No post for a few days as inexplicably the holiday home’s network conked out only to be back up and running again today, perhaps the farmer put some more rapeseed oil in the generator!
Maybe it was for my own good as after the game on Monday night I wasn’t a happy chap and feeling that life was decidedly taking the piss? My drunken thoughts as I trudged the three miles back from the pub (one mile per goal, thanks very much) to the place we were I was saying where along the lines of….
“Why is life taking the piss? I was so looking forward to this game. I love my family but this was my “me time” on a holiday were all you are trying to do is ensure that everyone else is happy. To whoever decides these things, you knew I was looking forward to the game, you knew the efforts I’d made to try and find a pub that was showing it, you knew the organising I did to ensure that the “discontent” about me being away all evening was kept to minimum. Yet what do I get rewarded with…..?”
Let’s start with the pub, what a brilliant choice! The screen was at the end of long dining room and the sound was turned down (which somehow made our performance look even worse) so as not to disturb the diners who shouldn’t be out at this time of night eating meals and generally getting in the way when there is football on!
Anyway enough of this personal noodling suffice to say the result was as disappointing as the evening and as predictable as the headlines the following morning which all seemed to play on the word “sheikh”. I won’t go into details, the game is now three days old, but overall impressions are that I don’t think anyone can say that we didn’t try we simply came up short on the night. The key area seemed to be midfield and although Gerrard was the main man he seemed lacking in support. Mascherano’s absence, due the Barcelona issue finally coming to a head, was a factor as too I suspect was that of Joe Cole’s ban. However, we seemed lack any guile or creativity going forward and allowed the likes of Milner and Barry, neither the greatest of players, to gain the whip hand.
Things looked up a bit in the second half and we rattled the post a couple of times but we did seem to look to Gerrard and Torres to make it happen! Even at this early stage, I’m beginning to wonder if we will rue the decision to farm out Aquilani so early. We need to unlock defences physically but also unlock them through well, playing creative football. We might have enough of the former which if you have players such as Richards, Milner and Barry can easily be battled against but what about the latter? Who in this squad is going to deliver the clever telling pass for Torres that outfoxes everyone, who is going to provide the bit of skill that opens up a defence or catches them on the wrong foot?
Anyway this is all early days I remember this time last year writing about Burnley beating The Mancs. Judgement is put aside for a while. We’ve had a tough start and all I want to do now is just wait for the next Premiership game so we can try and put it right. In between there is of course a trip to Turkey to face Trabzonspor which, given the events of the first leg and what has happened subsequently, looks to be an extremely difficult task?
The Turks put up a good display last Thursday which suggests there will be more to come tonight. We didn’t take our chances not least the penalty miss from Joe Cole and now we have Torres and Gerrard out inured. One wonders just how much this is caution on HRH’s side rather than anything serious. For example Gerrard has a back problem so I guess the last thing he wants is a long plane journey while playing twice in four days is probably too much for Torres at the moment? Also missing will be Maxi and Daniel Agger. The former is ill and Agger is still suffering from concussion after the knock he took last Sunday said HRH
“Agger played in the game on Monday which was to some extent against medical advice. He wanted to play but felt a bit sick after the game. That’s mainly due to the concussion he suffered (against Arsenal), so it would be foolish for us to risk him.”
I guess this gives us a clue about two things. Firstly the priority that HRH attaches to the league over the Europa League and, more disturbingly, the difficulty we have in defence. We are playing Agger against medical advice in a position (left back) that isn’t his natural one?
Prediction? A difficult one. We were under strength last Thursday and it looks like we will be today. Hopefully, if they come, we can take the chances we missed out on a week ago, I think we will need to. 1-1 and so the dubious “honour’ of progressing to the group stages.