Monday, April 27, 2009

It's a mad football world

Wowzer. Jumpthefence took a little sabbatical for a few weeks and suddenly the whole football world's gone more bonkers than Tom Cruise on a chat-show couch. The Champions league has been near brilliant, actually exceeding expectation for the first time in ages. The premier league keeps on giving us moments of magic, madness and above all goals and excitement. Some thoughts on the last fortnight or so...

1 Liverpool = good to watch?
What's up with that? After years of showing "control" under their manager's constraints, Liverpool are like a teenager who's gone to college and realised there's more to life than study. Goals galore, at both ends, as they've gone for games with a sense of conviction they were utterly lacking earlier in the season. For them, it's a pity they've also decided to add elementary individual errors; they lost points and were knocked out of europe in two cracking 4-4s because of mistakes from Reina, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Mascherano and others. Jumpthefence always felt Liverpool were more suited to coming from behind in this title race - they never looked comfortable when top, and the jitters hit them bad in January and February - and it might work out yet. But probably not because...

2 Man Utd = Man Utd
With Liverpool becoming the rampant, all-out attacking United sides of the past, Man Utd have become Liverpool, but now might be Man Utd again. The United 08/09 side won't be remembered for their rampaging swagger as Alex Ferguson had moulded and shaped a side that controls the tempo, that passes and passes in the knowledge that eventually they'll pass their way to a chance and a goal. They don't blow teams away that often; truth is they don't feel they need to play that high-octane, 100-mile-an-hour stuff these days. In ways it's admirable maturity and can be lovely to watch; in ways it lacks the thrilling sight of United piling bodies forward on the break.

And then it all went back a few years on Saturday evening. United found themselves two down at home and needing some serious tempo-lifting. Nobody would have been more perfect than Tevez to spring from the bench. Berbatov looked slicker and tidier and full of ideas in that second half. Ronaldo was more energetic and forceful than recently. Rooney was an absolute force of nature. United turned back the clock and showed that there's still no substitute for brushing teams aside by running them off the park.
We still think there'll be points dropped in the league, but it's very much in United's hands now.

Read about Real Madrid's slightly inconceivable chase of Barcelona here.

We're going to get back here in the next few days to speak about this week's champs lge, Roy Keane's return to management, some gaelic football and other random bits and bobs.

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