Liverpool doing the quadruple? Imagine Fergie…

OPINION: As he traipses from one match to another, Sir Alex looks more and more ashen faced watching Man United

Thursday, 21st April — By Richard Osley

Old Trafford

THESE are bleak times: Arsenal lose three matches against teams with nothing to play for in the back end of the season, and nobody even whispers that Mikel Arteta may be out of his depth.

I’ve become a bore at society weddings and baby showers by grumping on about how the Gunners coach literally had no experience as a manager but somehow managed to land one of the “biggest jobs in football”; the kind of scenario that Adam Sandler would make into a terrible comedy for Netflix, with everybody wishing Tom Hanks had been cast instead.

The “trust the process” guys, in turn, tell me it will all make sense one day and throw up the Stamford Bridge result as evidence – but did you see the Chelsea defending?

Against more cautious teams, we have to watch Arsenal cluelessly exchange passes around anybody defending deep.

And yet it cannot be as bad as being a supporter of grand old Manchester United Football Club.

The worst that can happen to Arsenal is that Spurs smash the derby, finish a few places above them and get a Champions League entry which, given Tottenham’s own rollercoaster performance, could test the trading standards credentials of Europe’s premier tournament.

But in these doldrum years, at least Arsenal fans have not had to watch Spurs actually win anything; although we partly thank Moussa Sissoko’s bus-hailing handball for that.

United, in contrast, have to watch the two clubs that they “hate” the most dominate absolutely everything. There’s the old rivals, Liverpool, who they are forever locked in battle with over who is England’s greatest of all time, and Manchester City, the near neighbours who they probably once fairly presumed would always be insignificant.

These are the two teams which Sir Alex Ferguson seemed to have special smugness in victory. City, you may remember, were simply “noisy neighbours”; a comment which seemed a little short-sighted for the old sage, given everybody could see the obscene amounts of money that was now flowing through.

And then there was Liverpool: Fergie’s stated aim was to “knock them off their perch”. I think it’s fair to say in sealing the gap on the “most league titles” tables, he achieved this ambition and iced the whole turnaround by winning a historic treble. He must have retired thinking “beat that!”.

The Arsenal Invincibles were probably a better team as it happens, but as he still traipses from one match to another in retirement – now as a fan – Ferguson looks more and more ashen faced as a Liverpool QUADRUPLE suddenly looks a possibility.

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