Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day:Â “Kiko’s whole contribution was marvelous. His second-phase play was fantastic, he linked up well and took his goal brilliantly. He was a threat all the time. He’s only 17 years old but if you’re good enough at this club, you’ll play. I need to keep his feet on the ground as he’ll get a lot of publicity in the next few days and he’ll need to handle that… I was always going to gamble. Winning is the name of the game at this club. We deserved the result as we gambled and tried to win the game. We take terrible risks and don’t defend properly, but there’s always more goals in this team.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Runner-up: “I thought it was an April Fools’ Joke. [Shearer] has seven cup finals but it was always going to be a very difficult job. If he didn’t think it was, he will know after that game. He can do it but itâ€™s just how you cut out the individual mistakes.” – Mark Lawrenson.
Today’s overview: It’s a Red Devil love-fest this Monday, with Federico Macheda the star of Manchester.
Kevin McCarra cracks open the celebrations toasting the “Manchester United of old, the side that can improvise in desperate circumstances.” Oliver Kay painted the picture that the win was United’s destiny as “where there is a cavalier spirit and raw enthusiasm, there is hope. And hope, then promise and finally salvation arrived in the unfamiliar shape of Federico Macheda.”
Hung up on history, Daniel Taylor headlines his article writing “For Steve Bruce in 1993, read Federico Macheda in Manchester United’s almanac of late goals” before concluding “they cannot carry on defending this badly if they want to keep the Premier League trophy at Old Trafford.” Bruceâ€™s late double against Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 is widely credited as having sealed Unitedâ€™s first title in 25 years and the first of the Premier League era, while Machedaâ€™s strike yesterday could be remembered as the goal that brings them level with Liverpool on 18 titles, at their great rivals’ expense.”
Sam Wallace offers a different historical comparison in the Independent. “Macheda’s winner felt like a seminal moment in the life of a great club: it curled past Brad Friedel like Norman Whiteside’s winner flew past Neville Southall in the 1985 FA Cup final.”
Predicting the reaction in Merseyside this morning, Alan Hansen avoids mincing his words. “After watching this amazing turnaround, [Liverpool] will be absolutely distraught… Anyone who tells you that this type of result does not affect individuals or the team are the ones who have not been there and do not understand what has happened.” Pulling a Paddy Power stunt, The Sun’s Steven Howard goes one step further claiming the title race is now over, farting “the magnitude of this victory cannot be under-estimated.”
Yet, even with all the United bedlam this morning, the hacks make sure to spare column inches to again hand out a tongue-lashing to Newcastle.
Paul Hayward gets the ball rolling. “This autopsy of a campaign that has yielded only six wins confirms the mismatched and patched-up nature of the squad Shearer has inherited, and it explains why Newcastle’s fans were so subdued for the saviour’s premiere, which, to his credit, he stripped of all pretensions by arriving in the dug-out like an auditor in town to examine some accounts.”
Duncan White picks up the baton adding “the unpalatable reality was revealed: there has been no miracle conversion [at Newcastle] and this is a poor team who are in this mire for a reason.” And fearing worse is to come, Michael Walker concludes “Shearer must have examined the remaining seven fixtures in his head and, if he is honest with himself, thought that Newcastle, this Newcastle, can easily lose four of them.”
Rather than simply kicking the Toon when they are down, Martin Samuel tries to understand why Newcastle may be doomed. “The reality is that Shearer’s appointment is all about inspirational impetus and that is not something that will be felt by a player like Jonas Gutierrez… The increased morale experienced by supporters when Shearer arrived will not automatically filter through to the players. Fabricio Coloccini is on his sixth club in eight years. How many managers do you think he has seen in that time? Four this season, and that is just at Newcastle.”
So good were the Toffees against Wigan that there is a split of opinion over who was the main man yesterday. For Rory Smith in the Telegraph “Leon Osman inspires Everton to Wigan demolition,” while The Times’
Stoke receive some much-deserved props from Oliver Kay. “They will not win any prizes for beautiful football, but, if the alternative was being cut adrift at the bottom of the table, Pulis deserves an awful lot of credit.”
Thinking outside the box, Patrick Barclay promotes his vision for a reformed UEFA Cup. “A sort of two-legged version of the FA Cup would enable 256 clubs to enter. You could have eight each from England, Spain and Italy, seven from Germany, six from France and the Netherlands and so on down to one from Liechtenstein. For every shock first-round result that hit a bigger club in the pocket, there would be a boost to another excluded from the European game at present.”
Changing tracks, Sam Wallace vents in support of young, rich British footballers. “I do not resent young footballers who earn big money, I resent the underlying social prejudice in this country that does not like working-class boys getting rich for playing football.”
The Bundesliga is featured in The Times. Matt Dickinson makes time to interview Jurgen Klinsmann – “If you lose a game, it is criticism, lose two games and itâ€™s a mini-crisis.”Bundesliga may be the most exciting, most colourful league in Europe” before waxing lyrical over Wolfsburg’s amazing twosome up-top. Saying “Edin Dzeko may be the best striker you have never heard of” it is his partner whom Marcotti flags up writing “Grafiteâ€™s goalscoring exploits are even more impressive.” While
We end with the transfer gossip.
The Daily Mail kick things off reporting that “Newcastle United have made a Â£6million inquiry for Wigan’s errant Egyptian striker Amr Zaki.” Staying in the Mail, the tabloid reports that Arsenal will offer van Persie Â£70,000 a week in an effort to head off a Barca bid, while Wenger “his eye on Real Madrid’s Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain.”
The red-tops also carry their share of fanciful stories, Alan Nixon writing “Everton boss David Moyes is ready to join the chase for Jermaine Jenas – whose Tottenham future is up for review at the end of the season.” And Brian McNally claims that Boro’s Tuncay is an Â£8m target for Chelsea and Galatasaray.