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23rd Mar 2015

5 things we didn’t learn from the weekend’s football

Was it all part of his master plan?

Matt Stanger

Why Van Gaal has ignored Mata and Herrera

After Juan Mata’s match-winning brace against Liverpool – and Ander Herrera’s delicious pass for his compatriot’s first – we were left scratching our heads.

Just why has Louis van Gaal left the duo out in the cold for much of the season?

With Manchester United lacking the sort of cuteness this pair provide – in every sense – it seems almost negligent to have waited until now to stumble upon their talent.

Van Gaal will no doubt claim it was all part of his master plan, but we’re not so sure.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

Why Liverpool will miss Steven Gerrard

At first it’s near-impossible to think that Liverpool won’t miss their talismanic skipper when he departs for LA Galaxy at the end of the season.

But then we begin to think about the context of the past 12 months.

It’s understandable that Gerrard’s powers are finally diminishing, but earning such a reckless red card in Liverpool’s biggest game of the season was unforgivable.

It looks as though the Reds will now miss out on the top four and, as was the case in last year’s title race, Gerrard’s costly mistake will have played a major role.

Why Chelsea are making things difficult

After winning only three of their last seven matches Chelsea’s brilliant start to the campaign now seems a distant memory, with a 2-0 lead lost at Hull before Loic Remy’s vital winner.

A late collapse last season – which brought defeats to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sunderland – cost Chelsea dearly and they will desperately want to avoid a repeat.

Thankfully for the Blues, Manchester City are also in a funk but, whether it’s a confidence issue, fatigue or just sheer boredom at how easy they’ve found the title race, Jose Mourinho will hope his players soon snap out of their stupor.

Hull City v Chelsea - Premier League

Why Giroud isn’t regarded as a top striker

Everyone made up their minds about Olivier Giroud a long time ago: He’s either the worst striker you’ve ever seen or perfectly decent if not of the quality required for a title challenge. Some fools even think he should be replaced.

But could it be the case that he’s actually brilliant?

His two goals against Newcastle took his tally to nine strikes in the last nine matches, with a profligate performance against Monaco the only blip in that run.

With Giroud now on 17 goals for the campaign in just 25 appearances, it’s perhaps time to reevaluate our opinion of him.


Why it’s so difficult to tell footballers apart

Thankfully we spoke to a top, top secret refereeing source to get to the bottom of this and it turns out refs think “all footballers look the same”.

Seriously, though, how is it possible for the same mistake to be made twice in a matter of weeks and three times over the past two seasons?

We have some sympathy for refs considering the flak they get, but it’s difficult to defend the proliferation of such obvious errors.