Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All over bar the shouting

The fat lady is warming up and going through her vocal exercise. I would suggest "No distance left to run" by Blur. It's over. We gave it a decent shot but we're out of it now. It would require a Utd collapse and us to win every game for us to win the league. I really can't see that happening. Before the start of the season I predicted a second place finish and a title challenge. I'll take little joy in being proved right if we finish second, but the thought remains that Utd deserve and it and we don't have sufficient quality and depth.

Rafa hasn't conceded defeat, and I wouldn't expect him to while it's mathematically possible. But we needed to win this one and we didn't. Again we played well but couldn't turn possession and chances into goals. There was a goalmouth scramble in the first half where we should have scored. In fairness city were decent in the second half and caused us problems. Dirk did well with his goal to pounce on a chance which fell to him in the box after a Nando mishit. While we got a bit of luck there, it was made up for the fact that Bellamy's shot was going wide only for an Arbeloa deflection. We had Lucas and Javier in the middle and they didn't give the kind of service to Torres that he needs. With Alonso and Gerrard unavailable, we lack the experienced players to come in. Our bench isn't loaded with superb impact subs and the likes of Lucas are only ok. We're not replacing like with like when the squad is tested. Real isn't going to be easy as they've put some great form together recently. They won 6-1 at the weekend. Stevie should be fit for the bench at least which is a huge boost. We'll need him. I'd expect us to get at least a score draw.

Javier doesn't do goal celebrations by half. Here he is at the end of the Chelsea match.
Andrea Dossena has said that he's more settled in Liverpool now. There were rumours earlier in the season that he was having problems off the pitch. But his performances have improved greatly in recent months. If Rafa can coach him how to defend in a 4231 formation then he may have a future with us but I suspect that he may return to Italy in the summer with Insua and Aurelio as the two left backs next year.

Agger isn't happy. He has a back injury which forced him to miss the City game and he hasn't traveled to Madrid. Pepe is happy and doesn't want to go to Atletico despite what his Dad claims.

101 great goals has an article on FCB kid Deulofeu, who's been linked with us recently. No doubt he'll blow us off and go to Arsenal. Kerrison's agent is saying that we've been in touch but he doesn't want to move for the next year. He's a player that we tried to sign before so there could be something in this. The Palmeras president says it's all press talk without foundation. The guardian is linking LFC with a move for Espanyol's teenage midfielder Oscar Sielva. Apparently we can pick him up for around £2m as part of the Riera deal. Another player that Rafa has tried to sign in the past, David Villa, has indicated that he wants to stay in Spain if he leaves Valencia. I doubt we will have the cash to bid for him anyway.

Paul Tomkins on the official site attacks the myth that we are over reliant on Gerrard and Torres. He analysis the stats and shows that Utd are more reliant on their top two, Rooney and Ronaldo, than we are.

Tony Evens in the Times has put together a list of the 50 greatest reds of all time. I'm sure we can all dispute the numbers and order but sure it's an interesting read all the same.

My mate Clive Owen was in town this week and I attended an interview he did at the Dublin Academy. He regaled us with tales of watching the Istanbul Champions League final with Mickey Rourke. He has some quality quotes about the Reds in this Esquire interview. "That's a pure thing, that club. Not really explainable, really. My family endures. They don't understand it." We were a pure club but I feel that the taint of Hicks and Gillett is corrupting us. Save us Clive! Here he is hitting the bottle after the City game.

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