Hello! Long time no speak! You may not have noticed this, but there was no TOP FIVE in November. This was not because I forgot to do it, but because once November comes around I’m too excited about Christmas to concentrate on anything non-festive. (Actually it was because I forgot to do it, but we’re pretending it’s the second thing).
Anyway, like us winning trophies, all that’s in the past now. It’s December and that means this TOP FIVE can hit full festive fever. Sorry if you hate Christmas, at some point I’ll probably mention Eric Cantona so there’s something in it for everyone…
NUMBER FIVE: Phil Jones wishes for an injury-free run.
The thing everyone forgets about Phil Jones is that he’s a really, really good defender. People forget this for three reasons. One, his face. It’s not nice, but it’s true. He has a funny face, and it makes people think differently about him. The second is that occasionally he does really ridiculous things like the Giroud head tackle.
And the third is that he’s always injured. Like, always. He’s been so good over the past couple of weeks, really excelling against Spurs in particular, but none of that matters if he crocks himself again. Jonesey should wish really hard on that special Christmas star to go through the rest of the season without any enforced time on the sidelines.
NUMBER FOUR: Maroune Fellaini wishes for some sort of disguise.
It is very rare that an oncoming substitute is booed at Old Trafford. In fact, I can only really remember it happening twice and both times the player coming on was Marouane Fellaini. The first time it happened was when Louis van Gaal—at his Van Gaaliest—brought him on for Anthony Martial when we needed a goal against CSKA Moscow at home in the Champions League last season. In truth, that occasion, the target of the boos was really Van Gaal. No one wanted to see Martial leave the field at that point.
But against Spurs they definitely weren’t saying Mar-boo-uane. They were booing the lad. And even though he is obviously rubbish, that’s just straight up not nice. He needs some sort of disguise so he can roam the streets of Manchester undisturbed to enjoy whatever it is Belgians enjoy at this time of year.
NUMBER THREE: Memphis wishes for a move.
He really wanted it to work out. He liked being United’s No. 7 so much he monogrammed it into his car headrests. Instead, though, he was left out of the squad on a trip to Ukraine when we had a massive Premier League game three days later. He is as surplus to requirements as a make-your-own gingerbread house kit on a supermarket’s shelves on December 29th.
And like that make-your-own gingerbread house kit he will no doubt be available at a seriously knock down price once January rolls around. We have to sell him, it’s just cruel at this point. It will be a shame it did not work out for him because there is some real talent there—just ask that FC Midtjylland full-back. But his United career is as over as 2016’s chances of generally being remembered as a good year. He, and all who care for him, should wish for a move.
NUMBER TWO: Jose Mourinho gets a new watch.
Nothing magical about this one. That guy just really likes expensive consumer goods. That’s why he has so many endorsements. Even though he can definitely afford to buy himself anything he wants he still scrunches his eyes up really tight and wishes for a new shiny watch. Then he’ll get a new thing without having to spend any of his own money on it! Perfect!
NUMBER ONE: Juan Mata wishes for 90 minutes of action.
Picture the scene. Juan sits in front of his Christmas tree, presents all immaculately wrapped. There’s a lovely mixed spice scented candle on the go. It’s a Wonderful Life, the classiest Christmas flick, is on the very large television.
He’s opening his gifts one by one. They’re mostly classical CDs and coffee-table books about famous artists.
But one catches his eye. It’s an envelope. “That’s odd,” thinks Juan. “I thought I’d opened all the cards and hung them on a string in an elegant, respectful display designed to show how much I appreciated the people who sent them!”
He recognises the handwriting. It’s Jose’s! He excitedly opens it up and outfalls a hand-drawn coupon. “Good for one full 90 minutes, where I have to promise not to sub you.”
Juan wakes up. It was all a dream. A beautiful, 90 minute dream.
I said I’d mention Eric Cantona. I haven’t yet. Eric Cantona was good wasn’t he? There you go. Merry Christmas or seasonal festive greeting of your choosing one and all. See you in January!