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Vidic Returns For Kiev | SAF’s Plan Sounds A Little Dodgy

I am not sure if I should turn this into a preview post already, given tomorrow is the Champions’ League game against Kiev/Kyiv, or retain the roundup nature of your morning weekday posts. But maybe I’ll retain this as a roundup and consolidate team news and actual preview for tomorrow.

So let’s get on with providing you with your daily dose.

Vidic will be in the team for Tuesday’s game. It is a question if he would actually play a part in the fixture or not. Having played a sizeable portion of his football career in eastern-Europe, his experience at the center of our defence could be more than handy. But if he were to fail his fitness test, we have Pique who could continue playing at that position. I would be interested to know if SAF would dare to throw Pique in or go for the more experienced option of Brown alongside Rio.

Eastern Europe is always a tough place to go, and this wouldn’t be too much of an exception. Here’s the link again. The team for the game has already been revealed. Moreover, a second string side is expected to play Dynamo Kyiv’s reserves.

What worries me, however, are the signals emanating from the United camp. SAF had this to say:

“We’ve got Kyiv in our next two matches. Their two defeats mean they have to beat us, which is good. We can set our stall out to play the counter-attack.”

Setting out a stall? Or as others say, Parking the Bus.

To me that looks like a return to the much maligned 4-3-3 system. Something he tends to use in Europe a lot. SAF is clearly planning to play safe here, something which is not really necessary. On the back of such an amazing set of wins, confidence is high and it wouldn’t hurt to continue our policy of attacking at all costs. Kyiv may not be mugs at home, but they are at best an average side, with due respect to the Ukranian league. We need to win for sure so that we can breathe easy for the subsequent matches. So I just hope we don’t get too circumspect with our game plan.

That said, a 4-3-3 looks certain because I would expect SAF to bench Tevez because of his involvement in South America for Argentina. Ronaldo should be back, though, with either of Giggs or Nani benched.

There, I’ve done it. I’ve ended up writing a preview already. Oh well. If I have nothing to talk about tomorrow, I can always link back to this post. So, all is well then.

Finally it’s interesting how the media is now cheerfully ejaculating in public over Wayne Rooney and, to a lesser extent, his partnership with Carlos Tevez.

Let me quote a bit from the papers:

The Independent:
After a midweek in which they travelled almost 24,000 miles between them to play for their countries – 20,226 for Carlos Tevez to Caracas via Buenos Aires and back, 3,156 for Wayne Rooney to Moscow – came the clearest sign yet that the bold partnership between the two strikers is coming together. Maybe it agrees with their metabolisms which, given they play away in the Champions League to Dynamo Kiev tomorrow evening, is a relief.

The Telegraph (Which was effusive in its praise. I would be interested to read earlier articles by the author, especially post-Russia and pre-Villa):
“Rooney had been centrally involved in England’s unhappy retreat from Moscow three days earlier, and he had just inflicted serious damage to Villa’s disintegrating defence, turning a 1-0 deficit into a four-goal romp. Forty years ago, George Best would have been given a standing ovation.[…]Rooney’s partnership with Carlos Tevez was almost telepathic at times.[…]Villa found them impossible to handle.[…]it summed up Villa’s inability to deal with world-class opponents.”

And, finally, The Guardian:
“For some players there would be a temptation to hide after a chastening experience with their country but Wayne Rooney could not go missing if he tried. Torment had been etched across his face after England’s defeat in Russia last week but this was an occasion when there was so much pleasure to be taken that he could even laugh after being nutmegged by Ashley Young in injury-time.”

Quite interesting, I must say. It is a little similar to the time when we were written off by every part-time hack in town prior to the start of last season only for everyone to go gaga after the Fulham opener. But then that’s how they earn their bread and we’ll have to live with that. Although, make no mistake, I am not complaining too much about all the plaudits Rooney, Tevez and co are getting at the moment.

And yes, before I end this, a word about Mark Clattenburg and the Merseyside derby game. Yes, you guessed it right; it was a disgrace. Everton had every right to feel aggrieved about losing out to the ‘dippers. The only reasonable shout for penalty, all game, was when Carragher dragged down the Everton player in the dying moments. Oh yes, Phil Neville’s ‘goal keeper’ save was hilarious, and was a text book penalty plus red card. And there was the small matter of Kuyt not seeing red, while Hibbert got sent-off for a foul he did not commit — thanks to Stevie G’s kind words of advice to Clattenburg on his take on the laws of the game.

Why do I care about this? Two reasons really. One, the ‘dippers didn’t drop points today; I always want them to drop points. And, two, Liverpool do get plenty of help from officials whether they accept it or not. It’s just so much more annoying that we get accused of getting all the good decisions our way.

And there is one more bonus reason: Gerrard is a diving, cheating, mean old cunt who remains a messiah in the eyes of most, while Ronaldo just needs to fall down genuinely for the vultures to start circling around him.

Are these people the most myopic lot that ever existed in humankind?

On that sore note I end today’s rant. Will be back with a preview, hopefully, tomorrow.