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Idiots Rule!

 Posted by on November 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Manchester City, Manchester United
Nov 042014

Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
Michael Carrick 012 Idiots Rule!I really don’t know why, but I just can’t bring myself to feel as dreadful as I did last year when we lost to City. Perhaps it’s because we were just a very bad team a year ago and were being well beaten by mediocre teams. This season we are better. Slowly improving and still too Jekyll and Hyde, we now repeatedly find a callow, naïve means of beating ourselves at every opportunity. Our own worst enemy—having performed so creditably at Stamford Bridge a week ago and earned a good 1-1 result—United lost out in Derby game which they ought to have won quite handily against Europe’s most apathetic, mercenary team. Harder to get my head around is how, rather than gambling on the raw youth and passion of the likes of Paddy McNair, Tom Thorpe and Tyler Blackett—Louis Van Gaal again put his trust and the club’s fate in the hands of the disastrous triumvirate of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans. This time it was Smalling committing two mistakes so mindless that they smelled of a kind of self-sabotage so selfish and egregious that it might cause a team of even the most empathetic Viennese psychiatrics to commit suicide.

Smalling’s speedy receipt of two of yellow cards wasn’t really a shock. Having forgiven Smalling many times too many, we all accept that he is simply too thick to cope and learn in an unforgiving league. Indeed, when Marcos Rojo—another one who’s not the brightest spoon in the cutlery drawer but who throws his body around with the committed warrior attitude that more than a few of his apathetic teammates lack—-dislocated his shoulder trying to catch Martin DeMichaelis, it seemed to stiffen United’s wishy-washy sense of resolve. The new back four of Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw performed creditably. McNair and Shaw may both be nineteen and capable of making errors of their own, but both have repeatedly shown themselves to be intelligent and adaptable.

Early in the game, United actually found themselves surprisingly well matched up in a busy midfield as a very committed, hard working Marouane Fellaini kept City’s Yaya Touré floating like a butterfly. The only true problem for United came from James Milner who is both speedy and physical, whether mixing it up in midfield or cutting onto the right flank. He gave United’s smaller players fits.

Smalling’s first booking came in the 31st minutes earlier for standing in front of Joe Hart, practicing petty obstruction and trading sour barbs with the England goalie as the two stood next to the referee Michael Oliver. It’s not uncommon to do that in games, but as he moved to block Hart’s kick the ref booked him. It was as Van Gaal said after the match a “very stupid” move.

Thus seven minutes later, Smelling lashed out at James Milner, blatantly chopping him off at the legs. forgetting , it seems, what every defender learns at the age of ten or eleven, that the first rule for a defender on a yellow card to alter his style and attitude for the sake of the team.

Still, United showed the right attitude for the rest of the game. Robin van Persie, Ángel Di María and Marouane Fellaini all came close as City defended from their own half. As the game shaped into a steadily more and more physical game in the second half, the referee got more and more prickly. Three separate physical incidents were ignored by Oliver, but when Joe Hart got so riled up that he went forehead to forehead with the ref, it became pretty clear that he wasn’t going to favor the physically imposing sky-blues.

To their credit, despite being very much physically overmatched in an extremely physical match, United were more than hanging in there. That was when yet another mistake proved fatal. Paddy McNair 010 Idiots Rule!

63 minutes in, Gaël Clichy went bombing down the left wing and was the recipient of an exquisite pass from Touré. United’s whole back line, caught flat-footed, stood there and watched as Clichy picked out Agüero with a low cross and the little Argentine stabbed a riser past David De Gea.

The loss was particularly tough on the Spaniard. He had made spectaular saves to fend off Agüero twice, Jesús Navas, Stevan Jovetic and what would best be described as a bazooka he caught clean from Touré.

All in all, I would say that Van Gaal had his tactics right. When Smalling was sent off, LVG responded by bringing on Michael Carrick who has been injured for almost six months. replacing Adnan Januzaj who had been playing well. Carrick, accompanied well by McNair after Rojo’s injury, Valencia and a very busy Luke Shaw all did well. Shaw, forced to remain anchored at the back minus the accompaniment of Adnan Jauzaj, proved quite effective at blocking the left side passing lanes and spoiling marauding runs by Clichy and Navas.

“Our problem is we give the ball away too often,” Van Gaal said after the match.
United only have a sad 13 points from 10 games. Our worst results statistically since Ron Atkinson was sacked and Alex Ferguson came in in 1986. I should feel far worse, I suppose, but for some reason I feel pretty enthusiastic.
78703956 marcosrojo2 Idiots Rule!

Ivor Irwin

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