Friday, 22 May 2015

THE SEASON FINALE

In more ways than one, Manchester United's final fixture of the season has taken on a broader significance for the TV camera than we would have expected when we had a glance at the fixture list last summer. In fact, it would be fair to argue that in terms of the remaining 'issues' in the league standings, it is proceedings at the KC Stadium that will be most closely monitored by neutrals and respective fans alike.

Not so much for Manchester United though as it will be for Hull City (or is it Hull City Tigers?). Last week's stalemate against Arsenal all but answered the 3rd and 4th question so bar a totally unscripted tally of results and swing in goal-difference, United have little motivation to win. What is even more unlikely though is Louis van Gaal turning up with the sole ambition of doing former United captain Steve Bruce a favour by rolling over. Not with the chance of still finishing third available however remote it might be. Expect the Dutchman to have fully recovered from any alcohol-induced actions on Tuesday night to get his side beefed up as always to win a game of football.

The expectation is that there shall be a mix of youth and experience on a day when Louis can potentially extend his record of the number of players he has given a debut in his first season in charge. Certainly, with the U-21s winning a third league title in 4 years, there is a talent pool just above the Academy level that is awaiting its chance. They'd still have to contend with already established breakthroughs in Adnan Januzaj, Tyler Blackett and Patrick McNair taking their places in the team ahead of any of them. It's a shame Perreira is away on national duty because he is one of those you'd imagine would have gotten 90 minutes on Sunday.

As far as the 'Selecao' for the regulars is concerned, Wayne Rooney and David De Gea are the only question marks in terms of those that were not hitherto ruled out for the rest of the season. It means Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao could yet be blessed with 90 more minutes of this season. Also, at a time when the future of the goalkeeping position at Manchester United is up in the air and indeed in the balance, Victor Valdez could make his full debut for the club in what could be an audition for more permanent terms of his employment as the new Number 1. For van Gaal, there's nothing to lose in starting the veteran Spaniard here even if De Gea is fit. The two know each other well but it remains to be seen whether Victor can hold his own in the terrains of the Premier League.  For the rest, it's about how they got through the week's festivities (POTY, Golf, et al) and who the boss wants to pick.

It's been a topsy-turvy season (and we'll get into the detail of that in the season review) but one where United can kick their final ball with a look back on it with a merited degree of satisfaction, if only for the fact that we are back in Europe's big time next year. Whereas it would mean relegation for good ol'Steve, we would love an end to the campaign in the signature mode that can only be right for Manchester United. Win.
  

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