We’re inviting some of our Twitter friends, and now resident thought sharer Iwan Lenhert, 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 proper good ones…
Life does feel a touch more exciting after you’ve drawn Real Madrid in the Champions League. Since yesterday morning, I’ve written an excited blog post looking ahead, watched the match highlights from THAT 4-3 and mentally run through several matchday scenarios in which we march to an incredibly credible victory at the Bernabeu and give Ronaldo a Beckham-esque homecoming in the second leg.
Then I snapped out of it, checked that we have nine league games before February 13th and remembered that we should probably think about Swansea. I’ll freely admit it; I’m not looking forward to this one. We stuttered to a 0-1 victory at the Liberty Stadium last season, and barring a September dip, they’re a great side that haven’t really missed a step since Brendan Rodgers made his way to Anfield. Swansea play football that’s genuinely enjoyable to watch (when they’re not holding onto a draw for dear life as they were last weekend), and if Michu can continue this sort of form, then he’ll be the bargain buy of the year, hands down.
It’s at times like this that I like to fall back onto a wonderful comment made by the irrepressible Garth Brooks; “On paper, they should win. But we don’t play football on paper.” Yep, Swansea followed up the victory at the Emirates with a poor defensive display against Norwich, but they will be ready for us on Sunday. We won’t walk it, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be shocked if we drop points here. It’s by far the toughest fixture of the three that we have left to deal with in this calendar year, and whilst the performances since the Norwich defeat have been decent, this could well be a slog.
It’s very easy to get excited about the Madrid tie because it’s the biggest knockout tie we’ve had in years, and one of the best players to ever wear a United shirt (even if he was the stroppiest) is sheepishly coming back for a visit, but we’ve got a lot of domestic games to get through before we can start thinking about the Champions League again. Sunday kicks off a run of four games in nine days. We’re starting with what looks to be the most difficult with City host Reading on Saturday, who are currently propping up the Premier League table like a small piece of wood under a wobbly table leg. You get the idea.
The Entirety Of My Preview Can Be Summed Up By: Winnable, but approach with caution.
Prediction: Tighter than a Mr. Scrooge’s purse strings before The Muppets paid him a visit. 1-1.
Hopefully, there will be no opportunity to use the “*Michu!* – *Bless You!*” joke, although I think we’ll do well to keep Swansea and old tall-handsome-chops at bay. T’other old tall-handsome-chops, Laudrup, has transitioned nicely from the ground work put in place by Brendan Rodgers and Swansea are a real match for most teams, most days.
Fergie has already suggested he’s going to be hitting the rotation button hard and so I can’t imagine we’ll win any games comfortably over Chrimbo. If we keep to similar elevens to the previous two games (we need to) then we should get through this game. Fingers crossed.
I really feel like Danny and Chicha will be vital to this period and really hope they can make the impact required when we need them. Hopefully TV will show a bit more, and who knows maybe Ashley Young will hold off the impending stinker for another week.
Christmas takes over for me in these coming weeks – I love the festive fixture chaos, but I won’t be paying as much attention as I perhaps might *Gasp!- release the hounds on me!!* As I’ve said, I think we’ll take our foot off the pedal a touch with our six point advantage and City are starting to look like their 2011 selves, so, I think we’ll be about even again by New Year. Having said that I always expect us to win,so how that will actually manifest itself is anyone’s guess.
Prediction: 2 – 4
Goals: RVP, Young, Danny 2.