Football is full of pundits, former players and blokes down the pub who are ready to give their opinions on what's happening on the pitch and what should be done about it. Over the summer months as Manchester United set about rebuilding their squad after the shambles of the 2013/14 season it was pointed out by nearly everybody that they should really strengthen their defence. Even after the start of the season where the likes of MK dons had shown they could score at will against United, the transfer window shut without the defence being significantly bolstered.
So up against a newly promoted Leicester City side, who in James Vardy had a striker who had scored more against FC United than Manchester, things took a turn for the tits up. The post match analysis should have been focussed on the Di Maria show as his pace and eye for goal helped United to a 3-1 lead in the second half, but instead, helped by a soft penalty decision, Leicester came roaring back to win 5-3.
LVG insisted afterwards it wasn’t the quality of his defenders but rather defending was the responsibility of the whole team, but with an injured Johnny Evans and the now suspended Tyler Blackett the team will have to defend much, much better against West Ham next week.
The song rang out constantly from the 78th minute until long after the final whistle. The only difference was that 'Super Franky Lampard' had switched from the Chelsea fans to the City fans as the former England International scored a late equaliser against his former club.
A tight and bordering on dour match between the two title favourites finished in a fair draw that at this early stage of the season doesn't hurt either side’s campaigns. City gave summer signing Eliaquim Mangala his debut alongside Vincent Kompany, and on this showing there will be few sides able to put out a stronger back two than this, denying Diego Costa a goal for the first time this season.
Off the pitch the matchup between Pellegrini and Mourinho, which has never been a friendly affair from their time in Spain, was reignited again with the City manager comparing the Chelsea tactical approach to a 'small team' who came just to defend.
After a frustrating opening two weeks in the Aviva Premiership things seem to have finally clicked into place for Sale Sharks as they came up against newly promoted whipping boys London Welsh at the AJ Bell Stadium. Whilst we must factor in the leaking nature of Welsh’s defence this year - this being the first game they have conceded under 50 points - Sale can still take satisfaction in the six try drubbing they gave to a side featuring All Black legend Piri Weepu and Shark’s old boy Dean Schofield.
With the score at 15-3 at half-time the result was anything but closed out, but Tom Arscott sealed a hatrick for Sale against his former club in a rampant second half display. The display will have given the home crowd hope for the season ahead whilst the size of this home crowd, 4953, will be giving the club major off-the-field worries.
Didsbury Northern Hockey Club
The national hockey season got underway across the country at the weekend, with relegated Didsbury Northern Men’s first team going top of the table with a comprehensive 7-2 win against Northern HC. DNHC, who had former England and Bowden player Scott Cordon in the side, ran out deserved winners. DNHC showed that on the back of an unbeaten preseason, they'll be one of the favourites for an immediate return to the higher leagues.
The business end of the season is underway as the playoffs kicked off at Wigan Warriors last week with the home side thrashing Huddersfield 57-4. With Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sam Tomkins watching on the reigning champions indicated they are hitting form at the right time.
Rivals St Helens also secured a semi-final place with a 41-0 shutout against Castleford Tigers due largely to an inspired James Roby performance. Roby finished with two tries and the man of the match to give St Helens the right to choose who they face in the semis.
The most important match of Lancashire’s season gets underway at Emirates Old Trafford on Tuesday, with the home side playing Middlesex in what works out as a relegation playoff. Middlesex are in pole position to survive as they have a nineteen point advantage over their Red Rose rivals - it is win or be relegated for Lancashire.
Bonus point complexities can come into play if the scale of victory is not large enough, but after looking dead and buried following a defeat to Sussex a week ago Lancashire will welcome just the possibility of survival.
Tickets also go on sale to the general public today (22 September) for next summer’s Royal London One-Day Internationals against ashes rivals Australia.
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Great thanks for sharing this. www.freemahj.com/…/…Read more
I agree, Schofield compels me to visit places in Manchester that I didn't know I wanted to visit.Read more
A lovely little article, this.Read more
Jeni I was on that tour that day and agree there was no need for the nonsense at the start, you…Read more