Sunday, 27 September 2009

THE OLD GUARD!


It's imperative that I make this post in light of the praises being heaped on Manchester United's bunch of experienced lads. Apparently, this is exclusive to Garry Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Edwin van der Sar.

They say that every man has his opinion, so here's mine. I think that Ryan Giggs needs to be knighted. I've already voiced my desire on this blog to see that and I personally do not care if he plays till he's 40. The lad has something in him that we probably last saw in Bobby Charlton. This guy has reinvented himself to be once again one of the most important players in Sir Alex's squad. No wonder the boss has kept him safe for the big matches. That's just about it for Giggs!

EVDS is, unlike the rest of his colleagues in this category, a goalkeeper, and he therefore can still make it even at 40 years. He has this confidence that you yearn for in a goalkeeper and certainly Ben and Tomaz could still learn from him.

Paul Scholes is past it as far as his pace and contribution in terms of goals but he still has the ability to make passes in midfield that you can only dream of. That is the one asset that he still posses, but he really has to curb the rate at which he gets sent off. Many a time, it leaves us in a very vulnerable position. Last season, he got sent off in the Super Cup, then that game against Fulham--for the same offence of a handball on the goal line.
We suffered terribly in both games. This season he already has a red-card to his name and but for the leniency of Howard Webb, would have got a second consecutive redcard. For the ginger prince, it's a case of poor tackling and handling the ball.

Garry Neville, the club captain, is the one who many of the fans will shiver when he is in the starting line-up. His performance in the Cup against Wolves was further testament to the fact that he is past it. What we need from him is his leadership and passion for the club that he instills in the rest of the team.

UNITED MAKE EARLY VISIT TO THE SUMMMIT---STOKE CITY VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!


Wasn't available for the review of the mid-week win over Wolves in the Cup so let me just point point out firstly that Fabio was the hero for us in that game. Then going into the game with Stoke, you feared the worst as football has this canny way of kicking you in the teeth. I mean who would have thought that Burnley would beat us on our second day out? Then you get these tough consecutive games against Arsenal, Spurs, Man City and win all of them and immediately, it's that supposedly easy game at the Britannia stadium. Well personally I feared for the worst--so you can imagine my frustration when Valencia somehow failed to guide the ball into un unguarded net. I slate him but I don't know even where to start when it comes to Nani--I mean how hard is it to pass the ball to another teammate. That Fergie took him off for Giggs is testament to how pathetic the ladwas on the day. And quite frankly, Giggs did not use magic to influence the game when he came on--otherwise he too would have scored himself when the goal was at his mercy, but he provided two simple crosses that did not require any sort of science. It's all we, well, I would ask from Nani. Tell you what, David Beckham became great because he perfected the art of doing one of the basic things in football, i.e. passing the ball! Somebody should tell Nani and Valencia that they do not have to beat a player before making that pass. Giggs became man of the match yesterday without beating anyone, but by passing the ball to a teammate to score. There were moments in that first half when we had Berbatov and or Rooney free to score but somehow, the ball remained stuck onto the feet of our wide-men.

Maybe I'm being a little too harsh here, all players have off days, and I know that both Nani and Valencia can do better than what we saw yesterday. But here's a thought--did Giggs need a doctorate in Rocket Science to inspire United to win the match? I'm guessing no--he might have learnt to pass the ball like that in 1991--when we couldn't even use the word 'experience' in a sentence that has his name! Point made!

Now, we won at the Britannia---without Tevez! A good win, a vital win and rather surprisingly, this takes us to the summit of the league in September--now isn't that a little weird? I mean for the past few seasons, we only topped the league after the turn of the new year--and usually remained there? So can we now expect United to stay there for the rest of the long season--I'm thinking why not? Wigan beat Chelsea yesterday to bring them level with us--and remind all of us what a competitive and unpredictable league we're in! It bodes well for us that we have two home games before the trip to Anfield. it's been a good ride of 15 points collected after the shock at Turf Moor and it's not too early to start building a lead at the top--let's make more hay while the sun still shines!

The German Champions Wolfsburg jet into town on Monday for our clash in the Champions League on Tuesday. It should be a good watch!
Oh and by the way, we got Barnsley in the Carling Cup--should mean another outing for the fringe players!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

ANOTHER TITLE TO DEFEND!----MAN UNITED VS WOLVES PREVIEW!

Manchester United really had a successful season last term and that is not least because we won the Carling Cup. At the end of the day it's a major trophy and it does preserve the winning feeling in the team--right up to the second team.
The defence of our trophy starts tonight against Wolves---who by the way are a Premier League team. I mean usually you get a Championship side in this round providing the opposition--but that has not been the case for us this season.
The facts are that Sir Alex will not play a very strong team tonight--and rightly so, but you hope he will put out a side that is capable of winning the game in the 90 minutes.
The likes of Gibson, Welbeck, Delaet, Fabio, Macheda, etc. can do a job for us on the night but you hope to see one or two experienced heads as well.
I expect Owen to start in this game as he is one of those experienced players we have who don't deserve a rest.
Carlos Tevez last season used the Carling Cup to show the boss what he was about and you hope to see the same from Owen---not that we don't know what he's about, but we could use a little rest for Wayne and Berba for tougher games ahead.
Is Brown fit? Get him in already! Is Gary fit? Why not?
At the end of the day you really hope that the curse of the underdog does not come to haunt us.

Monday, 21 September 2009

WAS THERE EVER ANY DOUBTASTO WHO THE BIGGER MANCHESTER IS?---MAN UNITED VS MAN CITY REVIEW!

No need to say much about the heading of this post because even before this game, City fans knew that United are light-years ahead of them, and if they wanted any recent proof, the derby was provided that. United gave City 2 gifts of goals but still took all thee points.

Before I get into praising the lads for what was a very entertaining second-half, it must be pointed out that errors such as those on display yesterday could hurt our season if they are not ironed out. Ben Foster only needs to be more confident and the number one jersey is his.
The lad could have been skinned by many United fans if City had claimed even a point.
Then Rio can only hold his head in shame after NEARLY gifting City a point. You expect Better form him--at least when you know you are up against Craig Belllamy!

Other than that, I thought Giggs was our man of the match--narrowly edging Fletcher who is fast becoming as important as Roy Keane was to United's system. You now want him to start every game and miss those Carling Cup games like the one on Wednesday.
Wayne made it 6 in 6 in the league and long may that form continue!
Lastly,if that was the last goal that Owen ever gets for us, then I'm okay with it--because he did take my breath away! What a time to score your first home goal! I hadn't screamed as much since the 3-2 win over Villa last season.
But when all is said and done, we could do with a little less drama in games ahead. Yeah I don't mind winning the game in the first half!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

BLOOD! SWEAT! HATRED!---THE MANCHESTER DERBY PREVIEW!

Yeah, well this blog has been AWOL for quite a while because of the busy schedule that I'm exposed to nowadays but I couldn't help but take a sneak given that our bitterest rivals are paying us a visit.
Before that, let me acknowledge that in my absence from the Internet, I did watch United doze their way past Besiktas in the Champions League. Forget the minor details like Wayne Rooney throwing a boot.
Anyhow, City have, much to our dislike started the season very well and I thought that Arsenal would address that last week but it was not to be. I guess it's up to us.
The only advantage they should have over us is that they are well rested; but given that they are without Adebayor, Santa Cruz, Tevez, Robinho, etc. I think that it will be very sour if United fail to put them in their place. But for the defeat at Turf Moor, United's season has largely been perfect. I really hope we keep it up.
Rio might miss out but Jonny is always on the spot when it matters. I hope Fergie sets us out to play like the home team--not like the nonsense he did against Arsenal. There will be a lot written about this game especially if we do not address the growing confidence in the City camp. Besides, until the team above and below us drops points, we ourselves cannot afford to.
What else is left for me to blog other than enjoy the booing of Tevez if he does get to play!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

EASILY THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON SO FAR --- SPURS VS UNITED REVIEW!


For the first time this season, I'm glad that we can reflect on a United victory whilst all agreeing that United played like United for most of the game. The clash with Spurs yesterday was supposed to provide us with a stern test that would be a yardstick for many as far as United's title credentials are concerned. I have noted a few United blogs that have failed to come to terms with the departures of Ronaldo and Tevez, let alone the manager's failure to significantly improve the squad.
This is my take--- we all know that Fergie has taken a big gamble over his summer transfer dealings but I doubt 'crying' over the Internet will do much to solve the problem. Why not get on with it and support our team through the season and see where we need to improve without speculation!
I mean if anybody supported United through 2004, 2005 and 2006, then they shouldn't really have a problem with it now--besides, we are way better than we were in those seasons.

Anyhow, back to the game yesterday, Spurs took the lead before I could take a seat in my living room so you can imagine how heavy my body was when it made contact with the sofa.
I turned my eye to the clock and I still saw '0' minutes gone. This is the part where you start to think that --if it's going to be a defeat, let it be decent. I mean what should we expect if it means conceding from kick-off.
Luckily for us, there is something about Spurs scoring against us that doesn't really bother us. I mean even if Spurs had gone 2-0 up, you'd still expect United to come back and at least snatch a draw. This is why we have remained unbeaten against them since 2001 and yet they seem to to take the lead against us more often than not.
It was encouraging, from a United perspective to see that the goal did not actually shake us. The team just remained composed and passed the ball with such flair that you could see a goal in them. After missing several chances to notch the equaliser, Ryan Giggs, on his 700th start for United pulled us level with a sweeeeeeeeeet free-kick that should go an extra inch in burying the ghost of Ronaldo. That's 20 consecutive seasons in the Premier League with a goal in each of them---a true ambassador of United and indeed the Premier League!
United continued their flawless passing game after that and appeared to gain more confidence. Berba had two chances to score minus a goalkeeper in the way, but he blazed over after failing to find a way past the defenders in goal.
United, however, did take the lead through a most unlikely source in Anderson. The Brazilian has been subject of strife with the manager in the dressing room but his tireless input, alongside that goal was exactly what the fans have been waiting to see from him since his debut season. It gave us the edge going into half-time. Suddenly, the wonderful goal Defoe scored was a distant memory. Scholes was harshly sent off just after the break to restore hope among the home fans but United steadily kept defending in numbers and probing to find the killer goal that Wayne Rooney did find 13 minutes from time. It was his fifth in the league and boy we hope his scoring run never ends! Did I mention that it was a fantastic goal? --well it was given the amount of work he had to do.

It's hard to pick out outstanding performers when United play like that. Evra had a blinder and even managed to finally find a remedy for Lennon who, going into this game, was the most terrifying news for any left-back in the country. Fletcher did impress yet again, and I'm beginning to think that Hargo has got work to do to get in the groove that Fletch is in.
Giggs linked up well with Berba and Rooney. Berbatov was yet again dangerous in possession and I'm still wondering why Fergie will not play him in the big games. He should partner Rooney all season in my book, regardless of the opposition.
Next in the league for United is the City derby--a match that will provide an even bigger test for United and is sure to be explosive. Before that, there is the small matter of a Champions League group game in Turkey!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

EXTRA!

A little bit of something extra for you lot to read as we wait to witness how events will unfold at White Harte Lane, Red Rants managed to get an interview from United's Nemanja Vidic. It's quite a good read so go ahead and click on the link in the side bar to see it.

TESTING TIMES FOR UNITED---TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


Yeah, it's been a really busy fortnight for me, the work in the Court room has made it almost impossible to even take a glance at this site so a thousand apologies for ardent followers of this blog.
I'm guessing it's been accepted.

To be fair, though, we've been on an International break so there was not really much missed as far as club football is concerned. United somehow did manage to get past Arsenal in their last outing--the first of three major tests in the league.
The second big test comes from another London club in Tottenham. Spurs have made what you can call a superb start to the new league season and no wonder they are at the summit of the league table. That is no mean feat when you consider the fact that they got there after out-smarting the likes of Liverpool (who by the way still think it's their year finally)
So make no mistake about it, it will be a difficult game. Games against Spurs have been a sort of mystery for United---I mean they can have all sorts of drama about them--ranging from John O;Shea being in goal to going 3-0 down and you think it's all over to winning 5-3 after 90 minutes. They can also be a bit subdued as the 0-0 scoreline last season suggested. I mean this is one game where anything can happen---ANYTHING!

Most of our players are returning from International duty so you wonder how fit the lads will be. I guess this is the part where Fergie gets to select his 'old' generals with something like an excuse to back him up. I therefore will not be surprised if Giggs, Neville and Scholes alongside Michael Owen are in the team---I mean these are players who have not kicked a ball for a while compared to the other lads.
Speaking of not kicking a ball, Rio Ferdinand is yet to feature for us this season due to a calf problem. Sir Alex has hinted at his fitness and I think we can make use of a first choice defence for the first time this season. Ben Foster should love it.

We put ourselves in a difficult situation when we dropped points at Burnley so we really can't afford to let Spurs and Chelsea go up to six points above us when we are still in September.
Oh and before I forget, Fletcher must play again today--he's that good now!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

I'M BAAAACK!

Not least because of the International break, I took a leave from this blog. Okay, that was a lie--the real truth is that I was away for a while so I was unable to keep this blog going through this past week. The good news is that there was hardly anything serious going on as far as club football is concerned.

Generally speaking, there was some big news regarding Chelsea as FIFA banned them from the transfer market for two seasons over illegal signing of players. There is that saying that ends with the words '... as long as you are not caught' that I think Arsenal and Chelsea have got to grasp. The two London clubs have been on the receiving end of disciplinary action from UEFA and FIFA over 'crimes' that I can confidently say are committed by any other club.
I'll leave that at that.

United named their Champions League squad this week. Hargo was included--which we must appreciate is good news, but Zoran Tosic was left out---hmmmm?
The rest is bit part news but perhaps, we should be proud that United have been named the world's most valuable football club at 1.14b pounds by Forbes Magazine.