Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: ‘Silly Sunday’ showed Chelsea are a threat to Manchester United

I suppose it might depend on which club you support but, for me, ‘Super Sunday’ was rather more of a ‘Silly Sunday’.

It began with Liverpool starting badly, getting worse and then committing ‘suicide’ at Spurs, having two players, rightly, sent off and lucky their opponents hit only four: again, Kenny Dalglish must be pondering how he’s going to get the best out of two very expensive signings in Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson; both were as woeful as Modric was magnificent.

Then Manchester City, my tip to win the title, managed to squander a two-goal lead at Fulham — laughably Roberto Mancini said his squad lacked depth — paved the way for their hated rivals United to sprint clear at the top by beating Chelsea, which they duly did.

But, how misleading was that scoreline at Old Trafford? I’m still figuring it out.

Weren’t two of the Champions’ goals offside? Didn’t Rooney score from a fluky deflection and then miss ‘a la Terry’ from a penalty that should never have been awarded by Phil Dowd?

The game, lavishly entertaining though it was, had a surreal feel to it: not that United will complain. I actually thought Chelsea were the better side for most of it and, even in losing, they suggested to me that’ll they’ll make it a three horse race.

Andre Villas-Boas was bold in his selection at the start and bolder still at half-time when finding his team ludicrously 3-0 down. I’m not sure Frank Lampard, slower than ever these days, has that much regular first team action ahead of him.

The revised midfield trio in the second half of Mata, Meireles and Ramirez had far more spark after the England player’s removal.

Had Torres scored a second goal, as he should have – Ronnie Rosenthal sends his ‘thanks’ — with five minutes of normal time remaining, I think Chelsea would have got a draw which was the least they deserved. And the Spaniard’s overall display — the goal he did score was sumptuous — fully justified his selection. I’ve always maintained that with better, QUICKER, service, Torres WILL deliver.

Of course, United were pleased to win and they give you that wonderful feeling that they might score every time they attack but there were more doubts about their display than in previous matches. It was Chelsea who had more chances, more shots on goal.

Wasn’t Hernandez subdued? Mind you, I’m totally in agreement with Ferguson about that challenge by Cole. Now that was a penalty — actuallywhy wasn’t it when the Chelsea player was cautioned? — and it should have been a sending off.

And there’s Rooney. Yes, he could have had a third successive hat-trick (the penalty, the scuffed shot against the post) but please, please, can we hear no more about these ridiculous comparisons to Pele? Ferguson is as astute an observer of the game as anyone I’ve come across but goodness knows what was in his mind likening Rooney to the Brazilian.

Does anyone need reminding that Pele was central to two World Cup triumphs? What has Rooney shown in ANY major championship?

On Sunday, Rooney was ‘ok’, nothing more and I don’t ever remember that said of the incomparable Brazilian. Ok?

Belfast Telegraph


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