Showing posts with label Radamel Falcao. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Radamel Falcao. Show all posts

16 May 2015

They're droppin' like flies rather than facing the Arsenal...

In the buildup to the dust-up at Old Trafford, one trend stands out: there's no one worth his salt who really wants to play against Arsenal on Sunday. Between injuries and transfer-rumours, it seems that anyone worth his salt is finding a way to eschew what could be a vital clash between clubs seeking to qualify for a Champions League spot. Man U need a win on Sunday if they expect to stay in the running; a loss or draw would essentially relegate them to fourth place, meaning that they'd have to endure a two-leg qualifier to get in, much as Arsenal have time and time again. With that in mind, one might expect an "all hands on deck" attitude from Van Gaal's outfit. Instead, however, it looks like Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw will join Michael Carrick and Rafael among the walking wounded, with Robin van Persie and Marcus Rojo coming up lame as well. It's almost as if the entire squad has up and quit on the season. Fine by me.

I know what you're thinking: surely, the absence of Rooney frees up van Persie or Falcao to run amok. After all, they've each had their moments against us, haven't they, and when one of them falters, the other steps up? However, the ugly fact is that neither van Persie nor Falcao has justified his price-tag of late. Falcao hasn't scored in 560 minutes of play, and van Persie hasn't scored against anyone worth scoring against in 931 minutes (with apologies to Burnley, Leicester, and Newcastle, against whom he has scored). The potential absence of Rooney would seem like handing the car keys of a Porsche to a teenager—except van Persie and Falcao are looking more and more geriatric and brittle week by week. There was a time when those names inspired fear, respect, even awe—but those days are long-gone. Of course, there is still a possibility that one or both could deliver a stunning goal, but that's starting to feel like the exception rather than the rule.

The absence of Carrick might matter more than that of Rooney; the cagey 33-year-old has been instrumental to Man U's stability, shielding an oft-shifting backline and shuttling the ball forward to the more-creative types. His absence denies Van Gaal a vital player in the middle of the pitch. Of course, it's not as if Man U are bereft of options. After Rooney and van Persie, there are still threats to consider such as Juan Mata,  Marouane Fellaini, and Angel Di Maria. Then again, that last one hasn't started a match since being sent off against Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final and hasn't scored a goal since the first week of January (against Yeovil, for those curious). We'll still have to contend with Fellaini's elbows and Young's dives, but it's starting to feel like this is a Man U that is sinking rather than rising.

Add in the all-but-confirmed rumours of David de Gea's summer-move to Real Madrid, and it does feel like our erstwhile rivals are clutching at straws—if only they had a world-class keeper who could bail them out, again and again and again, and again and again and Gea has almost single-handedly kept his club in contention (by "almost single-handedly", I refer to the fact that the man has frequently used two hands while also being the only one staving off ignominious failure). If it proves true that de Gea does jump ship, we might be witnessing the slow sinking of a once-proud club, one that spent £150m on transfer-fees last summer only to flounder its way to fourth place, thanks in large part to the ineptitude of other clubs (Liverpool and Tottenham, to name two) rather than its own, um "eptitude."

Man U were supposed to ride a perfect storm of circumstances—Van Gaal's hiring, that £150m in transfer-fees, a campaign free of continental commitment—straight towards the top of the Prem. It hasn't quite played out that way, and Arsenal have a chance to take Man U down yet another peg, again at Old Trafford, suggesting if not proving that there's something to be said for a degree of stability and fiscal sanity. If Arsenal can go into Old Trafford and win for the second time in as many tries, we'll have secured a third-place finish, qualifying outright for Champions League play, while Man U will feel lucky indeed to have finished fourth. Who knows how many rats will desert a ship that hasn't quite sunk but that has certainly failed to float?

15 December 2014

Man U's done us a solid in the Champions League draw...

After several years of tough draws—Bayern the last two years—we might be forgiven for celebrating a bit when this year's draw pits us against AS Monaco, arguably the weakest team we might have faced after Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico, and Porto. Not only are Monaco the least-intimidating of the group-winners, their group was itself one of the weakest—and the Monaco squad that earned an appearance in the group-stage is hardly the one that we'll face off against. This is not to suggest that they'll roll over and play dead, nor can we underestimate them. There's nothing wrong in admitting, however, that our chance at advancing is just a bit better than it would be against Bayern.

12 September 2014

Welbeck tries to figure out Van Gaal's thinking...

Having been snubbed once in his youth by Man City, Danny Welbeck was thrilled to get snapped up in short order by their rivals, Man U. Having grown up with the club, then, he was naturally a bit disappointed when he became surplus to their needs. Despite a stable of ageing, increasingly injury-prone and sulking scorers in Rooney and van Persie, Welbeck, who had started to see himself as the face of Man U's future, was instead shunted aside when the club brought in yet another ageing, injury-prone scorer, further blocking his progression and development as a player for the club he had grown to love. However, he realised and rationalised to himself that this is modern football—no room for such sentimentality, for it is a cold, hard business. It was then that he read Van Gaal's assessment of him...

01 September 2014

Falcao to United, City, or Arsenal? The clock is ticking...

It's hard at the best of times to assess a player's value. Was Bale worth the transfer-fee that Real Madrid paid for him? Will Costa prove his worth this season? So much depends on the clubs' needs and the player's desire. As concerns Monaco, they're apparently desperate to offload Falcao so as to avoid incurring FFP penalties. As such, they might seem eager to sell or loan the man. At the other end, then, it becomes a matter of how much desperation potential buyers are feeling, with an x-factor given to the player's whims. I hope and I pray that these factors tip the scales in Arsenal's favor...

03 August 2014

Arsenal 0-1 Monaco: Again with the set-pieces...

Feh. Why do we bother hosting this thing? I mean, if we can't win our own tournament, what's the point, really? Despite winning the first match resoundingly, we finish second after failing to score a single goal in the "final", allowing Valencia, the putative whipping-boys of the field, to win it. Oh well. Just as Saturday's result proved conclusively that Yaya Sanogo has become the best striker in Europe as well as in Arsenal history, Sunday's result proves resoundingly that Arsenal is doomed in 2014-15 and for a decade or more beyond to boot. I'm sure Arsène is encouraging the lads to update their curricula vitae (that's French for resumé...), the better to prepare them for careers beyond football. Except for Sanogo, of course. He's still gold.

23 June 2014

Falcao to Real Madrid= Benzema to Arsenal?

As the rumor-mill turns, we now have reports that current Colombian and former Atleti star Falcao may ditch his Monaco digs to return to Madrid, this time as yet another galáctico because, after all, Real Madrid suffered an ignominious and inglorious campaign, having to endure La Decima while finishing third in La Liga while scoring only 104 goals. Why, that's hardly a campaign befitting a club as bedecked with baubles and cubic zirconia as is Real Madrid. What's this world coming to when you can't simply go out and buy trophies but have to, you know vie for them? Not content, apparently, with having Ronaldo and Bale, it seems like Florentino Perez is not sated and must have a new plaything. Enter stage-right one Radamel Falcao. Should he return to Madrid, this might render Karim Benzema superfluous to Real Madrid's needs. Just as Bale's transfer paved the way for Özil to come to Arsenal, might Falcao's tranfer do the same for Benzema?