Preview: United v Stoke City

Ah, the international break – that period when Manchester United fans kick back and think of better things to come, a season once again disrupted by World Cup qualification. It is also the time when Sir Alex Ferguson prays to the Gods of whomever that his squad will return from faraway lands fit and healthy. Somehow, it seems, this has rarely been the case in recent seasons. Yet, Ferguson’s squad will be fuller, and healthier, for Stoke City’s visit to Old Trafford this weekend than at almost any time in the past two seasons.

Injuries have disrupted a season that has borne two Premier League defeats in seven games to date, while a seemingly ever-changing tactical approach has rarely been conductive to consistency. However, with all bar Nemanja Vidić, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, available for the Potters’ visit, Ferguson could field something approaching his full strength side this weekend.

Tony Pullis’ side will present another test of Ferguson’s sometimes fragile back-four, although counter to popular sentiment United has rarely struggled against the Midlanders. In eighth Premier League encounters between the two sides over the past four years, United has triumphed on seven occasions. Still, with a rare 3pm Saturday kick off afforded the Scot’s side, United has the chance to close to within a point of Chelsea at the head of the Premier League table by Saturday evening.

“Everyone came back from the internationals fit,” confirmed Ferguson on Friday.

“Which is a bonus. It is always a time when you’re a bit concerned about getting the players back but, fortunately, we’ve been lucky this time. Also Ashley Young is fit. Chris Smalling is not quite there but is making progress.

“Young gives us another option. As I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, the strength of our squad is the attacking options we have and we’re getting better with Darren Fletcher coming back which has been terrific for him and for us.

“There has been some progress with players like Nick Powell, who is progressing well, as is Tom Cleverley and Anderson is getting better all the time so all the fears about the midfield positions are evaporating quite well.”

Manchester United version Stoke City – Premier League, Old Trafford – Saturday 20 October 2012Ferguson’s England quartet – Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck – could all feature against the Potters, although Welbeck’s inclusion from the start is far from guaranteed. The Longsight-born striker scored twice against San Marino during the recent break, but is more likely to feature against Sporting Braga in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Ferguson will make a late call on which wingers to deploy – if any – with Nani out-of-favour, Antonio Valencia travelling back from South America, and Ashley Young only just available after missing two months through injury. United successfully deployed a ‘wingerless’ diamond system against Newcastle United at St James’ Park prior to the international break, with Rooney in the hole behind Robin van Persie.

In defence Ferguson may again rotate out David de Gea, while Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans should continue a fruitful partnership in the heart of United’s back-four.

Visitors Stoke arrive with defender Andy Wilkinson available after suspension, although Glenn Whelan misses out with a hamstring problem. Former United player Michael Owen, who has had a groin strain, could make the bench. The striker scored 17 goals in 52 games for United over three years and claims that he is “desperate” to play in the fixture.

There is little history to suggest the visitors will come away with anything on Saturday. The Midlanders haven’t emerged victorious from a visit to Old Trafford in 36 years, when Alan Bloor headed home an 87th minute winner. Stoke hasn’t gained a point in Manchester since 1980. Physical though Pullis’ side may be,  it has rarely gained any traction against Ferguson’s side.

“It is always hard to play against Stoke because they play a different kind of football to most teams in the Premier League. They are very physical and have very strong players,” United winger Nani told MUTV.

“It is also difficult because most of the game is in the air. We need to be strong and try to play our game.”

Although, with United having scored a league-high five goals from corners this season it is the home side that has becoming a surprising threat from set-pieces. In a game of many contrasts that is, perhaps, the most unexpected.

Match Details
Manchester United v Stoke City – Premier League, Old Trafford – Saturday 20 October 2012, 3pm

Possible teams
United (4-2-3-1): Lindegaard; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Scholes, Carrick; Valencia, Rooney, Kagawa; van Persie. Subs from: De Gea, Wootton, Buttner, Anderson, Cleverley, Fletcher, Giggs, Nani, Young, Welbeck, Hernández.

Stoke (4-5-1): Begovic; Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson; Kightly, Whitehead, Adam, Nzonzi, Etherington; Crouch. Subs from: Sorensen, Upson, Edu, Jones, Walters, Jerome.

Officials
Referee: A Taylor
Assistants: D Cann, S Long
Fourth Official: M Halsey

Form
United: WWWWLW
Stoke: DLDDLW

Head to Head
Last 10: United 8, Stoke 1, Draw 1
Overall: United 37, Stoke 26, Draw 32

Stats

  • United remain second in the Premier League after goals from Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, and Tom Cleverley completed a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Newcastle United two weeks ago;
  • Evans’ progress into the United first team has been fast tracked in recent seasons by injuries, with the defender contributing nine clearances, three interceptions and three blocks so far this season;
  • Evra, meanwhile, has won nine of the 11 tackles he has attempted so far this season, while also getting forward to deliver 15 crosses;
  • Cleverley is short of goals during a fledgling United career, with the strike against Newcastle his first in the Premier League this season – the midfielder has hit the target with four of six shots at goal this season;
  • Only one player, Papiss Cisse, has taken more shots without a Premier League goal than Wayne Rooney this season – the Scouser has attempted 14 shots without scoring;
  • Carrick put in an energetic performance against Newcastle, covering 6.75 miles, the highest by any United player so far this season;
  • The Geordie has also completed more passes in his opponent’s half (213), without being credited with an assist, than any other player;
  • Midfield partner Scholes has completed 189 passes in his opponent’s half so far this season, one every 1 minute, 57 seconds – the best passing/ration in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index;
  • Meanwhile, Stoke earned a point against Liverpool last time out, and could have taken all three points but for saves by Pepe Reina from Charlie Adam and Michael Kightly;
  • Kightly has seen nine of his ten shots at goal on target so far this season, an accuracy rating of 90 per cent, which is the best in the league;
  • Former Red Ryan Shawcross has has attempted 20 tackles so far this season without conceding a single foul, the most of any player in the Index;
  • Peter Crouch has four Premier League goals so far this season, but has also contributed 42 tackles, interceptions, clearances or blocks this season;
  • Crouch has also received the ball more times than any other Stoke player, with 289 ball receptions.

Prediction
3-0

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Comments

  1. Sidsidney says

    Stoke don’t try away from home. Pulis admits in his post match press conferences that they don’t play to get so much as a point against half decent teams away. They’re only capable of being all hard and theydontlikeitupem at home which means they’re not hard at all, they’re just fannies. So this should be a solid win providing there are no fuck ups.

  2. Mongoletsi says

    On the off chance they do have a go though; Scholes and Carrick might not be solid enough in the centre. Scholes will definitely end up booked at least. Might wanna consider Cleverly or Fletcher if he’s fit enough.

    But if Stoke don’t turn up, Carrick and Scholes will be pinging balls up and across and we’ll end up 3 or 4 nil.

    Just my opinion, I think I’ll run it past Herbie.

  3. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Always the same against these teams… there should be no excuses, and no reason why we don’t hammer ‘em… that is, until Ferguson plays some eye-watering line up, and we end up hoping more than expecting to win.

  4. Abba says

    When they start the match encourangely as they would hit them with a goal & when they try again hit them again that should waste them

  5. Sidsidney says

    Ferdinand didn’t wear his Kick It Out tshirt in the warm up

    After Fergie’s comments yesterday I thought he would

  6. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    sidney said:
    Ferdinand didn’t wear his Kick It Out tshirt in the warm up

    After Fergie’s comments yesterday I thought he would

    Good on Rio. Fergie needs to keep his nose out.

  7. marlon says

    Carrick/Scholes so slow to join attack and aren’t winning the ball back. If they’re not controlling the games why are they there? We’re attacking with 4 against 8 right now.

  8. Minus The Bear says

    I wish we’d kick on and absolutely batter Stoke now, teach them a lesson like times of old for daring to score at Old Trafford. Instead we’ll scuff through for 2-1.

  9. bman says

    Welbeck’s shooting is unbelievably poor. This is such an uninspiring team. Kagawa may as well leave us now the best he can hope for is occasionally being stuck out on left wing in this same insipid 4-4-2 with a journeyman midfield we’ve been playing for 3 seasons.

  10. threadoflength says

    bman said:
    Welbeck’s shooting is unbelievably poor. This is such an uninspiring team. Kagawa may as well leave us now the best he can hope for is occasionally being stuck out on left wing in this same insipid 4-4-2 with a journeyman midfield we’ve been playing for 3 seasons.

    Add Evra’s crossing to that list of player’s deficiencies; when was the last time he put a decent cross into the box? 2009?

  11. bman says

    Nice goal by RVP. The only thing we’ve got going for us are two top class forwards in Rooney and RVP. The teams that we should be measuring ourselves against are usually a class or two above us in every other area of the pitch.

  12. Sidsidney says

    Calvino said:
    Who gave away the free-kick for the Stoke goal? Just asking..

    Aye, he fucked up. But that doesn’t mean its a nailed on goal.

    Rooney crazily heads it into his own net FFS shite defending, shite decision making. He almost knows he’s going to do it.

  13. marlon says

    Welbeck playing as he always does – everything but the finish. Who would you rather play LW?

    Time to bring Anderson on for Scholes. Should be off already.

  14. bman says

    sidney said:
    Aye, he fucked up. But that doesn’t mean its a nailed on goal.

    Rooney crazily heads it into his own net FFS shite defending, shite decision making. He almost knows he’s going to do it.

    We used to have a keeper who caught crosses into the box.

  15. Sidsidney says

    bman said:
    We used to have a keeper who caught crosses into the box.

    To be fair he probably thought Rooney was going to clear it, but for some reason he heads it forward rather than sideways

  16. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Rio needs to leave ASAP.

    He can take Welbeck with him.

    Vida needs to come back and we can buy another CB.

  17. threadoflength says

    if welbeck was any other forward in the premier league he’d have a hatrick in this game.. meanwhile stoke have 2 goals from a half a chance

  18. bman says

    This has not been an attractive game of football. All these goals from crosses ffs, we’re playing like Stoke ourselves.

  19. Violent Banana says

    Still, decent win considering we gave another team a head start. We’ll need a massive improvement in our defending to stand a chance against Chelsea.

    Will be interesting to see how Fergie rotates the team for the next two games.

  20. marlon says

    In the last couple of games the fullbacks have been attacking a lot less. Hasn’t improved the defence much and isn’t worth what we lose from their attacking. Clearly doesn’t make up for the lack up energy in midfield when we play Scholes + Carrick. Disappointing to see Scholes so quiet today, especially after a two week rest. Carrick has regressed since last season – doesn’t do anything defensively, which was the only thing that made him undroppable.

  21. Sidsidney says

    Fergie is ready to roast Ferdinand. He said Rio “embarrassed” him by not wearing the Kick It Out shirt during the warm up.

    He also said “He will be dealt with”

    It seems even gestures regarding racism aren’t allowed when it comes to Fergie’s rule, and presenting a United front

  22. sheesh says

    sidney said:
    Fergie is ready to roast Ferdinand. He said Rio “embarrassed” him by not wearing the Kick It Out shirt during the warm up.

    He also said “He will be dealt with”

    It seems even gestures regarding racism aren’t allowed when it comes to Fergie’s rule, and presenting a United front

    Fergie is well out of order as he was when he had a dig at Jason Roberts.

    Who is he to tell these players how to react to the FA treating the Terry issue and racism in general with kid gloves?

    What happened to the fabled shop steward standing up to injustice?

    • Damian Garside says

      He is not growing old with style and grace, that’s for sure: Rip is saying that the Terry thing makes this little anti-racism show at best a confection, at worst hypocrisy. AF is saying we have to toe the line otherwise important people like him will look bad (be “embarrassed”) seems like his sense of a social and political morality is disappearing at the same time as his political nous. Shame! ( as we like to say in S Africa).

  23. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Fergie should keep his cunting nose out. Why shouldn’t Rio be allowed to show a protest against the hillbilly backwards FA?

    Fuck up Fergie and just worry about our playing squad and style.

    Concentrate on shipping out Rio and replacing him and get kagawa in the heart of our team.

    With Rooney, RVP, kagawa, Valencia and Nani we should be fucking teams up!

  24. says

    Bri,
    I forgive you for everything you have ever written i have disagreed with. I apologise for everything I have written that has annoyed you. For your post up there you are a top, top bloke.
    And you too Sidney. I am proud to belong to UnitedRant!!

    Dear Sir Alex Ferguson, the 4-4-2 formation with two strikers and two central midfielders is DEAD. Please stop playing this. Thank you very much sir. Regards,
    A Loyal Fan.

  25. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Cal… you are a right pip…

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  26. Pikey McScumPikey McScum says

    Ferguson 0 Rio 1

    And you can bet your arse Ferguson will not like that one little bit…

    Plus I knew it was only a matter of time before he got caught up (directly or indirectly) in this racism issue, the silly bollocks

  27. Sidsidney says

    Calvino said:
    Bri,
    I forgive you for everything you have ever written i have disagreed with. I apologise for everything I have written that has annoyed you. For your post up there you are a top, top bloke.

    And you too Sidney. I am proud to belong to UnitedRant!!

    Errr alright

    Fergie has made the Ferdinand situation worse by letting on that he’s pissed off. He should have just come out and said something vague & shite like ‘Rio is entitled to his opinion and we respect that’, and the story would have disappeared out of the news. But now a narrative has established that will run for a while – and that was the situation he wanted to avoid.

  28. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    sidney said:
    …and the story would have disappeared out of the news. But now a narrative has established that will run for a while…

    Yes. Thanks to this, Serbian football, and John Terry’s decision not to appeal the FA’s judgement, the guests on The Sunday Supplement will once again waste the first 20 to 30 minutes pontificating on the evils of racism, recounting tales of how bad things used to be in Britain before congratulating themselves that racism has all but disappeared in the UK, and wondering why the rest of the world can’t follow England’s lead in this area. I just want to watch a better than average show about football, FFS.

  29. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Calvino said:
    Bri,
    I forgive you for everything you have ever written i have disagreed with. I apologise for everything I have written that has annoyed you. For your post up there you are a top, top bloke.

    And you too Sidney. I am proud to belong to UnitedRant!!

    ** Hugs Cal**

    In all seriousness, Fergie shouldn’t be getting involved. I fully back Rio and he is a grown man free to express himself in whatever peaceful manner he sees fit.

    What would Fergie know about racism? as a white man in the UK? nothing.

    He is now going to try and save face and make an example of Rio….FFS….because THAT’S what he should be worrying about, not our defence and lack of quality in midfield.

  30. squigs says

    I agree with Ferguson Re: Ferdinand and Jason Roberts.

    Ferdinand has made a prick of himself yesterday, Kick it Out are not to blame for racism in English football and Ferdinands misguided stance helps no one. Ferguson should throw the book at him.

    Roberts is simply highlighting himself for his own future journalism and broadcasting career.

  31. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    To be fair to Ferguson, and I’m not trying to defend him on this particular issue, but he is actually a great role model for his generation, as far as racism is concerned.

    It’s the older generation who find the attitudes towards racism confusing… what was perfectly acceptable in “their” day, is now completely unacceptable, and rightly so… but for the most part, Ferguson leads by example for the people of his age… if he gets it occasionally wrong, like I believe he has in this case, I think it’s more a case of, right intentions applied in the wrong manner.

    For me, the real problem isn’t Fergusons generation, as they will pass away, as will their ignorance… but the new generations, who still manage to fabricate a philosophy for having a racist mentality, in spite of all the efforts to educate them about how wrong they are.

  32. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    squigs said:
    I agree with Ferguson Re: Ferdinand and Jason Roberts.

    Ferdinand has made a prick of himself yesterday, Kick it Out are not to blame for racism in English football and Ferdinands misguided stance helps no one. Ferguson should throw the book at him.

    Roberts is simply highlighting himself for his own future journalism and broadcasting career.

    No… I think you’re portraying Rio unfairly… whether you agree with him or not, he’s entitled to make this statement… English football may well be a better arena for black players than other countries, but it’s still got some way to go… and the “Kick It Out” campaign has no teeth… it’s just a slogan that by itself has become jaded… Roberts and Rio have actually given it a kick up the arse, and made people think that, “yeah, it’s not doing as much as it should”… and Ferguson’s not black… he’s got no business telling a black man how to feel or react to racism.

  33. squigs says

    The kick out campaign has teeth in England, in two high profile racism cases in the last 12 months they are two for two incidents of racism are relatively few and bans are handed out to the offenders. The fact we are so shocked by what happened in Serbia should highlight to a lot of people just how far ahead the game is in England. I don’t know how much more kick it out can do to highlight the issue. Racism for a long time has all but been eradicated from the terraces.

    • says

      squigs – problem is they’ve said *nothing* of value throughout the Terry case. Last press release “noted” that Terry had been banned. Hitting racism where it hurts there.

  34. marlon says

    Just read that in the three games Rooney and van Persie have started together, they have combined for 5 goals and 7 assists.

  35. Higgo says

    Jesus, just scrolling through this thread after yesterdays game and there aren’t half a load of negative, spoilt glory hunter comments on here in relation to the match.

    I’m just glad that some of the pricks on here aren’t in the stands with the rest of us, because we could do without “support” like that.

    Home and away and all over Europe I go and I don’t hear as much negative shit like that anywhere in the stands but on these sites it is rife.

    Unbelievable!

  36. Sidsidney says

    Aye ^ according to the BBC Kick It Out is part funded by the FA which means there is an obvious conflict of interest, and no doubt led to their silence on the Terry case. The Beeb also report that KIO operate on a budget of around £300,000 a year and employ just 7 people.
    They’re keen to make public gestures via stickers, badges, tshirts etc. but recently when a black player required a third party representative during a racism case, they failed to show.

  37. Sidsidney says

    squigs said:
    I agree with Ferguson Re: Ferdinand and Jason Roberts.
    Ferdinand has made a prick of himself yesterday, Kick it Out are not to blame for racism in English football and Ferdinands misguided stance helps no one. Ferguson should throw the book at him.
    Roberts is simply highlighting himself for his own future journalism and broadcasting career.

    Ferdinand isn’t saying KIO are responsible for racism in the UK though, is he. I don’t know why you’ve assumed that.
    And it wasn’t just him and Roberts who didn’t wear the shirts – there are like 20/30 other players who didn’t wear them either.
    So Rio’s gesture, along with these other gestures, has got us all talking about the issue and scrutinizing KIO. So it’s worked.

  38. squigs says

    Ed said:
    squigs – problem is they’ve said *nothing* of value throughout the Terry case. Last press release “noted” that Terry had been banned. Hitting racism where it hurts there.

    Ed said:
    squigs – problem is they’ve said *nothing* of value throughout the Terry case. Last press release “noted” that Terry had been banned. Hitting racism where it hurts there.

    They couldn’t be releasing official statements while a legal case is under way. In the FA case they probably got a result anyway, Terry publicly outed for what he is and away from the England setup. They are also

    I’m not exactly questioning their rights to not wear the shirts but I’m questioning the motive. Kick it out are a pressure group, I just don’t see what people think is gained by putting heat on their campaign. It harms Kick it Out and helps no one except Jason Roberts media career. Ferguson should throw the book at him for an unwelcome distraction before a match anyway. It fits in Jason Roberts media career, where it fits into Ferdinands I don’t know where.

    • says

      squigs – how about there’s no agenda other than the obvious one – Ferdinand doesn’t feel KIO did enough when his brother was called a “fucking black cunt” by the England captain. I’d say that be about enough for anybody not to support an organisation. Turns out that about 20 other black players in the Premier League also feel strongly enough about it not to support KIO’s campaign this week either.

  39. Higgo says

    Ed, because the articles are very good and to be fair a lot of the debate is too. Its the posts whilst we are playing that I find hard to believe.

  40. marlon says

    The problem is a bit bigger than just KIO. If Terry hadn’t retired what would the FA have done? I don’t think Hodgson would’ve had a problem playing him. At best he would’ve lost the england captaincy. Look at Chelsea – he’s still captain. No one cares what he said. It makes a few people uncomfortable but a short ban and a ridiculous fine (apparently a third of his legal bill) makes everyone feel better about it. Seen a few people start to say ‘look at Serbia, we’re fine’. It’s completely missing the point.

    During both cases over the past year the FA seemed much more interested in making it absolutely clear that Suarez and Terry were not racists than handing out meaningful punishments and the level of support they received both before and after they were found guilty is disgusting. Clearly it’s a problem if so many people think this is OK. If the FA money is coming with strings attached, KIO is a pretty useless organisation – little more than a cheap PR stunt the FA can shout about. It would have been a big endorsement for their work if Rio had worn the t-shirt, and frankly, they don’t deserve it.

  41. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    Jesus, just scrolling through this thread after yesterdays game and there aren’t half a load of negative, spoilt glory hunter comments on here in relation to the match.

    I’m just glad that some of the pricks on here aren’t in the stands with the rest of us, because we could do without “support” like that.

    Home and away and all over Europe I go and I don’t hear as much negative shit like that anywhere in the stands but on these sites it is rife.

    Unbelievable!

    Perhaps you and your mates in the stands at OT should concentrate on not being outsung by the visiting supporters week after week and let us worry about how we react to what we’re seeing on the telly.

  42. Higgo says

    Perhaps you should get off your arse and actually go to the game. I can’t believe you have a pop at me and then in the same sentence mention watching it on TV. Pot kettle black and all that…

  43. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    Perhaps you should get off your arse and actually go to the game. I can’t believe you have a pop at me and then in the same sentence mention watching it on TV. Pot kettle black and all that…

    As an American living on the West Coast, I would certainly rack up the frequent flyer miles, but, when I did live in Manchester, I went to the matches as often as I could.

  44. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    RobDiablo said:
    As an American living on the West Coast, I would certainly rack up the frequent flyer miles, but, when I did live in Manchester, I went to the matches as often as I could.

    Rob I was told Higgo has been slagging YOU off to all who’ll listen at the games….I wouldn’t have it personally mate….

  45. Higgo says

    RobDiablo, you mustn’t get the away games over there on America’s West Coast, otherwise you would see that “me and my mates in the stands” outsing every home team on our travels.

    It does my head in when I see comments such as Welbeck is crap, can’t finish & Kagawa should leave now & Scholes is a liability etc etc.

    Here is the definition of SUPPORT – “to approve of an idea or of a person or organization and help them to be successful”. Where do comments such as those on this thread I have highlighted above fit in with that then.

    Now go and watch some baseball or something….

  46. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Mate… you go to the games and support the club… good for you… personally, I feel anyone who spends money on United under the Glazer ownership is actually letting the club down, but that’s just my opinion… ultimately it’s up to you how you support United… and don’t knock baseball… great sport.

  47. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    RobDiablo, you mustn’t get the away games over there on America’s West Coast, otherwise you would see that “me and my mates in the stands” outsing every home team on our travels.

    It does my head in when I see comments such as Welbeck is crap, can’t finish & Kagawa should leave now & Scholes is a liability etc etc.

    Here is the definition of SUPPORT – “to approve of an idea or of a person or organization and help them to be successful”. Where do comments such as those on this thread I have highlighted above fit in with that then.

    Now go and watch some baseball or something….

    I will have to take your word for the performances of the United faithful as away support, although I do remember hearing the commentators remark that the United support was in fine voice on more than one occasion. Whether or not you have done so intentionally, however, you have chosen to take my—mostly metaphorical—comment literally and thereby missed the point entirely. Thing is, you don’t get to define the meaning of “support” for me or anyone else. When I lived in Manchester, I used to take some stick for not being a proper supporter because I don’t hate Liverpool—I love to beat them, but I don’t hate them. I don’t believe hating has anything to do with supporting, but there are many who disagree with me. The trick is to not let it do your head in. Argue with those who will entertain an intelligent discourse and ignore the others as best you can. Don’t pull a “Fergie” and tell me to “go watch some baseball”.

    Alf, I have to disagree with your assessment of baseball. It was a fine game, until the American League introduced the designated hitter. For the benefit of those who don’t know what that is, imagine Trescothick and Flintoff being able to bat in place of two of England’s bowlers, but without having to have done their time in the field. Also, television and its sponsors have made things with baseball even worse by introducing inter-divisional play. I’m a purist; I believe that if a National League team wants to play an American League team, they should get to the World Series.

  48. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Oh bollocks… nowt wrong with the DH… the bigger fuck up was restructuring the playoffs and introducing the stupid wild card.
    I agree with the inter league shite though.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  49. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    …the bigger fuck up was restructuring the playoffs and introducing the stupid wild card…

    An even bigger fuckup was letting all those obviously “juicing” players shatter the records of real athletes.

    Lowering the mound, bringing in the fences, wrapping the ball tighter (a harder ball flies farther), and lowering the stitching on the ball so that it doesn’t move as much in the air, all in the name of producing more home runs in the hopes of bringing back the fans baseball lost during a strike/lockout that saw the World Series cancelled. Television money has ruined baseball.

  50. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    “An even bigger fuckup was letting all those obviously “juicing” players shatter the records of real athletes.”

    Yeah, real athletes like Ruth…

    I take your point though…

  51. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    Rob, I didn’t define the meaning of “support” I took that from a dictionary mate.

    Would you please pull your head out of your literal-minded ass and try reading what I wrote. I did not say that you wrote the definition of support that you so thoughtfully supplied (which I’m fairly certain is not the only one available, by the way); I said that you do not get to set the definition of support for me or anyone else. And you don’t.

  52. Higgo says

    You stick to your armchair and you sad blogging then Rob. Why anyone would want to be on a computer putting comments out there whilst the match is on is beyond me, but each to their own. You carry on “supporting” United like that if it makes you happy. Your nearly as bad as those day trippers that come to OT to watch the match and then film it all on their phones. Why?

  53. Higgo says

    I will. Thank God we haven’t all got your attitude otherwise our, sorry my, great club would be knackered.

    Why should I stop watching the club I love and have followed all over for 35 years now, due to the current owners, who incidentally I dislike with a passion.

    You make sure you log on nice and early tonight so you can get all your negative comments in.

  54. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    You stick to your armchair and you sad blogging then Rob. Why anyone would want to be on a computer putting comments out there whilst the match is on is beyond me, but each to their own.

    It’s funny you should include the statement “each to their own”, when you are clearly unable to understand much less tolerate the idea of people who support United in any way that is different from yours.

    Also, I almost never post during the match—I’m too busy watching the game; I post at the half and at the end of the match. But you didn’t know that, just like you didn’t know that I live in the US and don’t follow baseball. So we can add ignorance to your arrogance and intolerance—three traits that do not make for good writing, by the way.

    Three times you have replied to one of my posts, and all three times you have failed to address the real issue under discussion: the fact that being a 35-year, home and away supporter does not endow you with any special power to set the standards of belief and behavior that qualify one to be a United supporter.

  55. Higgo says

    “The real issue under discussion” as you put it, was that initially I was amazed at the negativity to certain players, and for Christ’s sake, one of them was Scholes. He’s a legend and still very capable and yet someone is slating him on here. The same with Welbeck etc etc.

    I dared to mention the negativity and that I don’t hear anywhere near as much amongst fellow match goers, and it was YOU who went off on a right tangent about the atmosphere at Old Trafford games. Get you facts straight.

  56. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    any cock knows you support at the match, and critique/slaughter/moan at the pub or on inconsequential internet chatrooms like this one, or nowadays twitter

  57. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    “The real issue under discussion” as you put it, was that initially I was amazed at the negativity to certain players, and for Christ’s sake, one of them was Scholes. He’s a legend and still very capable and yet someone is slating him on here. The same with Welbeck etc etc.

    I dared to mention the negativity and that I don’t hear anywhere near as much amongst fellow match goers, and it was YOU who went off on a right tangent about the atmosphere at Old Trafford games. Get you facts straight.

    I see. Evasion and misdirection have failed to save you, so now you want to try being disingenuous. You need to follow Sir Alex’s recent example in his “misunderstanding” with Rio and start backtracking immediately. One inescapable fact is that, from your very first post, you have implied that your way of supporting was The Way of supporting. It isn’t.

  58. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Match Commentator: Hello, and welcome to our coverage of today’s match. Joining me today is Higgo. Well, Higgo, what do you think of the surprise inclusion of the exhumed body of George Best starting on the right?

    Higgo: Well, I think with Valencia injured and Nani performing well below his capabilities, Sir Alex is looking for a wily veteran to supply some of the width United will need if they’re to stretch the defense and open up some holes for the attack.

    …30 minutes into the match:
    Match Commentator: I’d have to say that the inclusion of Best doesn’t seem to be working out as planned. He hasn’t really got forward to join in the attack, and he hasn’t been tracking back to help defensively either. I think Sir Alex should take him off at the half.

    Higgo: Good God, man, that’s George Best you’re talking about.

  59. Higgo says

    I didn’t imply anything. That’s just you jumping to conclusions and forming your own opinion.

    I know what I meant and to reiterate it was the NEGATIVITY towards the players that you are supposed to be supporting that I found amazing.

    As for your last post that just shows what a complete knob you really are.

    I’m off now to get ready to go an watch tonights match, you go and boot up your computer and get ready for some typing about tonights “soccer game”.

  60. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    I’m off now to get ready to go an watch tonights match, you go and boot up your computer and get ready for some typing about tonights “soccer game”.

    Does that include getting your hair done as well as a mani/pedi?

  61. Higgo says

    No just my nephew. You are such an idiot. Youre not even slightly funny. Keyboard warrior, nothing more nothing less.

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