Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mad Masch

If you're feeling down after the Utd defeat then have a look at this. It tells the real story of what happened at Old Trafford. I wasn't too confident going into this unlike previous years, and thought that a draw was the best that we might have gotten. I thought that we looked nervous and a lot of our big players didn't perform. We probably would have been beaten anyway as Utd were the better team on the day but once we had 10 men it was a question of by how many.

My feelings on the sending off are that Bennett was a disgrace all match and was as blatant a homer as you're likely to see. That said, Javier should have stayed away from him after he had received the first booking and not risked getting a second. I can understand his fury as Torres booking was a disgrace given the kicking he was receiving. But Mascherano should have been mature, calm and professional enough to know that by getting involved and getting a second yellow he let the team down. Whatever slim chance we had went at that point. Rafa says that Masch knows he made a mistake. By not leaving the field he faces the prospect of an extended ban. But I think that if it had been Rooney, Terry, Neville or Ferdinand in the same situation they wouldn't have been sent off. How often have we seen them crowd and abuse the ref? Terry even stopped the ref from taking out his yellow card this season. Ferdinand was trying to talk the ref into booking our players on Sunday. Rooney berates refs every match he plays. How come they don't get sent off? There is an an awful lot of leverage allowed for England players. Gerrard can be guilty of it too, especially at Anfield but by and large I don't think that we crowd and abuse the ref en mass like some of our rivals. Maybe we should as it didn't seem to do Keane at Utd any harm.

David Pleat makes the point that it was long balls over the top which caused us problems. Rooney targeted Carragher knowing that he had the beating of him with pace and trickery. Carragher was poor and could have given away a peno for a challenge on Rooney. The ease at which the defence was being torn apart had a knock on effect on Pepe who missed some punches which was costly. His distribution, which is normally superb was poor on Sunday too. But I can't remember the last time he's had a poor game for us and he did make some super saves which prevented us from losing 5 or 6 nil.

According to Sky Sports Torres is unlikely to play for Spain tomorrow which is great news. Unfortunately, it means that he's a doubt for the derby. We're definitely going to need him against a very up for it Everton. They are in poor enough form having taken 1 point from 6 but they always raise their game for the derby. Given we've a superior goal difference and 2 more points, a draw mightn't be too bad a result. But if Torres is fit and the fact that they're missing a few players, we really should be able to win at home.

The BBC gossip page yesterday said that we will bid £12m for David Bentley in the summer. I think that it's a position that we have to look at in the summer as Dirk is only a stop gap there. Bentley is decent but I think that we can do better for a £12-15m winger. He'd give us a lot in terms of set pieces, crossing and goals but he doesn't have the pace that we need out wide. Another player linked to us on the forums is Gareth Barry of Aston Villa. I think that he's another good player but again we can do better. If we're buying him for left back then I think that he'd be an improvement. I hope that he's not being bought because Xabi wants to go back to Spain. It looks like David Villa wants to leave Valencia in the summer and we're one of the clubs being linked with him. I know that Rafa tried to sign him when he was still at Zaragosa and he is a top quality player. But I don't know if he would fit into our current 4-2-3-1 system. I think that we could spend the large amount of money that he would cost, on more pressing needs.

Everyone's favourite saga continues to rumble on and on and on. This article suggests Hicks is in financial trouble and DIC could reap the rewards. Let's hope it's accurate.

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