Friday, 29 August 2008

UEFA AWARDS CHELSEA...IN PROTEST OF UNITED'S CL VICTORY! WHAT A SMELLY SHAME!




If Cristiano Ronaldo had scored 5 goals less last season, a certain team from West-London would would have swept all the UEFA awards last night without actually having a won the Champions League. Such is the myopia (beats mine) amongst all who voted that John Terry, after bottling it and leading a defence that leaked goals for fun, was named defender of the year ahead of Rio Ferdinand, leader of the meanest defence in the competition. I do not care how many goals Cristiano scored last season, because every time I take a look at the team-sheet, he is on the right side of midfield. The lad is a midfielder s o I do not know how he is named Forward of the year as a means to give Lampard the midfielder of the year award. EVDS saved the crucial spot-kick that won the Cup for United and let in the least number of goals and yet Petr Cech is named goalkeeper of the year. Utterly despicable! Nonsense! A smelly shame to say the least!

A KIND DRAW...... FOR NOW!


Thursday's UEFA Champions League group-stage draw pitted United against British rivals Celtic, Spanish side Villareal and Danish Chamions Aalborg. Well it has to be said, this is not such a bad draw aferall. We have to play away in the league after every away CL fixture so it's good to know that the furthest we willl travel is Denmark. One might as well not count the Ibrox fixture as we shall be more or less at home. The most difficult game should be the away fixture at Villareal as they are one of those rejuvenated sides that have a lot to put right in Europe.Robert Pires has already stated made it clear that the yellow Submarines will be no push-overs. United were frustrated home and away by the Spanish outfit two years ago. Celtic should not be so much of a problem but their fans tend to dictate matters on pitch--having said that, the experience of our current squad(unlike 2 years ago) should be able to deal with that. Aalborg eliminated Rangers in the qualifiers, but should not go any further than the group stages. Their only strength will be their underdog status. Sir Alex has already declared that the objective will be 10 points to qualify, but I personally wish we can get more and if possible remain unbeaten in the group stages. Our last 2 European Cup wins were achieved unbeaten so I would really fancy our chances the longer we remain unbeaten. I have to agree with the manager that this team is quite young and therefore is yet to peak. That statement surely does have a provision for a European Cup win----and who knows, it could be this year. COME ON UNITED!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

SO THEY ALL LIKE THE NEW THIRD KIT....AWAY WITH THE AMERICAN FLAG!







In the summer, United fans were treated to a horror of a show when the club released our new away kit. The white and blue were quite simply the perfect advert of 'colour clashing'. While the lads look smart in plain white or plain blue, the mixture can be likened to mixing sugar with sand. The blue, white and red colours that defined the kit were said to be be as a result of American ownership. However, the start of the week saw the launch of the third kit that will be basically used on our journeys away from home in the Champions League. The kit was designed as a tribute to the 1968 European Cup winning team that wore blue. 40 years on and the feat is remembered. United were the first English team to win the European Cup(a testament to the coaching qualities of Sir Matt Busby as memories of the 1958 disaster were still fresh in the minds of the players). Ronaldo, Neville, Rio and Rooney have all come out to praise the kit. Personally I wish that we play in it more this season as it does remind the players of the great history the club has and the pressure to keep the club's standards high.Enjoy the pics.

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW IN ADVANCE


The United team left for Monaco this morning to prepare for Friday night's Super Cup finale against Zenit St Petersburg, but you would forgive them if you found them more focused on who they will get in the Champions League draw at 16.30BST. United have had the bad luck of getting more than capable opponents in the past decade and it will therefore be foolish of anyone to expect a trip to FC Basel or Allborg(Sp). Those are specially kept for Chelsea's group. While we have toyed with AS Roma over the last couple of seasons, they remain,to me, difficult opponents. Sir Alex will have every right to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sports if we are pitted with the team from the eternal city for the third draw in a row. Surely the law of averages(assuming that the draws are not fixed) cannot provide for this. The only game that I personally want to see United play at the Olympic Stadium is the final! Athletico Madrid and Villareal are potential banana skins so nobody will want them either, while the likes of Fernerbache showed what they are made of last season. Luis Aragones' team will not be easy to shove. The most interesting bit of the draw however will be which of the top eight seeds will have Bayern Munich and Juventus(both a case of long time no see), as they are not seeded.United's ill fated luck has usually pitted them with the Germans, but again our club's best moment came against the Bavarians. A comprehensive report about the group we shall get will be posted tomorrow. So until then, cheers!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

MAN UNITED VS ZENIT ST PETERSBURG PREVIEW/ ROUND-UP


The tabloids in England had a field day when Vidic made careless comments regarding the weather in England and his 'future' desire to play in Spain. Now it must be very frustrating for a man called Sir Alex Ferguson because after postponing one star-players' wish to Spain, he now has a lot to do to prevent another heading from heading the same way--only that now he has got to, among many others, change the weather. Of course Vidic has every right to air out his opinions about life in England, but many would rather he had kept quiet till we finally get over this CR7 saga. His outrageous bravery on pitch will count for nothing if he gets into the hot-water that CR7 has put himself into. Having followed European football for quite long, I can tell you that all this is part of the side-effects of winning the Champions League. There is this viral disease called 'need for a new challenge' that tend to attack CL winning teams. If you look into the records of teams that have won the CL for the last ten years, you will find that every one of those had a player or two leave the following summer. It is probably the reason as to why the Champions League has never been defended. If Manchester United do manage to defend their European crown, then it will be largely due to the fact that unlike most other managers, Sir Alex has kept his strongest team intact at the club(Silvestre, Pique, Lee Martin... are not in our strongest team). Here's to hoping that Vida meant 7 years to come! Besides the praise being heaped on to Anderson(deservedly so ) and Fletcher by Rio and Fergie respectively, there is not much one can rant about United unless you bring in Berbatov. The lad should be well on his way to OT now, given the imminent arrival of Roman Pavulchenko(Sp) at Spurs.

And now, the preview....
Good news everyone, Nani is back from holiday/head-butting and will therefore relieve O'Shea of his first team duties. We should be stronger than we were on Monday as I expect Hargreaves to sober-up and Saha to take a break from the treatment table. Giggs should also feature in this one but Carrick is still an absentee. The game should be a cracker as these are two sides that love to attack. The return of Pogenbyank(Sp) should be a boost for Zenit who currently lie a lowly 8th in the Russian Premier league. Zyranov(sp) is another well known threat in that Zenit side but Andrei Arshavin has been dropped(according to reports). He like, United's Ronaldo has been fighting with his club for a transfer to 'realise his dreams'----what did I tell you about the new challenge virus?---...
It will be a major boost if we leave Monaco with the Super Cup as it keeps Fergie on track for a surely impossible 7 titles this season(how I hope I'm wrong). Our defeat in 2000 against Lazio means that this will be our first Super Cup since 1991! SO COME ON UNITED!
Prediction, 2-1 to United. It will be a close game as there is something to lose from this one.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

WHO NEEDS RONALDO?-- WE'VE GOT DARREN FLETCHER!!


Darren Fletcher could have easily got on the score-sheet in the Community Shield fixture against Pompey a couple of weeks ago. He did, however make up for that by scoring our only goal last week against Newcastle. Yesterday, he marked his third competitive start in as many games this season and once again got the crucial goal that has now seen United to their first league win of the season. At this rate, Fletcher could be our Cristiano Ronaldo for this season(and the best part is that he will not want a move to Real Madrid next summer). Anyway, Portsmouth away was always going to be a difficult fixture for a depleted United team. Fratton Park, is one of those stadiums in which it is almost a norm that we do not leave with maximum points. It is therefore not surprising that Sir Alex refereed to the points as 'bonus points'. He clearly acknowledges the fact we are already ahead in terms of points compared to last season(4 as opposed to 2). We could have conceded a goal right from the kick-off as Diop found reasonable space with just 16 seconds played. Having said that, United played the most sumptuous football that any side can ever play and also had the lions share of possession. It was testament to the class of the Champions as eight of their superstars were missing from the stadium all together. Avram Grant must have come to terms with what Abramovic meant by entertaining football as he was an interested spectator. EVDS had his hands warmed on a couple of occasions by 'African power' but thank goodness they were never really burnt. The 0-1 lead only served to keep Pompey in the game but it could have been settled if the lines-man had not wrongly flagged Rooney offside--another poor decision in favour of Pompey when playing against United! Fletcher is not one of the names we United fans are eager to see on the team-sheet but he has now got two telling contributions to our season already. What about Patrice Evra who besides providing the assist, run down that left-wing as though he was a natural winger. Anderson, in my eyes will never play poorly for United. He is just Brazilliant. And now that Portsmouth is beaten, FULL SPEED AHEAD TO MONACO!

Monday, 25 August 2008

A LITTLE OPTIMISM BEFORE THE VISIT TO FRATTON PARK.


If you follow dates closely, you will realise that I made my preview for tonight's fixture against Pompey at the start of the weekend. Now, at that time, things were still looking bleak for Manchester United. We were basically nursing our wounds sustained from the previous weekend's disappointment, to create space for fresh wounds. It's incredible what difference a few days can make. While we had Ryan Giggs and Owen Hargreaves unfit on Friday, the pair seems to be fit enough to take part in our second league fixture tonight.(perhaps it's not so bad to play after your rivals. We might have Andersson available too given that his adventure in Beijing ended on Friday. The players seem to have had the annual injection called criticism, from the press and rival clubs, that usually gets them clicking. The simple fact is that Manchester United work best under pressure--and there is a whole decade of examples to prove this. Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher, Nemanja Vidic have all come out to point out the importance of getting three points tonight so that should speak volumes about the commitment of the players. Ideally, a win will do us perfect given that our next t two opponents are the two clubs in the league that so far have 6 out of 6 points. After tonight, we have three weeks of no Premier League football, so that should give us enough time to recover on the injury front. We shall have Nani, Carrick, Park and Saha available for our trips to Anfield and Stamford Bridge. The talk about the transfer of Dimitar Berbatov to United is again leaning towards our side. It is already clear that Berba is not in Ramos' plans for the next campaign and is already being viewed as a distraction to the dressing room at White Harte Lane. Sir Alex has made a second improved bid for the Bulgarian so that should do Mr.Levy, otherwise he will beat Petr kenyon to the award of the dumbest Chief Executive still alive. COME ON UNITED!!

Friday, 22 August 2008

MAN UNITED VS PORTSMOUTH PREVIEW!


For the third time in 29 days, I'm going to post a preview for a fixture between United and Portsmouth. After beating them in the two fixtures played in this short space of time, and considering the hammering administered to them by the Rent-boys last Sunday, United fans will expect to see their team bag their first three points of the season on Bank Holiday Monday at Fratton Park. The one problem that has shoved our campaign so far has been goals--we certainly do not have somebody to tap in all those chances that we create. Dimitar Berbatov is seemingly going to remain put--unless of course one of Fergie or Levy decides to give up the bargaining. This time we shall have Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney available, but it remains to be seen if United can entrust the goal getting to them alone(without the support of Ronaldo or a Giggs, Nani, Carrick, etc.) The boss, in his press conference backed Wayne after all the criticism the player received following England's draw with the Czech Republic in mid-week. Personally I feel that Wayne is the one asset United have that other teams don't. The lad plays in all positions outfield every single game so it's more like having 12 men on our team. Rooney will play for United every game for as long as he is fit--and that's the bottom line! In spite of all the injuries we have suffered, I still expect us to get the win, but Pompey, on their day, are the most defensive team in the league. Hopefully it can be one of those days that everything goes our way,(Pompey defend poorly, Distin handles in the box and James parries balls in his own net.) Hargreaves is not expected to be fit as yet so we might have to make do with a few youth-team players. The defence will be our back-bone again as it is one department in which we are not depleted.
And just to clarify something, I do not have the authority to give away United fan numbers. I actually do not have anything to do with them--and just for the record I don't have one.
Prediction:1-0 to United, It will be a tough day at the office but I remain optimistic. Cheers!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

SILVESTRE JOINS ARSENAL AS UNITED STRUGGLE TO FIELD AN XI


After spending the best part of 2 days struggling to list our strongest possible line-up against Portsmouth on Bank Holiday Monday, news of Silvestre's transfer to Arsenal came through. Now much as he might not be the most popular player within the OT ranks, he does(or rather did) give us that versatility and luxury of having a large and capable squad to choose from. He was also considerable back-up for Patrice and Vida/Rio. It's not often that United players transfer to Arsenal and vice-versa(infact I can only remember Frank Stapleton), so this was kind of a shock to read in the papers. It's not that any of the OT faithful will feel robbed because this is not a shrewd young talent that Arsene Wenger has signed, rather it is the time that this transfer took place. We are way short of bodies for our next fixture against Pompey and seemingly, Fergie has put faith in youth. By letting Mikael join Le Arse(almost for free), the gaffer might have seen enough of Rafael da Silva to consider hm as cover for the first team left-back position. The kid must be pinching himself. But that is just one position. The return of Tevez is going to be a major plus for us,especially after losing Carrick and Giggs. Fergie will have to give more youth call-ups to make a full team. He must be the one manager dreading the 7 substitutes new rule.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

HARGREAVES/ANDERSON/BERBATOV/ENGLAND CAPTAINCY--ROUND UP.


Owen Hargreaves has today come out to state exactly what the coming season means for him. The player says that he was only 50-60% fit last season and therefore we should expect much more from him. Good to hear that from one of our most important players. His tendinitis(is that right?) problem has been bothering him since his spell with Bayern Munich. I'ts why I buy his view. We are yet to see the very best from Hargo.
The story concerning Berbatov's transfer to United rages on and this is seemingly going to be a last minute August 31 deal--I am already tired of the speculation--I'm sure Cristiano is tired of it too. Then thre is the small matter ofJohn Terry being handed the captain's armband ahead of Rio Ferdinand. Well I have to admit, the lad is a worthy captain--afterall, he led Chelsea into the valley of the shadow of death in Moscow--much to our advantage. Rio will not be moved one bit by the miss-out because UNITED>ENGLAND! Some newspapers advertising lazy journalism is running a story about Michael Phelps wanting to watch a United game--(comment reserved). And finally Brazil have been knocked out of the Olympics by Argentina so Anderson should be in Manchester by Monday--though I doubt he will make the Pompey game, but considering the situation we are in, even a half-fit Anderson will do. Cheers for now.

WAS REDKNAPP REALLY JOKING?


If there is one team in the Premiership that can start feeling sorry for themselves already, it's Portsmouth. The FA Cup holders were outclassed, out-thought and out played in the Community Shield against a weakened United team. Seven days later, they find themselves against a Chelsea team who have not lost a game at home(in the league) for 4 years. Getting whipped 4-0 on the opening day of the season will not be the end of the whole 'bad-dream for Pompey. They face Champions Manchester United next and Harry Redknapp sarcastically called it an easy game. Speaking after his side's beating at the hands of Chelsea, he had this to say
"You're not going to break into the top four, no one is.......when they pass and move, it's very difficult to stay with them. o bring in Crouch, Defoe and Diarrra, I couldn't have asked for more.At this stage, it's a case of getting on with what we've got. We'll do better than that for sure. Next Monday we've got an easy game against Man United!"
Now while it's obvious that the Pompey manager is desperately seeing for sympathisers, United themselves are in desperate need for some salvation. After adding Giggs and Carrick to our already bulky injury -list, one can't help but wonder what the press will make of another draw next week. We managed to beat Pompey with a not so strong team in pre-season so all should be well----well, not quite. Every manager knows that if there is a time to beat Manchester United, it's now-when they are depleted in terms of personnel. The good news though is that Tevez and Hargreaves will be fit for this fixture, but it looks as though we might start this season in similar fashion to the last--but nobody will be complaining if we end it in the same fashion.

Monday, 18 August 2008

THE GAFFER HAS CALLED FOR CALM--SO WHY THE UNEASINESS?




Sir Alex Ferguson sounded almost 'unbothered' when questioned by the press about United's performance in their opening game of the new league season.


"I can't have too many complaints. It's not the result we wanted but given the changes I had to make, it's credible"


The fiery Scot will not be moved because United have dropped 2 points in their opening fixture. Truth be told, United are not in as much danger as everybody in the press are claiming. In the preview of this game, I ranted that the only reason this fixture was going to be difficult was because we were playing after all our rivals had played and therefore we would be under pressure to match their results. Because Chelsea had beaten Pompey 4-0 earlier, one would expect United to beat Newcastle 5-0 to go top of the table. Funny that we picked 2 points out of nine the previous campaign and could not score more than a goal in the league till October and yet we refer to that season as our second most successful campaign in the club's history. It's never good to fall behind your opponents at the first time if asking but again you can never have a winning start to every season. THE END WILL JUSTIFY THE MEANS!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

ARE THE gODS REALLY WITH UNITED THIS TIME?


Sorry you have to see this twice.

Before I start mourning to you about the result of our opening fixture, let me make it clear that I think this was more of a point gained than 2 points dropped. This Newcastle United was not the one we have been battering season in season out for the past decade or so. This was a team that had a similar spirit to that Newcastle team that thrashed us 5-0 at Old Trafford in the 95/96 season(also under Keegan). This was a team determined to advertise the beginning of the 'Keegan revolution'-and what better way to advertise it than give the Champions a hell of a day in their own backyard. Personally I do not think that this was a one-off. This team will go on to give their opponents a hell of a game throughout this season. But now to United, what the heck happened to Carlos Tevez? For the whole week, it seemed as though it was Wayne going to be missing in the starting line-up but suddenly the Argentine is not even among the 7 subs. After appearing in all our pre-season games so far, he goes missing when we needed him much more(maybe I missed sth here- I don't know). But the Campbell-Rooney partnership had more problems than one today. Infact I would say the Tevez-Campbell one in pre-season was better than what we saw today. Credit to the younger lad because he nearly did open the scoring with his first real chance and he is still learning. Rooney was not at his usual best and hence we were a little slack in the final third. Our weaknesses on the day were made more prominent by our opponents' belief that they could have a go themselves-hence pouring in numbers to attack us on the counter. Or we could look at it the other way....while we were lucky not to get serious injuries last season to our 'men-of -the moment'(well we had but they were quite spread or spaced), it seems that this time round, we might not have the gods on our side. As if the injuries, suspensions and "disappearances" are not enough to contend with, Michael Carrick gets an ankle injury with hardly 10 minutes played...and wouldn't you just know it Ryan Giggs(who was one of our better players, pulls his hamstring and he has to leave the pitch too...and who can bet against news coming out sooner or later that Vidic picked up an injury(though he managed to see out the 90). It certainly is not going well for United at the moment so I can take the point just as I accepted it at the start of the last campaign. Truth is, with so many things going against us(including Vidic hitting the bar late on), we could have been beaten. Martins had free headers on three different occasions...we were lucky he only scored from one of them! Again we fall behind our rivals as soon as the season starts and again we have to do things the hard way...it's what makes being a United fan frustratingly enjoyable!

Friday, 15 August 2008

MAN UNITED VS NEWCASTLE UTD PREVIEW!


The season starts tomorrow for most of the clubs but United will have to wait till Sunday afternoon/evening(depending on where you are) to kick-start the defence of their league crown. Newcastle United are the first visitors at OT and if the archives are something to go by, this shouldn't be so much of a problem(as having Reading on the first day). Wayne Rooney is fit and it will only be due to Fergie's cautiousness that he does not start on Sunday alongside Carlos Tevez a.k.a the animal. One of Darren Fletcher or John O'Shea could be in the midfield given our injuries but that should not be of any concern as it is only Newcastle....just Newcastle---this is one club that we always not just beat but HAMMER even when we are having a blip in form. Having said that, here is hoping that I am not made to eat my words come Sunday night. The rest of the team bar Ronaldo, Hargreaves, Park, Anderson, and Nani and of course Saha, should be up for selection.
Newcastle on the other hand have a couple of new signings(Guiterrez and Coloccini--hope I got those right), whom we do not know a thing about so I pray they are given the extra attention that their transfer prices deserve(ha ha!). Otherwise this game has come too soon for Michael Owen-who is recovering from injury and I really cannot see anyone bar him who would cause a the best defence in Europe a headache(anybody doubting, just go check the trophy cabinet!) There is however one bit of concern. Yesterday I took a look at the Sky Sports fixture list and realised that for the first few weeks of the season, United play their games after all their rivals have played-and I can bet my Spects that this will go on throughout the season. Now while many might not read much into this, I do! Jose Mourinho once complained in the 2006/2007 season that United were playing all their games before Chelsea and therefore the Blues were not given the chance to close the gap on us. More interestingly though is that the few times we played after Chelsea, we dropped points. Being a United fan, I found it unnecessary to agree with him then but the reality is that he was right--or at least had a point. Playing after your rivals is harder than playing before them because of the added pressure of winning to match them. For instance, the only thing that could make this Newcastle game on Sunday difficult is the knowledge of Arsenal's victory over West Brom and Chelsea's victory over Portsmouth(God forbid!) early on Sunday. After this late last fixture of the weekend, we play Portsmouth on Monday night week again last and then we have the Super Cup and then Fulham(same time with some rivals) and then the double fire Anfield and Stamford Bridge plus that other query of playing away after every CL group game. SOMEBODY MUST HAVE HAD FUN WITH THESE FIXTURES AT THE PL HEADQUARTERS.

PREDICTION:3-0. Would be more but their scorer will not feature.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

A CASE FOR JI SUNG PARK.


While Manchester United is flooded with a number of players that can choose to make to headlines daily if they wanted(Ron...did it for 3 months), there is a bunch of 'a few good men who are modest and only want to be known for their performances on pitch. Park Ji Sung is one of those United players that you never hear about in the press(at times some even forget we have a Korean within the ranks). The former PSV Eindhoven midfielder has so far had a stop-start career at Old Trafford mainly because of injuries(though not as bad as Saha's).While his energy and work ethic on pitch make him a vital piece of the puzzle at OT, Park has found it difficult to command a regular place in the side given the competition in midfield from Hargreaves, Scholes, Carrick, Ronaldo and Giggs or Nani if you like. He missed the first 6 months of the previous campaign due to injury but returned just in time to revitalize and oil a Manchester United machine that was fast depreciating(Boro away 2-2, Blackburn away 1-1, Chelsea away 2-1 defeat). United, towards the end of the season looked as though they had been hit by the same virus that knocked out Arsenal. Park was one of those players whom we needed at that time and he didn't disappoint. We all remember his burst down the right wing and that pass to Rooney to equalise against Middlesbrough, and what about his double header performance against Barca at the Camp Nou and the return leg at OT(in which he nearly scored)He also masterminded our 2-0 away win in Rome(making the assist for the crucial second goal). It must have been disappointing for him when he failed to make the squad for that Champions League final and yet he was one of the heroes of that famous night at OT. He unfortunately aggravated his knee injury whilst on International duty in the summer but in an interview with MUTV Park has stated that he will be back in training within the week. He hopes to make the squad for the game against Portsmouth and essentially remain fit through-out the season. Personally I still think we have not seen the best of Park at OT. A run in the side without injury problem again will go a long way in helping us achieve that. He is one of those players with a lot of untapped potential (because he spends a good number of months in the hospital). Here's to wishing Park a great 2008/2009 season!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

VIDIC TARGETS PERFECT START-- YET ANOTHER HUNGRY LAD


Manchester United's Serbian defender Nemaja Vidic has targeted a perfect start to the new league season. The 'give it all' defender has become a fans favourite because of his bravery and his sacrifice. Last season alone, Vidic broke his nose about four times-losing about a litre of blood for the sake of the team. He was also knocked out in a battle against Didier Drogba in the league fixture at Stamford Bridge. He has formed a brick-wall of a defence alongside Rio-letting in no more than 22 goals in the league last season. The Serb however does not want a repeat of last of last season whereby United dropped points in each of their first three games.
We're ready because in each pre-season game, we have looked sharper and quicker.We hope to do better than last season and get three points with our first game. We want to play well and win trophies. Hopefully, we'll win more than one..."
Now that's hunger for you. I, and probably you, have already heard from Carrick, Rio, Rooney, Neville, Giggs, Edwin, Evra and now Vida. You do not need to be told that Fergie has had these players fired up for another charge towards invincibility. The reason as to why Manchester United have been so successful for the past 2 decades is because they never rest on their laurels. Sky Sports pundit and commentator Martyn Tyler had this to say when United clinched their 10th league title in 16 Premiership campaigns
"SUSTAINING SUCCESS IS SO SO HARD BUT SO SO SWEET"

LET'S TALK BERBATOV, SHALL WE?


Well now that this story concerning Dimitar Berbatov's so called 'imminent' transfer from London to Manchester has appeared on the official site(http://manutd.com/), I have the licence to rant my thoughts on this transfer. Funny though that every newspaper claims to have quoted other papers as a source of the story, so one wonders which paper is actually the source. Anyway, it is synonymous to every United fan that Fergie has been chasing Berbatov for about 18 months now. His blistering first season at Spurs made hm one of the hottest properties in Europe. The player has made no secret of his desire to play Champions League football and United have that guaranteed every season-more still, the club is as 'desperate' for him as he is for them given the lack of a box striker and the apparent failure to secure a work-permit for Manucho. Despite being labelled lazy by some critics, the Bulgarian International's ability to burst into life when in possession of the ball catches defenders flat-footed. He has certainly given United defenders a run for their money during his time at Spurs. Personally I thought our save of the past season should be credited to(not a goalkeeper) Rio Ferdinand. In the league fixture against Spurs at home last season, Berbatov had a one on one situation against EVDS. He somehow managed to poke the ball through van der Sar and made his way towards the goal to push the ball into an empty net but from the blue Rio comes in and manages to divert the ball wide. What a relief! The same player scored against us in the return fixture at White Harte Lane. His ability cannot be questioned, besides, judging from the aamount of chances United create per match(for instance last Sunday) you would have to be a very poor finisher if you cannot get a handful of goals every month. However this transfer begs the question, How will United accommodate Tevez and Rooney pus Ronaldo in the same team. Does that mean Carlitos will have to share a squad place with Rooney? The manager would be the only one who can answer all this. I personally hope that he does not alter the tried and tested 4-4-2. Otherwise it will be case of "It wasn't broke so why fix it?" Ironically I am assuming that Fergie has not spent lavishly in the transfer market because it was not broke!

GIGGS PONDERS RETIREMENT--BUT NOT SO SOON!


He has won it again and again and again and again...

Long term servant Ryan Giggs is pondering retirement from football at the end of the season The Welsh winger has already set record, not only at United, but in football generally that will take some time and some effort to match-let alone beat. Already, his appearance record for United by the end of the coming season should last for the next century or so(since I hear there is no more loyalty in football these days).

"In the last couple of seasons, I've always gone into competitions as if it were my last. I'm not getting any younger and it could be. My motivation is to stay in the team because you want to experience what we did last season. That's what motivates me, winning trophies."

It's incredible the hunger that Sir Alex instills into his players. A player as successsful as Giggs is still hungry to add to his already excessively decorated living room. It's what we fans want to hear and if you remember his age, you can't help but laugh at Mr. John Terry.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

CARRICK LOVES TO TAKE PENALTIES!


Manchester United midfield jewel Michael Carrick, has declared his love for taking penalty kicks for United. The stats show that the England midfielder has a 100% record from the penalty spot. He scored against Petr Cech in last season's Community Shield, repeated the feat in Moscow, scored in the pre-season victory against Aberdeen and then found the net again on Sunday in the shoot-out against Pompey. Personally, I'd already backed Carrick to take over penalty duty during the summer(when Ronaldo's depature to Real was inevitable.) I prefer his calmness in front of goal to Ronaldo's puffed chicks when on facing the keeper from 12 yards. I would bet my only United jersey that Carrick can score a penalty in the last minute of a Champions League final with the score at 0-0. How many can bet that Ronaldo would in similar circumstances?

CAN COLEEN ROONEY DO THE TRICK?


England manager Fabio Capello has come out to comment about the importance of Wayne Rooney to the England team The Italian has admitted that Wayne is as vital to England as he is to United but more importantly, hopes that his marriage to Coleen can bring the best out of the England striker.
"Wayne has just got married so he will get better. Usually when they are married, they find a balance."
Capello also made it clear that the player's smoking was not a problem--at least for him.
"I know a lot of players who smoke....It depends if he smokes five or twenty(cigarrettes)"
Now, we all know that Fabio Capello is among the most experienced and ssuccessful managers in world football. Could he be picking from his experiences in the past to suggest that Wayne will do better now that he is married? The stats show that players who have tied the knot tend to be more responsible on pitch than when they were single. (Of course this is not to say that single players cannot control themselves on pitch.) The balance Mr. Capello is talking about is that which the likes of Rio(though single I think) has reached. The balance that will not have a player partying till 6a.m. A balance that Paul Scholes acquired even before he was born. Players like him tend to be in better shape to play well for both club and country....and IF Capello is right, United might just benefit more him than England will. Afterall, UNITED>ENGLAND! And by the way Rio for captaincy today! This blog wishes him luck, though it won't scratch any of our crowns if he doesn't get it. Cheers!

Monday, 11 August 2008

A CASE FOR LUIS NANI


The Summer transfer saga involving Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer to Real had everyone at United talking about the role Luis Nani was to play in our season. The Portuguese winger was expected to develop in the same mould as Ronaldo-explosive on the wing and having the cutting edge in front of goal. But that is where his critics are wrong! It took Ronaldo 3 seasons at United to finally become what he is today and yet people expect Nani to be Ronaldo in just one season. In all honesty, despite making a memorable debut for United, Ronaldo was not as good as Nani was last season. His goals in pre-season last season certainly showed me what to expect from him-goals and somersaults!(just kidding). Anyway the gaffer has today come out to comment about the impression Nani made in yesterday's Community Shield fixture. Fergie apparently expects more maturity from him next season and also expects him to play a vital part in our conquests this season. Now I have the belief that Nani is bags of untapped talent and if Fergie can teach him a thing or two about responsibility on pitch(i.e. no headbutting opponents), we could have Real Madrid knocking our door again in the near future. Nani did win us a few games last season-he scored THAT GOAL that won us our first game of the season against Spurs and then repeated the Pile-driver trick against Boro. He drilled in our third against Liverpool at home and then toy-ed with Arsenal in the FA Cup till he had Wenger crying for respect. However, all this was undone by THAT MOMENT OF MADNESS against West Ham at home. Fergie is one manager who has dealt comfortably with all sorts of egos and can definitely be counted upon to cool Nani and mould him into the player we all want to see. I think he is our best crosser of the ball from the wing judging by his assists last season. Given that he is just 20, we can expect a lot of improvement from the lad as he advances in age.

SWEET REVENGE-PART 2, BUT DO UNITED NEED A BOX STRIKER?

This deserves a second look.


Manchester United collected Sir Alex Ferguson's 30th piece of silverware yesterday when they beat Portsmouth 3-1 on penalties. United were the first club to win the Shield in 1908 and were rightful winners in its Centenary year. Just as it was in the FA Cup last year the fixture was a quite simply attack vs defence(in training), and just as it was last season, United huffed and puffed but could not blow the Pompey house down. Tony Adams must be the only coach at Portsmouth doing a job. The stats show that every time Pompey went ahead last season, they defended that goal and won the game. So I feared the worst when Darren Fletcher sat on the ball instead of thumping it past James. The final scoreline coupled with the number of chances we created and missed has given lazy journalists a field day. Today's columns are dominated by every so called pundit predicting doom for United if Sir Alex fails to sign a striker before the start of the season. Well what can one do but believe them, the chances were there but nobody was at hand to finish. Now care must be taken here because I do not want United to return to the Ruud days whereby it was almost a rule that the Dutchman had to be passed to. In his time at United, we won one league title but since his absence,with the goalscoring burden shared, we have won two in a row. I'm not saying that a new striker would do United bad, but rather, I'm pointing out the importance of having a free scoring squad. It was not until we lost the box predator that Fergie reverted to the 4-4-2 formation that has suited us over the years.
More on the game now: Fraizer Campbell came on and missed a chance that would have pencilled his name in the starting line-up next Sunday. But the kid did show that he could live with the big boys(at least Distin can testify to that). Carlos Tevez will be my player of the season if he continues doing what he is doing. The ANIMAL was a constant thorn in the Pompey defence and he should have capped his man-of-the match performance with a goal-in open play that is. The last time United took penalties at the right hand goal from television view, we lost-and that was against Le Arse... in the 2005 FA Cup final. I was kind of hopping that we took them at the left -hand goal. So nobody was more relieved when the two keepers made their way to what was our Stretford End on the day. The one thing that United will miss when EVDS hangs up his gloves at the end of the season is his experience. The Dutchman has a habit of taking his time to enter goal during shootouts and that only heaps more pressure on the one to take the penalty-the result being a saved kick or a miss-kick. How I wish he was 27 instead of 37! A 30th piece of silverware for Fergie at United. He has the chance to add to that on August 29th in the UEFA Super Cup against Zenit St Petersburg. Meanwhile its the big kick-off next for United-Newcastle United at home!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

WHAT THE HELL I'M I READING?


Manchester United take on Pompey in the Community Shield later today but there are certain things appearing in today's paper columns that have, for lack of a better word, baffled me. There is this story going on about Real Madrid demanding compensation from Cristiano Ronaldo worth 17M quid. Apparently it is reported that Ronaldo had agreed personal terms with the Spanish 'outfit'. Real now want their compensation since the player in question has committed to United. Now firstly I have to say that I don't believe this story because there are no quotes to justify it. It could all be down to lazy journalism given that there is no more Ronaldo saga to write about. We also have to ask ourselves why Ronaldo would commit to United if he knew that decision would cost him that much cash. The reaction to this story is eagerly anticipated but for now, let's secure that 17th Shield.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

MAN UNITED V PORTSMOUTH PREVIEW


The start of the new league season is upon us and traditionally, the Community Shield fixture gets things underway. This time it's Portsmouth and not Chelsea that United will face in the Community Shield curtain raiser at Wembley. United have already beaten Portsmouth in pre-season,2-1 in Nigeria, but that was a completely different game from the one we expect on Sunday afternoon. Harry Redknap's maiden managerial achievement so far remains the FA Cup success last season- so he will be looking to add to that and also get another over Manchester United. The two teams meet again in the second week of the League-meaning they will play each other thrice in the space of 29 days-a hatrick of victories should go a long way in nursing the wounds they left us with after that unfortunate FA Cup quarterfinal. The manager, in his press conference on Friday assured us of the availability of captain Gary Neville, and Michael Carrick(who was suffering from the same virus that hit Rooney), and Nani who I feel should play since he will have a fortnight off when the season starts. Hargo, Ronaldo and Park as well as Foster remain sidelined. It was a joy watching EVDS keep out all Chelsea penalties in last season's Shield fixture and then saving the vital kick that won the European Cup for United. Whilst I will not commit suicide if we fail to match last season's standards, I would love to see United pick up every odd piece of silverware they can. The Community Shield, Super Cup, World Club Cup and maybe an FA Cup(it's been long) will do for me this time. It's certainly not a bad quadruple. But again there is no harm if we win all! COME ON UNITED!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

FERGIE WELCOMES THE PRODIGAL SON --TWICE!


Regardless his thoughts about the England national team, Sir Alex must have known that it was going to be difficult to keep Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford following his contribution in having Rooney sent off at the 2006 World Cup. However, he was the first to forgive the Madeira magician and duly rubbished reports that suggested Ronaldo was on his way out of Old Trafford. The fiery Scott went as far as convincing Ronaldo not to change his address. After enduring a season of boos from every away ground in Britain, Ronaldo's form gradually silenced rival fans. Sir Alex always refers to the away game against Charlton in 2006 when Ronaldo, amidst boos from the crowd picked the ball from the right wing, raced and shot. He hit the post but the crowd kept quiet for the rest of the game. Flash forward to the summer of 2008 and now it is Ronaldo's wish to leave United or the white of Real Madrid. After dragging the name of the club through all sorts of dirt, and above all unsettling the dressing room, Ronaldo has come out to accept the blame for all the damage(which includes a damaged relationship with his future club Real Madrid) and also promise to play for Manchester United with all his heart despite the speculation that he would play against his will. He has promised to play for United for at least another year-which means all this will be back in the summer of 2009. More importantly however, unlike David Beckham or Ruud or ......, Sir Alex has forgiven Ronaldo again despite his efforts in ruining the summer of every Manchester United fan. The player however admits that he thought United had given in to his desire to play for Real but Fergie stood his stance-another reason as to why I pray to God that the 66 year old never leaves United for we shall surely struggle to find somebody that can match even half his achievements(not just trophies).

UNITED END PRE-SESON UNBEATEN!


There is this lousy yap in some newspaper columns that suggests that United struggled to hold Juventus to a goalless draw last night. The rubbish that is published in papers about United is at times, for a lack of a better word, apalling. I personally did not watch the game but after reading the match report, I thought it was more of a case of Juventus struggling to hold United to a draw. Anyway, the pics taken during the trophy display before kick-off were fantastic, to say the least. The game on the other hand can best be rememdered for another stunning display from Rafael da Silva who seems destined for first-team football next season. The Brazillian one one occassion crossed for Scholes who should have scored with his head. United will be without a string of first-team regulars when Newcastle come to town but I feel that the should be having enough resources to survive the first few months without as many points conceeded as last season by September. Our most difficult times will come away to Portsmouth, away to Chelsea, and away to Liverpool--all in the space of 4 weeks!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

TROPHY PARADE AT LAST!







The Kings of Europe will for the first time since Moscow, have a parade to with the fans in celebration of the defence of the Barclays Premiership title and the return of The Giant Cup-The UEFA Champions League title. United were denied the chance to have an open-bus celebration in May because of the violence imported by Rangers' fans at the UEFA Cup final. However, after a summer that has been marred by a certain selfish Cristiano Ronaldo, the fans will get an opportunity to finally reflect on what was one of the most successful seasons in the club's history. Personally I feel this will motivate our players to defend their crowns as we are having this quite close to the start of the season. I have already gone at lengths to point out that last season's achievements were somewhat under-estimated but maybe this will finally remind the world at large that United had a glorious season 2007/2008 and it will be quite an achievement if we can match that in the near future. Don't get me wrong here because I believe we can defend both crowns but the demands that come with the modern-game have made it a lot more difficult to win tiles(even the Carling Cup). It's why Real Madrid and Liverpool could defend the European Cup at will in the past but the stats show that no team has ever defended the Champions League!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

UNITED DISCOVER NEW TWIN TELEPATHY.


From the Charlton brothers to the Neville brothers and now to the da Silva brothers, Sir Alex might have just found the right heirs to the right and left back positions. Yesterday's friendly against Preterborough-which is managed by his son Darren Ferguson, saw the Brazilian twin brothers we signed from Flumenense make their first appearances for United. The pre-match hype emphasised their adventurism upfront and boy did they live up to it. Fafael da Silva played the full 90 minutes while Fabio came on for the second 45 and impressed just as his brother was doing. Defensively, they can match the ability of Patrice Evra if they continue taking their education from Old Trafford and offensively, they need no more to improve as they seemed sure of what to do and what to expect. Rafael was unlucky not to get a gaol in the first half-his effort being saved by the goalkeeper. The introduction of Rogrigo Possesbon made it 3 Brazilians on pitch-and boy did love watching the Samba style in the lads exhibited in the final quarter of the half. The highlight of the game though was that stunning 30 yard pile-driver from Gibson that put a smile on the manager's face. The Irishman had been on pitch for a little over a minute. Fergie thinks that if he uses his power to shoot more often, he could be a real hit for United. They say that you cannot judge a player by a one-game performance but given the test posed by Peterborough last night, one can't help but feel confident that our young lads, can be counted as heirs to every position in the first team-BRING ON JUVE!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

TESTIMONIAL DONE BUT OLE IS NOT YET






















Yesterday, Old Trafford paid a tribute to one of the greatest players ever to pull on the Manchester United shirt. Ole Gunnar Sossjaer played for 20 minutes(his shirt number) in his Testimonial match against Espanyol. But for goalkeeper Cristian, the super sub would have netted on his big day, but cerdit to hom, he had two shots on target for the few minutes he was on pitch. United fans have seen Ole wear the shirt for the last time but he will not be out of sight because of his coaching job at the Academy. Ole was the most loved player at Old Tafford during his time. And just in case you missed the occasion, they say pictures can tell a thousand words so take a look. Cheers!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

ON THIS DAY.....

Today is D-Day for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who will be honoured by his fellow professionals and Manchester United fans in a Testimonial against Espanyol de Barcelona at Old Trafford. Readers of this blog might remember an article I posted about his favourite moment in football. Well what do you know, he rates the Newcastle game at OT IN THE 06/07 season as the best because his son was at the stadium to watch him play.(so it wasn't the revenge I had thought about.) So, n a day that Sir Alex's comments about loyalty in football will appear in the press, Ole will have a 20-minute cameo in a game that ultimately celebrates his loyalty to the club Manchester United.
That aside, yesterday the FIFA President Sepp-tic Blatter came out to dismiss any comments attributed to him about calling Ronaldo a slave. What a #@%! I mean who does he think he's fooling? Then there is that story in the papers about Wayne Rooney spitting at a photographer. Serves the victim right, after posting my thoughts on the irresponsible press, I have no kind words for journalists who even want to report what takes place in the bathroom of a footballer. Other than that, other than that, HAPPY TESTIMONIAL OLE....and I almost forgot, Ole says he liked wearing the no 20 shirt because it meant he was twice as good as Maraddona, Ziko, Pele,...all who wore 10. TWENTY IS TWICE AS GOOD AS TEN. wouldn't you just know it?

Friday, 1 August 2008

HAS OLE HAD A GO AT TERRY?




Ole Gunnar Solsjaer has been reflecting on his wonderful 11 year career at Old Trafford. In an interview published by the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, he challenged the current crop of players to prove their status as legends by going on to emulate last season's achievements for the next decade or so. The Norwegian is already a legend as far as Manchester United are concerned and he had one or two things to say about THAT GOAL! He claims it was more of luck than anything else that guided that ball into roof of the Germans' goal.

"I can't say that I practised it in training but thankfully, it went in.....Its good to know that 30 years from now I'll be remembered as a United player....I'd rather be remembered that way than be remembered as the guy who missed that great chance in the '99 final."



Well, well well, somebody has got to spare a thought for JOHN TERRY-But not this blog! The Chelsea captain must dread the sight of banana skins! hahahaha....!