajax. 12 months down the road and this United side would be lucky to escape a hammering if the two sides were to meet. Since Ferguson left, Woodward has been trying to reinvent the wheel and failing miserably. But why reinvent it when you have the cheat sheet? Get Van Der Sar to handle the sporting side of the clubs while Woodward can stick to signing the sponsorship deals. While we are are at it, get their scouts too. In fact, you know what. Just buy the entire Ajax first team in exchange for the current one barring maybe Rashford, Martial, Pogba and McTominay. They can take our reserves too for all I care. United can certainly afford it. Certainly preferable to spending another billion dollar and ending up with more dross.
What needs to happen…
A few thoughts on last night’s proceedings. I said before the game that we had to score first; if they did, they’d play keep ball and the tie would be over. I still don’t think they’re that good as a team, lots of great players that aren’t quite at the level they used to be (Suarez, Pique, Busquets, Rakitic) but they’ve got Messi, and that masks a lot of weaknesses. I’d fancy Liverpool or City to take them over two legs.
As for United, hopefully it’s a sobering reminder of how much there’s still to do after the early euphoria of Ole’s reign. Jose might well be a total bell end, but he wasn’t wrong about wanting a centre-half. That’s where any rebuild needs to start. Rojo, Valencia, Bailly and Jones should all go (when there’s Smalling and Jones memes, it’s time to shuffle at least one out of the door, even just to make a statement). A top centre-half in their prime needs to come in and be a defensive leader. Aside from that, the policy should be youth, youth, youth. Any players we look to bring in should be 23 or under as well as promoting from within. Build a young core to the side, around the likes of Rashford and Martial, and try and foster a team spirit. A bit like Southgate has done with England. Forget trying to win the league next season, you’ve got Klopp, Poch and Pep all several years ahead of us in their respective projects, so concentrate on building a team for 2-3 seasons time with top four being the only objective for next term.
To help this further, we need to get rid of what sir would refer to as ‘big time Charlies’, namely Sanchez and Pogba. Get Sanchez out of the door by any means necessary, even if it’s a subsidised loan to Italy or wherever. As for Pogba, he blows hot and cold and generally seems like a bit of a knob. McTominay has outplayed him in our biggest games. He’s worth a lot and I’d rather that money was invested in the likes of Sancho, Rice, Joao Felix, Wan Bissaka etc.
Then there’s the De Gea question; if he wants to go then I’d let him. We’ve got Romero who is as good a number 2 as there is going and in Joel Pereira and Henderson we’ve got two young prospects to provide competition and hopefully establish themselves as number 1.
There’s a lot of talk about ‘the United way’, well if Ole really understands it, he’ll know it’s young players playing at pace. Hopefully that’s what he’ll do.
Lewis, Busby Way
Only one thing really needs to happen
United need another couple of transfer windows to fix the team according to Rio and the gang. Didn’t the last three managers need the same?? In truth United can be fixed long before the window opens. It is in the boardroom where Man United will be fixed.
Ed Woodward needs to step aside or be pushed aside, like John Delaney at the FAI but less crooked, if you oversee financial improvements but football deteriorate then you are fulfilling your job and need to go.
A Director of football has to be hired, Van Der Sar and his Ajax mentality please. Decide if the youngsters are ready to step up and if not then why not, why are they there or what is wrong with the coaching standard. The class of 92 was long ago and for all the talk of United giving youth a chance, it’s a fallacy. The United youth team has long been nothing but a breeding ground for mid-table players, Evans, Josh King, Tom Cleverley, remember him? The next Paul Scholes apparently. The real reason United fans are obsessed with Rashford is because he’s the first true Superstar from the youth team since… 92?! But Rashford wasn’t given a chance, he took his chance yes, but only after LVG was out of available players. So if Ole wants to bring back the ‘United Way’ then he needs to trust Chong, play Greenwood and drop whatever left back is there in at the deep end because Ashley Young is never the answer and if he is then I don’t want to know what the question is.
A transfer policy, England youngsters are a premium price but for that premium price you get consistency, maybe only 7 out of 10 but better than a hand full of 10 interspersed by 3s, Paul I’m looking at you. You also get more loyalty, less transfer talk and since English youth players are on the rise, you get quality too. So buy young, buy English, Scandinavian or Dutch or anybody that doesn’t want to go to Spain after 2 good games and start building a team that will stick around.
All this can be done in the summer, two full backs and any other players are a bonus.
Eoin Groarke (Financial manager and ready to step into Ed’s tidy shoes) Roscommon
Let’s have some Man Utd perspective
I’ve seen a number of tweets and headlines around Utd’s demise against Barca last night and they all pretty much say the same thing, basically that we told you so and you are miles behind Barca and or pretty much any top tier tear team (City, Juve, Liverpool, Barca and the like) well yes, that’s hardly rocket science now is it and anyone who expected Utd to actually progress past Barca would have been optimistic to say the least so what’s the point?
You can bash the club into the ground, players not good enough in certain areas of the pitch (back 4 is obvious) we need a director of football, why aren’t we spending big, why isn’t the football any good and so on and so on, but the fact is that, if offered last eight in the Champions League and a possible fourth spot in the Premier League on December 10th there isn’t one Utd fan who wouldn’t have snapped your hand off, not one football expert who would have scoffed at you and not one bookie that wouldn’t have given you a fairly decent set of odds on it. It’s a credit to Solskjaer and his coaching staff that we are even in this position, Utd really shouldn’t be given how their performance levels under Jose were, I was expecting top 10 at best in December, where they are now is a bonus.
Utd are under performing as a club currently but it’s been that way for six years and Solskjaer is in the job what four months? A little perspective please, the summer will tell you a bit about the club’s ambition, who comes in and more importantly who leaves may shape the club for the next two seasons and give a clear indication of what can be expected.
In closing ask yourself the question, who’s more disappointed this morning, Utd going out to Barca as expected or Juve, who spend huge last summer and got humbled by a team of – admittedly amazing – youngsters? Utd fans and critics alike need to be more realistic about the club and its current position, a top 6 side yes, competitive at the sharp end of the big competitions? Absolutely not and therein lies the rub, the 14 game run, winning away at big sides, it gave a glimpse of what might be, the summer in’s and out’s will either allow us to see more or spend the next year saying the same things we have been for six.
Vernon, Dublin, Ireland
…So it’s the wake of another gut-wrenching defeat, and there have been a number over the last six years, with Barca taking advantage of our mistakes to dish out the punishment that those types of errors deserve at the top level, or any level for that matter. Six years since we were a fully-functioning team who had an identity and purpose. Of course we have had some good results in that time and won a few trophies, three more than most teams in that period, but there has never been a feeling of ‘finally we’re nearly back where we belong’ (which is the top of course!); and that it because we are still some distance off.
We look like a team of strangers at times, a hodgepodge of stodge, the footballing equivalent of the Raggy Dolls (don’t be scared if you don’t fit in, look who’s in the reject bin). One of the reasons for this is because we’ve lurched from ‘philosophy’ to ‘philosophy’ (god I hate that term) since Fergie left, spending money with no real direction or long-term vision. Hindsight is 20:20 but, if we could do it all again, perhaps the best thing to do when Fergie left was to bring someone in who was young and hungry. Someone who would get rid of the deadwood, regardless of stature and past glories, yet still respect the ethos of the club. But turning back time is not an option, so put down your Old Moore’s Almanac and keys to the DeLorean, as (ironically) we need to get back to the future.
Ole has generally been great since he came in, we have a strong chance of getting top four when nobody would have given us a hope when Jose left, but he needs time to show if he is up for the job and money to bring in who he thinks will take the club forward, getting rid of those holding us back. People can scoff all they like but any manager is a risk, so why not take a risk on one of our own who is still young in management terms. The most important thing to do first is for Woodward to help him by sorting out a director of football to handle transfers and be a buffer between manager and boardroom. As regards these transfers, I would prefer we got back to buying younger unproven players and developing them, supplemented with one or two big signings. You only have to look at Ajax to see what can be achieved when you don’t go down the mercenary route. The aim should be a team full of players who want to play and win for each other, not a team of individuals who want to win for themselves.
As for the current team, they need to dust themselves off and try to win our last five games. I don’t want Liverpool to win the league as much as the next man, if they do they deserve it as they have been largely excellent, but I want us to beat City just like I want to see us win every game we play. Unfortunately City will be favourites for that game so we may not have a choice, but as long as they give it 100% I won’t complain. I feared when Fergie left that it would be a while before the good times rolled again and it has been a struggle. But all of the defeats, and relative pain that comes with them, will make the next time we win a major trophy even sweeter; hopefully with Ole at the wheel.
Football eh, bloody hell.
Garey (there were a few standing on their two left feet last night) Vance, MUFC
…I’m actually happy that man utd have reached a point which was not expected at all when mourinho left. Looking back, its actually not a sad state of affairs but was obviously one that everyone knew was but we needed some belief and motivation and ole brought that. Now, its all about having quality which i think both ole and the players lack. So I don’t think we’re getting the fourth or fifth spot. Yet, I feel that with the right vision and the right recruitment we can turn our backs to the mediocre years and head into a prosperous one because, ole has the right ideas in his mind. He also knows what the club is about and what it needs. Getting back to the busby way is what is needed, which was happening under Van Gaal and unfortunately he got sacked. Recruitment is now our holy grail of priorities. With Woodward I can’t expect him to do the right thing but he’s someone who has decided to go for a lowly manager and a former hero instead for a big name. If he’s that confident, I think we should also expect the best this summer transfer window.
They will return…money talks
Regarding Manchester United and the back and forth discussions about what level they should be at, what role tradition plays etc. To me it’s very simple, tradition has nothing to do with it, on a long enough timescale it comes down to one thing and one thing only, cold hard cash.
Sure, there are blips like Leicester, Atletico Madrid, Dortmund who upset this occasionally, but on a long enough timescale, these days it’s the clubs with the most money who succeed.
Tradition? Traditionally City were a yo-yo club with occasional flirtations with the upper, and lower, echelons of English football.
In this context, United are underperforming, forget Fergie, forget ‘the United way’, I haven’t looked at the figures, but I suspect only City have spent more than United over the past decade, so in that context, they’re failing. The cash shows no signs of drying up though, so as long as they keep having the spending power they do, eventually they’ll rise to the top again. Panic not, United fans. This is a cynical viewpoint, I’m a cynical man, but money talks (but it don’t sing and dance, and it can’t walk).
They really did make a mess of Fergie’s exit…
For the opening five minutes of Barcelona v United, I thought for a second that OGS had finally made the team realise its full potential and we were going to give it a proper go. OGS must have given quite the teamtalk before the game. Passes were accurate and deft, confidence looked high. Two Rashford misses and an altitude-induced McTominay nosebleed later, that nagging doubt (Barcelona) started to get a foothold. Then, Young took his new-found confidence/arrogance and tried the unthinkable, as the last man, and the inevitability of reality settled in. Two panicky defensive movements later and it’s 1-0. A stark reminder of what little room there is for complacency at this level and the fragility of United’s confidence exposed. An absolute howler from De Gea and the transformation was complete. Back to nervy sideways passing, arms raised in protest at wayward 60 yard passes from Pogba, a gaping hole upfront, etc. etc.
De Gea has been a light for us when all others had gone out and that’s reason for him to get something of a pass for last night but when you look past the acrobatic saves, what is there? His distribution is awful, he doesn’t command his box, he’s terrible at corners, doesn’t organise his defence. He is basically Shay Given at Newcastle. Made to look amazing because of the sheer number of long shots that a porous midfield and defence allows to come at him. If he misses a few, they’re ‘worldies’ and he never stood a chance. He’s been a good servant to the club but POTY 4 times should give you an indication of the ineptitude of the players in front of him.
United’s mediocrity has been growing in plain sight for 10 years. Ferguson, through sheer force of personality, won us the last couple of league titles with teamsheets that look positively comedic when viewed through the lens of time.
United have firmly missed their opportunity to rebuild themselves in some sort of progressive new image and now remind me of an old soldier sitting in an old-folks home, in full military parade dress, wearing all their medals, muttering about the Empire, as orderlies feed them handfuls of dementia medication.
How the club failed to insulate itself against the death of the golden goose Ferguson will go down as one of the greatest corporate failings of all time.
The list of players that need moving on at United is too numerous and tedious to recount but the most important thing we need to get rid of is our sense of entitlement. This notion that our (recent) history somehow admits us to the pantheon of greats without even kicking a ball. Every game United play these days is more future fans lost as they tune in to wonder why commentators talk about them in such glowing terms, totally at odds with what they’re seeing.
History’s hangover needs curing before we can take our hand out of our pants and get on with our day.
What a hero
Ohh Moussa Sissooooko, indeed. Great article this morning. The man lends credence to the statement that all our players need is a season under Poch to really shine (although Aurier will/is testing that theory, injuries aside).
Can’t shoot for toffee mind you, but that makes two of us.
Jon (has one or two worldies in his locker, once or twice a season), Lincoln
The Hughton effect
As a Sussex-based Canary I’ve kept a close eye on Brighton and have been amazed at the similarities between Brighton’s current predicament and Norwich’s doomed 2013/14 campaign under Chris Hughton. For both teams, a comfortable yet unconvincing first half to the season was proceeded by a dull sleepwalk down the table. A safety-first attitude taking over with the aim solely to scrimp points here-and-there to do ‘just enough’ to survive. What was formerly an organised, structured approach to the game became a tedious exercise in nil-nillery. One goal deficits being met with defensive substitutions. Over-expensive summer imports either had already been banished or were still desperately trying to show some indication of the talent which prompted the club-record fees to be spent.
In Norwich, Brighton had the largest red flag available to prompt the club to act ahead of the last two disastrous results. Despite this clear pattern of events Chris Hughton appears to be blameless to some on social media. Whilst I cannot disagree that he is one of footballs ‘good guys’ it is also clear that he is out of his depth at Premier League level. His personality and tactics make his teams susceptible to tail-spinning down the table without any means of correction. That being said, I don’t think he should be sacked. That window of opportunity has passed and as Norwich can testify, playing for a one-game new manager bounce doesn’t necessarily work. If they do go down, Hughton is an experienced hand at getting teams promoted. Just next time, remember the saying “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it”.
Jonno, NCFC (long time listener, first-time caller)
Brighton v Cardiff thoughts
As a Cardiff fan, I’m still buzzing about last night. Doubt I’ll make 16 Conclusions but here goes…
– Hope. Nightmare. I’d been ready to write it off but my team just refuses to die don’t they?! It almost hurts to think we could still pull this off!
– Sean Morrison was superb last night. Glenn Murray is a good player but I bet the skipper wishes he could mark a few more old school target men like that. Salah next. Arse.
– Not many people will have heard of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing but what a goal!
– Brighton could have had a penalty, yes. Imagine Warnock’s reaction to that being given against us..it’s actually quite funny to think about it. Still, it was ‘seen them given’ rather than stone wall.
– Brighton were also really poor. Apart from the first ten minutes or so, we weren’t really under pressure, it was sterile domination, passing around the halfway line.
– But I quite liked their fans. The ones I spoke to in the lengthy queue for the park and ride were very magnanimous, fair play.
– Not as good as ours though. Carnage when Morrison scored at our end. A moment to enjoy and remember whatever the next few weeks bring.
– We’ve now got 31 points, more than our last season in the premier league, despite predictions, eh Chris?
– Back to that hope thing. Realistically we aren’t gonna win 3 out of 4… but could we? Could four points be enough? After all Brighton are the ones with it all to lose now and they looked terrified yesterday.
– Oh no, we’re gonna go down by the three points we were robbed off against Chelsea aren’t we? I’d almost rather go down by 6 but without the nagging sense of injustice.
– Liverpool have scraped over the line in a few games recently, they’re due a slip up aren’t they?!
– Oh. I’m now relying on Wolves. A team I’ve spent the last 2 years pretty much hating. A team with nothing to play for, who have conveniently rolled over meekly against Burnley and Southampton in recent weeks.
– Finally, a few neutrals on the BBC comments section were even on our side….that’s weird!
Gareth Dix, CCFC in Sutton
I very much enjoyed the Football Ramble’s Bald XI article today, and it made me go off on a tangent thinking about another possible bald XI. I may have fabricated this from my memory, but I seem to remember on one Pro Evolution Soccer game, upon the completion of your Master League season, your team would be pitched against a variety of novelty XIs. Some of them were more standard, such as African and European XIs but there were some more out there ones like a team of all left-footers and Gli Pelati, the bald team. I managed to dig this out which seems to verify that these teams did exist. It made me hark back to days when football games were slightly more fun, which has been sacrificed in the quest for relentless realism.