November 5, 2014

Manchester belongs to City

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It could have been a lot worse for Manchester United.

Thanks to some stupidity on the part of Chris Smalling, the Red Devils were forced to play more than a half with 10 men against one of the most explosive teams in the world.

Really, if City had been just a little bit more ‘on,’ this could’ve been a blowout.

Sergio Aguero looked as good as ever when he rocketed home the game’s only goal. But you have to think that he and the rest of the Citizens should’ve had more with a man advantage and United playing a central pairing of Michael Carrick and Patrick McNair.

You have to wonder what they’ll do with Smalling suspended and Marcos Rojo injured. This is a team that spent 149 million pounds in the summer transfer window and whose three subs in this game were Carrick, McNair and James Wilson. Where’s the quality off the bench with a budget that big?

While fans are still backing Louis van Gaal, it gets noted over and over that David Moyes – who was run out of town last year – was actually two wins and four points better at this points last season. And he had to deal with Champions League. And he spent 121 million pounds less in transfers.

Maybe it’s time for United fans to take their blind faith out of LVG and realize that he might not be the saviour either.


Liverpool were a slip away from winning the title last season. This season, the Reds are just plain slipping.

Liverpool year it is a mere shadow of itself. What went wrong?

After losing to suddenly resurgent Newcastle this weekend, the Reds sit in seventh place and have as many losses as wins. The goals have dried up too, with Mario Balotelli failing to connect over and over.

This is a side that absolutely can’t wait to get Daniel Sturridge back from injury.

It’s about time to start questioning Brendan Rodgers’ dealing in the transfer market. It seems that a lot more high-priced busts have been coming to Anfield than booms.

The list includes Fabio Borini, Iago Aspas, Joe Allen, Stewart Downing, Kolo Toure and a bunch of guys with which it’s a bit too early to tell, like Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Javi Manquillo.

Whether this new batch of players can replicate the magic that Rodgers found last year with the SAS could go a long way to deciding how long the manager stays on.


Charlie Austin’s goal was something else. On one hand, it was a highlight-reel worthy flick to beat the keeper; on the other, if it doesn’t go in he just wasted a great chance on an audacious attempt … I’m not sure the last time that this happened, but when have you seen zero yellow cards shown in a derby game like QPR-Chelsea? … Aston Villa – hilariously – had to cancel its goal of the month contest because, well, it didn’t score a goal in the month of October. At least it opened up its November account early before ultimately losing thanks to Christian Benteke’s red card … Southampton wins again and remains second in the league. When will the Saints slow down? … I’m not sure what it says about Everton that it couldn’t break down 10-man Swansea to grab the three points. It’s games like these that the Toffees will look back on and rue when wondering how it fell short of Champions League again … Another Sunderland own goal? Geez. At least it regrouped and grabbed the three points … Leicester City is slowly falling towards the relegation zone. An own goal by Esteban Cambiasso – the man with the miss of the season last week – doomed the newly promoted side.


Since the Premier League started, Manchester United leads all teams with a whopping 1828 points from 856 games, more than 200 more than second place Arsenal at 1615.

That’s not too unexpected considering how good United has been over the past two decades, but the interesting team I noticed was in ninth place: Blackburn Rovers.

Sure, it’s not too weird to see a former champion up here, but they have been relegated for a couple years now.

Another reason why it’s a bit surprising to see Blackburn in ninth? Manchester City is right below in 10th.

Of course, City didn’t become the powerhouse we know until recently, but still weird to see them down so far on the list.


Alexis Sanchez is on fire with two more goals for Arsenal in Premier League play and another in Champions League.

That’s awesome for the Gunners and for your fantasy team if you managed to squeeze in his huge salary.

What is of concern for Arsenal – besides letting Anderlecht come back from three goals down on Tuesday – is that it could be facing a selection problem really soon.

When this team is healthy, there are way too many quality players to fit into a starting XI.

In midfield and attack, the Arsene Wenger would have to choose from Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.

Don’t forget that Matheiu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo have all played this season as well.

Sure, it’s a good problem to have so much quality, but a lot of those guys are going to want to play, sooner rather than later.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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