Has there ever been a more cheaply named cup as the Capital One Cup? It’s awful. Manchester United losing in the Capital One Cup in tragic, comedy style during the week felt appropriate and reminded me to write this up. Defeat is another kick for United but in any other time to lose to Sunderland on penalties in such cheapy-named cup would be a minor blip. Alas the season hasn’t worked out Moyes intended. They’ve been what Everton fans expected. Limited and tight-lipped. They look like an abandoned husband.
Looking back at my amateur analysis at the start of the season, I said it would finish Chelsea (1), Man City (2) and then Manchester Utd (3). I said Spurs would do well (7), Liverpool better(6), Everton even better (5) and Arsenal would finish 4th. There is one clear anomaly here and a few predictions which probably will be out-of-synch.
The top spot is far from decided but the presence of Manchester City must be worrying for the rest. Defensively without Kompany they remain suspect but they have the firepower upfront to pull rabbits out of hats. I’m glad I predicted that little Spanish lad on the right would be rubbish.
Alongside Chelsea and Arsenal they have the Champions League to worry about during the week. How they handle this or how seriously they take it will determine the league. Europe will particularly affect Spurs pushing them down the table. The Europa League as Newcastle know from last season is a major drain rather than a financial bonus.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton have surprised me. Arsenal’s strength comes from te midfield stepping up and finally a striker looking almost good enough. Suarez is a near one-man team. Rodgers has pulled the team round him well. Coutinho is a creative card but they still conceded too much. Roberto Martinez has truly surprised. He kneeded a fast-paced team with real organisation and power.
When Moyes bought Fellani, he should have bought Jagielka. When he failed to get Fabregas, he should have bought Mata. Finally and for too much money, Mata is arriving. The media are talking some bullshit about how to fit him in but forget it, he’ll do fine. Now they need to get rid of the deadwood and bring real power into the middle. I wouldn’t recommend Tiote but a more disciplined version is a necessity. The term deadwood isn’t appropriate either. Driftwood would be more accurate. The players look out of their depth, unsure of positioning and emotionally spent.
At the bottom you see the middle too. The league seems to be becoming similar to the Spanish or German league. Serious wealth is concentrated in the top 5 or 6 while the rest scout the other leagues but pay better salaries. There are at least 10 teams still wrapped up the a relegation battle. I predicted Cardiff, Crystal Palace and Hull. I might be wrong there. Let’s see.