Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bye bye Moyes, we barely knew ya.

No surprise that David Moyes was sacked today from Manchester United. In the midst of one of the worst seasons the Red Devils have suffered in ages, it is no surprise that the replacement for SAF takes the responsibility by losing his job. Alas I think that Moyes was dead man walking from day 1. Here is why:

  • SAF worked his magic in his final season, willing the Red Devils to a title. Manchester United has been a flawed side for a few seasons now, the cracks had started to show. Age, lack of youth coming up and poor track record in the transfer market were masked by a phenomenal season from Van Persie and Ferguson working his magic. This fool's gold did bring another title to Old Trafford, but it was like painting over rust...that rust was still there. Add to this mix the sketchy finances that surround the club (when I say sketchy I am not saying there is anything illegal just not great
    Sorry I left you with such a $%^& situation
    financial backing for a football club) and you have a situation that is truly fool's gold.
  • Speaking of RVP, does he still play for Manchester United? Other than a goal against Arsenal in the beginning of the season, where he celebrated like a wanker (most players show some class when playing their old clubs and don't celebrate like 12 year old girls at a Beiber concert). Van Persie has reverted back to the injury plagued ways Arsenal fans were so accustomed in seeing. Throw in the fact he was rumored to be running "upstairs" to complain about his manager, and you have a cancer in the club house. RVP was a good boy for his first and only season under SAF, but quickly reminded everyone what a wanker he can be at times. 
  • Not all the player blame falls on the Dutchman's shoulders...age also reared its ugly head this season. Evra, Ferdinand, Giggs, Vidic to name a few reminded us that this is 2014 not 2008. It is especially challenging when that age hits your back line at the same time. Add to this that Moyes, just like Ferguson, could not find some steel for his midfield, and you have a bad combination. Let's not forget that SAF had to get Scholes to come back out of retirement to bolster his midfield. 
  • Speaking of lack of midfield steel...Moyes put a lot of his eggs in the Fellaini basket. The tall Belgium international was synonymous with Moyes' success at Everton. But that mojo did not carry over to Old Trafford. On the contrary the afro wearing midfielder was more of a negative than a positive for the Red Devils. He never seemed to fit into the system. Add to this the lack of midfield creativity...until Mata was purchased...and you have a shell of a midfield to work with.
So Moyes was heading into a situation fraught with landmines, and he found a way to step in all of them. Some were his faults others were not of his control. He should have know things were not going to be easy when the whole Rooney for sale fiasco went unresolved in the beginning of the season.  The Scotsman remains a good manager and I am sure will find himself employed by the summer (Tottenham maybe?). And now Manchester United will start the process of finding a new manager. With the rumored 200 sterling pound transfer kitty for this summer the hire will be vital for Manchester United's near term success.

I feel for Moyes, he was in a no-win situation. I do not feel badly for Manchester United! Should be interesting in Manchester England this summer.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Arghhh PSG...disaster no...but what a kick in the gut

So Chelsea did what we all knew they were capable of, but were hoping they wouldn't. After being down 3-1 they had to keep a clean sheet and score two goals. Mission accomplished. And they did so through the most improbable player - Ba. From the outset it was clear that Chelsea were laser focused on getting the necessary goals. PSG seemed to be happy to sit
back and defend. Not unexpected coming from a team sitting with a two goal lead, playing in a hostile environment of Stamford Bridge. It is easy to go back and change history. I do not think that Blanc made any errors in his line up, other than, I might have started Cabaye over Verratti from the beginning. Verratti was being mugged in the game in Paris and this only continued this time around. Maybe Blanc should have started Cabaye. For a few reasons:

  • His experience with Newcastle and having played in the EPL could have settled down the midfield. I realize that Blanc wanted to stick with the formation that brought him here.
  • Add some steel to the midfield. Chelsea seemed to have their way in the midfield. Especially with big bird - David Luiz. Luiz ran around like a chicken with his hair on fire.
  • Brought a bit more of a deep shooting threat to the midfield. Chelsea was pressing hard but doing that created some spaces for shooting from distance. Something Cabaye brings to the table.
Alas, I am not sure if that move would have made much of a difference. End of the day Chelsea earned the victory because they controlled the game and how it was played. PSG did not do enough to get their offensive players, such as Cavani, involved.

A tough loss for PSG, no doubt. But back to back 1/4 finals are something to build on. However PSG need to learn from this and go further if they want to be considered a real European power.