5 Things We Learnt
United entertain both lovers and haters
When you’re watching a United match you fall into one of either two categories – you’re either a lover or a hater, and both are getting rollercoaster rides throughout the matches at the moment! Whilst the haters will have rejoiced in them falling 2-0 behind and playing abjectly (fairly similar to Wednesday against Braga), they will have been galled to see the Reds come back via a Hernandez hatrick to take all three points. The lovers were distraught at 2-0 down, but soon singing and taking over the local pub letting us all know that they’ll do what they want!
I guess it’s not really something we’ve learnt this week, but in the United side of 2012 there doesn’t seem to be anybody who just gives up. In my Saturday morning fixtures our heads drop after we’re 2 down, and it usually signals that we’re going to be on the end of an almighty beating. The United players (presumably because they’ve seen it all before) only seem to start clicking into gear once they are 2-0 down, and seemingly enjoy the challenge of coming back from the dead. They won’t be able to do it against better teams, but against Villa they turned what could have been a stroll in the park into an exciting match with a memorable finale.
Never write Liverpool off
With their 1-1 away draw against Chelsea, PES’s Liverpool Reds finally look like they might have an idea of how to play football, even if they can’t execute it all that brilliantly at the moment. When Brendan Rodgers took over there was optimisim, but that slowly disappeared with draw after winless draw. With the recent six-game unbeaten run, however, this optimism has crept back into the game. They aren’t going to win the league (or even get into the top four) this season, but if they stand by the philosophy and strategy that Rodgers has in mind, they might just do something next season, and get back into the virtuous cycle of Champions League football.
Arsenal only have themselves to blame
There was a time when being 2-0 up at the Emirates Stadium meant the Gunners would be walking off with all three points. Heck, there was a time when even being 1-0 up (admittedly at Highbury) invariably meant three points to the Arsenal! Sadly those days are gone, and it seems that in order to get all three points, Arsenal have to score four goals before tehy can dare to take their foot off the gas – such is their complete lack of defensive solidity. You can’t see City or United or Chelsea losing a 2 goal advantage as quickly and simply as Arsenal managed, which not only rules them out of the title race, but may also see them drop out of the Champions League spots for the first time in 10 years. Cue Walcott, Wilshere, Ramsey and anyone else with any ambition heading for the exit door….
Berbatov is World Class
It really wasn’t Berbatov’s fault that his time at the very top came to an end, with Sir Alex Ferguson ditching him last season in spite of the fact that the Bulgarian had notched up over 20 goals, and was the Premier League’s top goalscorer. Whilst in public Fergie backs Berbs and asked fans to put up with his ‘more efficient’ style, in private he must have had misgivings at the fact that Berbs simply couldn’t be bothered to chase down the ball, or get involved in any of the dirty work.
But watching the game on Saturday, you couldn’t help but feel that Berabtov could still be playing for a top, top team (no disrespect to Fulham, but they aren’t even challenging for the Champions League spots, let alone taking part in it!) His finish for the first goal was fantastic, he set up the second goal with a well thought out pulled-back cross that was inch perfect, and then he calmly rolled home the penalty even though he was surrounded by about 50,000 crazed Arsenal fans. With Jol, he seems to have a manager that understands him, and gives him carte blanche. If only Wenger or Rodgers had stepped up when the £4m asking price came out…
Dzeko is the new Ole
Is Edin Dzeko making a rod for his own back by scoring so often? With just seconds to go on Sunday, he once again struck home to give City a deserved win at home. It’s not the first time he’s got them out of trouble – he scored two against West Brom (when he came on after 79 minutes) to net all three points, and made a similar contribution against Fulham, coming on after 86 minutes to score the winning goal in a close 2-1 encounter.
With Edin being such an ‘impact player’ the fact that he can come on and score goals may well count against him when it comes to picking a starting XI, with Mancini instead opting to play safe with Balotelli, Tevez or Aguero, safe in the knowledge that if things don’t go to plan he has a very effective plan b? It would be a similar problem to that faced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who struggled to make a first-team spot his own, in spite of being the fans hero, and being constantly praised by Fergie. In the end, Ole was probably happy that United kept on turning down bids for him, allowing him to become a (well paid) cult hero, but will Dzeko see it like that?
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