It’s March 2020: The U’s are travelling to Brisbane Road to try and continue a mild resurgence under caretaker manager Mark Bonner. Marcus Rashford is best known primarily for being a Man United footballer. Liverpool are top of the Prem. Arsenal are good. B*ro are sliding out of the play-off picture in League One. And Coronavirus is peaking in the UK, prompting fears of a national lockdown to stem the spread of the virus.
Fast forward to December. The U’s are much better, although on a bit of a poor run they host Leyton Orient to try and kickstart a resurgence towards the playoffs. Marcus Rashford is best known as Prime Minister-elect. Liverpool are top of the Prem. Arsenal are fucking dreadful. B*ro are still sliding out of the play-off picture (some things never change). And Coronavirus is once again peaking in the UK, an initially-effective national lockdown undone by chancellor Rishi Sunak’s insistence people cram into their nearest Pizza Express for a cheap meal forcing useless ditherer Boris Johnson to stumble his way through press conference after press conference changing the rules on a daily basis to a Tier system no-one really understands.
Anyway, you’re probably as sick (pardon the pun) of Coronavirus as we are, and whilst there’s no taking away from the seriousness of the situation it looks again that Leyton Orient could be the opponents the last time any of us get to see the U’s play for while. At least Victor Adeboyejo won’t be playing for us this time.
Last weeks performance against Bradford was, as we mentioned, unacceptable so it’s looking likely Bonner is going to switch things up. First things first – Taylor back in defence please. We’re reasonably injury-free with only Boateng and O’Neil on the injury list so hopefully we should see a strong side.
Expected U’s Line-Up: Mitov, Knoyle, Cundy, Taylor, Iredale, Hannant, May, Digby, Dunk, Ironside, Mullin
It’s hard to predict quite what system Bonner will go with, 4-4-2 seems to be his favoured formation, but it would be interesting to see a more attacking 5-3-2 with Wes at the top of a midfield triangle perhaps? We think Mitov will regain his place in goal, but neither goalkeeper has done much wrong lately.
Who’s Their Player To Watch? Orient? Player to Watch? They’re crap aren’t they? That said, Jobi McAnuff, a veteran of the 1914 Christmas Day football match between the Allies and German Forces in WW1 is still leading Orient from the front and is a talisman of the team.
Who’s In The Dugout? Ross Embleton. Been a coach at Orient for ages, was appointed manager in January. Once threw a bit of chewing gum at Mark Cooper. That’s about all we know of him really.
What’s Their Recent Form Like? P5, W2, D0, L3, For 7, Against 9
Any Ex-United Players? Scott Barrett, Matt Joseph, Paul Raynor, Billy Beall, Tony Richards, Scott McGleish… oh sorry, we went back to 1997 for a minute there. Super Josh Coulson made over 300 appearances for the Mighty U’s, scoring 16 goals including the winner in our first game back in the Football League against Plymouth back in 2014. A key part of our promotion-winning team, Josh was treated disgracefully by Shaun Derry, being forced out of the club following an injury and ‘treated’ to a testimonial against Tottenham Under 23’s. He deserved better. Still a popular figure at the Abbey and a local lad, Josh will be given a great reception by U’s fans on his return to the Abbey, and an even better one once he gets done for pace by Paul Mullin to score his 20th goal of the season. A slightly less warm welcome awaits former manager Martin Ling, now Director of Football at the O’s.
Last Time Out: Leyton Orient 2-1 Cambridge 7 March 2020
You don’t need reminding of this, but here’s some “highlights” anyway.
From The Archive: Leyton Orient 0-3 Cambridge 12 March 1991
Stevie Claridge, Mickey Cheetham, Shaggy Taylor. Three United legends all on target in this encounter from the early 90’s. Over 4000 in Brisbane Road on a Tuesday night, and not a block of flats in sight.
UTAS Moosenet Tip: United 2-0, Mullin.