In his regular Cutter column Wayne Farry looks at an apathetic City, a jaw Nigel pearson would love to punch, and a man in need of a thesaurus.
I’ll start off this week with the news that the man Ferguson once thought “better than Scholes” has had his contract terminated at West Ham and looks set to join Lazio, providing he gets clearance from FIFA. That’s right, Ravel Morrison, former wunderkind and always negative Nancy has left east London in the hope of burning bridges elsewhere. It’s a bizarre trajectory in the career of a guy who has done nothing since he left Old Trafford, other than have a few decent games for West Ham here and there. Presumably he still has the talent that left many wondering when, not if, he’d break into the United first team but it simply seems like he just doesn’t care, a seemingly blasé attitude to the gifts he was blessed with that can be interpreted as lazy disregard. Leaving one job before beginning the next with fake renewed enthusiasm – only to fall back into the same patterns of delinquency – it’s really quite difficult to know what is up with Morrison. At this stage you’d hope Lazio would send him to a therapist to sort out his issues, because he very clearly has quite a few and I personally really hope it works out for him in Serie A. You never know, it might. The suspicion lingers however that he has more chance of becoming an integral part of their Ultras than their first team.
Next up mine and your good friend Brendan Rodgers, who in the aftermath of the “friendly derby” hailed his side’s performance as “outstanding”. This was a derby game so bereft of any quality that you’d have almost hoped the friendliness escaped it for a while, just so we could see a few rash tackles or stamps. Liverpool were by no means awful but it was incredible to hear B-Rod refer to them as outstanding. Are his standards so low that this is what he considers outstanding or is he simply trying to keep their confidence up in the middle of a decent run – their first of the season? It could be both, or either, or neither, but what we can all agree on is that someone really should go and buy him a thesaurus. He’s also featured in the last few days warning Raheem Sterling’s agent regarding expecting too much for his precocious talent. It seems he’s playing the hard line with the youngster and it remains to be seen whether it works. As we’ve spoken about before, Rodgers tends to be rather hit and miss in terms of success with his man management and this one is still very much up in the air. Does Sterling really want to be another Gerrard? Hailed as a hero at his club but essentially being the only world class player they have for the best part of a decade? I’d wager a big fat “NO” on that one and as such, I’d expect to either see Liverpool relent and offer £100K a week to Sterling or the speedster will inevitably seek it elsewhere.
City drew at home to Hull during the weekend just gone and it was rather hilarious – other than the fact I had David Silva as my fantasy football captain. I really don’t understand City. They’ve not won a single league game since Yaya went to the AFCON and it kind of defies belief. I mean, obviously he’s incredibly influential, but surely the point of spending upwards of £300M on your team is that you’re not so reliant on one player, no? There’s now significant question marks over Manuel Pellegrini who, simply, doesn’t seem to know his best team. He’s brought in Fernando who let’s face it, isn’t great. Fernandinho is also there but he’s not been the same player this season as he was last. All the while James “The Jaw” Milner remains peripheral like the meek child too polite to complain about not being picked for football at school, despite knowing he’s better than most. The manager needs to seriously sort out his selection because things aren’t right at City. It’s also hard to shake the feeling that motivation is very low, something that the manager also has to take some responsibility for. They relinquished their first Premier League title with about as much resistance as the babies I steal candy off daily and look like they’ll do the same this year. I’m not saying that they should sack the manager or sell half the players but it might be worth looking into doing at least one, or both of these things. City look a side who just don’t really care that much any more and considering how early they are in their project that’s pretty astounding. Onwards and sidewards.
To the other side of Manchester where things are looking just as baffling, as at the weekend United summoned up the spirit of every team to play football in the 1930s by playing some truly atrocious stuff and scoring late on with the help of a long ball. Much has been made of the amount of long balls United play, although this has more to do with the positions they find themselves in the game than the desired style of play, in truth. More than half a season in, van Gaal still looks as unsure as ever as to what he wants to do with his team. Daley Blind has been positive since he’s come back from injury but surely there’s a strong case to be made for including Ander Herrera in the role Wayne Rooney is currently filling? The side need an injection of something, anything, and they won’t get it by leaving Rooney in the hole. Bluntly, his touch is shite, his short passing game is worse and United’s forwards are too slow for him to find with long balls consistently. This isn’t total football, this isn’t even semi-football. I don’t know what it is. The general consensus is that if United finish in the top four everything will be okay but that is to ignore just how horrendous they’ve been this season. In all likelihood the Champions League will just add to United’s problems rather than solve them.
Finally, and I’m saving the best for last here, we can all relax and emerge from our bunkers or trenches or quarantine tents or wherever because everything is going to be alright – Harry Kane is here! Kane, who looks more than a little like a 1940s superhero, continues to tear average Premier League defences (and Chelsea’s) apart and it really is quite lovely to see. He seems like a truly nice fella and has the kinda jaw that you know Nigel Pearson would just love to lay a few punches on – which is nice, essentially anything that winds Pearson up is nice. His upward trajectory this season has been amazing to watch and it’s hard to see how he can be stopped, mainly because it’s hard to know what to stop. He does everything so well, yet not quite top level enough, that it seems Premier League defenders just let their guard down every time he’s near. That’s not to do him a disservice at all, he’s supremely talented. Perhaps it’s just the ease with which he does everything that makes it look less impressive than it is. Or maybe it’s that he looks like he should be an extra in It’s A Wonderful Life, I’m not sure yet. Either way, regardless of what happens, it’ll all be okay. Because Harry Kane will tuck you into bed, rub your cheek and kiss your forehead. Everything’s going to be alright after all.