Morning. Or ‘mawing’, which is how I’d say it out loud after walking through the blowy Oxford tundra. Also, don’t wear Converse when the concrete is minus 42 degrees. As I discovered this morning, that is stupid.
Very short one today I’m afraid; I had to get the bus to work due to my knack for turning the simple changing of bicycle brake pads into a full-blown saga, complete with grease on my face and a general hatred of my lack of man-skills.
Ahead of Saturday’s game against West Ham on Saturday there’s been more hoo-hah about the plight of Ander Herrera, with Andy Mitten and Musa Okwonga on ESPN both speculating as to why seeing as the Spaniard on the teamsheet is rarer than this guy’s disgestive system. Mitten goes for the oft-repeated theory that the Spaniard is too much of a free-spirit and doesn’t fit in with The Philosophy™, where as Okwonga makes a surprising claim – that the Spaniard’s timekeeping is poor.
It seems remarkable that someone who Mitten described as sounding completely committed to life in Manchester can’t show up to training on time, with Okwonga claiming that there is ‘plenty of conjecture around the scenes’ over the issue. Okwonga also suggests the match-fixing trial might have something to do with it, but Louis van Gaal, king of not giving a shit, doesn’t strike me as the kind of coach who would punish a player for something that has nothing to do with the team he manages.
The other thing, though, is that van Gaal is now dealing with an exasperating lack of injuries. That lonely sobbing you can hear is coming from United’s physio room which after resembling Curry’s on Black Friday is now populated solely by Michael Carrick. United are winning without Herrera right now and with all the forensic analysis of Louis van Gaal’s mind that goes on when someone isn’t playing, it’s worth remembering that United simply have an awful lot of bodies in the midfield to choose from.
West Ham on Saturday. Considering the form we’ve been in you’d hope the manager is sensible enough to stick with four at the back and I wouldn’t bet against the side being similar to that which faced Cambridge. A bit of muscle wouldn’t go amiss against Allardyce so expect Fellaini to get the nod. Andy Carroll is injured for a change, which means far fewer elbows to the face of whoever gets the nod in defence, though I’d back Marcos Rojo to give as good as got to Carroll if things got tasty.
I wouldn’t bet against James Wilson getting the start up front considering a) he scored against Cambridge, b) the manager loves him dearly and c) West Ham are missing a chunk of their first choice defenders and van Gaal would probably prefer Wilson take advantage rather than Falcao.
Prediction wise, let’s have a look at what Paul Merson thinks will go down at Upton Park:
“Home win. I’m not convinced by Man United, I don’t think they’re playing well enough, and sooner or later they’ll lose again. They beat Leicester last week, had three shots and scored three goals, but I just wouldn’t be shocked if West Ham won. Would you? It’s a hard place to go. Even though the Hammers were poor at Liverpool last week, I think they have got a really good chance of winning this game. Van Gaal is a good talker, that’s why he’s not getting a hard time, and to be fair they’re in the top four. That’s what they were looking for this season, a bit of stability – but this game is not a foregone conclusion.”
Er, yeah. Where’s Phil Neville when you need him?
Got to work now. More preview tomorrow morning and a match report to follow after the game. Until next time, go away. (sorry, Charlie Brooker was on last night, I don’t mean it. Please keep reading… please…)
Track of the Day: Interpol – PDA (2002) I’ve done them before, sorry, but I’m off to see them tonight.