....up popped the stoppage time king, percussively beating at his wristwatch like the drummer at the head of a Chinese dragon boat......

 

Like Jack Skellington, loveable ancient Xmas-ruining rogue of ‘A Nightmare Before Christmas’, Sir Alex takes immense joy in executing a plan at the shock and sadness of others, at what should be a celebratory time. Sunday afternoon should have been one of those celebratory moments for thirty-thousand Saints fans in the Nou Dell. Instead, up popped the stoppage time king, percussively beating at his wristwatch like the drummer at the head of a Chinese dragon boat.

Sir Alex. He does all this. We should all give up pretending now. His soul long since vended, and he wins when he wants. His 1,000th game, a timely reminder, this is not ‘Fergie time’, this time is the Ferguson Era.

The online jabberers were frazzling themselves with their own touch-tapping fury when news broke that Big Dave De Gea had his season characteristically caustically interrupted by Sir Alex’s not very unpredictable verdict that Anders Lindegaard would start this match. It didn’t make much difference in the end (or in the future, as Anders won’t ever be our 1st choice keeper), because Southampton didn’t have to worry about the hassle of getting through a back four first. Both goals rendered the keeper a futile position.

We started, if not on fire, then at least like a house that’s had the oven on slightly too long. Micheal Carrick and his reassuring haircut back in the centre of midfield, Shinji Kagawa balletically inching around a willing Robin Van Persie. Slowly though, the Saints started to realize that Danny Welbeck didn’t really know what he was meant to be doing, Tom Cleverley doesn’t really have any clear defensive qualities, and, regardless of the week long preparation for such predicaments, Rafael and Evra are not often going to win a header at the far post.

So we’re losing and looking hopeless and then something strange happens. Something that can only happen when your manager bargained his soul to the devil twenty-five years ago. Nigel Adkins takes off his 3 best players (Puncheon, Lallana, Lambert), and we bring on 3 of our best (Scholes, Nani and The Pea). Strangely though, had these players played from the start, we would’ve most likely been in the same position as when they came on. I’m not convinced Scholes can start games away from home much more, Nani could’ve had one of his celebrated off days, and the Mexican is ring rusty. When they came on though, we clearly were, a very different team.

As for the rest, and the rest being Robin Van Persie, I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Frank Zappa (or is it Arsene?);

“Art is making something out of nothing and selling it”.