Old Futbol Buffet–Not Enough Time

Note: Due to other commitments and Juventus playing on Monday, this post is a day later than usual.  Plus I still haven’t seen the Juventus game.  I’m hoping to watch it later today and will add comments.

INXS so wonderfully stated my thoughts on the Not Enough Time single from the 1992 album Welcome to Wherever You Are, although they were referring to something a little more, how shall we say, intimate.

Once again, you’re welcome.  With my busy weekend and United’s dire form lately, I skipped the Wolves game, figuring I had too much going on to watch another turgid 1-0 victory over a substandard opponent.  What happened?  United thrashed Wolves 4-1 and, for one match at least, snapped out of their funk.  All because I wasn’t watching.  I do have that power.

Obviously Fergie is having my phone tapped, because I told my fellow United supporter what I would do if I was in charge–stop inverting the wingers.  After watching the highlights, you can see what a menace Nani and Valencia are in their natural positions, plus it opens up space for Rooney and the center mids.  The inversion causes there to be a party at the D, where defenses can just wait for all the United players to get there, snuff out the attack and go the other way.  Fergie, I’ll be expecting some fine Red Devil merch on my front porch soon.  Here are some thoughts from the Republik of Mancunia.

As I’m sure everyone is aware, United were dumped out of the Champions League, with a surprising 2-1 defeat at Basel.  They now fall into the Europa League, which I can’t see Fergie taking seriously.  We’ll know a lot more about the season by mid-January, after the gauntlet of the Holiday Program (although the fixtures aren’t that tough: Fulham, Wigan and Blackburn) and the FA Cup Third Round match against City.  If the Blue Half prevails again, then the league will be the only focus.

Everything is pointing against Manchester United: five points down in the league–Scratch that. Thanks to Chelsea it’s down to two and if Spurs win their game in hand (not now, thanks to Stoke), they will be one point ahead of the Reds; participation in the Europa League (ie Thur/Sun fixtures); mounting injuries (Vidic out for the season, Anderson in some sort of crocked wilderness and Cleverly touch and go); and tough games away to the big boys in second half of season.  The only thing that I can cling to is history—the second half surge (1996, 2003, 2011).  We’ll see.

Saturday afternoon was El Clasico.  My teaser is one word: stunner.  More to come in my Morbo Minute.

I took Sunday off from footy.  I thought about watching Stoke v Hotspur Tottenham, but once my Spurs friend told me he was out of town and I realized how much I had to do (community event wrap-up, cleaning the house, finishing Community Season 2, and taking a nap), I took a pass.


Article and Podcasts

Swiss Ramble analyzes Manchester City’s finances, as they move from their “accelerated investment programme” (read buying everyone they can find) to meeting UEFA’s Financial Fair Play standards (read level playing field sort of).  Warning, this is heavy reading.  I had to take several breaks to make it all the way through.

It Ain’t Over til the Old Lady Sings

The Juventiknows.com crew were back in the pod to discuss the recent games against Napoli and Cesena.  Conte seems to be getting everyone onside and a core group of players are coming together.  There is some disagreement about how to use the fringe players as The Old Lady is not in Europe and therefore does not need to rotate.

Their conversation turned to the midfield, in particular Vidal.  When I watch Juventus games, I kept thinking that he was invisible but after listening to the pod, I have to realize that Pirlo and Marchisio are playing so well  that he has been overshadowed.  He works and carries the water so that these two and the team can be successful.  Something I need to keep an eye on in future matches.

Off the Ball

Last week in the wake of Manchester United’s failure to progress in the Champions League, Andy Mitten was on Off the Ball on 12/7 to discuss, and he confirmed what I had been thinking, that United have gone back in time to 2002-2006, with anonymous players (granted these players are not Djemba Djemba and Kleberson, but they are not Bruce or Becks or Cantona or Keano), not quite hitting the high notes and lacking that killer edge.  A local coach in Lansing and I have been trading tweets about United’s recent failure.  He traces it back to not signing Sneijder in the summer.  Maybe.  I just wonder if Fergie will have time to rebuild one more great United team.

Men in Blazers

If you are not listening to Men in Blazers, you have to subscribe.  Michael and Roger put out an entertaining pod and last week’s was no exception.  There were several laugh out loud moments, especially when they tried to compareLondonteams to theBaldwinbrothers.

World Football Phone In 

The panel talked about American players in the Premier League, as Dempsey passed McBride as the leading US scorer in the EPL; Vickery looked ahead to a possible Santos v FCB final in the FIFA Club World Championship; and Wheelock discussed the conundrum of Landon Donovan’s career, with things not quite working out in Europe yet being the dominant player in MLS.

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