Mohammed Ali feigned coyness as always. He would lure stronger opponents, like Frazier and Norton, by dangling his possum-like retreat to the ropes to tempt his aggressors to over commit. When they thought they had him on the ropes, Ali lashed out lightening quick flurries as he counterpunched frequently and effectively – the rope-a-dope.
Just like the snared heavyweights of old, Louis van Gaal’s head must be spinning on a top after negative results from both Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park in quick succession. United’s inability to register a goal in either of these away contests has had top three contention, and automatic champ league spot, slip away from their grasp for now.
Ali, the boxing legend, displays his amazing quickness. Source:YouTube
The dearth of goals will be grave cause of concern for the Red Devil gaffer. It now appears that the United’s away wobble is back. LVG’s loose handle on United’s away form this campaign might be by-product of his recent matriculation at the Premier League. There is a collective hope that the Dutch trainer is a quick learner, and will acquit himself with better distinction in his sophomore season. Currently United are a desperately disappointing 8th, in the away form league table, which is in stark contrast to their table topping 1st position in the home form standing.
On the surface, it certainly seems like EPL veterans José Mourinho and Roberto Martínez have outsmarted LVG, by fleeting like butterflies and stinging like bees. The disappointing 1-0 loss at the Bridge, and the subsequent 3-0 drubbing at Goodison reeked of what some might call a good ole smash and grab.
LVG has not been flexible over these two away fixtures, the United boss has stuck to his winning formula of ultra possession footy, and this unyielding allegiance to his primary tactics has not paid any dividends lately away from home where both Chelsea and Everton remained entrenched, absorbed United’s pressure, and struck out on the counter with deadly effect.
Ali once bluffed, forever the showman, he had learned how to handcuff lightening. The Red Devils have learned an essential magic trick – how to annex the ball. This much is evident in their last two losses, maintaining over 85% pass success rate away to Chelsea (91%) and Everton (86%). United predictably garnered over 65% possession as well.