Antony inspires battle of Cavalier versus Roundhead


When Antony did his factor, rolling the ball spherical his ft as he pirouetted by way of 720 levels, the response inside Previous Trafford and on many a settee was the identical. There have been smiles aplenty. Positive, the Brazilian undermined his flourish by then instantly passing the ball into contact.

or a few of us it was a second of enjoyment. Temporary, forgettable, pointless, certain, however leisure nonetheless, the soccer equal of a singer hitting the excessive observe, or the lead guitarist working up and down his fretboard: the sort of exhibition that makes you realise fairly how completed these on stage actually are.

How fallacious we had been to be grinning. In line with Paul Scholes, summarising at half-time for BT Sport, there was nothing joyful about Antony’s effort. It was a foolish little bit of extravagance, the final word in pointless showboating, a bit of preposterous self-indulgence.

And Scholes was not alone. There have been loads fast to level out that Manchester United had but to attain on the time of his intervention, they had been struggling to interrupt down cussed opposition, for him to behave as if he had been acting at a freestyle exhibition on Copacabana seaside was unforgivable.

Erik ten Hag, his supervisor, appeared to agree. The cameras picked him out within the dugout shaking his head. When Antony didn’t seem for the second half, we may all agree on the rationale. But a few of us nonetheless loved it.

English soccer has lengthy been cut up between the cavalier and the roundhead. When, this season, Antony’s compatriot, Tottenham’s Richarlison, did some keepy-uppies at Nottingham Forest, the response was cut up. As many individuals appeared to derive pleasure from the style Brennan Johnson deposited him on the turf as from his demonstration of ability. Certainly, many a former player-turned-pundit reckoned Johnson’s thumping sort out correct retribution: Jermaine Pennant described his keepy-uppy as “low cost, ugly and horrible”.

For many who worth effort above all issues, there’s something greater than suspicious about flicks and prospers, an act deserving of swift punishment, both within the type of the supervisor eradicating the participant from the sphere of play, or an opponent delivering judgment by stud.

We laud and applaud a powerful dribble, then name a little bit of keepy-uppy “disrespectful”. We declare to admire Brazilian ability, then sneer when it’s exhibited in our stadiums.

Positive, context issues. Richarlison was losing time on the finish of a snug away victory, whereas Antony tousled his spinning masterclass by overhitting his subsequent move.

However absolutely we wish gamers to strive issues, to attract us to the sting of our seats by the applying of means. Sure, it went a bit awry for Antony, however subsequent time it would result in one thing wonderful. That’s, if there’s a subsequent time. 

Telegraph Media Group Restricted [2022]

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