I’ve just got back from holiday, it was lovely – thanks for asking, but before I went, my girlfriend and I had to go shopping to get some more dresses for her to wear whilst we were there. The reason being that she didn’t have any. I didn’t really understand that because since we’ve been courting (If anyone has a problem with me speaking like it’s the 19th century then I shall duel them at sunrise) we have been out to dinner on numerous occasions and I had always seen her in a different dress. My initial concern was that there had been a robbery at her house and she hadn’t mentioned it to me because she knows I’ve watched too many action films involving Steven Seagal and vigilante action and that I’m of the belief that if a fat old man can take down a crime syndicate/corrupt faction of the CIA then I could probably annihilate a burglar. She told me that this wasn’t the case. “Have you given all your old dresses to charity?” was my next question – my girlfriend is an incredibly loving, generous and charitable person (“she’s going out with you” – I hear you cry) so it wouldn’t have surprised me if she had given away her clothes to those more needy. Again, this wasn’t the case. Apparently dresses become obsolete once they have been worn once. Now all of this convoluted nonsense about dresses does actually lead on to a football related point….
Roberto Mancini, manager of a club that has spent in excess of £300m on players in 3 years doesn’t think that he has enough midfielders after injuries to Nigel De Jong and James Milner.
Ignoring for a moment the fact that one of the players that Mancini is having to do without is a talent vacuum and the other is a thug who is only 10% pass completion better than employing one of Abramovic’s bodyguards to assault people it still sounds absolutely pathetic when you consider the resources available to Mancini. Against Fulham City went with a 4-4-2 featuring a midfield of David Silva, Samir Nasri, Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure. Vincent Kompany was also on the pitch and has previously had a decent stint as a defensive midfielder. Pablo Zabaletta was on the bench along with Adam Johnson who could quite easily have started on the wing allowing Mancini to field either Nasri or Silva more centrally, or giving him the option to bring them from the bench if he was concerned about resting either of them.
Football very rarely these days seems to have any sense of perspective or, in some cases of irony. Jose Mourinho complaining about Levante’s ability to utilize the dark arts would be satirical brilliance that Chris Norris could only dream of, if he hadn’t actually meant it. Occasionally you do get exceptions to this, with Tony Pulis giving a quite magnificent response when questioned whether the traveling had affected his team – if you haven’t seen it yet then I suggest you get onto youtube. With a sport so wonderfully up it’s own arse as football, where Christiano Ronaldo can compare his multi-million £ a year deal at Manchester United (where he won stuff) as modern day slavery, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that people are spouting ridiculous tripe.
However just because it’s unsurprising doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get knocked for six. Fulham manager Martin Jol is currently overseeing a team that started it’s season sometime in the late 1990′s and if Danny Murphy gets injured then he may have to play Hugh Grant as his deep lying playmaker, although he may get booked for bad acting if the referee spots it, however do you hear him bitching that he doesn’t have enough players? NO! Because he’s high as a kite and has probably just ordered six gangland executions, but that’s not the point. The point is that Mancini decided to take off by far his best player whilst 2-1 up in a game that they had been leading 2-0. It then went tits up because Fulham had some belief, had a go and because City bottled it.
To even hint that lack of resources had a modicum of influence on the result was rather pathetic, because just as my girlfriend has plenty of dresses, City have plenty of players. Of course they may not like the dresses that they have, they may think that they’ve over paid on a couple of English dresses when they could have gotten beautiful, silky, designer dresses from abroad for the same price, maybe even cheaper, they may even think a couple of them make them look fat – but that is another matter.
Of course Mancini isn’t the only one to use misdirection and hints of something else to hide his team’s shortcomings, Sir Alex does it all the time and this weekend King Kenny managed to completely avoid discussing the clusterfuck that was his tactical reaction to the sending off of Charlie Adam. When you go down to 10 men against a team that can move the ball the way Spurs do on a good day, and they were having a very good day, then sticking Andy Carroll on the left wing is a bit like playing Karl Henry as a False 9. Add that to the fact that Skrtel was offered no protection against a rampaging Gareth Bale, who is neither awful or the best player in the World, the polar opposites that most people would have you believe him to be. Would a quick substitution along the lines of Carroll for Kuyt and a little reshuffle of Kuyt right, Downing left and Suarez up top with Henderson and Lucas in midfield have won Liverpool the game, or even salvaged a point? Who knows, Liverpool were second best even with XI men but my God it couldn’t have been worse than the performance that they got out of the changes implemented. You’d hope Kenny will be wise enough to attribute a share of the blame to himself and learn from it, because whilst his players were poor, I’d say he was easily as culpable on this occasion. That’s not to say that he’s a bad manager and improvement has clearly been made, but as with Mancini, it would be nice to see managers hold their hands up and say they’ve had an absolute shitter.