The Monday TackleSeptember 19, 2016
Here’s Maitha with this week’s instalment of TMT. I would have said more in the intro, but I’m not the one you’re dying to hear from, right? Another horrible outing for his beloved United by the way!
- Oh captain, my captain
It was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who told Pep Guardiola that he bought a Ferrari (Zlatan) and drove it like a Fiat, before telling the world that Jose Mourinho is a better coach than Pep. Fate, it seems, is not without a touch of irony. As the Pep Revolution marches on in Manchester, it is Jose who could be accused of buying a Ferrari, and driving it, no, pushing it like a mkokoteni full of cabbages in Marikiti.
Enter Paul Pogba, the 90 million pound dab merchant changing hairstyles more than I change my mind. He’s being asked to sit in a midfield two with that waste of a good blonde Afro, Fellaini, when none of them is an actual holding midfielder. Zlatan is being asked to lead the line and play off the shoulder of the last man when his pace all but betrays the fact that he is 34. All this to accommodate Captain Leader Legend Almost Top Scorer, Wayne Rooney, Lord of Old Trafford, Father of Kai, Kicker of Misplaced Passes, Passer to No-one but Valencia, with the leaden first touch of the average Third Former in an afternoon Fasihi lesson after a hearty lunch of ugali with a PE lesson squeezed just prior.
It is so blindingly obvious to everyone that Wayne Rooney is done, which happened around 4 years ago. Fergie saw it and started rationing his games. Only for David Moyes to show he had a weaker spine than Tommen Baratheon and gave him a new five-year 300k pounds A WEEK contract (oh, and mention that Robin van Persie wasn’t a better striker). Louis van Gaal, the Philosopher, made him captain and started playing him in midfield, a tradition carried on by Roy Hodgson at Euro 2016. Jose Mourinho plays him in the number 10 role where he shows plenty of pace, power and puffing, with the occasional rant and swearing at the referee instead of putting in a decent cross. I particularly loved how he went to complain to the ref when Marcus Rashford was busy scoring. How else do you demonstrate leadership? In the words of Rudyard Kipling “If you can lose your head and blame everyone else around you…you’ll be a captain, my son.”
The simple solution is to bench Rooney and revert to a 4-3-3. It’s not like Jose has never dropped a living legend, nay, a Saint (Iker) before. Except that United tried that on Thursday in everyone’s favourite/most useless cup competition and failed miserably.
- Tactical Conte? Please.
Everyone was raving about how much of a tactical genius Antonio Conte is. This was a man who had won Serie A unbeaten. He was a mere pelanty shootout away from beating the world champions with arguably the worst Italy squad in years. Yet all this fine reputation was sullied by Dejan Lovren’s goal. The Chelsea defence was absolutely frozen, brazen in their complicity to hand over the easiest goal Lovren (YES! LOVREN!) would ever score. C’mon folks, I thought you said this guy was a tactical genius.
- Beware the curse of 2016
2016 was supposed to be Alan Pardew’s year. FA Cup winner and future England manager. Except that Crystal Palace seemed to confirm everyone’s hunch that 2016 was the worst year in history by not winning a single match this year, until last week. The new signings Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke have chipped in massively. Wilfried Zaha looks like the man who deserved that transfer to Old Trafford. 2016 could be the year of Pardew once again.
- Four, four, four
You know the world is no longer your friend when a Tony Pulis team scores four. Or an ex Tony Pulis team scores four. Manchester City scored four. So did Arsenal. Hell, even Alan Pardew’s scored four. Everton and Watford almost scored four. You get a four, you get a four, you get an almost four.