Sunday, April 09, 2006

Arsene must stay! And United build-up.

A quick-ish one today, I said most of what I wanted to yesterday.

Nice article here about our incredible defensive record, in all competitions, since February. Good to see Phil finally get some plaudits. I'm convinced he could be our starting CB for over a decade.

While I hate linking to the NOTW because it's a paper which exists through exploiting, or usually causing, other people's misery, [spleen vented] it's heartening to see this article. Yes! Arsene must be given an unbreakable contract for the rest of his days! Although I wonder what he'd do with £46m? Spend £2-3m on unknown youngsters, who'd all be worth about £46m each 3 years later, and then spend £40m on a new training ground? Or on English lessons for Jose? Offer it all to TH to stay? Blow it all in a crazee weekend in Paris? Either way, it's good to see the board thinking this way. And the Gourcuff rumour, first mentioned on here some time ago, seems persistent enough to be credible - although i did say that about Curtis Davies the day before Arsene ruled out any move for him. D'oh. Arsene staying must be sorted out though.

So, that's my attempt to get us all thinking about something else in the hours preceding the match. Fat chance I know, but thought i'd try.

Another thing occured to me about the game: the re-emergence of Louis Saha. I wrote yesterday that the key to shackling United would be to take Rooney out of the game; I still think this is the case, but I should have added that I think Saha's return, and especially his form since his return, have been instrumental in turning United's season into a real challenge for the title. He's looked very sharp in front of goal, he's quick, and unlike Nistelrooy he doesn't just hang about the box waiting to poach a goal. Saha compliments Rooney very well, and I wouldn't be surprised if United start with those two, with VN coming on as a sub later in the game. It's going to be a real test for the back 5 today, but I'm confident that they can do it. Some big tackles and saves will be necessary though.

As Myles pointed out on AnR yesterday, Adebayor will have to have a good game today. I think he could really cause United's defence problems, and give Henry more time and space to play in than he's perhaps previously enjoyed up there.

Either way, I don't think it'll be a disaster if we take a point today. We either win every other game and draw this one, or win all of them: either way we'll be in fourth.

Let's hope the North hasn't traumatised our dear boys too much; although, as pointed out to me by a friend, I suppose half of the United fan base will be travelling up from the South with them. United fans who live in the South - the lowest of the low.

On the note of disdain, Adieu.


Anonymous said...

No, the entire United fan base didn't make the journey up north; most of them were camped out in the Islington pub where I was trying to watch.

Anonymous said...

Tired legs on Sunday. Cesc, Eboue, Senderos, Toure: a season's fatigue was beginning to show. I think we now have to choose what to go for. Either way there's no guarantee of a Champions League spot next season but if we don't put our eggs in one basket we risk losing the lot. What could be more demoralising and pointless? My own preference would be to stake everything on the Villarreal ties and play the 'reserve team' against Portsmouth and West Brom. (The Spurs tie is another matter unfortunately.)

Lehmann shouldn't need resting, so the side could be something like this:

Defenders: Sol, Djourou, Gilbert, plus Flamini (against Portsmouth, though by Saturday Ash, in theory, is back).
Midfield: some combination of Reyes, Larsson, Diaby, Song, Freddie or Pires with possibly Walcott as well. Is there anyone else from the reserves ready to step up? Muamba? Ryan Smith?
Strikers: Adebayor, van Persie, Walcott, Bentner.

The midfield looks a bit scary without Gilberto,and I'm not crazy about Song at the moment, but there should be enough strength in the line-up to get us the three points. Remember how well some of those kids did in the Carling?

Villarreal, incidentally, have had their weekend game rearranged so as to be rested and strong.