Tonight, after a week and a bit of trying to persuade the bouncers, we finally prove tonight that we are on the guest list for the Premier League party after all. Our late entrance is highlighted further by the fact that we take our bow live on telly at Old Trafford, the theatre of screams given our record there in the last twenty years.
Last season Twattenburg, the cheating Nani and the hapless Gomes managed to bring an element of high farce to our loss, which I suppose makes a change from being generally outplayed.
Lee Probert is in charge this year so we can at least feel a bit more comfortable that the ref isn’t going to cost us a result this time out. Other aspects in our ‘favour’ are the apparent fault lines in the home defence. Vidic, Rafael and Ferdinand are injured and De Gea, the new keeper looks less than reliable so far. All this though needs to be balanced against the enforced absence of Crouch, Sandro, Palacios, Jenas, Modric, King & Gallas at least on our side leaving only Kranjcar, Huddlestone and Livermore to battle for places in the middle of midfield and Dawson, Kaboul and Bassong to do similar at the back.
The absence of Modric is of course slightly suspicious, how far has he ‘had his head turned’? Is it now impossible for it to be unwound so it faces the right way or is it forever going to be not ‘in the right place’? The signing of Juan Mata by Roman’s plaything is a blow to Luka’s warped view of where he sees his future, as opposed to where he signed up to spend it. Having alienated at least a section of the support he now needs to knuckle down and get on with it if he hopes not to lose the rest.
The team should be the same one that disassembled Hearts on Thursday, apart from maybe swapping Tom for Livermore, though Harry may think the latter did enough to get another chance from the off, his greater mobility will work in his favour. This assumes that Redknapp continues with Niko in the middle; the man he ignored for so much of last season is literally right at the centre of his plans at the start of this.
In Bale, Lennon and Van der Vaart we carry a threat that won’t be taken lightly by the home team and given that our defence isn’t the most watertight around, we’ll need them on good form as it’s likely we’ll need a goal or two to get a result. Everyone, without exception, will need to step up to the mark and if they do, a draw at least is well within our compass. COYS.
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