Now that Euro Polkraine is well and truly behind us it’s time to look forward to the 2012/13 English Premier League. Last season was a classic, providing more twists and turns than a Labor leadership spill, with a final day climax bigger than anything in Ron Jeremy’s impressive resume.
As a devotee to the Church of the Red Devil I was devastated that the petro-power of Manchester City took the EPL crown last season, despite doing their level best to completely balls it up on the final day.
To challenge the noisy neighbours Sir Alex has continued with his policy of re-tooling with youth, which makes a lot more sense that re-tooling with tools. Liverpool FC, wearing their ‘University of Hindsight’ t-shirt, have seen the error of their tool policy as they look to send Andy Carroll packing, even if they only get some magic beans in return.
United’s youth brigade will be better for their experience last season. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are both playing under the massive burden of being English defenders who can kick the ball straight. Hopefully they don’t drown under the weight of expectation. Jonny Evans returned to form after a disastrous campaign in 2010/11, which means he’s back to being a great fourth choice centre-back. Chicharito suffered from the dreaded second season blues, but is too good a player not to fulfil his destiny as Ole Gunnar 2.0. Tom Cleverly received a great tour of the United medical facilities last year. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to walk onto Old Trafford in 2013. Meanwhile Danny Welbeck showed flashes of brilliance coupled with moments of Emile Heskey. He could go either way.
The new signings are interesting. Youngster Nick Powell has promise, having scored a handful of goals for the St Patrick’s Under 15 B’s last year. Only time will tell if he has Ryan Giggs potential or if he’s channelling Liam Miller aka the next Roy Keane! Shinji Kagawa is a proven performer after an excellent season with Borussia Dortmund. He should make a positive impact on our massive debt at the very least.
Young Mickey Owen has moved on, having amassed 1,324 Carling Cup goals but only 2 Premier League goals wearing his United shirt. Under the terms of his departure Owen is still obliged to fax Sir Alex his race tips every Friday. The twins Rafael and Fabio Da Silva have finally been separated, with local doctors confident surgery was a success. The procedure should leave minimal physical scars, but untold emotional damage could be irreparable. And United fans bid a fond farewell to Park Ji-Sung, who was so initially underrated he became vastly overrated. Park will forever be remembered for killing any chances United had of toppling City, using a Jedi mind trick to get a start in the disastrous local derby.
Unfortunately for United Sir Alex is still no closer to signing that truly world class midfielder who’ll be able to fill in the massive void since the retirement of Roy Keane. Giggs continues to defy logic by trotting onto the park week in week out. His alleged extra curricula activities with the-laws have had a positive effect on his longevity, but his walking frame is in dire need of repair. Scholes’ return to the top flight was nothing short of miraculous, but how he’ll cope when his colostomy bag needs to be emptied every fifteen minutes is to be determined. Anderson is no closer to fulfilling his potential. His compatriot Kleberson was a flop, but at least has the moniker ‘World Cup winner Kleberson’ on his CV. Anderson is still just Anderson. Darren Fletcher looks to be on the verge of retirement having failed to take a decent dump since 2006. Ashley Young officially graduated from the Jurgen Klinsmann School of Diving Excellence in the offseason and should be good for a least a few penalty shouts each home game at best. Nani still looks like he’s a better fit for a Jackson 5 tribute video. And Michael Carrick continues to be as inspirational as a David Gallop press conference.
The only players who truly set themselves apart last season were David De Gea, Antonio Valencia and Nemanja Vidic. De Gea played with the confidence of a newborn giraffe in his first few weeks at Old Trafford, but transformed into a world class keeper by seasons’ end. Toni V is an absolute bulldog who scares the crap out of opposing fullbacks. He’s a one trick pony but what an amazing trick, and singlehandedly carried the team to the brink of glory last year. Meanwhile Vidic showed his value when sitting on the bench injured whilst his teammates conspired to concede three goals against the might of Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford.
There is talk of another player being brought into the fold, but if it’s not Bastian Schweinsteiger or Mesut Özil I’m not interested.
What interests me most if the future of Dimitar Berbatov.
Berba is one of the most polarising figures in the history of Manchester United Football Club. The vast majority of fans insist he’s a useless, lazy sod who spends most of his time on the field drifting in and out of consciousness. On the flip side a minority believe he’s one of the most naturally gifted footballers currently playing the beautiful game, and despite his lack of effort and urgency, has the capacity for real genius.
I confess I’m a card carrying member of the latter.
Berba’s style is so languid it borders on sleepwalking. The way he coasts around the field you’d think his sole focus was to perspire as little as humanly possible. He reminds me of the 1980’s tennis great Miloslav Mecir.
Yet despite his apparent disinterest on the field, Berba has a first touch that would make the late Peter Roebuck blush. Whilst Rooney combines power, pace and aggression and Scholes can thread any needle with a pass, no United player has the capacity to do with the ball what Berba can. Check out the YouTube clip below for an example of one of the most breathtaking and sexy pieces of footballing brilliance I’ve ever witnessed.
Honestly I could watch that all day.
I know Berba is an overpriced pain in the arse, a flat track bully more at home in a sleazy Eastern European nightclub, a tumbler of Chivas in one hand and a cigarette permanently stuck to the other. But he’s the only pain the arse we have who has the capacity to inspire with moments of magic like that.
And just like the guy who puts up with his annoying girlfriend because she’s great at giving...advice...I’ll stick with Berba in the hope he can deliver yet another gorgeous moment of footballing brilliance.