United v. West Brom – The view from the away end

Author: Rob

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To preview Sunday’s game against West Brom, I did a brief interview with Baggies supporter John Rudge. John is very knowledgeable about the club and football in general, has excellent taste in music (i.e. similar to mine), and is one of the world’s foremost cereal connoisseurs. You can find him on Twitter here, very much worth a follow. Manchester United are heavy favourites according to the latest Betfair Football Odds.

Rob: First off, welcome to Stretford-End.com. After the Manchester clubs and Arsenal, Albion are the most in-form team in the league. To add to your merriment, Wolves are at the bottom of the form table and 18th on the Big Important Table as well. The WBA coach, Roy Hodgson is a favourite among football fans. People love his polite, sophisticated manner, consistent managerial excellence – sabotaging Liverpool with Poulsen, Konchesky and Jovanovic was genius – and the love of heavy metal that he shares with David de Gea. In short, he’d be the greatest uncle ever. Are you happy with Uncle Woy and how the season’s gone so far?

John: Uncle Woy is a cult hero at The Hawthorns for his jacket throwing (and retrieving seconds later), face-rubbing, quoting 19th century tomes and discussing theatre, but also because he has made us believe we can beat anybody. It’s only a few occasions this season when we could say that our players haven’t performed to their highest level. He’s got the absolute optimum from a technically decent team through strong match preparation, organisation and exploiting our strengths – Moving the ball around and defensive solidity. The season so far has been very similar to the start of Woy’s reign in as much as soon as we started getting all our players fit and going in the right direction (Woy’s carefully planned direction) we were able to string a few decent results together and make sure we started looking up instead of down. I’m a major pessimist so until we cross that 40 point line I’ll not be sitting comfortably but I think even I will allow myself to sleep a little easier than I was at this stage last season.

Rob: As an aside, what are your thoughts on his predecessor Voldemort taking over from AVB at Chelsea?

John: RDM (it’s all initials these days becuz kidz avent got very gud attention spans or speling) was responsible for bringing some classiness and swagger to The Hawthorns that we worried might be lost when Tony Mowbray departed and took us to the Premier League first time of asking. I think the arrogance he carries with him might rile the egos in the Chelsea dressing room but he’s called in Eddie Newton, his lieutenant from his time at the Hawthorns who seemed to act as the buffer during his spell with us so that seems like it could a good call. Also, you say Voldemort? I raise you Parker, the butler from Thunderbirds.

Rob: Ha! Great shout, that. Albion were desperately unlucky to lose against United on opening day. Shane Long was a handful, and Tchoyi had a great game in midfield. United relied on legendary poacher Late Own Goal for a barely-deserved winner. What tactical battles and player matchups will be key if WBA are to get a result on Sunday?

John: I was quite pleased to see you put a strong team out against Bilbao, not only because it ensured a rip-roaring, truly spectacular game but also because the high-intensity Blibao brought to OT ensured your key players had a major work-out. As United are really my second team, I supported them until I was about eight before my dad decided it was time to take me to see Albion – Stockport and witness some ‘proper football’, I love watching United and usually most of their players but one player I can’t stand is Ashley Young, partly because of his time at Villa but also because he routinely plays well against us and he tore us to shreds at times in the game at The Hawthorns. If he plays, I’ll be dreading him getting to the byline or cutting inside. Morrison is our outstanding player when he’s on form, he’s got superb vision, makes some driving runs from the centre and can put in a decent tackle. It’ll be interesting to see how Mulumbu (he’s better than Kaka – “Mulumbu, woooah, Mulumbu, wooooah, he comes from Africa, he’s better than Kaka, Mulumbu, wooooah!”) handles your midfield threat, he will probably be tasked with watching Rooney when he drops deep and poses the threat from the edge of the area.

Rob: Stephen Reid’s unfortunately out for your side, how big of a miss do you think he’ll be?

John: We’ve just found out that he will miss the rest of the season and he has been in the form of his life so that will destabilise the full-back position a little and your wingers could exploit that with their pace. He is a leader on the pitch and his decision making in terms of positioning and when to make a tackle is nearly always perfect so he’ll be a big loss to our defensive unit but also to the team as a whole.

Rob: We’re both big fans of the Slovenian midfield schemer Robert Koren, formerly of West Brom. Anyone in the current team stirs your passions like the headbanded genius?

John: Funnily enough, Keith Andrews… You might want to mop up the coca-cola you’ve just sprayed all over in laughter before I continue. Cheers. He has a superb passing range and likes to pick the ball up from our centre backs and spray. SPRAY. He’s also brilliant at pressing his central midfield opponent and often breaks forward to press the opposition centre-halves.

No one can touch Koren – that bloody lovely boy was like an older, more handsome brother to me – but Jimmy Morrison is probably the heir apparent to his role of ‘Creative Hub.’ His passing, vision and forays into the opposition area are delightful to behold.

Rob: Two of your “favourite” players will probably be gracing the same field on Sunday: The Ghost of Peter Odemwingie and Luis Nani’s Living Room Statue. Who do you expect to fall down the most?

John: For me, this is the only reason I’ll be watching this game. Forget the result. It’s all about seeing Nani receive the ball at pace and then slow the game down to standing pace as he performs that ‘toe-tap’ exercise you get told to do at training when you are eight. He’ll then either run straight at the opponent and fall over/lose the ball, or just pass it backwards. Of course, all will be forgiven when he lashes in a 40 yard screamer in the 89th minute. Meanwhile, Peter Odemwingie will also be falling over. Not because he’s run into an opposition player, he’ll just be falling over the spherical object that it appears he’s never seen before in his life. That, or hitting incredibly tame shots, or screwing simple scoring opportunities out for throw-ins at every opportunity.

Rob: In contrast to the “plucky” stereotype that plagues so many decent English teams, the Baggies looked positively authoritative against Chelsea in their last outing, and have been smacking goals past opposing teams recently. Rio Ferdinand might be rested, and United’s defence and midfield have looked shaky at times. You must be feeling confident about Sunday, then? Your predictions?

John: I’m glad someone has noticed that it wasn’t a ram-raid win over Chelsea and that we were genuinely the superior team. MOTD highlights seemed desperate to portray the opposite. One of our strong points is our ability to move the ball around on the deck and this fact should make it a delightful game for the neutral with two positive teams playing good pass and move stuff. Regarding the recent glut of goals, I’m somewhat baffled since Shane Long is easily our best striker, he’s strong, quick, has bags of technical ability and his runs and movement are quality, but has spent a number of games on the bench, unable to dislodge Fortuné as the lone striker. Fortuné doesn’t score goals. It’s just not his thing. His hold-up play is superb and he brings our more creative midfielders into play exceptionally well so Evans and Smalling, if that is the pairing, will have their hands full with his physicality but our main goal source, unbelievably, has been Peter Odemwingie who to put it bluntly is the poorest footballer at the club. He is lightning quick, I’ll give him that but when it comes to actually touching a football he’s a disgrace. How he has scored so many goals for us I’ll never know, in fact it’s making me rethink my career plans, I might give Uncle Woy a call and see if he fancies taking a punt on a 23 year old from Brandhall! I wouldn’t say I feel confident about taking three points off you but I am confident we shouldn’t get a battering since our defensive unit is the strongest I’ve ever seen at the club so maybe if we can keep you out we always have a chance of nicking something through one of our midfielders, or a set-piece. Oh, wait that last sentence seemed far too optimistic… No, I can only foresee a thirty three-nil loss.

Rob: Haha, somehow I doubt that. Looking forward to the game. Thanks for your time, mate!

John: No worries.

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9 Comments on United v. West Brom – The view from the away end

  1. Everyone has been going on about us not being able to settle on a solid back 4 that can play week in and out. People have been unhappy at the amount of times the team has been changed and its true. We almost have a different back 4 every week! Its not good for the team and the lads can’t get into a rythem! And I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. We have too many defenders! And imagine if Vidic wasn’t injured! There would be even more chopping and changing weekly! The 2 lads smalling and jones r eng internationals(only caus of United imo) and want to start every game! Its all very well having a lot of defenders and players in the squad and I think competition for places is very healthy for the club BUT how do u keep all these players happy and content with the amount of gametime they r getting. Jones has come in and I genuinely believe he has disturbed our setup. I believe that it was greedy of us to go and buy him from balckburn when we already had 2 players in Smalling and Evans who were in line to challenge Rio and Nemanja. + we have the 2 Da Silvas who have been at the club for a while now and have waited a long time to stake their claim. It hasn’t benefitted us 1 bit in my opinion! Yes he had a good first few games when he first arrived but he has been so bloody poor for the past few months. He’s just an average player in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it when I heard we had signed him and the first thing I thought to myself was – how will this lad get in the team when we already have rio, nemanja etc and I believe that when vidic comes back next season its gonna be even more of a mess. Its showed in europe especially. Everytime it came to the Cl, SAF had no other choice than to change the back 4 because players were not getting gametime etc. Way too much chopping and changing! I honestly don’t think this would have happened without jones last season and it never! We had a solid back 4 and 3 of the positions were standard. It was rio and nemanja and paddy and then either smalling or the twins at rb. When rio or nemanja were injured evans stepped in and did a decent job together with smalling! And things were ok! Simples. There were hardly any problems and the lads got on with it week by week. I don’t think we got to another CL final by changing our team everytime in came to Europe and we def never won a record 19th title by doing the same thing. U can shoot me down all u like but I don’t give a fuck! I def feel I have a really valid point here! There was absolutey no reason whatsoever for Fergie to go out and buy another defender! I couldn’t actually believe it when I heard he had signed for us! I was completely shocked! How do u keep 8 defenders happy??? Its impossible! The changing of the team to keep players happy has had a negative impact and our results this season speak for themselves. Barcelona play the same back 4 almost every week and look where they are. Same can be said of madrid. Pepe, ramos and marcelo play all thetime and look at where they r in the league! Its simple!

  2. Not sure I agree with John there. Albion have been very poor several times this season and have only really played well in handful of matches, most of them recent.

    As for Odemwingie being the poorest footballer at the club… are you sure you didn’t interview a Wolves fan? Utter nonsense. Pete is our top scorer as well as getting quite a few assists. He didn’t hit the highs of last year but he’s finding his stride now. It’s all been to do with Roy’s use of 4-4-2. Switched back to 4-5-1 for the Wolves game and we haven’t looked back.

  3. By far the worst and most boring away view ever. Odemwingie the poorest player? Where were you when he banged in all them goals?

    Brom hammered Sunderland recently so we better get sorted.

    Utd 3-0
    Rooney, Young and Anderson

  4. yeah,he’a racist. . .he must be drunk and mentally challenge. .peter will always be on top. . .u dont know shit!

  5. Thanks for all the comments guys. I didn’t say Odemwingie didn’t score goals, I simply stated that I didn’t know how he scored so many because in terms of technical ability he is the poorest play at the club. I’m happy to debate this point with any one of you guys on Twitter if you would like. I won’t dignify the racist comments with an answer. I’m grateful for the opportunity to preview this classic English football fixture and I’m sorry if any of you reading the interview didn’t enjoy it. Let’s hope for an exciting game, regardless of which team wins.
    Love from John, the one wat wrote the bad fings abowt odemwingy and vat!!!!

  6. @ John

    Just because others have defended Odemwingie and call you racist you assume they are probably black/uneducated hence making that mis spelt gesture in your last comment.

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