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All Things Footie | Sunday, October 3 | Jordan

Time and time again

Yes, it’s been a long time (again) since I last updated. My excuse is simple—I’m on holiday. But here are a few quick, badly composed and not very well considered words.

A lot has gone on since my last post shortly after Cloughie bowed out. I went to the Manchester City vs. Arsenal game and was given one of the strangest freebies I’ve ever had before kick-off. Given the high profile nature and general unplesantness of fans throwing things at players, it beggars belief that outside the city of manchester stadium there were scores of people handing out free Manchester City branded lighters to passing fans—home and away. If it didn’t represent such a nasty side to the game it’d be hilarious.

In football, the big news (and one that even surprised me) was Wayne Rooney’s sensational debut for Manchester United in the Champions league. There’s no doubt it was breathtaking, there’s a lot of doubt about whether Fenerbahçe are anything more than an awful, awful side however. I mean, David Bellion scored for Clough’s sake. Rooney’s influence couldn’t help Manchester United today however, as they dropped another two points at home to Middlesbrough and now lie nine behind Arsenal after just eight games. The fans may have to wit a little longer for the new dawn they were (are?) expecting—I’ve said it before, but it’s a midfielder that United need, not a fifth forward.

Winning the league is rarely about being able to win 6-0 three or four times a season, it’s about being able to scrap out 1-0 wins on days when everything doesn’t go right—something that the United of Giggs, Keane, Scholes and Beckham could do with ease, but that the current line up is struggling to do because of varying combinations of age, permanent loss of form and lack of quality. At the moment, their strikers are doing all they can to ensure that they don’t keep dropping three points—grabbing last minute goals and scapping for points (in the Premiership anyway), but more often than not, midfields win you leagues. Overmars, Petit, Vieira, Parlour; Giggs, Scholes, Keane, Beckham; Pires, Vieira, Gilberto, Ljungberg. Of the current crop, only Ronaldo looks good enough to bring United any closer to their goal.

Chelsea look solid, but while they have a strong defence and a potent attack, they lack a real cohesion in midfield. Tiago is new, Joe Cole is inconsistent; they’ll need more to ensure they’re always picking up points.

So long as Arsenal keep playing they way they are right now though (and so long as they have thierry Henry), it’s all looking bleak for the rest of the league. I’ve seen some pretty impressive and outrageous goals in my time—Van Basten, Bergkamp, Ibrahimovich, Henry, Di Canio—but Henry’s backheel yesterday was just out of this world. Up there with any of them. Football’s so much more fun when there are players like him around.

Must dash now, I never feel quite comfortable in Internet cafés; don’t know why, must be all the old nerds on Dungeons and Dragons sites….

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