Ped's Close Season Musings
After three weeks of almost joyous celebration since City became the Nation's Champions, it is equally joyous to (not) see the dearth of Stretford shorts on the streets of Manchester, this despite some seasonally wonderful weather when the streets have mirrored the colour of the sky.
On the subject of Stretford shirts I was in the store of a well-known supplier the other day thinking those new red checked table cloths would look nice on my patio, then I realised it was Chester Road's new kit for the forthcoming season. Are they ghastly or is it just me?
So Chelsea shot me down and did in fact win the Champions League...and in what style?#?
Fulham have for many years been the purveyors of undramatic football in West London, then came Chelsea against Barcelona and Bayern and then QPR at the Etihad on the final day of the season.
Is West London trying to re-write the tactics of the beautiful game? Or is it a conspiracy taking into account that their teams are genuinely awful so their football needs to emulate that?
I wonder if that was what Eden Hazard was thinking of when he decided that West London was to be his preferred destination over the opulence of East Manchester, the soon to be Versailles of the European football world. With a player seemingly acquired,the exit door looming wide and no new manager in sight it could be an interesting start to the season, but it could be productive with their new found strangulation tactics. I don't know whether to yawn or choke!
I have long pontificated that City would be the next English team to win the Champions League, but to be proved incorrect by paint-drying football a la Stamford Bridge leaves one feeling disjointed, although in the home of their opposition it was an achievement of sorts.
At least when City do win the Champions League it will be with style and panache and Aguerooooooooooooooo!
On the subject of last minute extraordinary feats, the Etihad played host to Rugby League's Magic Weekend last week and the Hull FC v Hull KR derby brought about an City-esque ending. With FC leading 30-28 and only two seconds on the game clock, KR winger Hodgson ran half the length of the field to change the outcome, sending the Red Robins delirious.
It was noted that as a Hull FC second-rower got a try that it was the first time Manu had scored in a league match at the Etihad for two years.
And so to the astonishing developments at the National Stadium. With players dropping out left, right and centre it is astonishing that the likes of Downing and Henderson have found their way into the Euro-bound squad ahead of Champions like Richards and Adam Johnson. It is further astonishing that a presenter on talk-rubbish made a claim for Hodgson taking his begging bowl to Michael Carrick and persuading, yes you guessed it Scholes to emerge from international retirement. Oh yes they play for United.
That Henderson has been called up from the stand-byes ahead of Johnson is ridiculous. Johno adds dynamics that haven't been seen at Anfield for years other than by Gerrard, that despite them roughing their way to two cup finals. Downing couldn't cross a path let alone a meaningful football and the superb Phil Jones is put in the team for his versatility ahead of Richards, proven reformed and dangerous. He can play full-back, centre and even if necessary in the rampaging Yaya Toure role if you need someone to bust defences. I don't see that in Jones. Still I did enjoy the way that sanctimonious celebration of his was cut short at Sunderland.
Can anyone tell me exactly what Henderson is expected to contribute?
Is anyone coming to the Etihad this season? Hazard has said 'no' and so apparently has Lavezzi and Cavani. Maybe City will have to join Stretford fishing in the bargain basement. The words 'young' and 'future potential' seem once again to be being whispered around Sir Matt Busby Way as Nani today announces that he may have to move on. He must have slept well last night because he had a dream that he and Ronaldo are the best wide midfielder players in the world! Ronaldo, yes but Nani? Get real, Nani, you are nowhere near as good as Johnson, Nasri, Silva nor even the other two that are keeping you out of work at your own stadium.
So it looks as though City will play cat and mouse with their feeder club once again as Mr & Mrs RVP keep an eye on their retirement pot.
No doubt it will all start to happen once we get to July and we see who survives the Euros rather than getting injured and out for a season.
If the Pedmachine hears anything he will keep you posted, but I suspect the only thing to be heard for a while at the Etihad will be Coldplay and Bruce Spingsteen. In some ways they reflect Chelsea and City. One of them is dreary, boring and flat, the other is full of energy and vitality and has been around the top for years, just like City will be.