Tag Archives: anderson

Do It Better

image

Up until recently, a weekend without football was one of those awful anomalies of the fixture calendar – something you had to endure a handful of times per season in the knowledge things would soon be back to normal. Due to being knocked of of the cups we’ve had 2 or 3 in recent weeks and all things considered, they’ve actually proven fairly enjoyable. Mainly this is due to the fact that things can’t get any worse if we’re not actually playing, can they?

The Olympiakos away game could prove to be the tipping point as regards Moyes’ reign at United. Unless there’s an unforgettable night at Old Trafford on Wednesday we’ll soon be out of Europe too, meaning the last couple of months of the season look set to provide as much appeal and excitement as the last 6 months or so have. It’s pointless pretending otherwise… we’re a shambles at present. It’s all a bit of a mess.

The performance in Greece followed the Palace away game which led certain commentators to suggest we might have turned a corner of sorts. We hadn’t. Merely keeping a clean sheet and beating relegation fodder is cause for an outbreak of unconfined positivity these days, especially as it was done without the utterly execrable pairing of Young and Valencia – fast becoming the least threatening pair of wingers in United history.

Other than a brief 6 week spell after he signed, Young has proven to be a complete waste of space at Old Trafford. He doesn’t have a trick, or pace, can’t cross a ball and he’s physically weak. Compared to wingers of the past (and I’m including the likes of Arthur Graham and Ralph Milne, here), he just doesn’t move very well with a football. The only thing Ashley Young appears to be capable of is cutting inside and attempting something spectacular from 25 yards… which tends to result in a goal about once every 6 months.

Valencia meanwhile, is possibly even more of an enigma than Young. The frustrating thing here is that Valencia can play. He really can. We’ve seen him destroy Ashley Cole on a number of occasions and there was that golden spell he had pre-injury where every cross he put in seemed to land on Rooney’s head. I defended the guy for a long, long time but I’ve given up now. Things reached a nadir last season where his confidence had gone to the extent that when faced with a defender, he was performing 180-degree pirouettes and heading back to the half-way line.

On the occasions he does fancy taking on the full back and actually beats him, it usually results in one of his signature-move, ‘smashed across the box’ crosses that again, have about a 1 in 50 success rate. As everyone in the Premier League sussed months ago, it’s all too predictable and easy to defend against. It speaks volumes for Tony’s ongoing slump, that watching him toil with his waning powers, one finds oneself pining for the living embodiment of brainless inconsistency that is Nani. Nani for Christ’s sake! I swear, even Bebe seems a preferable alternative to Valencia at present.

Most fans accept that players go through dips in form at one time or another, it just starts to become a major annoyance when a few weeks becomes months (or indeed years in the recently-departed Anderson’s case). Perhaps the wisest thing the player himself can do is keep their head down and play through it until things improve – a point that seems to have been missed entirely by Tom Cleverley.

image

Cleverley, just in case you’d missed it, is not happy right now. Apparently he’s been ‘stung’ by the criticism he’s received from United fans this season and feels he’s been made a bit of an escape goat. I have to admit, my first thought after hearing this was one of confusion because I haven’t heard any criticism of him whatsoever at a game, so presumably he’s talking about getting a bit of stick off bellends on twitter. Simple solution to that one, Tom: don’t take any notice of bellends on twitter.

For me, Tom Cleverley isn’t really a player that invokes any strong feelings because he doesn’t really do much other than simply existing. Indeed, I can’t say I’ve noticed any drop off in his performances because it’s difficult to recall any of his performances. People call him The Brand, but it’d be more accurate to describe him as The Bland. My biggest problem with Tom Cleverley is the way people often compare him to Ray Wilkins due of his penchant for passing sideways. To me that is just an insult to Wilkins who I thought was a lovely player, a true artisan – Cleverley is just a maladroit droid in comparison.

It probably never occurred to Tom or his advisors that in conceiving his TC23 website and media presence, they’ve only succeeded in making him more unpopular with the world in general. This isn’t just limited to these rabid hoards of United fans who are hounding him either, given that England fans have already selected Tom as their official World Cup pariah before the tournament has even started. We all know that no England tournament exit is complete without an MUFC-affiliated scapegoat, fair play to England fans for deciding on this year’s at such an early stage – I expect the quality of effigy likenesses to be off the chart given the additional lead time that’s now available.

If Tom wants to improve his standing in the hearts and minds of United and England fans, I’d suggest it might be wise to explore traditional methods such as playing well in football matches. Y’know, winning the odd tackle, take a few more risks, maybe even consider scoring a few goals or something? Puff piece, ‘nobody understands me’ interviews with a sympathetic Oliver Holt aren’t going to placate anyone or do you any favours – especially when they’re packed with condescending drivel about how your game might be better appreciated by Spanish football hipsters.

Unfortunately, you don’t play in Spain, Tom. You might feel you’d avoid the white hankies and be universally lauded in the land of tiki-taka but you’re at Man United – at a time where competition for midfield places is at an all-time low and you’ve had ample opportunity to make your mark on the team. Almost 3 years into a United career you’re better known for a website and going out with a girl from TOWIE than you are for being good at football, and that’s not down to any misunderstanding or lack of awareness on anyone’s part other than you and the people you’ve got setting up these media opportunities.

Too harsh? Possibly – but he’s 24 now so we’re not talking about some kid who’s just broken into the team, he’s an experienced international who’s got an opportunity 99% of his fellow professionals would kill for. The longer this shocking season goes on, the spotlight will rightly intensify on David Moyes – but it’s time some of his charges began to take more responsibility themselves. No passengers.

Copyright Red News – March 2014

www.rednews.co.uk

Roll With The Punches

kate upton

Last month I had a proper whinge about our abysmal home form, a moan about the relevance of the FA Cup and ended with a flippant call for Moyes to do something to sort things out. To be fair to the manager, my gripes have certainly been addressed over the last few weeks. We’re now losing away games as well (evidence that we’ve discovered some long overdue consistency of performance) and we’ve been knocked out of both domestic cups. This time out I’ll limit my requests to next week’s lottery numbers and a night with Kate Upton if you’re reading, Dave?

I’m writing this in the aftermath of the Stoke game: another mess of a performance and our 8th league defeat of the season – this one with the added bonus of losing two more centre backs to injury. Despite results getting steadily worse as the season progresses, this car crash of a campaign remains quite captivating… in the same way one feels compelled to gawp at someone with an unfortunate facial disfigurement. It’s far too early to start trumpeting ‘things can only get better’, because the very distinct possibility exists they could get a whole lot worse over the next few months.

The one upside of regular defeats is that they stop stinging after a while. For the last 20 years, a narrow defeat in a game we expected 3 points had the ability to wreck an entire weekend. Not anymore. The blows have become so frequent of late that I’m barely flinching now. City are scoring a million goals per game and look unstoppable whereas we’ve gone shit. To deal with it, I’ve focused on not dealing with it – and I’ve discovered that being utterly impassive is helping immensely. It’s a bit mard, I know and I’ll have to face up to things eventually but in the meantime, don’t judge me. This is just how things are… the new reality. We’re surveying the wreckage of the post-Fergie apocalypse.

Even during these dark times, however – there are days that come along which give you a spring in your step, a fresh sense of optimism and some renewed hope that things might be heading in the right direction. No, not the Juan Mata signing – we’ll get to that in a bit. What I mean is that whatever David Moyes does or doesn’t achieve in future, he’ll always have my eternal gratitude for finally ridding us of that appalling, fat waster Anderson.

fatpig

Quite how this clown managed to complete 6 and a half seasons at OT will be difficult to explain to future generations. He was constantly out-of-shape, his re-fuelling habits a source of mirth even amongst his own team mates and when he did manage to get himself on the pitch, his performances were frequently dreadful. He didn’t tackle, he lacked the energy and discipline to play box-to-box and his passing was woeful… I’m not even going to comment on his shooting technique. Actually, I will – it was completely shit.

The only time Anderson ever looked like he had a genuine (no pun intended) appetite for any on-pitch physical exertion was during end-of-season trophy presentations when he’d rouse himself from his perpetual stupor and head straight for the cameras, doing that samba dance routine that’s mandatory for all South American ex-pat footballers. That’s the sum total of what we’re going to miss from Anderson – his ability to dance and balloon about the gaff whilst sticking his tongue out. I just hope to Christ he manages to convince Fiorentina that his loan move should be made permanent in the summer so we’re rid of him for good, the fucking fraud.

The departures didn’t stop there. Fabio left for Cardiff, which seems a hell of a comedown for a still young, international footballer who featured in a Champions League final less than 3 years ago. Unfortunately he just never seemed to kick on and find a settled position at United – looking identical, playing in the same position and sharing the same impetuous streak as his brother all counted against him in the end. Wilfred Zaha also headed to South Wales and following his debut, has already racked up the same amount of assists that Antonio Valencia has managed all season. The way our season is unravelling, don’t be surprised if he continues this progress and ends up picking up the PFA Young Player award.

Amazingly, it turns out that Federico Macheda is still on United’s payroll and has now been loaned out for something like the 17th time in his career – this time to Birmingham City. Quite why he was ever given a long term deal remains a mystery – as it was clear within weeks of his career high debut that he was incredibly limited and unlikely to make the grade at the top level. Still, he started well at his new club too, scoring a last minute equaliser in a 3-3 draw – which Wikipedia informs me is his 10th goal in 6 seasons. Prolific or what? If he keeps this up, expect United to bring him back in the summer and reward him with a new 5 year contract.

mata

Moyes signalled the start of the transfer window by stating that although he didn’t expect any significant arrivals, “the number of big players who want to join Manchester United is incredible.” Really? Whether this meant ‘big’ as in ‘good’ or ‘big’ as in ‘tall, like Fellaini’ remained uncertain, but within days we’d actually managed to not completely mess up the signing of Juan Mata. This was something of a shock and surely evidence of a u-turn in United’s thinking. In the summer we didn’t pursue a reputed interest in Özil due to still having hope that Kagawa would prove his worth, but surely Shinji’s legion of internet fanboys/apologists would now concede that he simply hasn’t worked out?

Mata, like Kagawa, is undoubtedly a great talent. Unlike Kagawa, however – he’s demonstrated the ability to adapt his talents to the demands of English football. If Moyes has lost patience with Kagawa’s failings and come to the conclusion his future lies elsewhere, then I at least applaud his decisiveness. One of the obvious shortcomings of United’s squad at present is that there are too many habitual under performers – limited players on top wages and long term deals who are going to prove difficult and expensive to replace. Young, Cleverley and Valencia (the first 3 who come to mind… there are more) need to be moved on ruthlessly and efficiently. Signing a player of Mata’s calibre is all well and good, but it’s only going to start paying dividends when he’s joined by 3-4 more of a similar standard.

It was interesting to note the reactions of certain blue-tinged acquaintances of mine following the Mata signing. It’s fair to say they were a tad miffed by events, with them being so well-versed now in outspending United during each transfer window. One on my radar even attempted to outlandishly claw back some moral high ground by asserting that “City have never spent that much on a player.” This didn’t ring true at all, which prompted me to check and discover that Aguero cost them £38M and Tevez, reputedly as much as £45M. City fans taking umbrage with United’s spending – you have to admire their chutzpah, you really do.

Even more comical was the recent publication of City’s accounts for their financial year ending May 2013. Everything appears to be going swimmingly for ‘the project’: losses are down to a mere £52M and their income is now the 6th highest of any club in Europe, a total of £271M. It’s only when you scratch beneath the surface they reveal this figure includes £143M from sponsoring themselves and another £44M from selling intellectual property rights (again, to themselves.) Unsurprisingly, with this fantasy island income stream in place, they are more than confident of meeting UEFA’s FFP requirements. “Growing revenues and controlled expenses are bringing the club to break even in the immediate future, and profitability thereafter.”

I’m going to presume they edited out the “…LOL, not really!”

Copyright Red News – February 2014

www.rednews.co.uk