Predicting football with any degree of accuracy is rarely a scientific process. Whether one is attempting to predict the outcome of a match or the out-goings and in-comings of any transfer window. At best you attempt an accurate guess and subsequently watch as the worlds beautiful game takes your opinion, disregards it and does the opposite. The fact is there are more variables in football than in the Large Hadron Collider.
Take two prime examples: The Fernando Torres transfer and Manchester United Vs Wolves. If one was to go back six months ago – the idea would have been laughed at – Chelsea fan, Liverpool fan, even the employed Andy Gray and Richard Keys would have had a chuckle – probably even adding that only a woman could dream up such a scenario. Now throw yourself to the beginning of the transfer season, fresh in the memory – there was no real indication Torres wished to move. There was knowledge that Torres was not one-hundred percent happy in his job, but who is? I’m a student and as such have the greatest non-job ‘job’ in the world – I still complain, almost at every opportune moment. Do I wish to leave? Certainly not.
Who then, apart from that small, doubting thought hiding itself at the back of Torres’ mind in the world of football had the foresight to know Torres would leave? Liverpool certainly didn’t and if they did – serious questions have to be asked over certain desperate moves – Andy Carroll for £35,000,000 quells any serious counter-argument even the most staunch Liverpool supporters could wield. Nobody saw it coming until it came. Which more often than not is true for football in all its many varied aspects.
My latter example, combines both elements: United Vs. Wolves was by no mean’s nailed on – United, unbeaten – sometimes unconvincing; Vs Wolves, bottom of the league and yet all conquering when coming to the leagues biggest and brightest stars. As usual this season, trouble at United can be focused in one particular area – midfield. It is an area which one could argue all day about the importance of foresight in football. The unexpected injury to the fantastic Antonio Valencia, the apparent disappearance of Darren Fletcher, the inconsistency of Michael Carrick, the continued development of Anderson, the continued reliance on Paul Scholes and well – Darron Gibson.
It is widely expected that United will attempt to rectify (some would rather say solidify) the midfield in the coming summer. When football appears itself to be conforming to expectation’s it cannot help itself but throw in wild-cards. Ferguson must rue the injury to Valencia, it is by no means season-destroying but in terms of title-clinching it’s importance cannot be overlooked. A fit and in form Valencia, as he was before the injury, would lead almost any betting man to agree that United would have all but wrapped the league up in this most strange and unpredictable season.
Why though? The benefits of Valencia in this United side are most clearly shown in the statistics of Wayne Rooney. Berbatov, to his credit, has performed superbly – crucially when United have needed him most.
Who is to say how much an addition of a Sanchez or an Adams would have offered United. However, it is here I tap upon that other great and frankly overused investigative tool in football – hindsight.
There is no doubt in my mind that foresight is a principle element in football. Consequently it’s why I can’t look past Sir Alex Ferguson as being the greatest manager of all time. How audacious is the man that can sell Van Nistelrooy? Not half as audacious as the man who knew within ranks was held the blistering talent of Christiano Ronaldo – but this was not guaranteed in football – far from it.
Sir Alex just had the foresight to know it, this is why even with one loss and uncountable draws United are still at the top of the table and perhaps more importantly, retain an aura of dignity from refraining from the inflated markets in panic – the ultimate symbolization of a lack of foresight and an acceptance of chaos.
How fitting the subject of foresight in this week, having just remembered the 6th of February, the defining tragic moment of Manchester United Football Club. That other enigmatic and brilliant Scot had foresight. The foresight for youth, for European adventure; the foresight to rebuild and win that which is most important.
The beautiful, unpredictable game loses it’s mystifying aura – foresight is the breach in the wall. If you still doubt the importance of foresight – look at the team sheets for the game that took place at Stamford bridge on Sunday.
Courtesy of ItAllAdZzUp who can be reached here