Monday, 16 March 2009

Something Happens

Howdy folks,

To quote the great Mike LaFontaine – wha happppennn??? Andrea Dossena, that’s wha happppennn my friends. Well not really, his goal was the icing on the cake of the 4-1 demolition ‘Pool handed United on Saturday, but what wonderful rotund Italian icing it was.

This was a game which, while surely not changing the direction of where the title is headed, may have changed a lot of the rules when it comes to meetings between these two clubs. Or to put it more bluntly – if ever Liverpool wanted to banish their inferiority complex when it comes to playing United, this was the only way to do it.

Even in the grand old days of Gerard Houllier’s bizarre dominance over United in games at the Theatre of Prawns* there was never a confidence about the side as there was on Saturday afternoon. That they completed the job having gone behind early on was a complete turnaround from the Liverpool psyche of the past 15 years.

The papers have obviously been full of talk of the influence of Torres and Gerrard, and pointing out that the two have only started nine (all unbeaten) games together this season. What was more interesting on Saturday though was the fact that Rooney and Ronaldo disappeared for such long periods of time; also by virtue of his absence from the starting line up, Ferguson all but told Dimitar Berbatov he simply isn’t pulling his weight enough in a period of the season where big games come around every week. Add in a Kuyt-a-like performance from Tevez and United’s front line had a woeful day.

Could United be in the position they are if their two main stars only started together nine times this season? Well it’s a pointless question so I won’t talk about it. But after the Inter game last week and Saturday’s performance, surely United fans are questioning if (a) Ronaldo still wants to be there and is worth the supposed £200,000 a week United are set to offer him, and (b) whether £30 million-man Berbatov will ever really make a difference in a huge game.

Ronaldo has the perpetual look of a man who has done everything he’s needed to do at United. Berbatov has the air of a guy waiting on his dole money. Their poor showings, along with Liverpool’s all round performance (which included a last minute back four shuffle and the much maligned Lucas in midfield) has many looking towards next season with interest as United’s lead looks too big to overhaul this time out. And in that very point lies the real problem this season for Benitez.

Because, while fans rejoiced for the majority of Saturday, as the pints wore on the realisation that the United monkey was off their back was tempered with the fact that this still left the Stoke, Fulham, Villa, Boro, Wigan and Hull monkeys, along with a few more to shake off. That’s a lot of monkeys. I’ll stop saying monkeys now.

Liverpool’s performance should have been the one that cemented their position at the top of the league, that is, had they picked up the points expected of them at home this season. That this wasn’t the case and that Benitez’s somewhat suspect judgement of his team’s abilities, or lack thereof, has left them with a mountain to climb means this was a great day in an odd year rather than a crowning moment of a great season.

Rafa may not be cracking up, but as Saturday threw up questions about United’s future as well, it still left plenty to wonder, when the dust settled, if Rafa can still make the leap to a league title next year when this season’s prize was so within reach.

Later, JJ

*Now, much as I’m loathe to slag off United fans, ahem, I had to point out an interesting pic which I think gives anyone who calls their ground the Theatre of Prawns (or other variations) plenty of ammunition. You have to scan through these F365 pics as there’s no direct link but about halfway through them there’s a great one of Stevie Me celebrating. Now, for Man U fans... you’re at home, you’ve just gone two-one behind to hated local rivals, their captain is celebrating right in front of you by kissing a TV camera. How do you react? Get that mobile phone out guys and take a snap for your big day out. What a pair of chumps.


Fredorrarci said...

How dare you call it the Theatre of Prawns?

I mean, it's an amphitheatre. The Amphitheatre of Prawns.

Buckley said...

I've just fallen in love with you a little more. A Mighty Wind reference, genius.

He reminds me a bit of Darragh Maloney. Put away the dye and hairstyle man, let go. Your getting old just like everyone else.gerrard8

Mark said...

spurs are 4 points off 7th! how weird is that?

Mark said...

(cough) trying to deflect attention away from united.

Anonymous said...

United got away with it against Inter, Liverpool punished them. I don't think liverpool have brought themselves closer to the title, but Lamps, JT et al must be rubbing their hands at the prospect of the next six weeks. The complete lack of anything resembling hunger from United was baffling and however good Liverpool may(or may not have been,3 long balls, anyone?) United were definitely engineers of their own downfall. I think United will still win the league, but if they don't show something,anything that shows they actually give a fuck while beating Fulham they don't deserve to win anything.
p.s. re: The photos of the fans after Gerrard scored, I did'nt look at them,but I can imagine how bad they are! 2 words: FUCKING SHAMEFUL!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Fred Willard is a genius, Best in Show is his finest moment I'd say though the military guy in spinal tap is excellent too.

"We're big fans of your music, of course when I say your music I don't mean you specifically, but rock music as a genre". Gold. Good point on Darragh Maloney by the way Buckley, very odd head of hair altogether. Johnny Giles must be fierce distracted by it at times. In such situations though he reverts to auto pilot and talks about Don Revie.

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soccer bet pro said...

Depsite waht the press have been priniting, United haven't played that well this season. They have ground out many 1-0 wins, and have generally done just about enough against poor opposition.

Rafa showed that they have a soft underbelly, and a weak central midfield.

United got what was coming to them, and now having lost to Fulham, the title race is wide open!