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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Things we Learned from the Weekend Football (October 22-24)

It wasn't a horrible weekend for the picks as I actually came away with a small profit, although it could have been so much better if Chelsea had not faltered at QPR... Still it makes a change from the horrendous September I suffered.

This would have been written on Monday usually, but I have barely recovered from the Manchester Derby on Sunday and only now feel a little better.

Here are a few of my thoughts from the last few days:

1) It was coming...: I have been a little pessimistic about Manchester United's performances so far this season, with only a couple being really good, while the vulnerability at the back had me musing that we were going to take a beating at one point or another.

Now I predicted that shelling may have come at Anfield last weekend, but Sir Alex must have felt the same negative vibes and ensured he played a team that could defend from the front and make life difficult for Liverpool, although we may have been a touch fortunate to escape with a draw after they created 2/3 very good chances in the last 10 minutes.

On Sunday, the onus was on us, as the home team, to push the game forward, but once Jonny Evans was sent off, it was always going to be a mountain to climb with the movement City have in their forward players.

That does not excuse the ridiculous defending from our boys at the end of the game, something that the boss seemed to agree with, as we went in search of a consolation after City went 1-4 up. At that point we should have settled for the loss and maintained some element of a goal difference, but to concede 2 more goals in the last 3 minutes is sloppy at best, and naive and stupid at worst.

I was vastly disappointed with the 'fans' who started leaving Old Trafford once City went 0-3 up (that is the time to support the boys who are trying their asses off, not the time to desert them). These are the same fools who make the most noise when United win trophies, yet leave the boys in their time of need... 

I have seen a couple of beatings in my life, but I have NEVER left the stadium early and I was disgusted with those who think that is the best way to support United, especially in a game of this magnitude. The same thing happened in a 1-4 loss to Liverpool a couple of years ago, although those season ticket holders were given a crushing time the week after when they returned to their seats.

Don't get me wrong though, I think I came out with more curses than I have in all of 2011 when United conceded the 6th.

2) Chelsea may have lost, but come out with plenty of credit: There were another bunch of controversial decisions from Chris Foy, who I personally cannot stand as a referee, that left Chelsea in a big hole on Sunday, but the fans have to be pleased with the effort and desire they showed in the 2nd half to almost come back and snatch something from this game.

1-0 down with 9 men is usually a damage limitation exercise, but Chelsea created chances and were very unfortunate to get nothing from this game.

This tells me that Andre Villa-Boas has created a real good atmosphere at the club and they are willing to fight for one another and that can only lead to good things for the Blues in the coming months.

3) Do the Wolves fans feel a little silly now: I really am no great fan of Mick McCarthy, and haven't been since he removed Roy Keane from the World Cup in 2002, but he didn't deserve the level of abuse he took in the Wolves-Swansea game at the weekend.

Yes, Wolves are struggling... Yes, even I was wondering what he McCarthy was playing at with his substitutions... Yes, being 0-2 down at home to Swansea is not good for a team that wants to survive in the Premier League... But McCarthy did not deserve chants of 'you're getting sacked in the morning' and 'you don't know what you're doing' considering where he has brought Wolves in his time as manager of the club.

I noticed McCarthy also came out today and described those fans as 'idiotic', probably not the wisest move considering they are playing Manchester City at home on Wednesday night, but I can understand his frustrations.

You could see it in his face after the game how annoyed McCarthy was, but the only way to get the fans off his back is by leading Wolves back to winning ways. The 6th November home game against Wigan is going to be pivotal.

4) Racism again takes centre stage: I don't know what to make of the latest issue involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, just a week after the Patrice Evra-Luis Suarez issue.

This was apparently brought up by a spectator who could read what John Terry was saying, although there hasn't been too much coming out of the QPR camp so far, and I don't have a clue what is going to happen from here.

The FA cannot be too pleased with all this, especially considering it started during the latest in the 'Kick It Out' campaign that has been so successful over the years.

5) Can Newcastle really get a Champions League place?: Newcastle have picked up 19 points, the same number as Chelsea, in the early part of the season, but they have taken advantage of a soft schedule. To be fair, you can only beat what is placed in front of you, but the next 6 weeks will tell the Toon Army all they need to know about their team.

Newcastle's next 5 games are : Stoke City (a), Everton (h), Manchester City (a), Manchester United (a) and Chelsea (h)... If they are still in 4th place after that run of games, then I would say get dreaming of a European adventure to all Geordies out there.

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