“The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur in 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship”
Knee jerking is the football fans favourite hobby.
We love nothing more than to have a good moan and sometimes even a cry, when our clubs misfire and perform like they are a bunch of pub footballers.
The collective skin of The Faithful is sore and swollen this morning, after a second defeat in just a few days. United being beaten is not a new thing. United playing very poorly is not a new thing…but us spoiled fans are not used to the two things together on a regular basis. More worryingly, what has become more concerning is the trend of ‘apathetic United’…the team playing within themselves. Replacing flair with function. Having a mindset to just do enough rather than use the steamroller…as was once the United tradition. And the reasons for this shine like a beacon.
On display last night was the full inglorious ecosystem of what has been happening to the MUFC food-chain over the last couple of years. You could even highlight this period of time with the term ‘Post-Ronaldo’ ..That’s not to say the United cannot survive, function or win without Ron. But it is certainly the only point I can pin point where we have seen a sea change in our team’s DNA. If Rooney really WAS troubled by the lack of quality when he was having his…ahem..’contract troubles’..there is every possibility he will feel all that again come the close of this January transfer window, when he looks round at his team mates in training.
Without wanting to sound hypocritical, I think the overall quality of the squad is good. It is solid. It has a bit of depth. It has the ability to compete…but only on the most basic of levels. What is missing is creativity and flair. Players who can not only function in a unit, but can also do a proverbial Giggs vs Arsenal FA Cup Semi 1999…and skin a team like a cat, all on his own. As it stands the only true players that can give you creative genius are Roo and Nani. And as we saw last night…when they can’t bring it, United look like a mid table football team.
Also, because of the team’s functional edge, once you take away a couple of mainstays from the picture, you start to lose inspiration quicker than you normally would. For us, losing Vidic and Fletcher…both dogs of war in the mental department, have bruised us than we would like to have admitted it would. Would City suffer without Kompany? For sure! But not as profoundly as it seems to be effecting us. No one knows which Man Utd is going to turn up every week as a result.
It is worth considering what is happening in the depths of the squad to try to understand whats going wrong post-Ronaldo. Yes, we have a lot of injuries…..A LOT! This effects a team like nothing else in the game. So it is easy to say everything will be OK when everyone is fit. No. The issue of what is needed in the squad has nothing to do with fitness, and everything to do with chemistry.
Berbatov is our alpha-male centre forward. Yet last night proved why he is not in favour every week as you would expect from a £30 million striker. His undoubted genius and ability are offset by his lack of work to get on the ball. Put it at his feet then he is fine. But that is not enough in the Premier League and never will be. His 6 (excellent) goals in 3 games warranted he started last night…but his performance will mean he is 4th choice again come the weekend. He fails to show any consistent natural chemistry with any of the strikers (it is worth noting for reasons of balance that Rooney was also shocking last night) Then you have Chico who is going through a sticky patch, and has had his form hampered by injury since pre season. United are not playing the style of football that utilises his talents. He needs to improve many facets of his basic game, but we can’t forget he has only one year of English football under his belt – less than Danny Welbeck has.
I could write an opus about what is going on in the midfield area but I wont because it is clear the issues we have in that part of the park…where we still rely heavily on a 38 year old converted winger to play the most physically demanding position in the game, where other clubs spend millions on specialists. Oh if Owen Hargreaves could have had a decent pair of knees (been there, done that) The Phil Jones show has also come to it’s first critical junction. But only a fool would judge the boy on his last two games. As ive proclaimed he is not a centreback for me (though he himself will say otherwise) His ability to power forward must be utilised in midfield, rather than getting him to fight with the likes of Shola Ameobi. The boy is not twenty til next month, and he is five-foot-eleven tall…the same height as Gary Neville. Sound like a centreback to you? Not to me. Evra’s form is still all over the shop, and were playing a right winger at right full back behind another right winger. It is about as balanced as car with three wheels.
We are at yet another Manchester United crossroads, as many of us fans have seen before. The Blue Moon is indeed rising, and while they have their limitless supply of Middle East oil money that is not going to change. This is now Fergie’s greatest challenge. Knocking a stumbling Liverpool of their perch my well have been a Mancunian life goal achieved by the manager, but can he really overhaul an opponent who has unlimited funds when he is a 70 year old man? When he was 50 years old the masterplan was easier to construct and see through.
The year 2012 may well be the year Sir Alex runs out of steam and out of luck. Football is cyclical but lifespan and vitality are not. I have enough faith to leave it in the manager’s lap and for him to give it one last push..but personally I’m not happy with the overall football ive seen in the flesh in the last couple of years.
Mayanists may well predict the end of the world, but it feels like 2012 may well be the end of the current run of United dominance we have all gorged on for years…and if that’s the case then fine. We have had our taste…and like every club worth their salt…we will fight on and not allow results to affect our love for our club or our hunger for the challenges before us.
“…A New Age interpretation of this transition is that this 2012 date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era”
..But there is every chance that Fergie may pull off one last great trick. The future history is not yet written.