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The reign of Wayne

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Robbo Robson | 14:20 UK time, Thursday, 28 January 2010

OK, Mancs - and you citizens of Cornwall and Kuala Lumpur - I concede. It was the best game of the season. And the 4-3 wasn't bad either, to be fair.

I don't know whether to be hacked off that United have reached another final, or quietly pleased that the newly-minted Man City have been denied.

Mancini has been a civilised sort since arriving. I'm mildly diverted by his appearance. How long does it take him to look like that?

The hair is an identikit from a photo in a crusty old barber's shop window. The eyebrows look a little tidy too. Me, I've got stragglers weaving their way like vermicelli in all directions and he's probably about my age, so has he been on the tweezers?
Roberto ManciniThe dapper Roberto Mancini
The scarf has been a master-stroke. How long before Liam's clobber label start flogging something similar? And his team have shown a bit of devil about them too.

Kompany - and surely he should be wearing the number two shirt - was excellent throughout. They don't seem to be missing the headless chicken that can be Kolo Toure, or indeed Lescott.

And of course young Carlos had to bag a goal - though who would have thought he would've flicked one in with what looked like a Paul Scholes-style tackle?

The TevNev fracas seemed to have calmed down, but then young Gary has been concentrating on getting his plans for a flower-shaped eco-house passed. You do sometimes wonder whether Nev might reduce a fair bit of global warming just by keeping his trap shut, bless him.

There's more to come from City. If they've missed anyone it's a fit-and-firing Stephen Ireland. They lack a player who's going to get beyond the front men from midfield. A Lampard if you will. All right, if you're going to get beyond Bellamy, a Lampard with winged heels.

But United looked way better on Wednesday night... I think my prediction that they'll win nowt this season has really spurred them on, dammit.

Rooney's form is pretty magnificent at the moment. He can even cartwheel and run backwards like a bearded Beth Tweddle, and he's got Alan Hansen purring away with yards of alliteration (touch, technique, talent; power, pace, penetration... you've got to love Al).

Then there's the 'White Pele' banner. Now Wayne's good but his only qualification for that moniker is the 'white' bit. (And even then I'd go for Pasty Pele). And I doubt Pele's grasp of Anglo-Saxon is quite as relentless and repetitive.

Nani, of course, has a similar nickname with one letter difference in the word 'white'.
It all adds up to one thing - Rooney's metatarsals are looking about as flimsy as toothpicks - at least in my imagination. (I'm sure the correct term for them is Wazza's mezzas). As far as the World Cup's concerned there's nowt much else in the locker if he doesn't make it and Fergie's hardly letting him put his feet up. What's that phrase? It's always Wayne in Manchester?

Trouble is there's not a lot of spare on United's bench either. Owen is like a fleeting shadow of that boy who terrorized Argentina. Berbatov is a flat soufflé most of the time, and Kiki Macheda (wasn't Kiki the frog in Hector's House?) hasn't had his pineapple mop on the pitch for long enough to make any impact.

So it looks like England fans will have to just grin and bear it.

At least Rio's back. He makes Evans look a better player, Ferdinand, although I think if there's anyone I'd least like to watch celebrating a goal, it's him. He's like a 12-year-old trying to pogo after too many sugary drinks. Every time I see it I imagine him flicking the Vs at you out of the back of the school bus.

So a Villa-United final... Me, I'll go for Villa on the basis that I've said the Reds will win nothing. Plus it'll be nice to see O'Neill springing about like a little Ulster lamb. I'm not applying any logic here, mind. If I was , I'd pick United.
Andy MurrayAndy Murray has plenty to shout about

Just as I'd pick Federer to win the Aussie Open. But then I had a sly bet with Tony Thompson in the Bell after his first round wobble that Rog'd never win another major. Then he goes and mullers everyone in sight. Robson! Gob! Shut!

Still Murray has been entertaining, not to mention that rare quality amongst British tennis players, clinical. Plus he celebrates like some sort of anti-Henman. The open-throated holler, where his mouth started to morph like that bloke's in American Werewolf in London, was particularly special.

In the meantime we can all spare a thought for Crystal Palace fans. I've always had a soft-spot for Palace since the days of the Team of the Eighties - so long ago now they're probably the Team In Their Eighties.

The chairman must take a lot of the blame and given the man looks like third prize winner in a Duran Duran looky-likey competition it's always been hard to take Simon Jordan seriously. The rather orange complexion - as regular readers will know - always fills me with suspicion. Plus, as a football fan I like the day's highlights to be on the pitch, not in the chairman's barnet.

It's not surprising that Warnock is exasperated. Twenty first place and losing the lad Moses is hardly what he or his players deserve. It's just a shame they've been hit with this mid-season, rather than at the beginning of next, say.

The only upside is that it means Boro continue to climb the table. Which I couldn't resist, but to be honest it's not that funny.

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