It's been a wonderful weekend to be annoyed. Here are just five of an infinite amount of things:
After Arsenal conceded to Brede Hangeland’s header, leaving the defender unmarked and - criminally in England - with no man on the back post, the commentators were quick to blame zonal marking for the mistake. Zonal marking is obviously also to blame for several things - foreigners conceding goals at set pieces, the imminent destruction of the United Kingdom and the fact that you can’t even call it “Christmas” anymore.
Of course, when Laurent Koscielny stole in past the static and, for the last two years, generally bad defender Hangeland at the other end to equalise for Arsenal, there was no criticism of man-to-man marking, just the poor way it had been implemented. That sound you heard at about 6.15 on Saturday evening was the sound of me smashing my head repeatedly on my desk as the commentators wibbled.
Moyes jokes/The return of Twitter banter
If there’s anything we can be grateful to Twitter for,
it’s the fact that the voiceless in oppressed countries can report the truth from within their states, that those under fire in Gaza can avoid censorship from all sides, that revolutions against despots can be co-ordinated quicker than ever before, and vital, breaking news spreads at lightning speed it’s that Footy Banter accounts can recycle the same joke every day and then sell sponsored links about weight loss.
The joy of the weekend was watching grown men across the world tweet pictures of David Moyes with his face crudely replaced by Louis van Gaal’s. That’s it. That’s the joke. That sound you hear now is me smashing my head repeatedly on my slightly-cracked desk.
READ: Louis van Gaal finds there’s no magic wand at Manchester United
Alexis Sanchez, Dejan Lovren, Eric Dier and and Philippe Senderos are all clearly equally thrilling signings, but pre- and early-season giddiness has reached unsustainable levels. Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and Villa may all benefit hugely from the signings of the four players (well, not each of them from all, that would contravene third-party ownership rules), but from the reaction at the start of the season you would think that something actually important had happened. Arsenal still struggled to break down a lowly team, Liverpool conceded a sloppy goal, Spurs needed a last-minute intervention having gone down to 10 men and Villa were still wretched, just not as wretched as Stoke.
At current levels, if all four teams win two of their next three games, expect there to be serious discussion of Brendan Rodgers being linked with the Barcelona job and Sanchez being discussed as the best player in the Premier League. It’s boring to say, but it’s still early. It’s also boring to say again, but that sound is me smashing my head on the desk as the wood starts to give.
People being surprised by Manchester United’s failure
In 2005 Manchester United were bought by the Glazer family, who loaded hundreds of millions of pounds of debt onto the club as a thank you, then proceeded to siphon profits out of the club to line their pockets. Those are the rules of the stock exchange, of course, and something like that was always going to happen, but it’s nonetheless dispiriting for fans to have gone from buying players and trophies to watching Manchester City and Chelsea having trophies bought for them and scrabbling for transfer window crumbs.
Due to Alex Ferguson’s genius, he was able to make do and mend, sometimes spectacularly, for instance winning the Champions League in 2008, but the squad he handed over to David Moyes was running on sulphurous fumes. In a just world he would be remembered for shredding his legacy, but the world we live in now has fans defending the Glazers for their ‘investment’ and criticising the United fans who have pointed out the destruction of the club over the last decade. Never mind that Stoke have a greater net spend over the last five years, these people are not interested in facts. That sound you hear is me smashing my head repeatedly on my bloodied desk.
Only one Rickie Lambert and Liverpool applause
It wouldn’t be football without constant demands upon the vague concepts of sentimentality and mawkishness, so it was moving to see Liverpool fans applaud Southampton fans for singing about Lambert’s dream move to Liverpool.
It might have escaped your attention, but Rickie Lambert was a boyhood Liverpool fan and player, but was released aged just 15. Did you not know that? *Bang* Did you not know that Rickie Lambert, right, *Bang* when he was 15, was released by Liverpool, *Bang* and he was a fan of the club, *Bang* but they released him, *Bang* and now he’s back? Rickie Lambert, *Bang* yes? *Bang* The old Southampton player? Well he played for Southampton and then joined Liverpool, *Bang* who he supports and played for at 15. *Bang* Did you know that? *Bang* Did you? *Bang* *Bang* *Bang* *Bang*
*Desk breaks, Netherton’s spent body collapses in a heap*
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