A few words--just a few--on Man United's loss to Real Madrid. Every other team in the EPL is feeling more than a little of the ol' schadenfreude as they enjoy their coffee or tea. Make no mistake; if the boot were on the other foot, Sir Al would put forth such musings as, "He's done that sort of thing before" and "A dangerous play is a dangerous play" and "(bovine scatology ten-feet deep)". I particularly liked how, for every single play thereafter, the whaling and gnashing of teeth of every United player (no exceptions) wondering why on earth they weren't getting the calls they flat-out expect to get every single time they take the pitch.
Look, SAF is a genius. I worship John Wooden but even the Wizard of Westwood has to take second fiddle when it comes to the staggering achievement of Ferguson. Has any manager in any sport enjoyed such extraordinary success? Will anyone ever do so again? No and not likely. And that in no way changes my opinon that SAF, like his team and like many of their plasticine fans, is obnoxious in the extreme. And, Rio? You clap your hands directly in my face and I don't care if I lose my refs license for life, you're getting your wrists broken.
I'm not sorry to say I don't feel sorry for Man United at all. Red Devil fans might say today was injustice. Those on the business end of ManU calls over the years would take away the prefix.
Here's the roundtable. We got four this week but, man, what a four. Feel free to share in the comments.
Fact or Fiction: If Man City doesn't finish second in the league and loses the FA Cup, Roberto Mancini is looking for work.
Danny Pugsley: Fiction. My personal view is to keep him regardless and that a trophy or second place doesn't alter that. I don't think it will matter to the powers that be either. What I'm sure they will look is who is best positioned to deliver their aims in the long term. Short term success won't alter this. Now, is Mancini the man they have in mind? That will be the key question.
Kmoney: Fiction. Come on now, who are we Chelsea? But seriously, RM has been, in his own words and mine, the best manager in England. He's right, he has won an FA Cup and the EPL in a matter of 15 months, and so he has earned his "keep." I also don't see City dropping out of Champions League position; I think that would be a bigger disappointment. A change will come if City get the majority of Mancini's target transfers this summer, and results aren't positive (i.e. another early Champions League exit).
Lafaitele: Fiction. Roberto Mancini will be fine. He told management repeatedly after last season that if they didn't bring in more top-class players, that it would not be enough to beat United this season, especially if they got RVP and we didn't. He was proven right, and management realized this, getting rid of Marwood and bringing in Begiristain. If Bobby had been predicting that we would run over everyone and then we performed like this, he would be fired. As it stands, he called what would happen. He will get another season to prove himself. ***We are not owned by Abramovich. The ownership is in this for the long haul and do not make knee-jerk reactions. They are businessmen committed to a sustainable model.
sonics097: Fact. I don't want this to happen should we miss out on 2nd and the FA Cup, but sadly, I think there is a good enough chance for it to happen, especially with Mourinho's future up in the air. Ultimately I don't think that both of these criteria will end up happening, so we should be okay.
Fact or Fiction: Totenham will finish third in the league this season.Danny Pugsley: Fact. They have posted an impressive performance this season, particularly since week 14 or 15 (thanks to shuddertothink). The win over Arsenal was key too, not just for the points swing but the mentality it will bring. It's in their hands and they will have themselves to blame if they let it slip.
Kmoney: Fact. The way they are playing right now, combined with the controversy coming from both Arsenal and Chelsea camps, I don't see them dropping from their position in third. They might drop points if they continue their run in the Europa League, but Chelsea is in that same position. Only reason I didn't say they'd finish second is because City won't let that happen, I hope!
Lafaitele: Fact. Chelsea is a mess in midfield and central defense, and Arsenal is rubbish at the back. Not to mention either manager who is currently under fire. Tottenham is an exciting team. They play with a high line, pacey wingers, and a strong midfield. If they had gotten AVB the striker he wanted, they would be pushing past City for 2nd right now. They will be an extremely dangerous team next season.
sonics097: Fact. Now, Spurs do this every year for a period; they go on a strong run and people start talking about 3rd and sometimes 2nd place. But this time, Chelsea look a mess and Arsenal are... well, Arsenal. Oh, and there's that creature named Gareth Bale. He'd look great in sky blue I reckon.
Fact or Fiction: Even if he doesn't win player of the year, Gareth Bale is the best player in the league.
Danny Pugsley: Fiction. I don't think he wins because the vote is cast end February and I think the momentum was with Van Persie. You could argue he is the MVP in the truest sense given his value to Tottenham but I think a continuation of this form is needed still for him to be considered the best in the league.Kmoney: Fiction. I believe that there are far better players in the league right now. First that comes to mind is RVP, as much as I hate Man U, I have a lot of respect for the skill, finesse and power RVP possess. His goals/game has slipped recently, but you expect that in a long season filled with EPL, UCL and Cup matches. Bale might not be the best player, but he definitely should win player of the year because without him, Tottenham wouldn't be in sniffing distance of Champions League position.Lafaitele :Fiction. He's having a great season, but I don't even think he's the most important player on his team. I would give that award to either Dembele or Vertonghen. Those two have allowed AVB to make this team purr. Vertonghen will be one of the best Premier League central defenders for years to come. Bale is an amazingly talented player who is in a good run of form. I don't know if he has the class to stay at this level for an extended period of time. I hope to be proven wrong. I worry that Tottenham will get a great deal for him from Barcelona or Real Madrid and that he will disappear a la Lady Edith (aka Luka Modric).sonics097: Fiction. He's not the best player in the league. He's up there, but I think being on a team like Spurs really helps his image as the guy putting the team on his back. He's also pretty streaky, and right now he's hot. Not taking away anything from him though. I would love if he played for City.
Fact or Fiction: Luis Suarez is the best striker in the league.Danny Pugsley: Fiction. I think his season has been underestimated given Liverpool's early struggles but he has consistently scored at around 50% of Liverpool's goals. I would give to Van Persie though as Suarez still lacks a little in terms of his conversion %. If he picks this up then he may well become the best though.Kmoney: Fiction. He is a great striker, but not the best. He is an extremely selfish player who looks more to score then to create chances for his teammates. Now, I was gone for a month (or 4 games) and when I returned to see Sturridge on Liverpool I was surprised. From then on Liverpool have tore up their opponents, and I think that has to do with the addition of Sturridge.Lafaitele: Fact. It's a close call between him and RVP for who is in the best run of form right now. However, I think that Aguero is better than both of them, but has been missing his spark for the past few months. Watching Suarez's hat-trick made me sad, since I was reminded of the kind of instinctual scorer that Aguero is. I can't wait until he can get back that confidence. He will be a rock for City for many years.sonics097: Fiction. I think there are 3 strikers who are a cut above the rest right now- Suarez, Aguero, and RVP. But when they are each on top of their game, nothing will keep me from believing that Aguero is the best. Both he and Suarez have great pace and vision, but Aguero is a better finisher. Very similar players though.
Fact or Fiction: Jose Mourinho will be the next manager of Chelsea.Danny Pugsley: Fiction. I toyed with this one and I think his options are somewhat limited. Perhaps he fancies the United job but that won't be open for a few years yet but if he went to Chelsea (or even City) does that rule him out. Mourinho wants control and there is a club that may provide him with it, plus the requisite funds: PSG.Kmoney: Fiction. I don't believe he is going to want to go back, especially with the situation they are currently in. Granted, the Chelsea fans would be much more willing to cheer for Mourinho than any other candidate, but he has also stated Man. U is his dream job. So, I don't see him leaving Real for Chelsea, but Man. U yes.Lafaitele: Fact. Fiction. I can't summon the energy to care. I think Mourinho is talented, and obnoxious. I don't want him in the Premier League because he is a tactical guru, but more so because then I have to hear 5x as many "Special One" stories and headlines. I wish he would just stay in La Liga. I certainly don't want him at City.sonics097: Fiction. I just don't see Mourinho anywhere in England that isn't Manchester. That, and, I think there are still some ill feelings leftover from when Abramovich sacked Mourinho. It wasn't a pretty ending to Mourinho's stint at Chelsea and I think Abramovich has too much pride to let him come back, especially because he would lose some of his grip on the club.