We’re inviting some of our Twitter friends to share some of their ‘Pre’ and ‘Post Match’ thoughts with us from now on. You can still enjoy my nonsensical, confusing punctuation buffets, below their personal views on the game…
It’s impossible to look back on Sunday afternoon’s match without focussing on the allegations raised by Chelsea regarding Mark Clattenburg, so let’s deal with it now. If the FA are truly serious about combating racism in our country, Clattenburg (if he hasn’t already) should be suspended from refereeing football matches at any level until the investigation is concluded. They’ve acted swiftly by releasing a statement intimating that this is already under way, but the challenge now is to react to these allegations purposefully and swiftly. If they’ve learnt anything from dealing with Terry and Suarez, then the FA will know how important it is not to let this incident and the subsequent investigation dominate the back pages for the coming months. If found guilty, Mark Clattenburg should never referee another football match. And I’m done.
Now, hands up how many United fans feel truly bad for Chelsea after Clattenburg’s decisions? I’m sure some do, but to be frank, we’ve been rogered out of points at Stamford Bridge often enough that whilst there’s some (a tiny) measure of sympathy after Clattenburg incorrectly killed the game off with the second red card, I’ll certainly not be getting down on bended knee humbling begging forgiveness for winning. United looked hungry, well-organised and purposeful for half an hour before Chelsea came back into it and were it not for those red cards, I wasn’t sure we would raise ourselves to take the lead again. Certainly wasn’t looking that way until Young broke free, anyway. Regardless, a win’s a win’s a win, and it’s a great result against the best team in the league at the moment.
With Arsenal very pointedly on the horizon on Saturday lunchtime and midweek appointment in Braga a few days afterwards, there is approximately a 2.7% chance of seeing the same side line-up on Wednesday night as we saw at the weekend (barring an outbreak of very specifically-targeted food poisoning). This is the type of match that Buttner, Anderson, Welbeck, Hernandez (as he won’t start on Saturday) and Fletcher could really use, and a chance for some combination of Vermijl, Keane and Wootton to get a game. The former looked very impressive against Newcastle last month, and it’ll be a valuable game for everyone that starts. We’d all love United to win and get through to the next round, and it could be a great tie, but if we lose, the apocalypse won’t come knocking.
This game has come way to soon after the weekend – especially in light of all the controversy surrounding the allegations made against Mark Clattenburg. We’re heading for a real life fright night, befitting of the fixture’s Halloween date. The hangover from the boiling tensions of Sunday – regardless of personnel changes – I’m convinced, can only mean one thing … more flash points.
I think our squad is capable of dealing with wholesale changes, but then Chelsea’s is by no means weak and if anything they do suit winning the cup this year, what with it being sponsored by that evil credit card company and all (LOL?!?!?!).
I always find talking about League Cup games in advance tough, because it’s difficult to judge what kind of team we’re going to put out. Fergie has been fielding fairly strong sides in it this season, maybe it’s just that our squad is much stronger.
It’s going to be a humdinger in League Cup terms – let’s hope we can enjoy it without too many talking points rearing their ugly heads.
Prediction: Win on pens. 2-2 (aet)
Goals: Danny, Ashley Young