Posts Tagged ‘ Rio Ferdinand ’

Manchester is Blue… For Now

-by M

it has taken an utter humiliation to Manchester United to revive this dying site. As United fans wake up today hoping it was all just a very bad dream, it is still early days yet for the title to be decided. City have an outstanding goal difference and are now 5 points clear at the top but have yet to play the teams around them apart from United. A clearer picture will emerge after the busy weeks of Christmas and New Year, but yesterday belonged to the blue side of Manchester.

There is no doubt that the better team won on the day. City went to Old Trafford with a game plan and executed it to perfection in the first half. United had the bulk of possession but did nothing productive with it. Nani and Young were toothless on the wings and the workhorse midfield of Anderson and Fletcher were unable to break down a resolute defensive wall of Toure, Barry, Lescott and Kompany.

After Evans was sent off, the result did not look in doubt but for a brief period of five minutes after Fletcher miraculously emerged from the shadows of the game to plant the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-1. After that, it was just a horror movie for United fans directed and starred by David Silva.

United fans may find the scoreline harsh but in reality, 6-1 was probably reflective of the gulf in class and ability on the day. While United have classy wingers in the form of Young and Nani, a midfield of Anderson and Fletcher will never match up to City’s midfield which is run by the little Spaniard, Silva. Unless Tom Cleverley is the Chosen One, United will do well to add one or two central midfielders into their team come January.

Defensively, Ferguson will have to take a good hard look at his long-serving players. But for a moment of idiocy, Evans was the better defender in the first half with Ferdinand looking decidedly nervous with Aguero keeping him occupied. Stand-in captain, Patrice Evra, had an absolute shocker and as most United fans will tell you, he has been abysmal for a while already. 4 out of 6 of City’s goals came down the left flank of United. For Silva’s goal, Welbeck ended up being where Evra should have been.

Yesterday was in all probability a freak result. However, it is a strong statement of intent by Manchester City that should be heeded by all in the footballing community. Contrary to popular belief, it is looking increasingly likely that money can indeed buy success. Manchester will be painted blue for now. But count on the Red Devils to reclaim the bragging rights at the City of Manchester.

 

The Silver Lining of Football

-by D

Football is a major part of most of our lives. After all, if you are reading this article, you are probably a football fan.

And like a good number of football fans, the Barclays Premier League is likely to be the league that one follows.

While top European leagues such as the Bundesliga and La Liga may arguably be superior to the Barclays Premier League in terms of competitiveness and technical ability respectively, England’s top-flight football still commands the greatest worldwide following.

Therefore, a palpable sense of disappointment could be felt after the release of the following statement from the Premier League and Football League with regards to the horrendous riots in London and several parts of England.

“We are in ongoing discussions with our London-based clubs, the Metropolitan Police and statutory authorities in regard to the staging of the coming weekend’s fixtures in the capital.

“The Metropolitan Police has conveyed to us the dynamic nature of the current situation and with that in mind all parties will review the situation on Thursday and make a further public statement at that time.

And following the postponement of the Everton-Tottenham game, where does that leave us poor souls? How will our fantasy teams survive? Will we face yet another weekend of replaying YouTube videos of last season’s best goals?

It has been 76 days since that cracking Champions League final in Wembley and whilst international-football tournaments, pre-season games and transfer gossip have occupied us since, nothing is quite the same as the Barclays Premier League is it?

Owner of QPR, Bernie Ecclestone, is equally disappointed as most fans.

“It [the postponement] sends a terrible message to the rest of the world,” Ecclestone told the BBC.

“Would we want to take a risk? It’s a difficult decision to make.”

Ecclestone’s worries are understandable; partially given that his London based club would be raring to kick-off their first top flight appearance in 15 years. It is exciting as much as it is lucrative for the club.

While more disappointment may ensue for club owners and fans alike, there is a slight measure of comfort that one can feel from the disruption- a display of societal awareness and maturity by a few footballing figures.

The England defender is an active participant on Twitter

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand deserves praise for measured remarks made on Twitter following the cancellation of a scheduled international friendly.

“England vs Holland game is off, good call. Who wants to see a game of football when our country is in turmoil,” the former England captain tweeted.

“I can’t tell the youths exactly what to do but stealing tv’s + trainers+burning innocent peoples houses+shops aint solving nothing at all.”

In juxtaposition, footballers have used Twitter in petulant and irresponsible manners before -Ryan Babel’s photo of Howard Webb in a Manchester United Jersey and Joey Barton’s public lashing of the Newcastle management come to mind.

Of course, the ridiculous amounts of money they earn perpetuate the general impression of Barclays Premier League footballers as, well, twits.

Which is why “rioferdy5’s” comments are refreshing because they give some hope that they are levelheaded individuals around in top-flight football.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, whose comments about referees and injuries are sometimes construed as whining, portrayed a similar level of class.

“I hope it won’t affect this first fixture, but we’ll be governed by the authorities,” Bruce told Sky Sports News.

“It’s a problem which society has got and I’ll echo what everybody else thinks who’s seen this outrage.”

“It’s sad and disappointing to see people on the rampage like that. I hope the Premier League can start and bring a bit of peace and normality to it, because you don’t want to see these scenes we’ve witnessed.

There is a sense of respect and understanding that the tumult in England is way bigger than football. Regardless of how massive English football is, this shared acceptance of what takes precedence in such trying times is pretty commendable.

Cynics may dismiss the reactions as PR-friendly statements or simply remarks that any civic-minded citizen would echo. In fact, they very well might be.

Rather, such sensibility stands in stark contrast with summer incidents such as Mario Balotelli’s puerile bottle-throwing following his substitution that was induced by an audacious but failed back-flick, the ridiculous post-match brawl following the Venezuela-Peru Copa America semi-final, the FIFA bribery allegations and of course, overly self-indulgent transfer sagas.

Eventually, Barclays Premier League games will go on and the childishness will return. Yet, it is warming to know that there are plenty of mature heads and humility in football still.

For many of the innocent individuals whose lives have been tarnished by acts of sheer irresponsibility and mindlessness, football will not fill the voids in their lives.

However, for English football fans and more importantly, for those affected, football will soon return and provide a welcome distraction.

And that is a silver lining we can all look towards to.