Early Doors pines for the days when the League Cup was a
hotbed of upsets. When the top teams rested their leading stars and got caught
Those were simpler times, of course, when the big boys only
had one XI of multi-million pound internationals, instead of a full 25-man
Looking at the Manchester United team sheet last night was like
beholding a ghostly apparition - a series of jolting memories from a murky
A team of players who were simultaneously forgotten men and incredibly
famous. The perfect nostalgia trip for fans of February 2010.
Take the strike duo of Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen - a
pair with over 500 senior goals to their names, including 88 in internationals.
United paid £30m for Berbatov, while Owen won the Ballon
d'Or not so long ago*. And here they were, expected to be grateful at getting a
run-out against fourth tier opposition.
Both were encouraged to stake their claim for a place in the
first team, and both scored.
Will either be in the side against Everton on Saturday? Of
course not. On the bench? Doubt it.
ED remembers a time when Antonio Valencia and Park Ji-Sung
were considered key men for the champions.
Further back we had Phil Jones, recently hailed as the
Lancashire Beckenbauer until it came to our attention that Der Kaiser was a
pretty smart defender.
Then there was Fabio, last seen getting torn a new one in
the Champions League final, and hark at Nemanja Vidic!
There was even somebody doing his best to conjure the spirit
of Bebe, who turned out to be Mame Biram Diouf.
The night was seen as an exercise in 'curing the hangover'
of Sunday's 6-1 mauling at home to City - a quick private jet down to Hampshire
for an Alka Seltzer, then back to the north-west.
However, considering Fergie made 11 changes ED struggles to
see how that could be the case.
Nonetheless, it represented a statement of the manager's
enduring influence that so many big stars could end up marginalised, picked against
bloody Aldershot and yet we never hear a peep of dissent from any of them.
In other news, Carlos Tevez was fined a million quid
yesterday for refusing to warm up in a Champions League game at Bayern Munich. He is now reportedly considering suing his manager Roberto Mancini.
City might hold the upper hand off the pitch, but off it there is no manager that can approach Ferguson's power.
*Actually it was so long ago - 10 years.
- - -
The Guardian's Marina Hyde issued a typically clear-sighted warning against
jumping to conclusions last week during the Evra-Suarez furore.
Much the same argument applies to the John Terry-Anton
ED does not know what Terry said, or in what context. Nor do
you. And no amount of views of that snippet of footage is going to tell you.
The man is innocent until proven guilty.
However, ED absolutely took exception to Andre Villas-Boas's
comment yesterday backing Terry.
"John is a player who this country to the highest level
internationally. He is a player of great responsibilities.
"I find it strange when people don't trust the words of
a representative from your country."
Past incidents might suggest Terry and trust make strange
bedfellows, but they should not factor in this time.
But is Villas-Boas really suggesting Anton Ferdinand's word
is worth less than John Terry's because he doesn't play for England?
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Mick McCarthy goes justifiably ape at
those Molineux goons who booed Wolves on Saturday: "Let me
clear something up. It doesn't help. Let's not give them any credit. Let's not
give any of the dissenting voices, the mindless idiots that do it, any credit
whether it's aimed at me, Karl
Henry, Andy Keogh or Stephen Ward. Do not give them any
credence or any credit for getting us playing well or getting a result. They
don't deserve any of that. There was no credit given to any of them at all for
the 2-2 draw. I'm taking the credit, getting Jamie
O'Hara further up the pitch, the players that went on and the attitude they
had. We've a great spirit amongst us but I always worry in saying that, in
giving them some sort of back-handed compliment that they have generated a good
team spirit and a siege mentality. They haven't. All they do is destroy it. It
is destructive and no good to me or anyone else."
PRAVDA OF THE DAY: 'Player ratings' for last
night's Aldershot-United game on manutd.com
featuring no ratings - just a couple of almost exclusively positive
sentences. Couldn't they at least have given everyone 10 out of 10? Oddly, ED
was unable to find ratings for Sunday's match against City.
'NEVER SAW THAT ONE COMING' OF THE DAY: Thomas Vermaelen
gets injured. Some debate over whether the Belgian's calf muscle is pulled or
merely tight. Either way, he's a doubt for the trip to Stamford Bridge this
FOREIGN VIEW: Nemanja Vidic has let
himself and Serbia down by quitting international
football at the peak of his powers, former national team coach Ilija Petkovic has
Petkovic, who led Serbia and Montenegro to the
2006 World Cup when they played as a single nation,
was quoted as saying that Vidic "has made a morally wrong decision."
"Honestly, I am stunned with Vidic's
decision because he could have played on for Serbia for a long time and this is
a poor gesture for a player of his stature," he said.
"There are things of which I don't want to
remind Vidic, he should have taken a good look at himself in the mirror before
he decided to walk away.
"That is a big decision for such a young
man and he will have to look the people in their eyes when he returns to Serbia
COMING UP: More Carling Cup fun and games tonight - follow
all the action from 19:45.