Thursday, 27 September 2007

Fit of Piqué

JJ here,

What exactly can be learned of a squad in a Carling Cup defeat? Indeed, can anything be learned from a victory? This year, unlike most others, this generally worthless trophy has thrown up a few interesting angles on the top four in particular. Which is damn sight more than it usually throws up – ie, shag all entertainment, feck all viewers and about three column inches in the following day’s papers.

I don’t have any particular gripe towards the competition – except of course when Gerard Houllier referred to it as a ‘major’ trophy to save his job – and whether it stays alive or not doesn’t overly concern me. But, here it is again and like I said, at least this time there were a few talking points.

Looking at the Arsenal match first, their victory over a virtually full strength Newcastle United squad merely confirmed what last year’s demolition of Liverpool emphasised. Arsenal have a shitload of talent heading towards their training ground every day.

Looking at the Liverpool game second, their victory over an under-strength Reading side merely confirmed what every column writer and Liverpool fan thought of Saturday’s game against Birmingham. Rafa is talking out of his arse when he spouts on about ‘space’ to justify not picking Torres. He’s the best striker at the club, as Henry was for years and as Van Nistelrooy was too at their championship-winning teams. Therefore, they played every game. When Torres gets as moody or out of form as the two I just mentioned were towards the end of their careers with Arsenal and United respectively, then Rafa can justify leaving him on the bench. The bearded tit.

Chelsea beat Hull four nil… hmmm… can anything be learned? Yes, Chelsea are better than Hull. That’s about it.

The big story came though at Old Trafford where United lost out to Iain Dowie’s Coventry side, currently languishing in the Championship’s mid-table. Now, I can’t imagine any Man U fan woke up this morning and thought ‘bugger, that’s our Carling Cup dream over this year’ but some might question just how strong United are in their reserves. Even more pressing, they may question the class of Nani and Anderson, both of whom were reported to be brutal last night. Reports of Nani dancing around the dressing room shouting “I am hot, I am hot” in his pants afterwards are as yet unconfirmed.

Johnny Evans, who got glowing reports during his time with Sunderland last year, was taken off after only ten minutes of the second half for Michael Carrick. Not exactly the sign of a first team player of the future and an established international.

It can’t be masked that this was a terrible result, one which left Ferguson “flabbergasted” and the line up can hardly be called ‘weak’ either. Indeed, these are the reserves that, supposedly, would have made sure United beat AC Milan in last year’s Champions League had they been available. Gerard Piqué, so good for Real Zaragoza last year, also turned in a dismal display. But on a plus note, he gave me a headline. Cheers Piquésy, as your teammates no doubt call you.

The United team last night were as follows:

Kuszczak: Supposed to be international class.
Bardsley (Brown 45): Bardsley will most likely never make it, like many of the League Cup players down the years but Brown didn’t cover himself in glory for the second Coventry goal.
Evans (Carrick 56): Most likely a blip. According to reports though, Carrick didn’t provide much when he came on. Future leader of the midfield when Scholes leaves? Hmmm…
Piqué: He has been rumoured with moves to Spain for years. If this is all the reward he gets for not going out on loan this year, how long before he listens to these offers?
Simpson: Again, good at Sunderland last year, shitballs last night.
Nani: Decent so far this season so was most likely caught up in the general malaise against Coventry.
Martin (Campbell 45): I have no idea who either of these are. Mark - any comments?
O'Shea: Self explanatory
Eagles: Apparently horrendous, and after Ferguson said a few weeks ago that he has “come on greatly”. Sits on the United bench often enough for fans to worry about whether he will be good enough in big games. No, that doesn’t include coming on when you’re winning against Everton.
Dong: Happy to be a reserve, and he’ll stay that way.
Anderson: The last world-class Brazilian to come to United in the centre of midfield was Kleberson. He will obviously be better but could his lack of form be due to a draining Copa America?

All in all, it’s hardly doom and gloom but if Ferguson’s stated ambition to win the Champions League is going to happen he’ll need decent people in reserve. Indeed, after this will they get the chance to play before being thrown in at the deep end at the tail end of the season?

Better hope there’s no injury crisis this year Sir Alex.


Mark said...

lee martin -

he's the pulitzer prize winner

and this frazer campbell

JJ said...

Cheers, still played shit but, as I say, congrats to the lad on the pulitzer.

Anonymous said...

All credit to the pulitzer but the lad Terry has it in his contract that after the nine years he be awarded a nobel prize!

JJ said...

I think actually he gets vader's helmet after six years very drunk after the podcast. John Terry. Ashley Cole. Ian Wright. Jamie Redknapp. Andy Gray. TV3. Cunts. The lot of 'em.

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