I know everyone was saying that yesterday's game between Manchester United and Crawley Town captured the beauty of the FA Cup, but for my money, the Everton victory over Chelsea on penalty kicks was by far the match of the day. I'd rather see a cracking game between two sides, even if they're both from the top flight, any day of the week than the dreadful 1-nil victory (I should refer to the game as a draw, because Crawley certainly deserved one) that I suffered through later in the afternoon.
Nevertheleess, faithful reader, herewith my thoughts on the Red Devil Civil War, not necessarily as they occurred, and clearly not in the unedited manner in which they popped into my head, but straight from the heart:
- I noticed throughout the match that Singha Beer advertisements were prominently displayed on the electronic sideboard advertising at the Theater of Dreams. I know it's about the money these days, but as a beer connoisseur (and someone who writes for a football blog which prominently features beer reviews), could Manchester United please, please, please choose a beer sponsor whose product doesn't taste like piss? I also noticed the new DHL ads. The commercial services division of United must be working overtime.
- Tomas Kuszczak has to be well and truly gone this summer. We haven't seen the Pole in Goal for a while now, and new boy Anders Lindegaard seems to be Vandy's new backup man.
- Full credit to Crawley Town for keeping their composure today. The team wasn't awed by their surroundings or blown away by the experience of playing United, and more than gave their own throughout the match. In fact, I couldn't see much difference between the non-league side and the United reserves on display.
- On the bright side, I was glad to see Wes Brown get on the board. The long-time club servant has been in the dog house for much of the season due to a sumertime spat with SAF, so it was nice him get the game-winning (in fact, the only) goal, and maybe -- just maybe -- find a way back into the bossman's good graces.
- Also, for all those Darren Gibson-bashers out there: sure, he was $hite in the second half, but so was everyone else, and please note that it was the Irishman's well-placed cross that led to Brown's opening score, and just prior to that kick Gibson laid an inch perfect half-pitch pass at the feet of Chicharito. Unfortunately the young Mexican's touch deserted him on this occasion, but Gibson's skills were on display midway through the first half.
- I couldn't help but notice that Steve Evans, the Crawley Town coach, has a monogrammed puffer coat, and it leads me to ask the following question: Why do so many football coaches in England wear puffer coats which display their extra-large monograms? Is it an ego thing, or are they just easily confused as to whose jacket it is in the locker room? (I've even imagined the conversation that led to this trend: "I'm sorry, Carlo, I believe you're wearing my jacket. It says 'Michael Emenalo' right on the tag inside, but I'm certain you must have overlooked that when you slipped it on. I'll ask the uniform boys to put our monograms on the jackets so this type of mixup doesn't happen again.")
- In any event, I've always admired Fergie for going his own sartorial way in sideline attire. I love the distinguished jacket with the zip up collar that he comes out in every weekend.
- I have to admit I nearly fell of my chair to see Wayne Rooney jog onto the pitch to begin the second half. Maybe Sir Alex wanted Rooney and Chicharito to work on their partnership, but seriously: is this the best use of Rooney with the upcoming fixture list -- four road games in ten days? Just as worrying was to see Chris Smalling introduced for Rafael -- another player I would have liked to have seen rested given Rio's current state of fitness.
- Speaking of Rafael, he and his brother Fabio have a serious penchant for getting injured. I can't remember the last time I saw both of them make it through a full ninety. Maybe the United coaching staff should cover them in bubble wrap before the next game.
- United look very thin on the wings this afternoon, and Antonio Valencia and Park Ji-Sung can't get back quickly enough. Gabriel Obertan looked incredibly ordinary on the left this afternoon, and Bebe looked absolutely puzzling on the right. Puzzling, as in a "what on earth is he doing?" type of poor from the Portuguese wideman. Thank God for @luisnani (new to Twitter as of yesterday!), or United would be seriously up against it for width in the first squad right now.
- Too may giveaways from the home side today. Chicharito, Rooney, Bebe, you name the player, he gave it away. The midfield, wingers and forwards were pi$$-poor this afternoon.
- United looked horrendously slow in the second half. It was bad enough in the game's first half, when United just didn't move the ball quickly enough, but in the second half it was as if they were playing in slow motion. Or on quicksand.
- And speaking of the pitch, (or more properly, writing about the pitch), did I actually hear one of the television announcers say that the Old Trafford pitch isn't a great surface, but it's "better than most non-league surfaces?". Was he kidding? Is there a single non- league pitch that matches Old Trafford's, or was he just looking to take his hyperbole out for some exercise?
This is farlieonfootie for February 19.