Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Weekend Observations 16th - 17th October 2010 - Part Three

Parts One and Two here

A rare thing happened at the weekend. Manchester United threw away a two goal lead at Old Trafford for the first time since Jesus was losing his milk teeth or something. I say rare but given United’s general hit-and-miss-ed-ness so far this season the draw against West Brom was not as much of a shock as it would have been in years prior. Admittedly both of the Baggies’ goals were freakish were down to lapses in concentration you would not usually associate with the reds. The team is looking horribly unbalanced at the minute with old hands Giggs, Scholes, Van der Sar and Ferdinand, as good as they are, cannot be relied on to pull them through an entire season. Age and injuries are creeping up on them while their understudies are still yet to convince. Shining lights include Nani who is far more productive than years gone by, Berbatov who is starting to pull his weight somewhat and Hernandez who has started brightly. Alongside the much improved Fletcher, these are the ones who will be expected to to drag them out of their current indifferent spell.

Beyond that the likes of Gibson, Evans and Anderson are nowhere near consistent enough for what is expected at Old Trafford and Carrick is merely picking up a pay cheque to do nothing. And that’s when he plays! That said, they're still good enough for a top three finish – let's not forget they are still unbeaten this season – but right now, they do not look like potential champions and improvement from most those mentioned above will be needed if they are to stop Chelsea or even their cross-town rivals from taking the title.

Not this year lads

However, one cannot ignore the biggest problem at the club right now and that is Wayne Rooney. And yes, he is a problem. After the dizzy heights last season and all the ‘White Pele’ chat, the boy Wazza looks no better than a white Ade Akinbiyi this campaign such is his poor form. Off the field, his private life and contract wrangling hadn’t helped but with the mounting speculation about his future at the club now taking centre stage, it makes you wonder how he can even concentrate on football at all. Publicly contradicting his boss last week may be the hammer blow but whether his days at Old Trafford are numbered or not, he needs to sort himself out for the sake of both his career and his team as you have to believe he’s proving more of a hindrance than a help at the minute.

As for West Brom, following on from their win at the Emirates, this result, drawing against Spurs and league cup victory over Man City, their defeat at Anfield earlier this season actually looks like the biggest upset of the season so far. Given the currrent form of the two clubs, that’s far from the most outrageous thing I’ve ever said.

More refereeing controversy now and the game at Craven Cottage. Ever since some idiot in a suit decided that the perfectly sensible offside rule needed to be changed, there has been mass confusion about interference, active versus inactive and some nonsense about phases of play (as if that statement even makes sense!). As a result we have seen waves of inconsistent refereeing decisions (three alone this weekend) because no-one actually knows what the correct interpretation of the law is. Spurs beat Fulham thanks a to a highly contentious Tom Huddlestone strike on Saturday. William Gallas was rightly flagged offside as he attempted to get something on the shot but for some reason Mike Dean overruled his assistant and gave the goal. Nobody knows why. In the Merseyside derby man-mountain Yakubu was planted in a offside position as Arteta struck Everton’s winning goal. No flag. Goal stood. I don’t think there is any argument to suggest that both Gallas and Yakubu were not interfering with play. Gallas clearly made an attempt to touch the ball and Yakubu who is built like a duplex was undoubtedly obstructing the view of the Liverpool goalkeeper.


Call me crazy and I may be living in my own little crazy fantasy world where leprechauns are real and fight each other for my amusement but I would be bold enough to say that in both were examples of interfering with play. Conversely, Blackpool could/should/would have gone 1-0 up in their game against City when Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s goal was ruled out due to Eliot Grandin who, like Gallas, went for the ball but didn't touch it, being flagged offside. A little consistency or a clear clarification is all we ask.

Finally, have you ever had that ex who was just a total bitch who you grew to hate after breaking up but the next time you see her, she looks fitter than when you were together and ends up pulling another bloke right in your face? No, me neither so I can’t really sympathise with Newcastle after Charles N'Zogbia tormented them this weekend.

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