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Newcastle Preview and Ronaldo’s Contract

Another midweek game, another game I’m sure to miss thanks to work. Living stateside, midweek games are tough on the fan. I guess I’d have to rely on the next best thing; the recorded game.

Yesterday, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all won. And for all Arsenal’s troubles and Villa’s current position in the league, I suspect, with games like Villa’s capitulation against Stoke, the big four will wear a familiar look come May. [I may have to eat my words, but then, those words will taste sweet if one of other three finish out of the top four.]

Today we meet Newcastle. A team that has been in a state of perpetual shambles. Yet, we managed to draw that trainwreck of a side in our first game of the season. In my match day previews, every once in a while, I get the odd cretin from a rival club side sneaking in through the corridors of Newsnow to accuse me of being smug about our side [apart from other unprintable stuff; but we’ll not go there]. But then, when you play the likes of Newcastle, West Brom etc., what else can you do? Again, I could eat my words at the end of the day [which would make them painfully bitter], but then, one must back ones’ convictions, and all that pap.

Right, before I earn the wrath of the superstitious of my United friends, enough sticking out my neck for the day.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo, according to various reports, is set to be offered a whopping £200,000 a week contract. One suspects the veracity of a news story, whose origins are from the eminently respectable News of the World, but let’s suspend our disbelief for now. Now, the line of thinking from United is obvious: make a statement of intent, both verbally and financially, on the club’s commitment towards retaining its prized asset/star/commodity — however one prefers to call him.

My line of thinking is slightly different. I tend to agree, more or less, with Scott over at RoM: outstanding player, but not worth £200,000 a week. It begs the question, if 140,000 — or whatever he’s on at the moment, with his image rights added to it — is not enough to keep him happy in a contract that goes till 2012, then I really don’t know what will. Real Madrid will knock bang on our doors, offering sums laughably below his market value, and we’ll have to endure another summer putting up with, not only Madrid’s shit, but even that of Ronaldo (actually it’s not him, he brings God into the picture.) In passing, anyone recall his ‘Only God knows’ antics from last summer? We’ll he’s already started a bit of it, recently.

Ok, I may be going overboard, but the overbearing presence of Real Madrid makes me want to throw up at the prospect of wading through another summer of bullshit, for want of a better word. And if Ronaldo plays the only God knows card again, I will eat my shoe. In preparation for such an unlikely event, I have a shoe made of butterscotch flavoured ice-cream in my freezer.

Back to today’s game. It would hardly be surprising to see Vidic returning to partner Rio at the center of our defence. Evans will earn a well deserved break to give his ankle more time. The boy’s done very well this season — adds weight to Fergie’s decision to sell Pique to Barca. He looks the real deal to me. He’s young, but defenders peak well in the late 20s. I see a bright future for him at United. I hope he does too. O’Shea should play at right back, despite reports of a heel injury — Neville’s not likely, as far as I’m aware, and Brown, I haven’t heard much about.

In the middle, Carrick should definitely play alongside Fletcher, as Scholesy and Giggsy get a game off following their involvement in the Cup. Of course, there is Anderson who, for his exploits as a sub last weekend, could get a run out today for about an hour, instead of Fletch. Ronaldo will inexplicably play, despite running himself to the ground for 120 mins on Sunday, again. I would go with Park and Nani. Upfront, there’s little doubt Rooney and the BerbaCount will play.

SAF as usual finds the right things to say on our title bid and, what I think to be, the ridiculous quintuple claims in the media:

“You hope to disturb your opponents and I have done it myself because you hope to get nearer, but we won’t take anything lightly and we go to Newcaste on Wednesday knowing that they are fighting for survival and that it won’t be easy. It will be nip-and-tuck for all teams in the division, so we will not be falling into any traps.”

Right, I’m off for now. See you later, when I get the time to log on.

Oh, and before I forget, my prediction: 2-0 to United. Call me cocky.