Wednesday, 31 December 2008

FLOM'S YEAR IN REVIEW!--2008, THE YEAR FOR MANCHESTER UNITED!















































































Incredibly, the only major trophy United did not win in 2008 was the FA Cup (Who cares about the Super Cup). So successful we were this past year that tales will be told to our great grandchildren of how EVDS saved all spot-kicks against Chelsea in the Community Shield such that the scoreline read an emphatic 3-0 victory.
Tales will be told of how Ryan Giggs scored a title winning goal on the last day of the season to win us our 10th league crown. Hilarious tales will be told about John Terry who slipped at the most crucial minute of his life to literally hand United the European Cup. And of course big tales will be told of how United travelled to to the Far Eat to conquer the world.
2008 was a fantastic year for Manchester United and all who are associated with it.
It was the 50th anniversary since the tragic Munich air disaster and the day was rightfully honoured on Feb 6. From then on, it was destiny that shaped our season. Paul Scholes got the goal that enabled him to play in the Champions League final. We won the league on the last day of the season to make it perfect 10 for Sir Alex and one less than the Scousers.
The Busby Babes worked fate in our favour and we lifted the giant trophy for the third time.
In the year 2000, after our victory in the Inter-continental cup, United was ranked the strongest club in the world. Eight years on and United are officially the world's best following our victory in the World Club Cup.
If I wasn't shading tears of joy, I would go on and on about the year we have just had. It certainly is the most successful year this club has seen to date given the level of modern day football and I'm thankful that I have lived to enjoy every minute of it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIR ALEX AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

BERBA TO THE RESCUE--BUT...MAN UNITED VS MIDDLESBROUGH REVIEW!


So United create close to 30 chances but take a painful one--whatever happened to destroying opponents. Nonetheless, United did get the job done--Dimitar Berbatov lashing home the only goal of the game after 69 minutes.
Now firstly, I was not impressed with Sir Alex's squad selection as I thought that Anderson and Nani each deserved at least a place on the bench. For the first time in quite a while, United's bench looked depleted. The only 'game changers' we had were Paul and Ryan. Thankfully, they did change the game for us.
Secondly, and more worryingly, United are not scoring with a frequency that defines the club. For the fourth time in 5 games, we win 1-0 and yet these are supposed to be the games in which we compensate our impotence in front of goal earlier in the season. Cristiano Ronaldo is trying too hard to score and yet goals came his way last season even when he didn't want them. He had half a dozen chances in the first-half but still couldn't find the back of the net. His contribution last season means that unlike most wingers, he will be judged basing on how many he scores and that is going to affect the rest of the players on pitch as well. His body language when he was being substituted told a lot. He was already fighting a battle with Pogatez on pitch and was unlucky not to win a penalty--not surprising as this was the same ref who denied him a clear spot-kick when Distin knocked him out in the FA Cup quarterfinal last season. The boy should watch his head as he's just 23 and there are many more years for him to....well...score goals.
Ronaldo wasn't the only culprit yesterday as Vidic, Berbatov, Carrick, etc all missed good chances. Park went one better and helped himself to a miss of the season contender. He was lucky that the linesman flagge him offsside. I'd like to see Carrick improve his accuracy in front of goal and without taking a second touch on the ball. If the goals are shared out ore evenly then Ronado might just get rid of one or two man markers.
I'd also like Berba to be in the 6 yard box more often to tuck away goals such as the one he put away yesterday. It was an important goal and I daresay, his most important for us so far. Those are 2 big contributions for 2 wins over the festive season.
Then of course it seems that our defence has come of form finally as we have now gone 7 games without letting in a goal in the league. If we keep it up at the back, then 1-0 wins might just do!

Monday, 29 December 2008

THE SEASON STARTS HERE--MAN UNITED VS MIDDLESBROUGH PREVIEW!


As I had already blogged here, I missed the Boxing Day fixture as I was away on a small holiday but it's quite a shame to read that Wayne and Ronaldo were for the 100th time guilty of vviolent conduct during the game at the Britannia Stadium.
Somebody has got to do something to those lads otherwise we could be in for a couple of needless suspensions. Rooney has today come out to suggest that he does not lose his temper as often as we people think and I'd like to believe him, but I don't think a committte like the one that handed that ban to Evra would sympathise with him if the FA actually get to review the incident. The two recently survived punishment from UEFA and the FA respectively but for how long shall this go on. I've always stressed the role played by technology in the modern game. Future opponents for instance can grt their hands on such videos and work to frustrate the player in question so as to force a red card from the ref. Do not be suprised for instance if Mourinho uses such tactics to have it his way when we met them in the CL. Hopefully Sir Alex will take note!
Anyhow, for us the season starts here. Manchester United have it in themselves to go on from here and lift the leage title even when they are 3 games behing their rivals. William Hill has installed United as title favourites ahead of their game against Boro at OT and that should go a long way in explaining the potentiaal of this team. It's a congested fixture list for us next month but again this is the part of the season when the real Manchester United steps up. We have not yet hit our highest gear and yet at the half-way stage, we are within touching distance of the summit. That should give us the incentive to drive in full speed to the finish-line. If there is any motivation that Sir Aex or the players need, it's that their failure will almost certainly hand Liverpool their long awaited title--and that is what Sir Alex set out to halt so many years ago!
We do not have Rio for now so I guess Evans will deputise while O' Shea will again deputise for Evra. Berbatov should start ahead of Tevez, though the latter should never be left on bench for over 70 minutes. I wish to see Anderson play central midfield more and more as he knows how to do it best.
Regardless of the team put out, we have to win this to start the long journey back to the top of the league--where this football club belongs!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

HAH! SO MUCH FOR JET-LAG!


I was away on holiday so I missed our game against Stoke on Boxing Day. I was grateful to learn that in the end, we got all 3 points and my word, weren't they important. Tevez got our goal thanks to a bright pass from Berbatov. Anyhow, many pundits didn't give United a prayer following their escapades in Japan so hope that was a good 'right-back at you for them.' More on all that when I recover from this holiday hangover.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

WHEN VIDIC GETS SENT OFF IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, DOES HE MISS A PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURE BECAUSE OF THE RED CARD?--ANOTHER CASE OF INJUSTICE!


FIFA and UEFA will claim that Nemanja Vidic is representing UEFA and therefore his red card in Japan should be transferred to his European domain. It's a questionable decision that because Vida will never miss a League game after getting a red card in Europe. Worse still, it's a competition that Inter Milan is not participating in so is it fair? Now we know that the FA has something in common with UEFA or is it FIFA?
Meanwhile, Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho has wasted no time in playing mind-games ahead of the clash with United at the San Siro in February. Apparently to him Ibrahimovic is a better player than the footballer of the year, C. Ronaldo. All I can say to that is that it's quite unfortunate that's coming from him. Somethings are just too embarrassing to utter--I mean who would have complained if he had said that Ibra is better than Dong Fanghuzo?
Then there is the bit of wanting Wayne banned for the challenge against Aalborg especially given that Essien was banned for 3 matches for serious foul play when he was manger of Chelsea. Somebody tell the Special one that there is a difference between accident and intent and it's easy to see that on T.V! Maybe he quite hasn't got the English very well.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

IT'S OFFICIAL--MANCHESTER UNITED ARE THE BEST CLUB SIDE IN THE WORLD!--LDU QUITO VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!




Was there really any doubt? Manchester United are officially the best club side in the world. United hoisted the trophy after overcoming LDU Quito in the final to complete a year of tremendous achievement.
Firstly, (and as usual), the bad points.
What the hell was Vidic thinking elbowing an opponent? I mean after watching Wayne Rooney kicking an opponent in the semi, we now have Vida as a culprit. That makes it 4 games in a row that a United player is going into the papers for alleged violent conduct. To be fair to him, he's not the kind who will do what he did as often as Wayne will but that was utterly unnecessary and my word it could have cost us the title--who knows, it might still cost us the Champions League this season as he will definitely miss at least one game (Inter away), or even worse, UEFA could extend it to three! If Brown is not fit by then, Wouldn't like to imagine the likes of Ibrahimovic or Adriano against Johnny Evans. The boy is good but a slight detail could overwhelm him. Anyway, that's to worry about in the future.
Performance-wise, the lads put on a great show and I was happy to finally watch a game this season when we haven't lost concentration. Long may that continue. If Rafael can play in a game of this magnitude and not be fazed by it, then I believe that we have got an alternative first choice right-back.
Wayne did well upfront--especially when he was on his own. It was a well taken goal and nobody jumped higher than me when that went in. Their goalkeeper was having a blinder until then. He deserved every award he got. Ronaldo did just about enough to see us home. It was is pass that led to our goal and he kept the opposition busy defending so that they attacked us less. I thought that Tevez was unlucky not to score and not to finish the game. He's certainly up there with the best players in the world and I pray he stays at United till he grows white hair! EVDS did his job well. He kept out all that was hurled at him and he certainly gets a 10 from me. If he can pull off such saves at his age, then we might as well sign him on for another 4 years!
The challenge of adjusting back to British time is on for our players as we travel tomorrow to prepare for our trip to the Britannia stadium. It's a marathon for our players. There is hardly room for rest, but that's the sweat you have to break if you want to walk by your trophy cabinet and view the The League, Champions League and World Cup in it!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

AND NOW THE FINAL--LDU QUITO VS MANCHESTER UNITED PREVIEW!


By the turn of mid- January, Manchester United will have taken part in up to 8 different tournaments (I regard the Community shield as one too). It will be quite a shame if we do not lift at least a trio of those trophies on the back of a season we've just had. We've already won the Shield but we lost the Super Cup in alarming fashion. We've got the Carling Cup in our sights and the Champions League can still be negotiated. Unfortunately for us, the league is now more tightly contested and that is why we've got to make our games in hand count. So why not lift the CWC so as to get the feeling of success mid-way the season. I feel that this victory will spur on the players to hunt for more titles in the new year.
We did just about enough to see off Gamba Osaka but I feel that we need to defend better if we are to overcome Quito. If I were Fergie, I would change little of the team that won the semi. Anderson, I feel merits a starting berth. Unfortunately he wont! Gary will be replaced by Rafel and I'd hope that Wayne and Tevez lead the line as they will surely give the opposition something to think about--a combination of power, skill and vision. I'd like to think that Carrick and Scholes cannot be paired in the middle as they both do the same job. One of the two should start with the other coming off the bench. Fletcher however has taken to the mould of Carrick as he looks to pass the ball more rather than win it back for us. Though he has plunged in vital goals for us because of his attack mindedness, it has left us short of a holding midfielder. That has accounted for many of the gaols we have conceded. It's why I prefer Anderson to start as he's hardly bothered about scoring but rather can win the ball and pass it just as good as any of our midfield lads. Park should and will start as he's got that lucky charm about him--United is hardly defeated when he has started--it's why Fergie says leaving him out of the CL final was Fergie's hardest decision.
Anyhow, enough of the squad selection, United have got to get their act together and make our journey to Japan worth it!

Friday, 19 December 2008

THE FINAL HAS COME TOO EARLY FOR UNITED--UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16 DRAW REVIEW!


Well wouldn't you just know it! I blogged earlier on in the preview for this draw that United could take on any other side in the draw but Inter Milan. Much as the lads from Italy are a beatable side over two legs, many factors are going to work against United such that it will be one of their biggest achievements to see off Jose's Inter at this stage.
Ideally, Inter by Feb will be almost certainly Champions of Italy for a fourth time in 4 years and so their focus will be solely on this tie. Secondly, it's the Jose Mourinho X-factor. Here is one man who knows exactly how to beat Manchester United. If there is one manager whom Fergie respects because of his tactical knowledge of the game, it's Mourinho. It's why he never got into mind-games with him whilst at Chelsea. He left that to Wenger and Benitez, and the two only know best what they got from the arrogant Portuguese's dictionary of insults!
Their tactical discipline might just be the difference as I'm quite confident that this tie will be short of plenty of goals. It's going to be more like the 2005/06 season when we played Milan and lost both legs narrowly. United have not shown the kind of tactical discipline to win difficult games so far. In fact, I can only point out our victory over the Bitters as our only show of tactical discipline. So many times this season, we have conceded goals due to lack of concentration so that's another another area of worry.
I'm not saying that the tie is way beyond United as we certainly aren't pushovers ourselves. But what we have to do is something like the we sorted out Barcelona at the Camp Nou and mix that with how we played in the return leg of the semi at home--all in one game! We've certainly ever done that and the reward was big. That was the only time we beat Chelsea in the league under Mourinho. Darren Fletcher scoring a memorable goal and my goodness what a contribution he'll make if he lives up to his big-game player tag. This time would side with Fergie and start him!

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16 DRAW--PREVIEW!


It will be somewhere around 11PM in the night when Manchester United players on the other side of the globe, get to know their fate in the last 16 of this season's CL. Having said that, you can bet that none will go to bed without knowing who they face in the unforgiving knock-out phase of the Champions League.
We finished top of our group so logically, we are supposed to have an easy last 16 tie--unfortunately, this season will firmly put an exception to that ideology. There were as many top teams that finished top as there were that finished second in their respective groups.
Consequently, United can meet the likes of Inter Milan and Real Madrid as early as Feb and from an objective view, one would assert that the final has come too early.
The official website recently ran a poll in which fans were asked who they fancied in the last 16. Not surprisingly, Sporting Lisbon came out on top as they are the simplest side we can face in the draw. Real Madrid came second but after last night's press release about Ronaldo, you can bet that many are now hopping that Platini can do them the favour of pitting United against the struggling Spanish outfit--what will be viewed as a chance to settle their differences the football way after many a war of words between the two clubs. More on that after the draw..
Athletico Madrid and Lyon and are the other possible opponents. The Madrid side are definitely the side I want us to avoid as they have the recipe for shock results. They are the mould of the replica for the FC Porto side that won the competition in 2004.
Speaking of that Porto side, we could also be paired with Mr. Jose Mouthrinho! What a match that would be--a chance for Sir Alex to prove himself against Mour in a European tactics game! But I'm sure he wouldn't be looking forward to it. Inter are definitely the toughest team we could face especially when you look at their position in the Serie A. Whilst we shall be trying to make ground in our own league, they could have virtually wrapped up theirs by the end of February. So CROSS YOUR FINGERS LADS! IT'S AT 11.00 HRS GMT

Thursday, 18 December 2008

UNITED IN THE FINAL!--GAMBA OSAKA VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!




Manchester United booked themselves a place in Sunday's CWC final after seeing off J-League outfit Gamba Osaka this afternoon(well it was late in the evening in Japan).
Goals by Vidic, Ronaldo, Rooney, and Fletcher put us into the final against Ecuador's LDU Quito.
Firstly, I was impressed with our attacking play. I think Tevez was a handful for them and I'm beginning to rate this lad even higher than Wayne Rooney! Yes I said it! His turns and passing were top notch today and I'm beginning to wonder where we would be now if his pre-season form was given a chance to continue into the new league season. He had a goal incorrectly disallowed and it was his brilliance upfront that created for us many of our goalscoring opportunities.
It was nice to see Vida score again this season--that's 4 now and you would think that is already enough a contribution for a season from a centre-back.
In almost similar circumstances, Ronaldo got us a second just before halftime and as it has been all season, when the game looked won, United went for a passing vacation. We let them back in the game and although we scored three more afterwards, Gamba were again let in when it seemed we were finally there. It was a shame to concede cheap goals after defending so well in the first half. I'll excuse that to the departure of Vidic. Neville certainly had his best match for the club since returning from injury but he was twice guilty of handling in the box. Luckily for us, only one went punished.
I think that Anderson does merit a starting berth in our team. He certainly does hold the midfield better than Scholes or Fletcher. So the veteran should stick to the pass and the young lad can do the tackling--besides, he does know how to spread the ball forward. Anderson has the ability and experience (can you believe) to get the job done!
EVDS did well yet again. He certainly saved us from Modric and Bently over the weekend and today, he pulled off a couple of outstanding saves that kept us in command of the game. He is certainly worth a new contract!
Now then, what in the Far East was Wayne thinking kicking at an opposing player in a tussle for a 50=50 ball? Sometimes you lose your sympathy for this guy. I mean it's one thing being fast and furious back in England but why travel half-way across the globe to kick the hell out of....?
I mean we were well and truly in a comfortable position so there was no need to show such emotions. He was lucky not to get sent off and Fergie has his hands full as far as calming the temper of England's only star.
And just as I'm about to pen-off, news breaks that Real Madrid have 'landed' Cristiano Ronaldo. Isn't there something else that journalists can feed on or are they just anticipating Friday's CL draw that will pit United against Real?

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT THE CLUB WORLD CUP---GAMBA OSAKA VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!



It has never occurred to me that one day I would post a preview for a competitive game in Japan. Anyhow, United flew out to Japan late on Thursday to take their place in the FIFA Club World Cup. It's amazing how many ABUS(Anyone But United Supporters) have commented about this trip. The likes of Graeme Souness have come out to say that the competition is a complete waste of time. It's amazing that these are the same lads who will cheer on their teams in the CL this season, unaware that winning the most prestigious trophy in club football means taking part in this competition. It's not like United are taking off a break in between the season. It's compelling and besides, it is to me a prestigious competition. Nobody dislikes being a World Champion.
United take on Gamba Osaka and I hear that while we were labouring to win our final on penalties, this team won their CL final against Adelaide United 5-0! That should not necessarily send alarm bells off in the United camp but it should alert one or two complacent heads about the threat that they pose. Everybody wants to claim a scalp of United saw our games are usually harder than the rest. Looking forward to a better game than Saturday's.
Now, it was good news that Rooney was cleared following his alleged stamping in the CL against Aab Alborg but in all honesty, it was an accident. Unfortunately, Ronaldo is now being investigated for kicking at Dawson. Now Fergie has to get his house in order as this could be Ronaldo's second suspension in less than a month. Funny enough, the boss is also fresh from a 2 game suspension. These suspensions could account for how we perform come the end of the season. Somebody should tell the lads to keep their heads --Oh! And the boss too--that's if you can step in his office with such an argument!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

ANOTHER LET OFF FOR THE TABLE-LEADERS--TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR V MAN UNITED REVIEW!


Let's just put it this way, we failed to win our most important game of the season. Sir Alex and the boys knew too well that Liverpool and Arsenal had earlier dropped points and so it was down to us to punish them for it. Unfortunately, and yet again, we've let the leaders have it their way. There are not many weekends when all our rivals will drop points so this was a mega-let down. It's true are quite a difficult team to beat these days as they have cost our other rivals points but that cannot explain the sloppy football on show yesterday. I personally lost count of the miss-placed passes from our lads. In fact I can confidently assert that save for the goalkeeper, every other United player had a miss placed pass to his name! It quite embarrassing on many occasions. We are the European Champions and so we have to give a good account of ourselves more consistently.
To be fair to the lads, Gomes had a blinder for Spus (after emptying his stock of howlers). But we did not do ourselves any favours in restricting ourselves to occasional attacks. It's only fair to say that Spurs had as many clear-cut chances as we had. In fact, EVDS was, in many ways, the hero for us today. He pulled off at least 3 world-class saves to keep us level.
Much as it was nice to watch an away game without having Ronaldo booed by opposition fans, the lad is not doing much to help United's cause of late. I wonder if the marking has got tighter on him but he is the only player allowed to roam anywhere on pitch given his free role. That should be enough to get him going. I think he's so busy collecting awards that he can't concentrate fully on the game. World Soccer magazine has also honoured him and we're anticipating that top FIFA prize in January. Could all this be getting to his head? To be fair to him, it's hard to be what he was last season and he's still young but I wish he could diversify his style a little bit as he's becoming too predictable. It was wise of him to let Giggs take that free-kick and it nearly paid off.
Now I do not understand why Fergie has stuck on to Fletcher in the middle. The lad is, to me, strictly for big games. That was the situation earlier on the season. I would like to see Anderson play more in the holding role as he is the most natural in that position. There is no point in having Fletcher doing the ball spreading as we already have Carrick and the lad is not good at tackling too. (Rather, he does not want to tackle).
Then, it hit me hard to see Fergie take off Tevez and yet the lad was a consistent thorn in the Spurs defence. Park was tired and he should have gone off. Tevez clearly was compensating for Berba's immobility upfront. He was the tormentor in chief and I thought that he linked up well with Ronaldo especially in the first half. Surely Giggs was never going to do the running and hustling that Tev was doing. It was for me, a poor substitution. It should have been Park off, Giggs on. Of course the result now leaves us in a delicate position. It surely is down to how bad our rials perform. But again, when they do poorly like yesterday, we should take the chance!
We play in mid-week in the Club World Cup and it has to be said, the opposition is quite formidable. Pachuca are the side that will give us a hard time. But that will only be if we get to the final next Sunday.
Anyhow, the game is on Thursday at 10.45 Universal Time. It's kind of great to be United fan this season. Even when there is no mid-week football, our club is in action! We are guaranteed 2 games a week--and in some incredible venues..now, it's Tokyo in the YOKOHAMA STADIUM!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF OUR SEASON---TOTTENHAM VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!



The club, Manchester United has already played the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Man City,but Sir Alex Ferguson has branded today's fixture against Spurs as our most important game of the season. Ideally, those are not the kind of words we fans would like to hear as our squad is somewhat depleted going into this fixture. Berbatov--a player who will get stick from former fans--is doubtful but at least I can bet my shoes that he will play today! Wayne Rooney is suspended and so is Patrice Evra. Brown is still out injured and Carrick has a 50% chance of sitting out. In short, it may not be the side that anyone of us would pick for a game. Spurs have already cost Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool points so something does tell you that they will know how to get the job done. They've got this pacy counter-attack that I think will provide for an entertaining game--the question is shall we come out on top?
United do have a good record at White Harte Lane but last season, this was one of the grounds where we dropped points.
The main issue however is that we fly to Japan on Sunday and will therefore fall another game behind come next weekend. Fergie feels that if we go to the far East when we have dropped points, it will dent our title hopes come the new year as we shall be far behind our title rivals. I buy his view and so should all United fans. The fans who will make the journey to the capital should cheer on our lads as though it were the CL final as I think that this game could define our season. Come on United! GOOD NEWS THAT EVDS WILL BE AROUND FOR ANOTHER YEAR!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

UNITED EASE THROUGH TO LAST 16 BUT...--MAN UNITED VS AALBORG REVIEW!




As expected, Manchester United did win their CL group and will therefore go into next Friday's draw as a top seed and play the second leg of their knock-out tie at home.
Now firstly, it was disappointing to lose our winning record in Europe against such opposition. Then, it was disappionting to lose goals the way we did. On a whole, our defense is the one element that does not look as good as last season. The goals conceded in the Carling Cup against Blackburn and yesterday should go a long way in exposing our frailties. Much as it was not that much of an important game, United must be aware that in the modern era, technology plays a part in how teams approach games. Any coach can use a video of one of those games and plot a coup--much to the team's astonishment. I'm particularly worried for our right-back slot as even Rafael may not be able to stand up to big and pacy forwards who may want to impose themselves. Much does depend on how fast Wes Brown can return as he was the unsung hero of our Double act.
John O'Shea does not give the slightest hope as far as replacing Evra is concerned for the next 5 weeks. His height is an asset and I think it's better he stays back and lets Rafael do the marauding. The games coming up in the next few weeks are not difficult but the opposition are the type that can take their chances. That brings me to another area of concern. This season, United have already created enough chances to win the league but unfortunately, we have taken few. I thought that the price tag was a little heavy on Berba's head so that could explain why he has not been putting chances away. So Tevez should find it easier...well it seem that may not be the case afterall. Tevez could have one the game for us within five minutes. He had 4 very good goalscoring opportunities last night but only took one--which to me was the hardest. Credit to him, he does create most of them for himself unlike the Bulgarian but the bottom line is that neither takes them. He looked very composed infront of goal against Blackburn and that is the composure that we can only hope for going into the weekend's game with Spurs. It' gonna be a hell of a tough game for us!
Now the draw for the last 16 is going to be the most fatal in he history of this competition. I 've already put my money on a tie against Real Madrid but can you believe that we can still play Inter-Milan! Mr. Jose has already accounted for a United exit in Europe so I doubt He'll be doing us any favours if we draw them. Ideally, the easiest tie on paper can be a tie with Sporting Lisbon--Oh How I Wish!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

VIDA TO THE RESCUE-- MAN UNITED VS SUNDERLAND REVIEW!




HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!



If there was one negative that I can pick from yesterday's fixture, it is that I lost my voice! It's one thing playing against a team with 5 aacross the back and it's another playing against one that has 11 across the back. Sunderland came to OT quite simply looking for aa point--and waht better chance does one stand at geeting it besides defending. Thank goodness for Vida's presence of mind to be at the far post!
Interestingly, a good number of tabloids are branding the win as a 'lucky one'-- I mean even Stevie Wonder could see that it was Sunderland that were lucky to come off the park with only a goal conceded.
PERFORMANCE:
It must have been too small a game for Darren Fletcher as he had no ideas when the ball came to him. He couldn't have come off sooner.
Rafael continues to do just enough to merit his place in the starting line-up. He does have this attacking mentality that gives us an alternative. He crossed the ball yesterday from the right numerous times. One would be forgiven for thinking that he was playing wide right!
There was nothing wrong with our defence yesterday quite simply because nothing was coming their way. Fergie has revealed that he played Vida upfront in the second half as there was nothing hurting us at the back--I mean Sunderland was that pathetic!
Van der Sar did well in Central Midfield--passing it up to the strikers at every opportunity.
Carrick has re-invented himself. It seems he has developed the confidence to shoot from range. It's no coincidence that he was our player of the month of November. He has scored a couple in the recent past and my word hasn't that paid off for us. It was his low drive that beat Fulop and crashed off the upright. Vidic benefited with a close range tap in in the 91st minute. What a relief! The celebrations were as vigorous as those witnessed when Anelka failed to beat Van der Sar from 12 yards in Moscow!
The win does keep us in the title race. Our title rivals had all won going into this fixture and that meant that we couldn't afford any slip up.
If we beat Spurs next week, we shall have given ourselves a staring point when we return from Japan. Unfortunately, we shall have to do that without Rooney and Evra. What luck!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

KEANE-LESS SUNDERLAND VISIT THE THEATRE OF DREAMS--MAN UNITED VS SUNDERLAND PREVIEW!


Before I get into anything concerning the preview, let me just add my voice to the millions of United fans who have expressed their dismay at the FA. Patrice Evra has been fined 15k and banned 4 matches for the incident involving him and the Chelsea groundsman after the penultimate clash between United and Chelsea last season. Well, quite simply, the FA just can't stand United lifting the title again this season. We all know what that can do to their market overseas. But what a shame! I'm one of those who believe that the Chelsea groundsman was racist towards Evra and therefore I would back him all the way. Evra's retaliation could not and should not have warranted a 4 match ban! mean--even throwing a coin back in the crowd has been deemed as a lesser offence. I wasn't so much in for the title before as I know it will be a tough call for any team to repeat success like what United had last season. But know I'm more eager to put the 18th over the FA to show them that they'd probably have to ban our entire team from the league before we can stop winning the title---to market their league.
Anyhow, United host managerless Sunderland today at tea-time. OB Roy Keane has left and so we can only feel sorry for the Black Cats. However, managerless teams have this tendency to play even better than when they had a coach. United had better be wary of that as it could cost us dear. Scholes won't play so Fletcher comes in. Evra collected his fifth yellow of the season last Sunday so he sits this out. I expect O'Shea to come into that department. Fergie knows best who to choose for the right-back slot. This one of those games where it cannot hurt us if we use the so called Fantastic 4 all in the same team. But that would be too extravagant if you ask Fergie. It's Sunderland and then Spurs before we fly out to Japan for a tournament that, well, makes it look like pre-season already! Here's to 6 points before departure! Chao!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

CARLITOS TEVEZ SPITS IN THE FACE OF A BLACKBURN SIDE THAT DIDN'T LOOK COOL--BUT DOES GARRY NEED A TESTIMONIAL?


What a hit!
Last night,Manchester United quite simply slept past Blackburn Rovers to ease through to the Carling Cup semi-finals. Carlos Tevez was undoubtedly the star of the show as he thumped 4 past Blackburn. The Argentinian has certainly reminded OT of what he is capable of (as though we had forgotten). Yesterday, we saw the burst of energy from a man who has been itching to get some football under his belt all season. He worked tirelessly as a lone striker but still managed to get his name on the score sheet 4 times. If Sir Alex's headache of selecting his forward line-up had eased, yesterday, his head must have taken a major knock. Carlos Tevez was quite simply, the Man of The Match--End of that story.
Now to more concerning issues--Blackburn scored 3 goals against us at OT. The same virus that attacked us when we were 4-1 up against Hull attacked us when we were 4-1 up.I wonder what happened to the spirit of beating teams 8-1 if they were too bad on the day. Somehow, these days we tend to feel sorry for our opponents when we go 4 up. United should learn that these opponents would not feel sorry if we were in their shoes.
Then there is the big issue of our captain fantastic--Mr. Garry Neville. Yes, he has been a legend at the club and a loyal servant since his childhood--but there comes a time when one must quit. Garry was poor in Central defence--I don't even know what he was doing there--but even when he has played in his right-back role this season, he has been just as poor. To be fair to the rest of our defenders, It is Garry who was at fault for all of Blackburn's goals. It will be quite a shame if we fans ignore his dip in form and try not to blame him. In this era of football, mistakes can be costly. I don't want it to take a major catastrophe before we give the lad a rest. Sure he can play games like Wednesday, but be sure that every Premier League manager now knows what to tell his players when they see Garry in the side. I wish he could pass on his knowledge to the young Rafael who can make more use of it than he can. Scholes makes his game look easy and that works to his advantage. Giggs has given up the running down the left wing and that has worked in his favour as well but as a defender, Garry may not have either option as he specialises in a territory where speed is key for opponents.
Andersson had a blinder of a game but only he knows why he didn't open his account for United. He was heavily involved in a move that I think produced one of the best team goals scored at the Stretford End since I was born(I'm not very young mind you!)
The bad bit about this win is that we now have two mid-weeks less in January as we try to look for a gap in which to play what will be by then 2 Premier League games in hand!
I say we take it one game at a time.
Next up it's Sunderland at home. We can't help it but pile more misery on Keano!

Monday, 1 December 2008

UNITED SEND SH-ITTY DOWN THE DRAIN--MAN CITY VS MAN UNHITED REVIEW!


Well wouldn't you just know it--after all the yap yap yatta yatta from the Wastelands throughout the week, United embarrassed their neighbours in their own backyard. What a performance. Don't get deceived by the scoreline, it could have been worse for the dippers. United played City well off the park and it just serves to explain how much work City is left with before they can start comparing themselves to a team that currently shelters both the League and the European Crown at OT.
City stepped up the pace in the second-half but that was down to Ronaldo's sending off.
It was nice to see Wayne get his 100th goal as I think it was playing on his mind for quite a bit--now we can see a more relaxed Wayne going for goal. Berbatov for me was the difference upfront. There is something about him that gives us very many options upfront. He held the ball upfront very well and that allowed us more opportunities. He was simply Berbatov! Carrick and Fletcher did well enough for me to neutralise the threat of Wright Phillips and Robinho.
Now, there is this kid called Rafael da Silva. What a performance! To walk into a hyped derby game and play more comfortably than senior players is testament to the ability of this boy. His forward runs were giving us an alternative upfront and he nearly claimed an assist. The more he plays, the more we ignore his defensive frailties. This is a lad who believes that the best form of defense is attack. This time, it might be Wes Brown who will be bitting his finger-nails as Rafael matures The right back slot is in good hands for some time.
I have been quite disappointed at the way we have defended in the past. Last season at this point, we had let in very few goals. This time however, it has been quite different. Vidic and Ferdinand have now kept it tight for 5 games in arow--long may that continue.Benjani has always found a way past Uniteds defence--even when at Pompey so the fact that he was restricted to no goal yesterday was testament to how well we defended.
Ronaldo's red card will rule him out of the Carling Cup but who said we needed him there in the first place? United have now got past the hardest part of their season. It's time to engage gear 5. Oh and Southampton away in the FA Cup is not so bad afterall! Cheers!