Saturday, 28 February 2009

NOT SUCH A BAD SATURDAY AFTERALL! THE DIPPERS ARE HISTORY IN THE TITLE RACE!


It will be very hard at the end of the season to believe that Liverpool actually led the Premier League table for the best part of five months!
The talk of this could be the year was really getting to me and those who knew that it was a matter of the time before we saw the real Liverpool stand up. A title challenge cannot be solely built on two players but unfortunately, the Scousers only have two world class players in their team so in their absence, they have struggled to match the standards they set for themselves early in the season. Since Rafa did the rant late on in December--or was it January-- Liverpool have only won once in the league. It's a story that's even more hilarious than the one starring Kevin Keegan in 1996!
More astonishingly, Chelsea are now the second-placed team in the league and are looking more worthy as far as challenging United for the title is concerned.
What's happened over the last few months to Liverpool is something that United fans have so desperately hopped for since our defeat to them at Anfield early in the season. Some just can't stop laughing!---Oh... and I really do hope that Benitez does sign a new contract!

HOW DOES A UNITED FAN PASS THIS LOUSY SATURDAY?


Well some might suggest watching the rest of the Premier League fixtures but there is nothing to suggest that any of those ties will be good enough to watch as far as United's interest is concerned. Hopefully our rivals can maintain their distance from us. I was actually shocked to find out that Liverpool gets to play 2 games before we next kick a Premier League ball. That means we could visit St James' Park on Wednesday with just a point separating us from the rest of the League. It certainly is a position I'm not looking forward to.
This morning, the papers were filled with Pavulychenko's comments about Berbatov and his desire to play for United. For starters, I don't think that this lad will ever get a sniff of a chance to play for United as I think he's one of those good players but yet not good enough to play for Manchester United--end of story!
Then there is the bit about Berbatov being arrogant while at Spurs. Well Scott does justice to this topic so you might as well check out therepublikofmancunia for his thoughts.
A lot of the so called United kids have had their say as far as the tomorrow's final is concerned. Sir Alex has gone on to defend his and many manager's positions as far as rotating their squads is concerned. It's quite understandable and we at United are lucky to have a string of young players who have been to imposing stadiums before. They therefore know how to come in and get the job done. United's incredible strength in depth will be further highlighted if the team Fergie puts out tomorrow goes on to lift the Cup. It will be a reward for the youth policy that the club started about 16 years ago when the likes of Paul Scholes were selected to play in such games.
Then there is the bit about Rooney who cherishes Wembly and the Carling Cup as it was his first trophy with United. I really do wish Fergie starts him tomorrow as he can fire those kids up in case complacency gets into their heads. After missing out on the best part at the San Siro, the Englishman will have a few tanks of energy to burn.
More boring quotes also appear today about Ronaldo. He basically tells us the same old thing about God knowing the future and then being currently happy at United, etc, etc! This is one hell of a character who hopefully in 20 years time will not make the list of Wasted Talent! He seems not to be aware of what is good for him. Personally I think he can't wait for Fergie to call it quits as that would be an automatic ticket for him to jet out of the club he still calls ''Manchester'!

Friday, 27 February 2009

CHANCE TO BAG THE SECOND OF FIVE MAJOR TROPHIES THIS SEASON!--THE LEAGUE CUP FINAL PREVIEW!


We're kind of getting used to making the journey to Wembly as Sunday marks our second visit there this season. United also played there at the start of last season and also in the 2007 FA Cup final. We could yet have two more trips there if we make the FA Cup semis and the final itself.
Surprisingly, even at this stage of the season and even after playing at the San Siro on Wednesday, United are still in the papers' columns being tipped for a record 5 trophies come the end of the season. I must say I thought that this talk of a quintuple would subside after our Italian date with Inter but it seems our performance there has only served to increase the talk. It's not that I think United cannot take all trophies because we actually can but I wish to concentrate on the realistic first.
The European Cup is still miles away as far as handing it out is concerned but there are certain Cups that are as close to us as a shadow is to an opaque object.
A case in point is the Carling Cup final on Sunday against Spurs at Wembley. Sir Alex has promised the young lads that he will play them as they are the ones that got us here. It's a move he should make with pre-caution. Yes! This is a trophy that I only wish to win when we're in the final. We've lost many Cup finals prior to this and one can only imagine what our domestic record would be like compared to that of Liverpool. It certainly is a chance to add another trophy to our cabinet while we still can. Arsenal lost this final a couple of seasons back to Chelsea because Mr. Jose Mourinho does not minimise this competition so he let all his dogs out and bagged another accolade. Last season, Spurs beat Chelsea in the final--a result that should make us more motivated in this game. Nothing should be taken for granted as Spurs are not exactly a small team with poor players. If anything, they have already matched our first team in the league this season.
I'm not sure who of our keepers other than EVDS will take part in this one. At the moment, they all seem to be learning so hopefully the one selected has a good game. I'd personally go for Foster. Given his injury problems in the past, he deserves a Cup final appearance. It will do him a lot good. It's actually rare that he's fit ahead of such a game. Usually, he's out injured and so has to watch his teammates from the stands.
Nani will start and so will Gibson. Welbeck could make the team as I expect both Rooney and Berbatov to be on the bench. Tevez is fresh enough for this one. It has to be said that it's his goals that have got us to the final in the first place. Anderson is fit so he should partner Gibson in midfield while Evans should start alongside Vidic who has had enough time to rest given his ban from the team in mid-week.
It will be a smelly shame if we fail to win this one because of all the Cup finals we could get to this season, this is likely to be the easiest.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

STALEMATE! BUT WHAT IF...INTER MILAN VS MANCHESTER UNITED REVIEW!


In more ways than one, Manchester United have succeeded in making the second leg of this tie with Inter a nervy one. It reminded me of last season's semifinal against Barcelona when we got a penalty within the first minute and somehow Ronaldo managed to miss hence give Barca the confidence they would have lost if we had taken such an early lead.

Last night, United had the chances to put the aggregate tie to bed but unfortunately, none went in. Julio Cesar kept his best reflexes for this match and has almost single-handedly kept his team into this tie going into the second leg.

For starters, the mere fact that the Brazilian no.1 was named man of the match shows how well we played. When you compare the performance of United last night to that when we got beaten by AC Milan a couple of years ago, you have to say that United have come a long way.

The tactical discipline that Fergie has employed in Europe. Manchester United are now a very difficult team to beat home or away in Europe.

Mr. Jose could not find an answer to the tactics used by Sir Alex yesterday and worse still he'll be worried that it's United that shaded the possession and had more and better goalscoring opportunities.

Ronaldo had the bulk of chances in the opening half but neither his free-kicks nor his bullet header could find a way past Cesar into the Inter net. I was particularly pleased that he did not go AWOL in such a big game. His only fault was a couple of balls that were not delivered well into the box when we had men better placed.

Giggs was, for me, United's star player. The Welshman is seemingly immune to bag games these days as he has constantly put on displays that are award winning. He constantly cut the Inter defence with superb passing and took on a few defenders himself. He had our best chance of the first half that was created by his own magical thinking and then nearly produced another Giggsy special in the second half after a solo run.

We just might need him in the second leg as well so hopefully Fergie will start him.

Berbatov did well enough as a lone striker though a little bit of speed in his play would have made it harder for Inter.

Carrick and Fletcher did well as far as protecting the back four was concerned. That for me was Fergie's master stroke in this game. At the start of play, many of us must have questioned Wayne Rooney's absence in the starting line-up but now we know what Fergie was up to. Hopefully he'll start the second leg.

The result is a rather intriguing one.United have not got beaten as many pundits had predicted but they have not scored an away goal as well. A score draw at home will put us out out the competition so we need to keep it tight at the back whilst trying to score but if we play as well as we did last night, then we shall surely beat Inter at OT. One thing is for sure, it will be a night where the fans have to BELIEVE!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

MANCHESTER UNITED PREPARE FOR THEIR MOST DIFFICULT GAME OF THE SEASON SO FAR!--INTER MILAN VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


Quite frankly, the only reason this tie is getting more attention than Barack Obama did at his inauguration is because of a certain Mr. Jose Mourinho. He is the only manager that ABU fans can rely on to beat Sir Alex Ferguson. Credit to him, the Portuguese has succeeded in most of his battles against the fiery Scott and you would be a fool to bet your house in this tie.
Jose was brought to Inter to deliver the Champions League so the pressure is on them to win this two-legged tie. United on the other hand have this belief that they are the best squad Sir Alex has assembled at United and they will need to match the achievements of '99 before they are officially tagged the best of Sir Alex's squads.
Any team with the self proclaimed Special One in the dugout is difficult to beat. He instills a winning mentality in the team that is second to none and that's why their games are usually won before they even step on pitch. So great an achievement it will be if United make it through that the gaffer has told his players that beating Inter will almost surely mean defending their European title.
United have spent 2 years now without defeat in the Champions League but significantly, the last defeat came at the San Siro. A disheartening 3-0 defeat to AC Milan in the semifinals. It's a scoreline that United will have to avoid this time round. They have the second leg at home so it will be great to still be in the tie come the second leg. If possible, the tactics employed at the Camp Nou last season will do us good. Unfortunately for us, Inter will be more tactical than us. We might have to do more attacking than them. This is when you wish you had Carlos Queiroz in your ranks.
Team News; Vida is of course suspended and Jonny Evans is injured. John O'Shea might come in the middle to partner Ferdinad so hopefully that works out for us. I'd like to see the likes of Giggs start this game as he could have the master key to unlock the defence of Inter. We desperately need that away goal as it makes the second leg much easier.
So the likes of Rooney and Berbatov should be in the mood. Sir Alex has already said that we must take our chances tonight so hopefully the lads will be as lethal as as they can get. What's for sure is that Inter will limit us to very few chances.
COME ON UNITED!!

Monday, 23 February 2009

JUST ABOUT THE PERFECT WEEKEND FOR MANCHESTER UNITED!


It has to be said that Manchester United laboured desperately to beat Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. The performance was a far cry from what we saw on Wednesday night against Fulham. Credit though must be given to Sam Allardyce's boys as they did not respect United as much as Fulham did. On another day, Fulham could actually have beaten us so I won't crucify any of our players for the performance.
They say the end justifies the means so in the end, we're all happy that United got a vital three points that moved them further ahead of their rivals.
On Sunday, two of the most hated clubs at OT squared up at Anfield. Liverpool were looking to cut United's lead to five whilst City are on the march up the table. It's a crazy situation watching a match where you do not want either team to win and that was just the case on Sunday. We United fans will love it if City stay as close to relegation as possible but again Liverpool have been breathing down our necks recently and so a defeat for them wouldn't be bad at anytime. Thankfully, we got the perfect result. A draw meant that United are now a commanding 7 points ahead of their title rivals and at least it gives them some breathing space as far as a dip in form is concerned. When all is said and done, you get the feeling that Fergie was right when he said that Liverpool's victory over Chelsea was the perfect result for United. The Dippers do not seem like they can mount a serious title challenge and right now it seems that Chelsea are the club that can put on a run of results that can match United. Hiddink is as good a coach as you'll find anywhere on this planet so Chelsea will benefit from the Russian.
For us you'd think that the gap makes it all the more easier as far as chasing trophies elsewhere is concerned but a certain Mr. Mourinho might have something to say about that... The preview for arguably our most difficult game of the season so far is coming up!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

WHO CARES ABOUT A CLEAN SHEET--WE WON!--MAN UNITED VS BLACKBURN ROVERS REVIEW!


Well I predicted in my preview that Fergie might get tempted by the Champions League tie in mid-week and play around with team selection for the Blackburn game--thankfully, we didn't pay the ultimate penalty! I don't see why he'll try to develop the partnership of Rio and Evans and yet it already exists. Evans has been called on short notice to lay equally important games for us this season and has done enough to suggest he's ready when needed. For instance he did well when called upon in the crucial league meetings with Chelsea.
Anyhow, EVDS was also rested with Europe in mind and not surprisingly, we lost our clean sheet record. Having said that, it was the least worrying thing on my mind during the game yesterday as I only demand 3 points from the team--nothing more.
Wayne did well to poke us infront with a goal and you hope he can continue his scoring run on Tuesday. And then somehow, Scholes and Nani lost concentration and allowed Blackburn to level throughout Santa Cruz. It was a blow for those who believe in records. More worryingly, were United going to let their frustrations get the better of them? Thankfully, Rovers hit the post when Old Trafford held its breath as Nelsen nearly drove in a second for the visitors.
Wayne Rooney missed another chance before Ronaldo struck a sweet free-kick to restore our lead. The goal was eventually the winner. The Portuguese was however guilty of kicking out at an opponent yet again and you only hope the FA cut us a break again. So on a day when United were supposed to reserve their energy for bigger things ahead, we spent loads on it for a precious three points. It could be worth it come May and we might see the benefits of that win this evening when our rivals for the title play with as much pressure as you can ever imagine. It's an 8 point lead!
Question marks over the fitness of Evans perhaps...hopefully, he'll be fit in time for Tuesday.
More on this game and the Inter game to follow!

Friday, 20 February 2009

CHANCE TO GO 8 POINTS CLEAR!--MAN UNITED VS BLACKBURN ROVERS PREVIEW!


After getting the first three of six straight home points, United entertain Blackburn Rovers on Saturday tea-time hopping for another three points to apply even more pressure on the rest of the title hopefuls. As if going 5 points ahead on Wednesday night is not bad enough for Liverpool, United will go a mammoth 8 points ahead of their bitter rivals if they beat Sam Allardyce's me on Saturday evening.
Despite the fact that we are playing home, I feel we'll be made to earn our result tomorrow. Blackburn may be in the relegation zone but Big Sam's sides have never been easy to beat.
Many a Liverpool fans have this anticipation of a United blip any time soon so nothing will be sweeter than extending our lead over them so as to create a security for ourselves if that blip ever comes round.
Sir Alex has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will start tomorrow after a mid week cameo role. O'Shea is doubtful so Rafael or Brown will play at right back. The rest of the tea picks itself. Hopefully Giggs will also get to play as he'll give us that extra bit of creativity that we need.
Hopefully, Sir Alex will play his strongest side without paying attention to the game on Tuesday. That should only come in mind if the game is won by half time as it was on Wednesday.
Over to you lads! Oh! and I was glad to hear that Neville has signed a new contract. Way to go Captain!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

TOO EASY! JUST TOO EASY FOR MANCHESTER UNITED!--MAN UNITED VS FULHAM REVIEW!


Such is the ease with which Manchester United dispatch certain teams these days that you cannot help but think that the '99 spirit is with us this season. For the past few weeks, I've watched United without eating my finger nails and that has laegely been beacuse of the way they start games these days with an aura of invincibility. Such is the superiority of United's football these days that the main worry ahead of games is if we shall finally let in a goal and not if we can actually win the game.
Yesterday's match with Fulham was supossed to be that game in hand that has proved so difficult for teams. United had to win to move 5 clear Liverpool at the top of the league and you would expect that fate would throw a spanner in the works for United as has been in seasons past. United fans are used to seeing their team do it the hard way and so you felt that this game was not going to go to plan. Thankfully it did.
After last night's performance, many managers will understand Fergie's descision to keep awarding the squad veterans contract extensions. This time, Paul Scholes was the one to roll back the the years. He brightened the game with some precise 40 yard balls that made the pitch suddenly appear too big for Fulham. His more telling contribution was a 25 yard pile-driver that left the goalkeeper helpless. It was a fine strike from Carrick's corner and one that will surely be a contender for goal of the season for us.
Berbatov got the second to kill off the game as a contest and Wayne Rooney got a goal of his own with his first touch--he's started from where he left off.
The result and performance must have sent a shiver down Benitez' body as the title now looks United's to lose. Another win on Saturday and Liverpool will be 8 points behind us by the time they play City on Sunday. Another clean sheet and EVDS will claim a European record for consecutiove clean sheets! Another title and Liverpool's record of 18 titles will be equalled!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

CHANCE TO GO 5 POINTS CLEAR!--MAN UNITED VS FULHAM PREVIEW!


If there was any incentive that United needed ahead of the game against Fulhm, it's the chance to go five points clear at the summit and hence stamp our authority on the league. The Premier League has swapped leaders more often this season than in the past three seasons. Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea have all led at some stage this season and only their failure to build on their leads has cost them dear. United have already had their fair share of leadership and you get the feeling that it could all change when things start going bad. One of the main reasons as to why we won so many league titles in the past decade was because we put light years between ourselves and the rest of the league hence making it ominous for our rivals. It's a method adopted by Mourinho and is currently being used by Barcelona. A double digit lead makes it easy for you to recover from a dip in form and gives you the security of table leadership even after it. It's a situation that United have a chance to be in. A win against Fulham today will take us 5 points clear of Liverpool--meaning that should we win on Saturday as well, we shall remain top despite having our game next week called off. It puts us in a commanding situation and only serves to increase the pressure on Liverpool who could be 8 points behind us by the time they play Man City on Sunday.
Rooney starts on the bench while Brown and Neville are ruled out. Rafael should deputise though. The rest of the team picks itself.
Fulham have a certain Mr. Danny Murphy who has Liverpool blood and has scored quite a number of winners for the Dippers at Old Trafford. He certainly needs to be taken care of. Dempsey is another of their players that is not fazed by such occasions and so will need monitoring. Their goalkeeper is as difficult to beat as Brad Friedel so hopefully, he has an off day.
The rewards are big if we get the 3 points out of this one, so hopefully we'll get the result we all want(even 1-0 again will do just fine)

Monday, 16 February 2009

ANOTHER GAMBLE PAYS OFF AS UNITED ADVANCE TO LAST 8---DERBY VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!


Sir Alex will be particularly pleased that he has not had to answer questions about rotating his team as his young boys got the job done in the FA Cup yesterday. The fiery Scot made 6 changes to the side that beat West Ham in the league last week but his side almost effortlessly beat Derby County on a ground they have struggled in the past. Goals from Nani, Gibson, Ronaldo and Welbeck ensured that United made it to the last 8 of the Cup.
If the changes and performance yesterday are anything to go by, then United will lift a bulk of trophies come May.
Nani yet again scored a pile driver and it's becoming as trademark as far as his goals are concerned. It's now 6 for the season for the young Portuguese and hopefully he can learn the way to goal as his fellow countryman has. If this lad starts to bang them in more frequently, he'll creep into Fergie's first team as a replacement for the soon departing Ryan Giggs.
Gibson apparently was given the man of the match award, so that speaks volumes about his contribution. Sir Alex has gone on to name him in the Carling Cup final--well, hopefully he'll be up for it. I think that the lad is perfect in the middle--where he played yesterday but can be a flop when put wide. It was a well taken goal. Ronaldo would have committed suicide if he hadn't scored so I was really pleased to see him nod one in. Danny Welbeck once again gave us something to think about as far as future strikers at this club are concerned. His goal was, for me, a top strikers' finish.
It's always a big bonus for us to win games without utilising all our resources as it keeps the squad fresh and happy. Anybody can now name the team going to play Fulham on Wednesday as most of our first team players were given the day off. Hopefully, the lads will be up for it as well. It's a big chance to put daylight between us and the rest of the league.

Friday, 13 February 2009

IT'S DERBY AGAIN!---DERBY COUNTY VS MANCHESTER UNITED PREVIEW!


We've already played them twice this season and yet they are not in the same division as we are! Derby County provide the opposition for Manchester United this weekend in the FA Cup fifth round.
The only worrying thing about this fixture is that we are at Pride Park--a venue where United have struggled to produce goals. Thank God the Carling Cup was a two-legged affair but if we play like we did the last time we went there, then the FA Cup will (God forbid) live up to it's history of producing shocking results. United have, in the past, got Premiership teams more often in the Cup and I'd like to think that it has helped us take the games more seriously. It will be a disaster if our players take Derby for granted as the Rams will play as though their very lives depend on the result. Hopefully we'll use their attacks as a means of building our own.
United welcome Patrice Evra from injury and will have Ferdinand and Jonny Evans available. Wayne is still out so Tevez should start alongside Danny Welbeck.
Victory will win us a place in the last 8 and draw us closer to another final!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

UNITED TO KEEP LEGEND FOR ANOTHER SEASON!


Going into the West Ham United game on Sunday, I couldn't help but think about the effects of dropping points. Liverpool had beaten Chelsea a day before so we had to win to go back to the summit and keep a distance from them. United played like they have been playing at West ham before and as the minutes went by, the game had a draw written all over it.
Just when e were all getting a little desperate and nervy, Ryan Giggs rolled back the years and produced a moment of individual brilliance that won for us the game. I've always thought him to be of use for us these days only when he is delivering a corner or free-kick or when he is played in the middle to provide excellent creativity but the Welshman was played on the wing last Sunday. After delivering a series of corners that bore no fruit, I couldn't help but feel that we could do better with Park in his place and what way to make me eat my words! If we can still get what we got from Giggs last Sunday, then there is no reason as to why he shouldn't stay longer. He is a United legend and therefore is always worth another contract. Giggsy is one of those players who ill teach those after him how to keep yearning for silverware eve after amassing so much. It's a trait that Fergie ants in his players and foe as long as the 35 year old has that, he will always be good enough to play for Manchester United.
International football has robbed u of club action in mid-week but it was nice to see so many United players represent their countries. An honourable mention goes to Park, Ronaldo and Tevez who starred in their countries' games. Hopefully, we will have no injuries come Sunday. It's rather good that it's only the FA Cup this weekend as we may not have to be at our devastating best to progress. Having said that, the Cup is one competition that more often than not throws form out of the window. Derby have sold all their tickets for this one and one would expect a hostile contest for United. We've struggled at Pride Park in the past, and that's because the Rams seem to up their game when Manchester United is in town. Without any exaggeration, it will be like playing at the San Siro! Meanwhile, I've got to find ways of passing a Saturday that is going to be red and black but with nothing to do with Manchester United!

Monday, 9 February 2009

MANCHESTER UNITED ARE NOW CHAMPIONS ELECT!--WEST HAM VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!

Another couple of away wins and it will be official--but as far as I'm concerned, United are Champions elect!
After watching Liverpool come from behind twice to beat Pompey, I couldn't help but feel the pressure our team would face going into what is traditionally a tough fixture at Upton Park.
West Ham have greatly improved and Steve Clarke seems to have made them even more difficult to beat. They limited us to a few chances in the first half and started the second in search for the opening goal. United were given one or two scares in the box and at times, it looked as if a point would not be that bad afterall. Actually, I wouldn't have complained if we had got a point from this one. When the minutes are moving towards 70 and you are yet to score in this league, it's almost as if you'll never score. But cometh the hour and cometh the men--Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs combined to give United a precious lead---and you can bet I jumped highest when that solo effort by Giggs went in. The Welshman has been there in all the Premier League tears and his goal meant that he has scored in every Premier League season to date! It certainly gave Sir Alex another reason to keep his veterans at the club. Scholes was credited with a 30 yard pass that Giggs polished and turned into a goal--a winning goal that must have had half of Merseyside cursing their luck!
It sets us up nicely for our game in hand next week. It's time we put some bright light between us and the Scousers!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

OH NO! IT'S LONDON AGAIN!--WEST HAM UNITED VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


If there is one fixture that sours my mouth it's this one! It's hard to remember a game against West Ham at Upton Park in which United did not concede at least one goal. That slight statistic makes you wonder if we can actually rely on the 1-0 scoreline that has shot us back to the summit of the league. West Ham are Manchester United's boogey side in chief! For some reason, they find it easier against us.
Having said all that, we've lost there for the past two seasons and still gone on to win the league. Hopefully, a change in results will not change our fortune.
By the time we play this game, we might be second in the league as Liverpool play on Saturday. That means failure to win could give the Dippers a much needed boost as far as the title race is concerned. It certainly not what Sir Alex wants even if defeat would only put a scratch to our title hopes. United must be dreading another visit to London as we've won one in our last 9 visits there. Hopefully the luck is with us this time.
Team News: Tevez will start because Rooney will be on the bench alongside Evra. Brown will come in for Neville so that makes it a rather experienced back four.
The rest of the team picks itself. The boss will decide if Giggs is needed ahead of Fletcher.
A win for us sets us up nicely for that soon to come game in hand!
Other than that, it's been a week of remembering the 1958 Munich disaster that claimed 23 lives including 7 players.
And then it was nice to see Vidic recognised as player of the month by the FA. Berbatov is the fan's player of the month while Sir Alex is everybody's manager of the month.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

ALOT ABOUT THE WEEK

Another weekend of League action draws near and yet again, the saying 'a week is a long time in football' is spot on.
First of all, it was quite unusual that this week, United did not have a game to play in mid-week. It's been quite a while since the club had a full week of rest to prepare for a fixture(and if superstitions are anything to go by, I'd rather we didn't!).
So after our victory on Saturday against Everton, Chelsea succumbed to Liverpool and the Dippers closed the gap back to 2 points. Paddy Crerand thinks United are better off as far from Chelsea as they can as Liverpool don't pose a threat--well I think we are better far from both of them.
We will remain top for as long as the players don't become complacent. There will be a bit of chasing too as we have to play some fixtures after Liverpool for instance this weekend.
The only worry in the team we've got is how to keep Tevez playing alongside Berbatov and the returning Rooney. It certainly is a headache for the manager.
Then in mid-week, the transfer deadline day saw Keane return to Spurs. I'm beginning to think that Berbatov actually made Keane better than he was at Spurs. More reason for us to appreciate our lead striker.
Also, Sir Alex was named United's top icon since 1992 in a poll that was run by fans. He certainly deserves the award even if it meant denying the likes of Giggs and Cantona the accolade.
EVDS has been lauded throughout the week for his record number of clean-sheets and this blog salutes him too! I certainly wish he was a couple of years younger! Let me just spare a few lines to say Happy Birthday to Tevez,25, and Ronaldo,24. Last week Berbatov turned 28. Hopefully, the players aren't in party mood come Sunday as we'll have to be at our best to pick up points from a ground that many of us do not like visiting.
I've saved the best for last. Liverpool got knocked out of the FA Cup in midweek. The Dippers now have just a couple of trophies to play for. They really proved they cannot do without their captain. Worse-still, they had to play 120 minutes--tired legs for Saturday perhaps?

Sunday, 1 February 2009

THE FORCE IS CLEARLY WITH MANCHESTER UNITED--MAN UNITED VS EVERTON REVIEW!


After spending the best part of Saturday afternoon to find a place where I could watch the game, I wasn't disappointed after all as United strolled on to another crucial victory in the incredible series that is the Barclays Premier league.
A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in the end was enough to give us the 3 points but you'd have to admit that Michael Carrick was our Man Of The Match yesterday! His forward runs into the box gave the Everton defence a torrid evening at OT and I would think there is more from where that change of style came from. If our midfielders can get that instinct of running into the box(never mind if they will look like headless chicken), we shall be able to get the breaks we did get yesterday. Obviously, Carrick was brought down twice in the box but unfortunately, Rafa Benitez has seen to it that United are only allowed one penalty a match regardless of what the offence is.
In the end, our reliable defence is just about good enough for an Oscar award this month.
Defence has certainly become our best form of attack this season and nobody will be complaining if we win the title with plenty of 1-0 wins! What difference does it make when our rivals are drawing 1-1--as a matter of fact, we are better off as our goal difference is guaranteed an improvement in every game.
It certainly was a crucuial win for United as we can now watch one or both of our rivals drop more points this evening. It certainly is a good time to be a United fan and thank God I'm one!
Ronaldo has somewhat impressed me over the last few games as he has this drive to shoot a goal from any angle or distance. That is something I've called for from United players as it can get you priceless goals. If he keeps it up, then he will surely hit 20 goals for us this season--having said that he's already bagged 14 and there is a long way to go!