England 0 Montenegro 0
Just as I predicted in my last post, The Empire fell, fell a little further and deeper into the slough of despond…and the Three Lions’ little roar was silenced to a purr. I called the shot, and the lads from Montenegro, in case you’re wondering where the fuck they came from, came through. They stifled and frustrated an English squad that by all rights should have won handily. They played with passion and character and determination, unlike The Three Lions….and they did so without their top scorer, Murko Vučinić who couldn’t start due to injury.
The real hero of the match was Montenegro’s goalie Mladen Božović. He made great saves and stopped everything the English chucked his way. The goats of the match were, of course, most of the England squad with few exceptions. Steven Gerrard ((who should have kept the captain’s armband)) and Joe Hart and Ashley Cole played well enough. But the rest of the team, including the gaffer, were rubbish. Mr. Face Of EA Sports FIFA 2011 was a non-factor. That would be Wayne Rooney for those of you keeping score at home. Rooney is not really as gimp as his ManU gaffer Sir Alex alleges btw…but he’s not been the Wayne Rooney of last season, that’s for sure. I’ll deal with that after the break.
Meanwhile, let’s raise a toast to the lads from Montenegro. Let’s raise a glass of Rakije to The Brave Falcons from Montenegro! Живели! Good job. And shame on England.
Manchester United 2 West Bromich Albion 2
To be honest, I still think Jonas Olsson should have been credited with West Brom’s first goal at the 50 minute mark….the scorecard shows it as a Patrice Evra own goal knocked in off a terrifically placed corner kick by James Morrison. But in my mind, as I watched it, and watched the replays of it, it was Olsson’s goal. All that said, it was the goal that brought down another Empire of sorts. For not less 5 minutes later, Soman Tchoyi slapped home a rare muff by Man U’s goalie Edwin van der Sar and what looked like, for most of the first half, was going to be Man U boat racing another hapless opponent out of Old Trafford, turned into a dogfight on Man U’s hallowed ground. In many ways, this hard fought draw brought home the hard home truth that Manchester United is no longer the vaunted Man U of yore and lore. And it might be awhile before they can recover the form that has made them the most dominant EPL team on the modern era.
Now I’ll be honest, as a Chelsea Blues fan, it delights me to see them imploding ((in relative terms, of course….this is in no way shape or form an implosion on the scale of Liverpool this season)). I hope they keep playing this lackluster, passionless football for the rest of the season. Now don’t get me wrong, a Man U team in bad form is still pretty damn good football team. But they’re not good enough bring home the hardware. Chicharito plays with passion, but he also plays with youth…he has a lot to learn yet, but when he does, look out…he’ll be very good. Anderson has speed, but his talent is not developed enough yet to keep up with it. Nani is great…but like Randy Moss, he takes a play or three off, it seems. And then there’s Dimitar Berbatov, who is great as long as he forgets that he IS Dimitar Berbatov. So there is plenty for Sir Alex to work with. But he’ gotta actually do more work with this bunch than he’s had to do recently. He’s gotta coach these guys up and I don’t get the feeling from their lackluster play that he’s doing that.
And then there’s Wayne Rooney…
All this Wayne Rooney natter is going to end badly for everyone involved. The word is pretty clear that he will leave Old Trafford in January. And that vision of the future will serve no one as well as they might imagine. Even if he bolts for crosstown rival Man City, or toddles on down to London to join Didier Drogba on my Chelsea Blues, or takes the Chunnel to the continent and lays his weary balding head on the lap of Jose Mourinho in Madrid…it just will not go as well as people think. He will be doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason and even if he winds up in Madrid or (less likely) Barcalona and learns Spanish…learns jovial rejoinders like “¡¡Cagomos en la leche de tu puta madre, Sir Alex!! ¡¡¡¡HA HA HA!!!!” well, very little of style and substance will have been accomplished.
Because, at the end of the day, the man Wayne Rooney has to look at in the mirror is still Wayne Rooney. It won’t matter if he’s still in Manchester, or in London, or in Spain, or joining Becks and Donovan at the LA Galaxy ((hallucinogenically improbable, but funny to contemplate)). No matter where he is at, he is still Wayne Rooney. And THAT is what has got to change. The MAN has got to change, not the team he’s playing for. His immaturity and irresponsibility off the pitch has already cost him a 7 million endorsement deal from Coca-Cola. And if he can’t find a way to man up and repair his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, it just might cost him the best long term opportunities of his playing career as well. I honestly don’t believe money would be an object to Man U in keeping him long term….they would and will FIND all the money he’d ever want.
What’s at issue here is the man himself. He needs to get his head out of his ass and get back to playing football. And he’s deluding himself if he thinks his current on-pitch dilemmas have anything to do with anyone other than himself. If Sir Alex gave him a bare ass spanking in private over his recent tryst with a couple of whores, well then good for Sir Alex. It’s what’s needed to be done by a coach. And if Sir Alex tries to save Rooney a little public by telling folks he’s a bit dinged up, well…right ot wrong that also what’s needed to be done by a coach. After all, you never get the truth out of Bill Belichick either. Rooney needs to grow up and have a little respect for that. He also need to grow and have more respect for himself, his wife, his kid that’s on the way, and the rest of his teammates who he’s let down this season. If Wayne Rooney were in the NFL, his ass would have been suspended for 6 matches, same as Ben Roethlesberger was. While I’m sure Steeler’s coach Mike Tomlin has had some strong words with Big Ben behind the scenes, the punishment came down from the league however and not the gaffer. It’s too bad the EPL doesn’t have a commissioner with the authority that Roger Goodell has in the NFL. It would take the pressure off a coach like Sir Alex. But in the absence of that, it’s still Wayne Rooney that has to answer the bell. No one else. Meanwhile. Big Ben has emerged from his suspension a more humble man…seemingly…we’ll see. Time will tell. Rooney perhaps ought to try a bit of humility as well.
As for Wayne Rooney, it’s in everybody’s best interest to resolve this in favour of Wayne Rooney and Man U’s continued excellence. It is good for the league, and despite what I said earlier, and as much as I hate to say it, it’s good for Chelsea to face the very BEST everytime they face Man U. I’d rather see us beat Man U at their finest, rather than beating a shadow of their former self.