Spyin' Kop: Manchester United Away (22nd October, 2006)

Posted by Hightown Phil on October 20, 2006, 10:41:35 AM

Off the back of a ‘basic’ European win, pretty much securing our passage to the last 16 of Europe’s Premier Club Competition, we’re faced with a tough trip to early season pace setters Manchester United, in what will, I’m sure be a hotly contested game. There’s a great feeling that we’re already out of the title race, but falling eleven points behind before October is out will surely see even the most ardent red pretty much concede defeat.

Manchester United v Liverpool
Sunday October 22nd
Old Trafford, Manchester
Kick Off: 1pm
Referee: Graeme Poll

After a disappointing start to the season with, only one goal scored away from the strength of Anfield, and that being a Robbie Fowler penalty over two months ago, the odds are highly stacked against Liverpool. Although, on the plus side, they have only played three teams who currently sit in the top ten, with only four points being taken from a possible nine, a Thierry Henry-less Arsenal nicking three points at Old Trafford, whilst Reading took a point at the Madjeski a month ago.

If you want a history, look it up. They’re quite successful. Apparently.
Coming back to answer questions, after doing a great job last year, will be Phil, Kev and Sara, who I tip my cap to.

Spyin Kop: What do you think of the season so far then?

Phil: Hit and miss, our toughest game was Arsenal at home and they turned us over.

Kev: While we lead the Premiership, I am not reading too much into it as the only team that we have played with any quality won. At least we have started stronger than normal as we have usually cocked the league up by now.

Sara: 8 games in, top of the league, city struggling, Liverpool struggling, Lids struggling, Solskjaer on form, you'd think I'd be happy, right? Well, if we're just looking at the results, I am. Tactics used in some matches still frustrates me though!

Spyin Kop: How has the loss of Van Nistlerooy affected your fowardline?

Phil: It's given us back 'Manchester United' football, the ability to turn defence into attack and get a lot of bodies forward. RvN scored a lot of goals, but we have scored more than anyone else so far and they are coming from everywhere. So thanks RvN, I hope you do well at Real, but we're better off without you.

Kev: I think we're a better side because of it. Compared to Saha, RVN was too static. You can't argue with Ruud's goal record but we now have more options and movement up front.

Sara: 24 goals in 11 matches sounds ok to me? We play as a better attacking unit without him with more players chipping in with the goals.

Spyin Kop: Have any players been in very good form this season, or at least better than what you expected?

Phil: Park until his injury, Giggs has been a revelation, Saha looks sharp now his injuries are hopefully behind him.

Kev: The Ginger Prince's return has been a highlight. We missed so much last season with his absence and he has returned like he's never been away. Giggs has surprised me in that he usually only plays well when there's a contract floating around. At the back, Nemanja Vidic is looking like the no nonsense, robust defender that we have needed since the Jaapster was shipped off. Oh and Ole Gunnar, the man's a legend.

Sara: I'm happy and surprised with the way Ronaldo has handled the World Cup criticism and the boo boys. He has ditched the diving and has been in fantastic form - just needs to start finding the net more instead of the woodwork!

We've seen the return of the Gunnar - which can only be good news for us. 5 goals in 8 appearances, here's hoping he can add a few more to his name on Sunday!

Giggs looked impressive before his injury and his second half appearance on Saturday definitely changed the way we played for the better. Apparently, had a tummy upset so missed the match on Tuesday but he *should* be ok for Sunday.

Spyin Kop: On the flip side, is there anyone who has been a big disappointment?

Phil: O'Shit, Fletcher, Prickchardson. None of them are fit to wear the shirt.

Kev: Obviously Rooney's form has been the most documented. Michael Carrick has yet to show value for the money that was paid for him. He's certainly no replacement for Roy Keane. It's pointless highlighting how crap Fletcher's and O'Shea's form have been because that's no surprise at all.

Sara: To be disappointed, you have to expect something from them. And I didn't expect anything but rubbish from O'Shea, Fletcher, Richardson so no, no big disappointments. :)

Spyin Kop: What kind of reception is in store for us? After the shennanigans of last season do you expect it do be more hostile than last season?

Phil: Of course it will be hostile, hopefully the police will keep your lot in at the end to avoid the silliness that's been creeping back in recently.

Kev: You won't get any less of a reception and you won't get any more. You'll get what you always get.

Sara: I would expect they'd be a few idiots that will want to get 'revenge' because of how your lot treated OT last season. Pictures that appeared on the 'net and in the press didn't look too good, plus the fact that sh*t was thrown at United fans at Anfield and Smith's ambulance getting attacked - GMP will be very busy on Sunday methinks!

Spyin Kop: Which of our players do you fear the most?

Phil: Fear? I don't know about that but Gerrard is your best player, though I notice the scousers are once again having a go at him for being lazy and sulky.

Kev: None to be honest. If Gerrard is fit and plays in the centre of midfield, then he's the best around. Sticking him out wide just removes his effectiveness.

Sara: Erm, none?

Spyin Kop: Do you worry about the fact that we've taken 1 point away from home and haven't, as yet, scored a goal away from home in the League? Similar to the way Birmingham managed to come to Anfield in 2004 having not scored for 7 games and win 1-0.

Phil: No, I don't worry about it at all. It's all about us, if we can finally play Scholes, Rooney, Ronaldo and Giggs in the same team again then I feel we should be a match for anyone.

Kev: Oh yes, it keeps me awake at night! Putting my manager's hat on, you play your best team and let the opposition worry about you.

Sara: You know things are bad when you're looking at a Birmingham City run for help!

Not worried you'll emulate them, by the way. ;)

Spyin Kop: What do you make our summer signings, Gonzalez, Pennant, Kuyt, Bellamy and Aurelio?

Phil: Gonzalez ~ haven't seen enough of him, Kuyt ~ hot and cold, Pennant ~ a lot of history for such a young player, every club seems to be 'the one that will be the making of him', time will tell, Bellamy ~ brilliant but petulant and a lifelong twat, Aurelio ~ isn't that something to do with nipples?

Kev: I don't think Gonzalez and Aurelio are going to command a regular spot so are just squad players. Pennant is a complete waste of money. Since the barcodes got Duff for £6m and comparing what you paid for Pennant, you were robbed. The boot was definitely on the other foot there. Kuyt and Bellamy must please the manager as they're keeping Lurch out of the team. I've seen nothing yet to strike fear.

Sara: Haven't really watched Liverpool this season, so can't really give a fair assessment, but the one strange signing I'd say from that lot, surely has to be Pennant? We've got something similar to the guy in Richardson, but at least our big headed, useless tosser was free whilst yours cost a cool £6 million.

Spyin Kop: Where do you expect both clubs to be come the end of the season?

Phil: Can't see us winning the League, we don't have the strength in depth, and I can't see you winning it because it just doesn't bear thinking about.

Kev: At the start of the season, I actually thought you were going to be the team to push £helski. That's why the bookies smile when I walk in. I'll take United to finish in the top two and you not to be the other occupant.

Sara: United - top 2. Liverpool, erm 4th?

Spyin Kop: What's your starting 11 likely to be on Sunday?

Phil: van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Saha, Rooney

Kev: Surely the love affair with O'Shea and Fletcher has got to come to an end so I'll go for Van Der Sar, Neville, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Carrick, Scholes, Ronaldo, Giggs, Saha and Rooney.

Sara: Your guess is as good as mine! A starting 11 without O'Shea and Fletcher would make me happy.

Spyin Kop: What's your favourite memory of games between the two clubs?

Phil: That's a tough one. I'll always remember Sparky scoring from about 25 yards at O.T. in a League Cup game that we won 3 - 1, I think it was in the late 80's, there was the FA Cup semi final replay at Maine Road too in 1985, what a mad night that was. And of course Eric in '96. But probably my favourite moment was when we came from a goal down in the last 3 minutes to knock you out of the Cup in '99.

Kev: The ones we've won of course. Going back to the 77 Cup Final to Ole putting the ball in the scousers net, even Diego got in on the act!

Sara: The 1999 FA Cup tie at Old Trafford. 1 nil down and it's the 88th minute. Yorke! Relief! Deep into stoppage time - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! Ecstasy! Has to be one of THE best matches at OT for me.

Spyin Kop: We've just come off the back of a Champions League week with you winning 3-0 at home to Copenhagen, what are you expectations for that competition? Will you manage to scrape UEFA Cup football this season?

Phil: Couldn't care less about it. I didn’t go to the Copenhagen game because I can't be arsed.

Kev: I think we might just scrape through to the next round of the competition. As long as it gets priority over domestic success in the eyes of Ferguson and Queeroz then the sooner we're out, the better.

Sara: I expect us to get through the group stages.

I expect us to crash out in the first knock out round. Woohoo.

Spyin Kop: Anything else to add?

Phil: If you all hate scousers clap your hands?

Kev: Keep off the walls and may the best Manc win.

Sara: Nope . .

Spyin Kop: And lastly, would you care to predict a score for the game?

Phil: 2 - 1 United.

Kev: You’ll get 0, with Rooney breaking his duck with the only goal of the game.

Sara: 2-0 United. Saha and Giggs.

Thanks once again to Phil, Kev and Sara for their answers.

© Hightown Phil 2006

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