Tuesday, January 18, 2011

True Mediocrity

Correspondent Ed and Friends Watching Spurs

photo by johnsnapevia PhotoRee

And now for an alternate take on the Spurs vs. Manchester United game, this time from our fearless correspondent Ed.  Although farlieonfootie is publishing the article unedited, the company is looking into suing its own correspondent for blood libel.  Most of his statements are patently false with intent to injure reputations.  In the end, though, coorporate has decided that the only reputation injured will be Correspomdent Ed's own, as his pathetic plea for help will be recognized for what it truly is.

When a team's best case for winning a game comes down to arguing over shirt pulling, and they still can't win with a one man advantage at home for the final quarter of the game, they aren't winning the title.  End of argument; Full stop.

Without further ado, here's Ed:

Just in case you weren’t sure why most people who hear about Manchester United being undefeated react with a yawn, today’s game at Spurs should answer any questions you might have.  United were outplayed, outclassed, and at the end of the day did everything they could to secure one of those figurative sweet kisses with your sister – the zero to zero tie (sorry, Britain, just not ready to use that “nil” word quite yet).  In a league where teams like Blackpool risk their very place in the league every week by throwing all but the kitchen sink at opponents to get wins, Manchester United preferred to send their entire squad into the penalty area for most of the second half. 
Great going guys. 
Way to show heart. 

Reviewing the contributions of United’s roster, I would have to say that Ryan Giggs, the only player in the league that may even be older than that Methuselah farlieonfootie, was the most threatening and energetic of his side.  Berbatov . . . wait, did he play?  And Rooney, who looks more desperate to score than The Situation on a trip to South Beach, just couldn’t help himself but shoot from every angle at every distance at every opportunity.  Too bad none of his shots were really any good.
Nani, the self declared best player in Europe (if you recall this declaration was made after he scored one of the cheapest goals in the Premier League, taking the ball in the last meeting of these two sides during some confusion as to who’s free kick it really was) was rendered completely irrelevant by none other than the up-and-down Benoit Assou-Ekotto.  Sir Alex Ferguson seemed to agree, and replaced Nani in the second half. 
Especially enjoyable to any Spurs fan was watching the Brazilian “wonder-kid” da Silva (sorry Rafael, you don’t get the one-name treatment in this column; especially not until you’re actually good) trip a breaking Assou-Ekotto for his second yellow of the day.  Granted, da Silva may not have done it intentionally – though that’s hard to know – but the call wasn’t as exasperating as Sir Alex and most Man United fans would have you think.  Let me break it down for you:  (1)  guy breaks past da Silva on the attack; 2) da Silva trips him. 
It should also be pointed out that prior to this booking, da Silva’s contribution to the game consisted entirely of some aimless and out of control runs, and playing the role of Maicon (a/k/a the “Matador”) by watching Gareth Bale repeatedly scramble past him.
Vidic, I see, was praised in a prior column on this very website, and I will grant that his play was aggressive.  That said, there was no need for the big Serb to trade jerseys with any Spurs after the game because he already had ripped off at least two during the action.  As readers of this column know, I’m all for physical play and don’t want the EPL to become La Liga.  But if you really want more scoring in football, how about calling holding by defenders especially in the penalty area?  What Vidic did to Van der Vaart, by way of example, could get you indicted in 49 states and most of the EU, but somehow was not enough to be deemed a foul in the EPL.
On the winning side (and I’m calling Spurs side the winning side because they looked it and because they actually tried to win), Luka Modric appeared to be the best pure footballer on the pitch.  Van der Vaart also played well, putting a header on a Bale cross just wide in the first half, and just missing the top left corner of the goal in the second after United’s “Little Pea” decided to tee one up for him in the corner of the penalty area.
The broadcasters pointed it out, and I would have to echo the sentiment, that it would have been better to see Huddlestone in the game than Palacios, as Huddlestone is definitely quicker and more creative on the attack.  And while Palacios played hard and was disruptive defensively, he has got to stop taking shots at goal because – like the 2010/11 version of Wayne Rooney -- it’s something he just isn’t good at.
I have one quibble with Coach Harry, and that is I would also have preferred to see Defoe start for Spurs.  United is big in the center of their defense, but I think they are vulnerable to the speed Defoe brings.  Plus it’s simply easier to claw at Crouch than Defoe because the little guy would have drawn the whistle.
All in all, while the Spurs were unable to get the win they’ve been waiting ten years for, the game showed that they were as good as or better than the so-called best in the EPL.  If Spurs can continue on the path they’ve been on since Uncle Harry took over, some day they might actually win this thing.  And hopefully for them and for the entire football playing world, it won’t be by way of a scoreless draw.

This is farlieonfootie for January 19.

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