Thursday, October 3, 2013

A point is OK

It was a much better performance from the team this time around.

Overall, there was more determination in the team. I feel if Rooney had been there we would have won it.

It is indeed a pity it wasn't three points at the end of the night, but Shaktar didn't deserve to lose either. Taison, to me, was their best performer, and that goal was a hell of a shot, leaving De Gea no chance at all.

Still, I have some issues with the starting line-up. Welbeck did well to be in the position to score the goal, and he took it well enough. But other than that, he did practically nothing. I still rate him last in the pecking order of frontmen, so I don't understand why Moyes put him in instead of Chicharito.

Cleverley played well, coming in from the left often to operate in the middle, but Fellaini still hasn't integrated into the team. He did well to get the cross in for the goal, but gave the ball away too easily several times. Still, I think he can improve as the season goes on. One thing he needs to work on is his speed.

It was good to have Rafael back for this game. Overall, I think the defence did a pretty good job, though the Daily Mirror says Shaktar's goal came because of a costly blunder by Vidic. That was a bit unfair, I think. The cross was driven in at speed and all the poor captain could do was stick his foot out. It was just bad luck that it fell to Taison.

Now, let's hope they build on this and start improving by leaps and bounds. It should be much better this weekend as Rooney is set to return and RVP looks to be picking up somewhat again, despite not scoring yesterday.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tough trip

It's Moyes' first CL game away, and already the new manager has sprung a few surprises.

While Ferdinand has a groin strain, Moyes himself admitted that the veteran defender would not have featured anyway in the game against Shaktar. Also left out of the team which flew out are Anderson, Fabio and Zaha.

Ferdinand's absence should mean a chance for Evans to impress, hopefully alongside Vidic, who was rested against Albion. De Gea, Rooney and RVP will probably figure in the starting lineup, but the rest of the squad is still up for grabs.

I hope Rafael gets a chance. He is one of United's most consistent performer, and always a threat going forward. I think he combines well with Valencia, so hopefully the Equadorian will feature as well.

For lack of a better option (since Januzaj was not registered for the CL squad), I would play Nani on the left. Kagawa is a better player, but I still think he should be played in the middle. I think Moyes should go for the kill and play Carrick and Kagawa in the middle, instead of Fellaini. Once the team is ahead by a couple of goals (or more), then bring in the big Belgian to shore things up a little.

The other option down the left is Giggs, but the Welshman rarely plays the wing these days and I think we need Nani's speed more. I still say Giggs is the best crosser of the ball, but perhaps bringing him on a little later in the game would be the best option.

At left back, it's likely to be Evra, since he was rested for the WBA game. Still our best left back, though Buttner is looking better and better as he gains experience.

Here's hoping for a change of fortunes after the dismal performances in the league so far.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stiffer penalties for sex offences apt

NEWS over the past few days must have set women's rights groups  rejoicing, and rightly so.

Stiffer penalties for those who assault or use criminal force against spouses, gang rape being made a new, separate offence, increased jail terms for incest between 10 and 30 years and lengthier jail terms for inciting a child to an act of gross indecency. All these and more are among proposed amendments to the Penal Code.

The amendment bill had its first reading at Dewan Rakyat over this past week, and news of it must have been much welcomed.

Women's Aid Organisation director Ivy Josiah lauded the move to have stiffer penalties for assault or the use of criminal force against spouses. She told the New Straits Times the move was long overdue, however, with women's organisations pushing for it for some time now.

It is no wonder she feels that way. For the longest time, people were of the opinion that what happens between a husband and a wife should stay between a husband and a wife. It's not something that should be aired in public. Marital problems are not to be brought to the attention of anyone outside the family.

But, marital problems are marital problems. Assault, rape, coercion and force are not. These are crimes, no matter who does it or who the victims are. In fact, if you look at it from a different perspective, it is an even bigger sin if the perpetrator and the victim are married to each other.
Should not a husband protect his wife, after all? Should not a wife be more loving to her husband than anyone else?

(Yes, spousal abuse works both ways. There are cases out there, though few and far between, of wives beating up their husbands.)

Then there is the amendment which will see minimum jail terms for rape increased from five years to 10. This and news that another amendment will put an end to concurrent prison sentences should be taken as a triumph by women's groups.

Rape, despite the fact that it is classified as a sex crime, is not merely about sex. It is about power. It is violent and leaves the victim terribly traumatised.

Having a minimum prison sentence of 10 years for rape is befitting. It shows that the government deems rape a horrible crime indeed. And, this is only strengthened when you do not allow prison sentences to run concurrently.

Why? Let's say a man is charged with two counts of rape. If the court finds him guilty on both counts and sentences him to the minimum amount required by law on each charge but rules that the sentences should be served concurrently, then he only serves 10 years and not 20.

It is somewhat akin, you can say, to a person purchasing two units of the same thing, but paying only for one.

This was the problem in 1997 when an Indonesian man with permanent resident status here was arrested on suspicion of having raped several women.

The story then was that police were in a quandary because at that time, courts were inconsistent when meting out jail sentences for rape and tended to hand out concurrent sentences for multiple counts of rape.

The rumour also was that this suspected serial rapist was one who could not control his urges. The story goes that he was taken to hospital for a potency test. As a nurse walked by, he nudged the cop to whom he was handcuffed and told him that if he had been loose, he would attack the nurse.

Because of these factors -- again, as the story goes -- police were sure he would get out in only a matter of a few years and be back to his ways in no time. They were at a loss.

 The policemen would not have had to worry if the minimum sentence then had been 10 years and sentences had to run consecutively.

As an aside to that story -- whether or not it is true -- the investigators' worries were all for nought, thanks to the actions of the suspect himself.

He claimed he had murdered one of his victims and buried her in a secondary jungle. He was brought to the area with his hands cuffed at the back, as is standard operating procedure.

When they came to a hill, however, police detectives had to cuff his hands in front so he could make the climb. At the top of the hill, a detective uncuffed him so he could again have his hands cuffed at the back, but he then tried to escape.

In a scuffle with one detective, he managed to grab the policeman's revolver, but as he pointed the gun at the detective, another policeman shot and killed him.

 A search of the area later, however, found no body buried there, as claimed by the suspect.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Worst start in years

Woeful. Simply woeful.

Albion were, on the night, the better team. They deserved the three points. it's now two defeats in a row for United and Moyes must now decide what needs to be done.

Frankly, I think Moyes got his tactics wrong. I still prefer 4-4-2 formations, and lining them up 4-2-3-1 was just not on. Anderson is another player that should be gotten rid of. So much potential, so little returns. I say get rid of him, Welbeck and Young. Nani too, since he has not lived up to potential as well, despite a slightly better performance this time around.

With the likes of Januzaj and Zaha lurking on the bench, and with Valencia slowly getting back to his best, we can get rid of Young and Nani.

But the biggest mistake Moyes made was taking off Kagawa at the break. Why do that? Introducing Januzaj was a good move, to me. But Kagawa was playing well. Moyes should have taken off Ando and reverted to a 4-4-2 formation with Kagawa and Carrick calling the shots in midfield.

The other sad thing now is that RVP is in a slump. It's not just that he hasn't scored. It's also that he isn't contributing to the team much. Rooney is famous for such slumps, but even when he isn't scoring, he is contributing. RVP, unfortunately, is not contributing.

Having said that, however, it is only a matter of time before RVP is back to his unstoppable self. Hopefully it happens in the next game.

Thankfully, Rooney is still playing blinders. But one man can't do much if the rest of the team isn't firing on all cylinders.

But take nothing away from WBA. Albion defended stoically and had some great attacking moments too. Kudos to them. Amalfitano's goal was very coolly taken, and Berahino was dangerous throughout his time on the pitch. Sessegnon had a great game as well, and Amichebe did well holding up the ball against the likes of Ferdinand, whenever the ball came to him.

But man of the match for me was Olsson, who marshaled his team's defence brilliantly and was dangerous at set pieces as well up front.

Let's move on now. Get your act together, lads. Start showing the world what United is like when you mean business. We, the fans, don't like seeing the team in the bottom half of the table. It's not something we're used to.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

So much better

Why couldn't MU have played like that against Man City? Against Liverpool, a full-strength (minus Coutinho) Liverpool mind you, they played with fire in their bellies.

I guess it helps that the majority of the players there have a thing or two to prove to the boss. It also helped to have Rafael back. So much speed and penetration down the right when the Brazilian is in the side. And his defending has improved by leaps and bounds over the last two years.

That goal by Chicharito was well-taken too. I have always said I would take him any time over Welbeck. Definitely the third choice striker for me. Welbeck doesn't even come close. Kagawa played well, too. And Nani was lively, though he is still not putting away the chances that come his way. As with Hernandez and Welbeck, Nani over Young any day, any time, for me.

Evans did well marshaling the defence, and Smalling is definitely more comfortable as a central defender than a rightback.

I only wish Januzaj could have gotten more game time, and Zaha could have been brought on. Still, I can forgive Moyes as he probably did not want to bust up the team dynamics too much.

More of this please lads!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Recover, we will and MUST!

Simply atrocious! That is the only word to describe the team performance against the Noisy Neighbours.

The only person to stand out in that horrible display was Rooney, but that great goal is terribly overshadowed by the lack of commitment and skill showed by the team. Vidic, to a certain extent, can be left out of criticism. Pretty sure he tried his best but was just left too exposed. De Gea, too. I don't think he could have done anything more.

But the rest of the First 11....!!!! Fellaini's weakness was utterly exposed. He's a good player, and has yet to work out a good understanding with the rest of the team, but his one major weakness is that he is slow. Man City are an incredibly fast team and Fellaini was just nowhere to be seen, left eating everyone's dust.

It was just woeful. What is Moyes doing playing people like Young and Welbeck when you have the likes of Chicharito, Kagawa, Nani and even the two exciting youngsters, Zaha and Januzaj? Give me Hernandez anytime over Welbeck, and the other four could play in place of Young in any lineup.

The game against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup should see Moyes make major changes to his lineup. He should play the younger ones and see what they can do. Let's hope he does.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting there

Apart from the lapses in concentration at the back, yesterday's performance was, by far, the best of the season.

Rooney was clearly the man of the match, but the entire team played well, especially going forward. Hyppia's Leverkusen never really looked like they could get in the match, except maybe for that short period after they equalised.

To be fair, though, the German team probably was hard done by for the first goal. That should not have been allowed as Valencia was definitely offside. How can anyone argue that he was not interfering with play?

Rooney should have had a hat trick, but that miss when the score was still 1-0 was incredible. Actually, I believe he was caught in two minds. Having rounded the keeper, I think he dragged the ball a little too much and was left with a tight angle. He probably couldn't decide whether to go for goal or square for RVP. In the end, I believe he tried squaring the ball, simply because he used his left leg. If you look at his second goal, he went for it with his right. So, the conclusion, at least in my mind, is that he went for the pass.

Rooney, you have to admit, is on fire. He is now on 200 goals for MU. What a milestone, indeed. And that pass for Valencia's goal was absolutely inch perfect.

RVP wasn't having one of his best games, but his goal was just sublime. And on his supposedly weaker foot to boot.

Fellaini still needs a little time, perhaps, to gel with the team, but he was a pretty solid rock in midfield. And it was great to see Kagawa back, even if he began to tire a little towards the end of his stint. Not surprising, since he was just down with a virus.

So, with his first win in Europe under his belt, it looks like it can only get better for David Moyes. This win will surely give him more confidence, and the team too.

Good job lads!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

German test

Welbeck and Jones are major doubts for the visit of Bayer Leverkusen in this year's Champions League opener for the Devils, a game which will test United and Moyes' European credentials.

Also unlikely to figure are Rafael, who has just returned to training, and, to a lesser extent, Kagawa, who is recovering from a bout with flu. Exciting prospect Januzaj, meanwhile, has not been registered.

The biggest question, however, will be Moyes. With Everton, he never made it to the main draw in the Champions League. How the team performs tonight will be a reflection of his abilities in Europe.

Yet again, however, I repeat that I am not expecting much from Moyes this year. And, I repeat, it took Fergie a long time as well to get things going.

So, no predictions this time around.

I do, however, want to say that I support Moyes and Ferdinand in saying action should be taken against divers, and yes, that includes Young. But has the club or manager done anything with Young yet? They should set the standards by docking some of Young's pay, shouldn't they?

Meantime, I shall be looking forward to tonight's game.


I forgot that Nani is suspended due to that controversial red card when United got knocked out against Real Madrid last season.

Also, from the MU official website: The last time MU met Leverkusen at Old Trafford, in November 2002, the Red Devils beat the Germans 2-0 thanks to goals from Veron and van Nistelrooy.

Moro attacks won't derail peace talks

IN November, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Al Haj Murad Ebrahim met  Malaysian media members at the one-time rebel group's main camp in Mindanao.

A question was put to him about whether he saw the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) as a threat to the peace accord, which was already in advanced stages between MILF and the Philippine government (GPH).

The peace accord, after decades of fighting, was brokered by the Malaysian government, so journalists from Kuala Lumpur were, of course, interested in what Murad had to say.

He said the MNLF had broken into five factions, with only the one led by Nur Misuari having "reservations" about the accord.

He had also said that Misuari had 1,000 people in his group, but that no violence had occurred and he was optimistic that there would not be a threat from Misuari's group.

That optimism must have been shattered on Monday when hundreds of MNLF followers attacked several cities in Zamboanga, landing in several places, in what was described as a coordinated plan.

Although Misuari was in hiding -- some reports saying possibly in Indonesia -- it was reported that the attack came about after threats from the Philippine government that the MNLF leader would be arrested. MILF still maintains that MNLF members would not be a threat to the MILF-GPH peace talks.

Those talks will continue, despite the renewed violence.

MILF optimism comes from the fact that Misuari's followers are considered few, a small minority compared with Mindanao residents who want to see the peace talks work so that they can find better lives for themselves and their children.

Whatever attacks they have undertaken, or are planning, will not derail the peace talks and will eventually peter out, even if it will take time.

The fact that there are "few followers" also means that those who do follow Misuari, therefore, will be concentrating on their current plans in Zamboanga, leaving Sabah safe from attack, even though Eastern Sabah Security Command personnel have been put on high alert.

Still, it is right for Malaysian officials to put security forces on high alert in Sabah. It is merely a precautionary measure, so residents there should not be unduly worried.

 Another reason, however, for the alert is that if MNLF forces should suffer setbacks in Zamboanga, its proximity with the east coast of Sabah could see these armed rebels coming here. Should the MNLF head here, however, sources said they are likely to seek to "ride out the heat" by laying low instead of creating a problem in Sabah.

 "Still, there is no sense in allowing them to enter the country unannounced. Hence, the high alert."

It is no stretch of the imagination that MNLF followers may enter Malaysia to hide out. Misuari himself had hidden here in 2001 after leading a failed rebellion in Zamboanga. He was eventually deported to Manila, where he was placed under house arrest until the Philippine government freed him in 2008.

Another possibility is that ordinary, peace-loving citizens in Zamboanga may try to flee the fighting there, braving that short boat ride to the coast of Sabah.

The alert also makes sense on another count, one that hits closer to home. It has long been postulated that Misuari is being encouraged by certain quarters to ensure the peace accord fails, simply because it was brokered by the Malaysian government.

 It has taken years and the main players are, of course, the Philippine government and the Bangsamoro people led by MILF. But the peace accord, when it is finally set in stone, will represent a success story for Malaysia and its government.

It is this that these quarters do not want. To them, the Malaysian government -- in particular the Barisan Nasional government -- should not receive any form of recognition for a successful peace plan.

So, any action by the MNLF, particularly the faction led by Misuari, needs to be closely monitored and guarded against, no matter how small the threat against Malaysia's sovereignty.

This is despite the fact that Zamboanga City mayor Beng Climaco had reportedly claimed that he spoke to Misuari, who denied involvement in Monday's attack, and disowned Hadir Malik, who is said to be the leader of the attack.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fellaini's debut?

Will he of the wild hair make his debut this weekend?

All indications are that Fellaini will be in the starting line-up against newbies Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. He should be working alongside Carrick in the middle of the park, in place of Cleverley, who I thought did not have a good game against Liverpool.

With Palace having lost two and won one in their first season back in the top flight, I think this will be a good chance for Moyes to try out some of the other players. Players like Zaha, who could be a good one to have line up against his old club.

Before I go into the First 11 I hope to see, which I believe may just be the one Moyes uses, let's look at some team news.

Rooney is definitely out, though he is hoping to make his return in the derby next week. So is Rafael. Jones is likely out as well.

So, I believe Moyes will stick with De Gea in goal, Vidic and Ferdinand in the middle of defence, Evra at leftback. The rightback position, however, is a toss-up between Smalling and Valencia. Quite frankly, I would like to see Valencia in the game, but since I also want to see Zaha in it as well, I think my preferred line-up would be Valencia playing behind Zaha. That would be an awesome attacking force running down the right.

As I said earlier, Carrick and Fellaini should be calling the shots in the midfield. I'm hoping Nani will be out left as I think he did a decent job when he came on last time around. I think he will only get better.

That leaves the attack. Obviously RVP will be there as Moyes looks to catch the leading pack. He may have fired blanks in the last two matches, but you never, ever count him out. But who will be his strike partner?

The obvious choices will be either Welbeck or Hernandez. Frankly, I prefer Chicharito. Much better player, and has a better footballing brain. Harries the opposition a lot, too.

But for this game, I'm hoping Moyes will experiment a little and put Kagawa in the slot just behind RVP. No offence to Palace, but this is not top class opposition the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea or even Spurs. So an experiment with Kagawa playing in the hole would be good, with both Chicharito and Welbeck on the bench ready to be called upon later in the game.

Oh, and I would also like to see Januzaj on the bench and making an appearance some time during the match as well.

Crystal ball says: MU 3-0 Palace

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Remi Moses returns

I had forgotten all about Moses until a colleague posted the headline above on FB!

I had a good laugh about it, but I really have to say Moses looked bald compared to Fellaini's mop. The big Belgian is now with the Red Devils and all that hair comes with him. One post I saw on the Net was even funnier than my colleague's status update: "I hope he's hiding Coentrao in there".

I like Fellaini. He is strong, can shoot and is a good header of the ball. Not too sure about his passing ability but I still think he is an asset. If he can marshal the midfield, that would leave Carrick free to do what he does best, splay the ball around.

The biggest plus point has got to be his aerial strength. He will be a huge asset when it comes to set pieces. Get him the crosses and he will score.

I have to say I am a little disappointed with the transfer exercise this time around. But I still believe United can be up there.

So, I am looking forward to seeing the unmistakable figure that is Fellaini out on the pitch in MU colours. And though I can't stand his hair, he can keep it.

Who knows? Maybe he's like Samson.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Merdeka is about nation's struggles

TOMORROW (Sept 2) marks the anniversary of the signing of a very significant piece of paper in Malaysian history.

It took place thousands of kilometres away, yet it was as significant here as it was where it was signed. It was significant in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. It was significant in many parts of the world, especially in the Pacific.

Tomorrow marks the 68th anniversary of the surrender of Japan in World War 2, aboard the battleship USS Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay surrounded by more than 200 Allied vessels.

And while the main players on both the side of the Allies and that of Japan were the focal points of the ceremony, there were many among those seated on the sidelines who were of equal importance, having been prisoners of war under the Japanese. Among these was one Lt-Gen Arthur Percival, the man who surrendered Singapore in February, three years earlier, after the Imperial Japanese Army had swept down the Malayan Peninsular in double-quick time.

Whether he was the one to blame for the capitulation of Malaya or not, Percival was perhaps the most important "representative" of this country at a significant event, even though he most likely did not even begin to think so. At the hands of the Japanese, many Malayan heroes lost their lives, whether in combat or during 31/2 years of brutal occupation. Then there were those who had suffered in the hands of the dreaded Kempetai.

And there were many such souls, the most obvious being Lt Adnan Saidi, killed on Feb 14, 1942, while defending Singapore.

And while we forgive our once "masters", we should never forget those who sacrificed their lives in defence of our freedom. Nor should we forget those who lived on despite their struggles for the same goals, whether in times of war or times of peace.

Where would we be without those who fought on during the Japanese Occupation? Where would we be without those who resisted a war of terror conducted by Communist insurgents? Where would we be without those who defended our freedom during the Confrontation?

Most recently, this country suffered an armed intrusion. And while this was a localised affair which would never have grown to such a size that it would threaten the entire nation, the contribution of the country's security forces during this time is of no less import.

After all, Sabah and her Bornean sister Sarawak are as much a part of Malaysia as any state in the peninsula, and an attack on either is an attack on the entire country.

With the intrusion by Sulu gunmen and the loss of 10 security forces personnel so recent in our memories, it is fitting that the government came up with the theme "Malaysiaku berdaulat: Tanah tumpahnya darahku" for the 56th Merdeka celebration.

Merdeka, after all, is not just about achieving freedom; it's not just about the people who peacefully negotiated our independence from our former colonial masters. It's about the struggles of a nation and its people in keeping that freedom.

It's about the soldiers in our army and the sacrifices they make. It's about the sacrifices of other members of our security forces, like the police, the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force. It's about the sacrifices of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency personnel.

It's about the sacrifices of the former members of the Home Guard. It's even about people like former police sergeant Arthur Albert Waters, a Briton who loved Malaysia so much he stayed on after serving in the police here, dying just days before Merdeka this year, at the age of 92.

It's about the sacrifices of civilians such as Gurchan Singh, the Lion of Malaya, who published communiques giving the true picture of the war during the Occupation at the risk of execution, or his many "agents" who helped him spread the news, some of whom were executed or tortured.

It's about people like Sybil Kathigasu, known as Malaya's Florence Nightingale, providing medical supplies during the Occupation, who also suffered torture, and those countless unnamed souls who helped prisoners of war on death marches.

From Merdeka Day to Malaysia Day this year, at the very least, remember these heroes, both known and faceless, and remember that we live in a peaceful country because of them. Remember that they loved this country.

 Perhaps then will we appreciate not only the sacrifices of those who have gone before us, but learn to appreciate and love, even more, this beautiful land we share.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bad start

A win, a draw and a loss. Not the best of starts to the season!

The worst part is, the loss had to come against Liverpool. Been getting it non-stop from friends who are Liverpool supporters.

But there are some positives. First of all, it is no shame to lose to Liverpool. Still a good team. And at Anfield, so no shame there for sure. And it was only a 1-0 loss.

Liverpool definitely got off to a better start. And I'm not just talking about the early goal. They showed the greater urgency and didn't let MU settle in, harassing the Devils non-stop.

United came out with all guns blazing, however, in the second 45 and really turned on the pressure. But we still couldn't score, thanks to some great defending by Pool.

All-in-all, it was a good game. But we could have done better. If Rooney had been available, I think we may have done better.

I do have one wish though. Send Welbeck back to the bench!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What a bore!

Evra said it, didn't he? Mourinho went to Old Trafford looking for a draw.

How else would you explain the line-up, without a recognised striker? How else would you explain the way Chelsea played?

OK. So he may have been hoping to snatch a win from counterattacks. But, it was obvious that he didn't mind the draw, so he set his tactics that way.

I was looking forward to the game. It was the first big match-up this season. Two of the big boys going up against each other. The way Chelsea played took the joy out of the match for me.

It was sad that we couldn't break down the Chelsea defence though. But, overall, I think the team played well. The MU defence played well and were very disciplined. De Gea was hardly tested. Evra did well going forward as well, though Jones was average in this aspect.

Carrick and Cleverley played well too, as did Valencia, who is looking more like his old self this season, though still lacking a bit. On the opposite wing, however, Welbeck was a disappointment. I think he was the weakest link in the entire team.

Up front, RVP was having one of his off-days, by his spectacular standards. Rooney didn't have a fantastic first half, but really came into it in the second. United's best performer of the night, with some good shots and great passes, especially in the second 45.

Giggs and Young were OK, but didn't really have too much impact.

There has been some debate about whether MU should have had penalties. Some are saying they should have had one or two, some agree with referee Atkinson's decision not to award any. I think there should have been one, going by current standards of refereeing.

Let me explain. When the ball struck Lampard's hand, those who say Atkinson was right in not awarding a penalty say the Chelsea midfielder had no chance to avoid the shot. But, we have all seen penalties or free kicks given for less.

One thing people forget is that going by current standards, the foul should have been awarded as Lampard's hand was not by his side. It was stretched out. Yes, he had no chance of avoiding a ball struck with that amount of ferocity, at that short a distance. But, his hand/arm should not have been out there in the first place.

Atkinson's performance as a referee on the night was worth maybe an average three stars out of five. He did well in most areas, letting the game run and making several good calls, most notably the other penalty shout by the MU players and Old Trafford faithful when there was a handball earlier on in the match, which he waved away.

He started well, too, when he only gave a warning to Cole for the late tackle on Cleverley. So early on in the game, a yellow card would have spoiled it. But I think he made a mistake when he did not flash the card on Valencia for that studs up challenge (on I forget who) later on. He only gave Valencia a warning, and quite a few people vilified him for that.

Now, while I agree Valencia should have been carded, I don't think Atkinson should be taken to task for not doing it. I believe Atkinson merely thought that since he had only given Cole a warning, Valencia should be given the same consideration. A mistake, I believe, but not one he should be vilified for.

I also believe he made a mistake in not giving Cole a card when he went down in the penalty area looking for a penalty. That was a clear dive. If there was any contact, it occurred well before that. The England defender definitely should have been booked for that.

Anyway, what's done is done. Let's just bring on Super Sunday at Anfield and show the Reds that the Red Devils are better. YNWA? Sure. Cause you'll be walking with the other 18 losers!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Added importance

It's only MU's second game, but Man City's loss to Cardiff last night means there's added significance tonight.

Chelsea winning their Villa game, which was brought forward to mid last week, made it somewhat important for United to win their first home game of the season, even if it is still so very early on. But Man City losing means United have the chance to pull away from the other pretenders to the throne -- the noisy neighbours.

Having said that though, a draw or even a loss would not be the end of the world. Like I said, it is still so very early in the season.

The biggest question right now is whether Rooney will feature for United against the team he supposedly wants to join. Quite frankly, I don't believe the rumours. I think Rooney just wants an assurance that he will play in his favoured forward position and not be subjected to playing in the midfield.

So, I have the feeling that Moyes will play him, either sacrificing Welbeck or pushing the speedy striker to the wing.

Most pundits are going for a draw, with some saying Mourinho's lads will nick it. I have a feeling, though, that the Red Devils will prevail.

My prediction for the starting line-up: De Gea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Jones/Smalling, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Valencia/Zaha, Rooney, RVP.

The crystal ball says: MU 2-1 Chelsea

Monday, August 19, 2013

Banish 'it won't happen to me' mindset

Another round of Op Warta may be on the horizon, according to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. If you don't know what Op Warta is, well, it's when the cops go knocking on the doors of traffic offenders who have not settled their summonses. Previous Ops Warta have worked, to a certain extent.

The mere embarrassment of having people see policemen knocking on your door is sometimes enough to make people pay up. Many will actually run off to settle their summonses as soon as an Op Warta is announced, just so they don't find the men and women in blue or white turn up at their door.
But there are even more who don't do anything about it. And, this is because they are not even living at the addresses listed in the records.

This time around, though, if the police force does hold an Op Warta, there will be a slight difference. Whereas in the past, operations were held because there were too many unsettled summonses piling up, this time, it will be because the nation's top cop is unhappy with the initial report of Op Selamat.

Again, for the uninitiated, Ops Selamat is the integrated operation aimed at reducing road crashes and deaths, as well as crime, while Malaysians go about celebrating a major festive season.

Khalid was unhappy with one particular aspect of Op Selamat -- the traffic aspect. While not releasing the figures just yet, Khalid said there had been a slight decrease in the number of crashes, but an increase in the number of deaths during this season's Op Selamat.

He said tougher measures needed to be taken to bring down the number of road accidents and deaths, and to change people's mindsets. One aspect would be to hit people where it hurts the most -- their wallets. Hence, Op Warta.

But Khalid also needs to tell his men that they have to strictly enforce road rules. How many times have you seen someone breaking traffic laws in front of policemen and getting away with it?

Take, for instance, the Federal Highway. There are dedicated motorcycle lanes, but every so often, you will see a few silly daredevils speeding down the highway, weaving in and out of traffic, sometimes doing the "superman". A number of times, these motorcyclists even speed past police patrol cars, but none of them are stopped.

Hitting the culprits in their wallets, so to speak, seems like a good idea. But ultimately, it is their mindset which needs to be changed, and the only way such a change can be effected is for them to want to change.

The biggest problem is surely the "it won't happen to me" attitude. It's an attitude that can be argued as being part of human nature. Most, if not all, of us are affected by this attitude.

Read about a fatal crash? It won't happen to me. See a fatal crash right in front of your eyes? It won't happen to me.

And it's the same for anything and everything.

Boy loses fingers while playing with firecrackers? It won't happen to me. Man struck by lightning while playing football in the middle of a thunderstorm? It won't happen to me.

Do a quick survey and you're more than likely to find that the vast majority of the people you ask will tell you that.

"It won't happen to me... I'm a good driver."

Newsflash people: You may not be as good a driver as you think you are, or the other person on the road isn't a good driver. Then, there are all the other factors that play a part in road crashes -- weather, road conditions and the occasional cow, tapir, dog, elephant, human or, worse, non-human crossing the road.

So, yes, what is most needed is a change in mindset. Only then will we be able to bring down those horrible statistics, which, at present, shows that more than 7,000 people lose their lives on our roads every single year.

In the meantime, dear Tan Sri, do get these people where it hurts. Do whatever you can to change their mindsets. And, make sure your men enforce road rules all year round and not just during festive seasons.

Great start

So I was a little off in my predictions for starting line-up and score.

Quite frankly, after predicting a scoreline of 1-3 in MU's favour, I had second thoughts. I have a lot of respect for Swansea and Laudrup in particular. Plus, they were playing at home. But it was a feeling I had that it would be a big scoreline, so I dismissed those second thoughts.

But the no BS evaluation of the game was that United were lucky to have that big a scoreline in their first match. Just before the first goal, the stats flashed on the screen showed that the Swans had 60 per cent of possession. That's an incredible bit of statistics.

After the goal though, MU grew stronger. All four United goals were brilliant, though Welbeck's first was brilliant more for the pass. So, let's look at the goals in detail.

RVP's first took me by surprise. I had thought it was another attempt gone wanting when the ball popped up at such a height, with a defender closing in. It was truly something else, a fantastic bit of acrobatic skill, which saw van Persie burying that ball in the back of the net.

Valencia should take most of the credit for the second. He could have taken the shot, but decided to square it for Welbeck instead. Kudos for that footballing brain and unselfish bit of behaviour. Credit also to Welbeck for moving into position for that pass.

The third goal was really well struck, though there was a huge element of defensive error there, considering the Swansea defence didn't put any pressure on RVP when he was on the ball. But credit should also go to Rooney and, I believe it was Welbeck, for drawing a couple of defenders away with their runs.

The final goal was, for me, Welbeck's finest since he began playing for the first team. It took the replay for me to realise just how good the goal was, as I initially thought his shot was deflected over the keeper. But no. It was a clean lob over the keeper and into goal. Extremely well taken and shows the improvement in his thinking abilities.

Last season, Welbeck scored only one league goal, meaning he has already doubled his tally this season. I think the pressure to score in the league last season caused the young lad to be a little hurried when trying to score last season. This led to some bad decisions while on the ball. I believe he now has a cooler head on his shoulders. Kudos to the lad.

More on that last goal. The through ball from Rooney was perfectly weighted and the supposed wantaway striker did really well. sadly, the Sunday Times of London chose to slag Rooney off saying that his decision not to celebrate the goal showed that he is still set on leaving United. The journo who wrote that should get the facts right. After playing the defence-splitting pass that led to Welbeck's second goal, Rooney was fouled from behind. It left the striker on the ground for a while, and limping for a bit after. Can you blame him for not joining in the celebrations?

All in all, it was a great start, but not the best performance. Now, let's see how we perform against Chelsea and Man City soon.

Friday, August 16, 2013

And so it begins

Finally! Let the games begin!

United kick off the season at Swansea in DM's first league game as manager of one of the greatest clubs in the world. It promises to be a tough match, but I am pretty sure they will start on the right foot.

Rafael, Hernandez, Nani and Young are all expected to be sidelined for the match. With the latter two out of business for the moment, we can expect exciting new kid on the block Zaha to step up for his first EPL match.

The biggest question, however, will be whether Rooney starts the match, having played almost 70 minutes in the England-Scotland friendly at Wembley. Somehow, though, I don't think he will. My guess is Welbeck will be given the task of partnering RVP up front, but Rooney will be brought in later in the match.

My guess for the starting line-up: De Gea, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Smalling, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Zaha/Valencia, RVP and Welbeck.

And the crystal ball says: Swansea 1-3 Man United

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A sign of things to come?

So David Moyes has collected the first trophy of his Manchester United reign.

And, of course, you hear the detractors and United haters saying that it's just the Community Shield. It's nothing to shout about.

Sure. No doubt. It's just the Community Shield.

But what would have happened if United had lost the match? You know they will be saying things like: "United have no hope in the league this year. They can't even win the Community Shield!"

Do not doubt it, people. It may have just been the Community Shield, but it will be a confidence booster. Let's just hope it's not the one and only thing Moyes wins with MU.

A football website I follow,, has posted its predictions for the coming season. The writer, Matt Stead, believes United will struggle this season. In fact, in listing his top six, Stead predicts United will finish fourth, behind Chelsea, Man City and Spurs, in that order. For the fifth and sixth slots, he named Liverpool and Arsenal, respectively.

Stead also predicts that MU will win the FA Cup, however.

As far as I am concerned, I am not expecting much from Moyes. After all, it is his first season in charge and even SAF took a while before getting in a winning side. I do agree with Stead's assessment that Chelsea and Man City will be up there. But I see United challenging for it with the two clubs.

All said and done, I am really looking forward to the start of the new season. The weekend can't come any sooner.

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's over. Or is it?

So Fabregas, speaking here in Kuala Lumpur, has said he isn't going anywhere. That ends United's interest in him.

Or does it?

We've seen things like this before. When a club says they won't sell a player, but does so later. When a player says he won't move, but does later. So, will Fabregas stay or will he leave? Only time will tell.

Frankly, I don't really know what I think about whether Fabregas would be a good buy for United. I've always thought he was a good player, but not a fantastic one. I don't know if he will fit in at MU.

I do, however, think he is wasting his time in Barcelona. I don't think he will ever be an Iniesta or a Xavi for the Catalan side. But you can't blame him for wanting to stay, can you. It's Barca, after all, with players like, apart from the two already mentioned, Messi. Best player in the world at the moment, and has been for quite some time now.

So, still no significant signings to mark the beginning of the Moyes era. I really wonder whether the new gaffer will be able to get a big name signing in this season.

Again, only time will tell. In the meantime, looking forward to the Community Shield in two days' time.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ibis a big step in the right direction

ON Oct 16, 2000, American television station CBS premiered a new cop drama starring a team of crime scene investigators working for the Las Vegas police department.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation soon grew into a mega hit, spawning two spin-offs featuring such investigators in Miami and New York, and paved the way for a number of similar shows on other television networks focusing on the procedures involved in solving crimes the "scientific" way.

In actual fact, such investigators in Las Vegas are called crime scene analysts and it is actually the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, but nobody cares. Also, solving crimes is not as easy as what it is made out to be in the television shows, but then again who wants to wait several episodes before you can find out whodunit?

Lord knows, if the CSI series were to follow the same time frame as the daytime soap operas, where you could miss several days worth of episodes and come back to find the characters in the same scene, the likes of Gil Grissom, Horatio Caine and Mac Taylor would never have become household names.

But the show has actually come in for criticism where the procedures are concerned. Some crimes, it seems, get solved within 24 hours and this has left, law enforcement experts say, an unrealistic expectation. For instance, the rapid analyses of fingerprints in the show. Just pick any such scene in CSI and within minutes, the computers they use will come up with a fingerprint match. Experts, however, say this process can take days and sometimes even weeks.

The same can also be said about ballistics analyses. The process seems so smooth and simple on the idiot box, yet is a long, drawn-out process, even with the aid of super-fast computers.

The fact remains that, even if you can match a bullet to a gun, and each gun and bullet used in a crime with a firearm used in a previous crime, this may never lead to solving a case, or both cases.
Now, it seems, the Royal Malaysia Police has entered the hi-tech fray at last, with the procurement of the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (Ibis). And, it was high time.

With Ibis, the police force will be able to analyse ballistics in a faster and more efficient manner. Matching firearms used in the commission of a crime can take as fast as 20 minutes. As we all have learned from Grissom and the gang, a gun leaves distinctive markings on bullets that leave its chamber as well as the casing itself. This is what Ibis looks at and matches to other bullets fired in previous crimes.

Whereas in the past, this was done manually by our boys in blue (or, perhaps, white lab coats), they now have the aid of a sophisticated computer, cutting down analysis time and, for sure, the possibility of mistakes.

With the spate of shootings which has occurred off late, this bit of news will most definitely be very welcome. Not least because of the public outcry that has ensued, nor the fact that no less than the prime minister himself has expressed concern.

One can't help but wonder, however, whether the so-called unrealistic expectations born of the CSI series will also be a factor here, now that we have such sophistication at our forensic policemen's fingertips.

You can, perhaps, expect more cases to be solved, and in a more efficient manner. But no one should expect that all cases will be solved, nor should anyone expect the crime rate to drop drastically, or the solving rate to increase exponentially.

Yes. It is a step in the right direction. A step which should have been taken a long time ago. But it is only a step. A big one, mayhap, but only a step nonetheless.

The government and the force have shown that they are trying to solve the problem of crime in the country. Apart from Ibis, more closed-circuit television cameras are being installed, more equipment such as patrol cars and motorcycles have been purchased and distributed to stations and a new department -- the Crime Prevention Department -- has been created. But, things should not stop there.

If there are other areas that need to be improved, if there are other bits of hardware or software which need to be purchased in order to bring the force up to speed in crime fighting, solving and prevention, then things need to get done.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What gives?

I have never put much faith in sports reports in the UK. It's really funny, actually, as the papers just fall all over themselves in their bid for scoops, especially when the transfer windows are open.

Take today's papers for instance. The Sunday Mirror says Rooney will be handing in a transfer request soon, while the Daily Star says he does not want to leave Old Trafford despite a pending increased bid from Chelsea.

Total opposites.

Behind closed doors

Man United played a friendly behind closed doors at Carrington yesterday, against Spanish La Liga side Real Betis.

According to Soccernet, the Devils walked away 3-0 winners with Nani, Rooney and Vidic getting the goals. The trio and Chicharito all started for United as the quartet search for fitness after missing the pre-season Far East tour.

Unfortunately, that is all that Soccernet wrote.

Good to see Nani and Rooney on the scoresheet. I've always said Nani is a fantastic player. But where Ronaldo almost completely dropped his selfish ways and became more of a team player, his compatriot has yet to learn that. He is still selfish and tends to be wasteful.

It's also great to see Vidic back. And scoring. Hopefully he can get more games in this season and score more goals.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A long hiatus

Yes, it has been almost a year since I last posted anything. This blog will change a little. It will contain my thoughts, and not just focus on Man United. And hopefully, I will be a little less horrible in keeping it updated regularly. Fingers crossed!

As it stands now, it doesn't look too good for United. I have my doubts about Moyes. I have always liked him and was impressed how he took a not-so-rich club like Everton and made the players into a good team. And with the players at his disposal now, there is no doubt that the team can challenge for the EPL crown. But can he do better than that?

The results on the Far East tour were not very encouraging. Let's just hope that the results are not a true reflection of the capabilities of the team and the manager. But the youngsters impressed, didn't they? Lingard and Januzaj seem to be coming up the ranks and knocking on the door of the first team, and Zaha seems to be a good buy, so perhaps the future is bright, with or without added firepower in Fabregas or Ronaldo or whomever else the papers seem to be linking the Devils with.

Let's not forget that it took many years before Sir Alex brought glory to MUFC, so Moyes still has some time to prove himself. And if he does, then perhaps we will get the signings we go after.

And who knows... we had the Busby Babes and then Fergie's Fledglings. Will we have Moyes' Minors, or Masters?

Hmmmm... just not the same ring to it. Maybe the British Press will do a better job at coming up with a name!