Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Open Thread: This is Fergie's world

It's all smiles at Old Trafford. Bastards.

To the surprise of no-one: I'm sick of United.

It's been like this for as long as I can remember, but after the recent failures of my team, coupled with Man U's seeming invincibility, the loathing has intensified. I didn't think such a thing was possible. There's 25+ years of hate there already!

I must stand back and express amazement that as of today, United could still win a quintuple, a remarkable feat, but thankfully, even the ringmaster himself doesn't think it's possible.
"It would be very difficult to do that. You would need the luck and you would need to keep all your players fit. If we keep everyone fit then, yes, we'd have a chance. When you're in a competition, you've got to try to win it and, as long as you're still in that competition, you've got a chance. What we have done well recently is that we've had a lot of injuries but the squad has compensated and whatever team I have picked the players have just got on with it. But, realistically, I don't see it."
Well that's a relief. He's sold what's left of his soul just to get this far, but just the fact that such a thing is even remotely possible just angers us all further, not to mention Fergie picking up his 22nd Manager of the Month trophy.

They tussle with West Ham tomorrow, and I'll be praying that Mr. Carlton Cole, aka Can't Control, can dent their juggernaut. Oh, and there's a North London derby or something. I believe preparations are being made for a liveblog there, courtesy of our resident heroin-loving Spurs fan (he's not addicted, but it does take the edge off the fact that Spurs have spent untold millions basically reassembling the squad that failed miserably under both Ramos and the final days of Martin Jol).

But enough about tomorrows! Today, it's all about watching Liverpool, Spartak and Villa struggle, and if you're up early enough (I wrote this ahead of time under the assumption I'd still be dead to the world at 7am), you might get to enjoy Citeh sabotaging themselves again. Robinho alone doth not a Champions League berth make, apparently.

Fixtures and dreadful predictions after the jump. Pray for Rafa's mental health, won't you?

7.45am kick-off
Manchester Citeh v. Middlesbrough
They can't mess this one up, can they? Citeh 2-1.

10am kick-offs:
Blackburn v. Aston Villa
The own goal has been kind to Martin O'Neill over the last month. Not today! 1-1.

Spartak London v. Hull City
Spartak are about as dull as The English Patient at the moment. I'd expect them to right things, although it won't be easy. Spartak 1-0.

Everton v. Stupid F*cking Bolton
The Toffee bastards must be exhausted from 120 minutes on Wednesday, not to mention they have no squad depth whatsoever. 0-0.

Sunderland v. Stoke
You cannot stop Kenwyne Jones, you can only hope to contain. Sunderland 2-0.

West Brom v. Newcastle
homewinhomewinhomewinhomewin. West Brom 2-1.

Wigan v. Fulham
Steve Bruce does a lot with a little. Fulham do little with a lot. Wigan 3-1.

12.30pm kick-off:
Portsmouth v. Liverpool
Oh god, please not another draw. My sanity cannot handle it. Fratton Park is kind to teams in crisis. Liverpool 1-0.

161 comments:

Ibracadabra said...

just woke up to see my new fantasy acquisition, Craig Bellamy - provide the goods. So far, so good.

Hoping for a 4-0 Liverpool win with a) a Benayoun hat trick and b) Tony Adams fired post-match and replaced by Avram Grant...

chances of a) and b) are clearly higher than c) an enduring peace with palestinians

hey, an Israeli can dream.

ü75 said...

Aberdeen-East Fife cup match called off because of snow. Yawn. These games blow.

ü75 said...

Instead, I'll provide links.
Tevez has his $225K-ish car impounded because he never got a full UK license.

Precious Roy said...

Just woke up to see my new fantasy aquisitions of Robinho, de Jong, and Ireland not do a damn thing. Although Given got the CS (hey, Citeh plays twice, it was worth a shot).

Ibracadabra said...

de jong with the assist I think on bellamy's goal...

that city bunch are just so inconsistent.

blackburn - a. villa here and I took a draw on sportsbook.com for the best odds. come on you benny mccarthy.

Spectator said...

West Brom v. Newcastle is 1-1.... In the 5th minute.

Ibracadabra said...

2-1 Newcastle. WBA are surely going down.

Spectator said...

Holy shit, 2-1 Newcastle... 8th minute.

JT said...

And Paul Robinson just punches out his own defender's lights. Night night, Mr. Samba.

Ibracadabra said...

any news on the gypsy Quaresma?

phil said...

You watch Robbo play now and you wonder "How was this imbecile evr England's number 1?" He has fallen so far in just one or two seasons.

Spectator said...

Quaresma starting... so far had a handball in the opposing penalty box and a blatant dive.

JT said...

Phil: I think goalkeepers are more afflicted by confidence crises than anyone else on the pitch. Their job relies on it more than most. He's just not with it.

phil said...

And he just shanked one in space from the left side. Forced a corner, but not a well-struck ball, at all.

phil said...

I'd agree with that to an extent, JT. But Robbo just looks lost between the sticks. Does things he never would have done in 2004 or 2005. I'm hesitant to chalk that all up to a drop in confidence, especially since it doesn't seem to be improving.

Spectator said...

Aston Villa make it look so easy

JT said...

Milner scores for Villa... 1-0 there.


Phil: well, there's also the thinking that a goalie is only as good as his defense. The fact that Blackburn let anyone through on goal is going to make him look a lot worse than he might otherwise be. Then again, goalkeeping is a 50/50 game altogether. You either save it, or you don't.

Moving to a worse team was a bad move.

phil said...

That's true, JT, and Spurs didn't do a lot last season to help him out either.

If Keith is around, I'd like to know what it feels like to cheer on a team that can actually score off corners. Villa are really on their game this season.

phil said...

Ballack really calling up some of the old magic on that free kick. Wow.

JT said...

Keith is too busy engaging in Villatio. Yep, we have Hullatio and Villatio.

JT said...

Stoke forced to use all 3 of their subs within half an hour. You have to fancy Sunderland to push on and win that one.

Ibracadabra said...

JT -

At least Fuller is one of the three to go off, so Andy Griffin's injury status looks safe for the final 60 mins,

Precious Roy said...

Apparently Benni McCarthy doubles as a tree.

Ibracadabra said...

steve " don't call me ryan" taylor with the newcastle goal. 3-1 now.

phil said...

Zayette just took a ball right to the pills. I have serious sympathy pain going on.

Precious Roy said...

Also... because so few people have GolTv or care about the SA U-20s. This is pretty awesome.

http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/2059935/

phil said...

Arteta (from the spot) puts Everton up 1-0 on SF Bolton.

phil said...

All I can say about that, PR, is "holy shit." And that applies both to the pass and the atrocious defense.

Ibracadabra said...

it's time to talk freely and openly about my love affair with proactiv's proven three step system.

Adam said...

Did you know you can talk about your love of proactiv for pennies a minute with penny talk?

Spectator said...

While you get on up, and get on out to h00ters!

Spectator said...

That was probably the warmest welcome that Diouf has ever gotten in his life.

Ibracadabra said...

spectator -

and he looks lively. come on blackburn.

Spectator said...

Diouf and Fat Sam are a match made in heaven!

I loved the shot of the Villa supporters dressed up as a chicken and elephant, without comment or explanation.

Spectator said...

Jo scores on his debut for Everton

Ibracadabra said...

spectator -

no clue. a chicken and elephant in the crowd, and a manager chewing gum like a cow on the sideline. welcome to the ewood park zoo.

phil said...

The liveblog fellow at yahoo seems to think Jo's goal was something special.

Ibracadabra said...

does scolari get the sack if hull grab a late winner?

phil said...

DAMN! I was sure Marney had that. Pushed it juuuuust wide.

jjf3 said...

Top o' the morning, UF. Switching between Rovers getting thoroughly outplayed by Villa, and Chelsea playing like shite. Though the ref missed a blatant hand-ball in the box by Hull about 10 minutes ago...

jjf3 said...

Wow...how the fuck did Milner miss that? Man, they must want Blackburn to come up with a late game-tier...

jjf3 said...

dammit Roque!

phil said...

Phil Brown inexplicably subs for Giovanni on 80', in a nil-nil match.

phil said...

WBA pull one back on Toons.

Precious Roy said...

Okay, if Villa can hook people down in the box, then they ain't leaving the top 4.

Even better my fantasy striker gets the yellow, when his teammate gets fouled. Nice.

phil said...

Chelsea really applying some pressure now...

Spectator said...

Jesus that was high comedy on the second Villa goal.

jjf3 said...

game over. Villa on the deflection

Precious Roy said...

And another OG for Villa.

phil said...

Jones pulls Sunderland ahead.

@ PR, that's the second time today Villa have gotten away with some rough stuff in the box.

Precious Roy said...

Eh, they outplayed Blackburn—who, is it me or do they collectively have the worst first-touch in all the Prem?

They were the better side, but they seemingly get break after break after non-call after call after deflection.

Precious Roy said...

"They" meaning "Villa."

phil said...

My God, that was some awful defending by Warnock.

Spectator said...

It all evened out with waving off the Heskey goal in the first half. Villa are destined to get as high as third this season... Everything is going right for them, especially on the road.

Spectator said...

Those Hooters girls scare me

phil said...

Time for some Hullatio. They did very well to roll into the Bridge and steal a point. How short is Scolari's rope now?

Adam said...

Scolari's rope is around his neck, one more loss and hes gone. I'm confident that the only way Arsenal get a CL spot is by taking Chelsea out.

phil said...

Jones notches a brace to ensure a Sunderland win. Everything fell right today for Spurs to get well clear of the zone, so long as they don't entirely shit the bed tomorrow.

phil said...

Scratch that. Jones did not notch a brace. Healy was credited with the second.

phil said...

Jo converts on Everton's second penalty of the day.

Spectator said...

Wow, Liverpool playing a 3-4-1-2 with Ngog and Babel up front. That's, uh, unexpected.

phil said...

No Torres?!?!

ü75 said...

So scared of a Torres injury that he's not playing. Awesome.

Mike Georger said...

Torres was clearly not 100% last game, and by benching him he has a better shot of getting Spain to not select him.

He made the right call by sitting him and Alonso.

Playing five defenders however ...

Mike Georger said...

holy fuck this formation is absurd! six defenders, three of them in the midfield.

fuck it, i like it

Precious Roy said...

Rafa, tempting fate.

phil said...

This formation might be just odd enough to throw Pompey off.

Georger, I just hope of your lot nutmegs S*l.

Mike Georger said...

Nice little start. In theory they have some incredible crossing in the 'midfield' and Ngog has been on fire for the reserves recently.

The NY Kid said...

fuck Villa in the pants. Why can't those tossers lose a match?

Mike Georger said...

Pompey have the bad guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Mike Georger said...

ohhhhh yossi

phil said...

VERY good chance for Benayoun, but he slipped.

Mike Georger said...

call me crazy but this is some of the most free flowing passing ive seen from them this year

Precious Roy said...

Well put, NYK. But at this point, I think it's more about catching Chelsea. Still have a 6-pointer at home.

Mike Georger said...

Good christ that had James beat. So close.

Not sure what this announcer is talking about, I can't remember Torres ever taking a free kick for pool.

phil said...

Pompey's giving them a lot of space, Georger, but I'd agree that they are passing very well.

Wow, James did not move one inch on the kick. Pompey lucky not to concede there.

Precious Roy said...

And Mike... More fuel to fire the argument that their dependence on Gerrard might be holding them back.

Mike Georger said...

I still insist they would be better off playing Babel in the CF role Gerrard has been playing, and sticking Stevie on the right.

I'd say more the lack of Kuyt is what is making a difference.

Mike Georger said...

Killer movement from Babel and Ngog there, Fabio .... not so much

phil said...

Good God. Seems everytime Dossena gets forward, he is either dispossessed or hoofs it too long.

JT said...

Hey, desperate times, desperate measures, right? At least Rafa is making the effort to innovate.

Precious Roy said...

Stevie would never go for that. Isn't that the problem with the nat'l team? That he and Frank want to occupy the same space and neither of them want to move to give the other room to operate?

Mike Georger said...

That, and England sucks.

When did Macherano learn to shoot?

JT said...

Suddenly we go from no width to having tons of width with just about every wing-back we have playing at the same time! It's so crazy, it just might work.

Great save by James to deny Mascherano.

PR: the problem with the nat'l team is that both Gerrard and Lampard appear to play the same role -- the classic box-to-boz midfielder who does everything. Considering that most countries play a system whereby one central MF does that and the other plays a deeper, strictly defensive role, having two "liberos" just doesn't work. Their natural instincts for the ball mean they just end up getting in each other's way.

Mike Georger said...

This is fucking nuts, it's like a pickup game, defenders are playing as strikers. One of the more entertaining performances this season that's for damn certain.

Mike Georger said...

Rene Belach is down!

JT said...

Georger: yeah, tons of space for both sides to roam freely.

ü75 said...

Why do I get the feeling that Liverpool will not score? They don't have Torres out there to create a goal, and none of the midfield will demand respect from Pompey with an outside shot like Gerrard would. Simply put, these two up top are not going to break thorough because it will be too tight.

No matter how much width is out there, natch.

ü75 said...

Alright, I'm going back to Ireland-France.

Mike Georger said...

Glen Johnson is black? Who the hell have I been mistaking for him the last five years?

JT said...

u75: they will score. The width is the hardest part. Get crosses in, and shit will happen. Ngog is strong when under pressure, and check out Torres warming up also!

phil said...

Nugent seems to be a creative little player up front.

Andrew said...

Could we start a "Glen Johnson All-Stars" for black players with white names, a la Reggie Cleveland?

So, N'Gog gets the start. I suspected as much.

JT said...

Whoa, Peter Crouch is playing against his old club? I had no idea! I suggest FSC belabor the point for the entire second half as well.

Precious Roy said...

Phil: Just popped into Fearon's. No go. Earliest I could get her to was 8:15. Plus it's a fucking zoo in there right now with the Six Nations. We'd be banished to the back TV once the rugby fans showed up in full force. So, either the Globe or Ginger's. I'm on my way to get drunk. Feel free to call or text later.

Adam said...

Georger, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought he was white.

Andrew said...

Wow, they just panned over the crowd and Fratton Park looks like an internment camp.

phil said...

Georger, had the exact same reaction when I saw him on the throw-in. I don't know who I had been thinking was Glen Johnson, but it was not Glen Johnson.

Adam said...

Hooters makes you happy, just remember that everyone. Bring your kids to the restaraunt that features girls in skimpy outfits

Andrew said...

I'm watching a South African feed and they're calling the football "soccer." I'm so confused.

They also just had a wonderfully comedic commercial hyping the Portuguese league.

The Fan's Attic said...

unfuckingbelievable!!! how the fuck did babel miss that?

phil said...

Oof. Babel can't gather himself in front and just botches a perfect chance.

Andrew said...

Babel misses an absolute sitter. Terrible. Looks like Pool will be battling Villa for the automatic CL spot.

The Fan's Attic said...

karma's a bitch.

The NY Kid said...

oops.

Andrew said...

David Nugent with the finish. Wow. Liverpool, Arsenal would like to welcome you to a season of underperforming.

Andrew said...

I think Georger's head just exploded.

Ibracadabra said...

benayoun the only bright spot here. torres is needed ASAP.

Mike Georger said...

Jesus christ.

Well Babel just punched his ticket out that's for sure.

Mike Georger said...

I understand not playing Torres because he wasn't fit, that was the right call based on Wednesday. But if you aren't even going to consider using him when you're a goal down, don't waste the bench spot.

Andrew said...

@Ibra: yeah, Benayoun has been good today, arguably the best player out there. Makes you wonder why Rafa doesn't use him more often.

Xabi on for Dossena. I guess.

Crouch is fucking nuts for that backpass; now we get to see one of the more interesting freekick situations.

The Fan's Attic said...

back square on a weird indirect kick in the box. i don't know if i have ever seen a goal scored from one of those in EPL play.

Andrew said...

Aurelio somehow, SOMEHOW, finds the back of the net. This is what Pool needs, right? A stroke of luck.

Spectator said...

Liverpool saved by Crouch and Calamity James, huh?

Mike Georger said...

Stream jumped from before the goal to Fabio's slow mo celebration

JT said...

kuyt was onside

Andrew said...

Sloth with the goal, but it's offside. Of course it is.

Torres comes on for Babel. Na na na na na na na na ...

Andrew said...

@JT: yeah, looked close. The replay I saw was from a shit angle, so I can't be certain.

The NY Kid said...

kuyt looked on to me.

oh boy.

Mike Georger said...

Wow

Rafa out

Spectator said...

"And they call him the Terminator, and he may've just terminated Liverpool's title chances."

Andrew said...

2-1, Pompey.

phil said...

HUGE mistake by Reina.

The NY Kid said...

not sure about stopping it, but reina should have done better

Andrew said...

It was a good header, though, but Herreiedderson, bouncing it in front of the net.

phil said...

This is where Kuyt has one bounce off his hip for some improbable angle to equalize.

The Fan's Attic said...

reina should have done better on both goals.

babel should have scored and the whole match tenor would have changed.

fuck.

so long title chances.

The NY Kid said...

what a blunder by distin.

Andrew said...

KUYT!!!

Spectator said...

James barely moved on that Kuyt goal

The Fan's Attic said...

phil you're prescient! kuyt equalizes.

phil said...

Awful mistake by Popmpey!

Did I call it or what with Kuyt?!?!? That was an impossible angle. Impossible.

Mike Georger said...

and i miss another goal DAMN YOU IRAQ

The Fan's Attic said...

iraqgoals works just fine for me.

Andrew said...

How is this game a 2-2 draw right now? Neither team could do fuckall right until an hour in, and then they both forgot how to defend.

Andrew said...

I kinda wish we'd invade Iran, y'know, for their goals and such.

ü75 said...

Webby got that one wrong. Hreidarrson is right to give him hell.

ü75 said...

Pool fans are lucky to have Kuyt, aren't they?

ü75 said...

Fuck me.

Spectator said...

Lucky, lucky Rafa

The NY Kid said...

his armband said he was a red!

ü75 said...

Poor Tony Adams. Goodbye.

Andrew said...

TORRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ü75 said...

Lucky, lucky Reina.

phil said...

Fucking beautiful. Wonderful goal. Pompey are crushed. Wow.

sven said...

I fucking love that man.

Eat it, Calamity.

Mike Georger said...

hahahaha wow

Andrew said...

Just awful, awful defending on Pompey's part. Not James' fault, not Adams' fault.

The Fan's Attic said...

Torres!!!

Spectator said...

Wow, what a game!

The NY Kid said...

you lucky Scouse bastards.

good on ya.

ü75 said...

Sol, put your hand down and defend. Maybe you would have had a point.

The Fan's Attic said...

Fuck AND Yes!

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Andrew said...

The last half-hour witnessed some of the sloppiest defending I'd ever seen, by both clubs.

Pompey should apologize to Adams for their shitty display.

But Torres . . . wow. Is this the game Pool needed to resume a title challenge?

phil said...

Awful defense by Pompey to close this one out, but a good win by 'Pool.

Mike Georger said...

What a game.

phil said...

Too much has gone Spurs' way today. We're almost assured of getting our ass handed to us tomorrow.

The Fan's Attic said...

to be fair, it didn't seem like either team was too interested in playing defense all day.

JT said...

FERRRNNNNAAAANDO TORRES
LIVERPOOL'S NUMBER NINE

The Fan's Attic said...

i didn't realize the bottom five teams all lost today. that might provide the separation people need.

phil said...

Yeah, TFA, everything broke exactly the way Spurs needed it to break. Now all we have to do is beat l'Arse. We're doomed.