The Emperor’s New Clothes

“Manchester United can still catch Chelsea and win the league” – Someone clearly on drugs

Excuse me, I may have mis-attributed the above quote. I’m being told that the quote is actually from Manchester United’s manager Louis Van Gaal. And that he made the statement shortly after the Reds secured an 87th minute equalizer, not winner, against West Brom.

Many of you casual soccer fans will be saying “who’s West Brom”, and to you my reply is “exactly”. You’ve heard of Real Madrid because they’ve won 10 European titles. You’ve heard of Liverpool because they’ve won the English league 18 times. You’ve never heard of West Brom because they’re a mid level EPL team, when they’re having a good year. This mid level squad had two leads on mighty United before conceding the late goal and dropping two points.

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If you can’t beat West Brom, why would think you can catch Chelsea? Chelsea is 10 points ahead of United, scoring goals seemingly at will, and giving up an average of 1 per game (though this is skewed by giving up 3 at Everton and 2 against Swansea). Chelsea has everything a team could want, a “good” coach (your opinion of his antics may vary), solid defense, a young world class keeper, a midfield that can defend AND attack, and a striker currently sitting at the top of the table for most goals scored in the league. United on the other hand have a great keeper, a clown-show of a defense, a soft and aging midfield, an old fragile striker, a hothead striker that loves to sulk, and several players purchased over the last two years totaling nearly 150 million dollars who must’ve thought it was still 2007 and United were still kings of the world.

Manchester United are not kings of the world anymore. The closest American comparison would be to that of the LA Lakers. A team with a fanbase that doesn’t understand why games are even played as they are supposed to be crowned champions every spring no matter what. A team that was once filled with superstars in peak form and coached by a legend, but are now old, tired, and trying patch it together. Struggling to hold on to whatever is a whisker above mediocrity.

The sad fact of the matter for Manchester United is that they’ve had the easiest schedule in the league and managed to win only 3 games out of 8. Starting this weekend they’ll play the top 5 teams in the league over the course of the next 8 weeks. Perhaps Van Gaal was reading the schedule backward and thought the easy part was coming up. Perhaps he just found 4 Terminator T-1000s that he plans on deploying as his defenders this weekend. I’m really not sure why he thinks United can catch Chelsea. But the English media being who and what they are continue to eat it up and give credence to what, taken objectively, is complete nonsense.

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