Saturday, 30 January 2010

AND THEN TO THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON--ARSENAL VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


So Sir Alex reckons that this is the biggest game of the season for us. Well in many ways it is but you can bet that there will be a couple of games in the not too distant future which will carry a similar title.However, when you come to think about it, it could come down to this. Chelsea play Burnley late today and in all probability will increase their lead at the top to four points. They play their game in hand on us in midweek against Hull and that looks like another easy three points. It means in the space of four days, the Blues could increase our lead over us from pone point before this weekend to seven points if we fail to get a result at the Emirates--and we all know how difficult it is to chase a seven point deficit in February.
That should be, above all, the motivation for our players. The team talk is as simple as that. Do the players really want to win the league again this year?

Arsenal have been on quite a run in the league. At one point they looked out of it, but now they have as good a chance of winning the league as we do.
One of the main factors that has aided their rise is that club these days are playing to their style of football in a bid to win over sympathy when they lose....u know...like 'At least we played well'.
Apparently, since the departure of Sam Allardyce from Bolton, the so called 'dirty tactics' are no longer viewed in the same light. They are not looked at as a means of winning a game but rather are viewed at as anti-football.
It's why the lesser sides in the league are now playing it the 'Arsenal way'. We've had the likes of Reading, Hull and Burnley from the Championship in recent seasons coming to grounds like OT and playing it 'on the floor' as opposed to the long ball. Fair enough, they still pack the defence with about eight players but when they have possession it's a different story.
It means that sides that used to bully the Arsenal are no longer existent in the league--nowadays, you have to beat them at their very won game--which is, in my opinion, a very difficult feat to accomplish.
Now you know why Arsene Wenger complained about Darren Fletcher after their defeat at OT in August.

As far as United is concerned, we've been drawn to playing it like Arsenal in the past few season and that explains our recent home and away defeats to them in the league. However, this season has seen us return to the old fashioned United in a way. Forget the fact that we struggle to put away chances , our play is now based on wings. It reminds me of the days of Beckham when a cross into the box was mandatory every couple of minutes or so. Valencia and Nani seem to have that in them
That combined with the ability to go route one through the midfield and or Wayne Rooney has made us in more ways than one unpredictable than when it was all about getting the ball to Ruud or to Ronaldo.
The one thing that I still think we are missing is the 'ugly' side to our game. I mean, remember the days when Fergie would employ Phil Neville and Roy Keane to 'break' the Arsenal rhythm. The likes of Antonio Reyes, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry would freeze out of the game before a ball had been kicked.
Darren Fletcher is all we have for that right now, and probably Anderson if the manager elects to start with both. I'm talking about how we managed to nullify a Chelsea midfield on Essien, Lampard, Ballack and Deco earlier this season. Similar levels of performance will be needed to nullify the threat of Fabregas, Song and co.

Vidic is back and will start. Ferdinand starts a four game ban. I'm really hoping for Wes Brown at right back and Evans in the middle. Valencia should take over from Nani but the Portuguese should be worth a place on the bench. I want to say that Berbatov should start but I have this big feeling that the manager will go 4-5-1 again---I mean if he can do it at home, than away is an almost certainty.

The rewards for winning this one are big!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

WAAYYNNE ROOOOONNEYY!---MAN UNITED VS MAN CITY REVIEW!







Well if you are still puzzled about the choice of the title, in my defence, it's all that the commentator of my feed could make of the late winner by Wayne Rooney last night. For me, his goal was as dramatic as the one Owen scored in the first derby early this season.

The review for last night's game is quite simple....United put City in their place!
There is not much you can add on that really.

The only talking point for the future should be Sir Alex's faith in the 4-5-1 when we are faced with serious opposition. The manager used to apply this away from home in Europe but it seems that even at home, when United have tough opponents, he has no faith in the midfield and attackers to do the job at 4-4-2. I mean this is how we lined up against Arsenal at home in August, City at home in the league, etc. I think it became a real worry when the manager used it at Fratton Park recently. To be fair to the manager, he has won most of the games when he started with such a formation---but that is strictly down to the wing play, and not the ability of Wayne as a lone striker. I fee that we will suffer when we meet teams that can nullify the threat of Valencia or a Nani on the wings. It would leave us thumping the ball forward, as we did for most of the first half yesterday, with not much benefit. That is food for thought.

Then I'm not sure if Rio Ferdinand has been doing a good job of training lately as he seems to be doing more elbowing than defending. The FA have banned him for four games following his hit out at Fagan a the weekend. That he was not far from similar incidents last night suggests that he seems to have lost a bit of himself lately. It's a blow for United but I really hope that he comes back better when his month long absence is completed.

The manager now has one or two selection problems; it seems obvious that Nani and Valencia seem to do well in the same right wing position.

I'll conclude this unusual review by pointing out what nearly killed me during the game...Rooney's miss was disgusting! Thankfully he atoned for it with the winner. I was also nearly killed in the celebrations. Thankfully, I'm through that.

It's Le Arse next---another crucial game for our season!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

ALL SET FOR A NERVY SEMI FINAL---MAN UNITED VS MAN CITY PREVIEW!


First of all, it's gutting that the likes of Rio Ferdinand could miss the game today due to suspension. Make no mistake, this can only weaken us both in person and psychologically.

United have an almost full strength team for this one so the players really have no choice but to win tonight. The starting line up will however tell us a lot about Fergie's plans for Sunday!
Right back is one area of concern for us and maybe one place in central defence.

My biggest worry id the defence because I strongly believe that this game will be won by the team that defends better. For instance, if City score two goals, we would have to out-score them before the end of extra-time.
Their defence is nothing compared to ours even in this state but they do have a goalkeeper who can be as hard to beat as the best in the world!

City have not won a major trophy since 1976 and I doubt that United would want to be beaten en-route to the Bitters achieving that feat. So hopefully, the lads can put up a display like the one we saw earlier this season (without the mistakes).
This is a game that could make or break our season. A win will do us so much joy that we could still emulate the heights of last season. A defeat might just shake the lads a bit and it could spell doom fr=or the rest of the campaign. Beating City will even make the game on Sunday easier. Unfortunately, the reverse is true. But the biggest incentive for us tonight should be a chance to play in another final even in a season when many a fans and media alike are not giving us a prayer!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

ARE WE REALLY AT FULL STRENGTH?


First of all, it's disheartening to see that the FA are already in and around our 'new' defender Rio Ferdinand. He's been with charged with an off the ball incident in the game on Saturday. Rio has not yet got the rub of the green when it comes to the FA. You might say that Gary Neville and Sir Alex are far better off than him when it comes to those good for nothing panels. What we all really hope for is that they do not ban him for a couple of games. I'm sure the FA could use a bit of his weekly salary. That won't bother us and the player himself. We're starting to get our players back so the last thing we need is suspension as we try to create a cohesion that has been lacking all season.

Sir Alex reckons that United are at full strength. I beg to differ. In my opinion, I doubt we can ever be at full strength without Owen Hargreaves fit. Darren Fletcher is a worthy replacement but again Hargo plays No.6, No.2, No.11, and No.7 as though he was tailor made for each of those numbers. At the moment, I think that City could exploit our right back position if Wes Brown does not feature there. Rafael is bound to make one BIG mistake whilst Gary is a touch slower than any o f the lads he will be up against. In this case it should be Bellamy!
AND of course how can there be a full strength United side without Vidic?
Welbeck is off on loan to Preston--Diouf seems to have impressed one or two people already;he's forced his way up the pecking order and only the starting pair now can claim a place before him.
Then there is that speculation on Sky linking Chris Smalling to United...hmmmm...

Monday, 25 January 2010

BUILDING UP TO ONE HELL OF A DERBY!






















In one of my pre-season posts, I mentioned that Manchester will need the British army to stage the Manchester derby. The game arrived relatively early at OT this season, so there was not much build up to it. Even so, that 4-3 thriller was not devoid of a few punches here and there (read Bellamy).
The FA did a good job of drawing the two sides together in the Carling Cup semi so that they could get two and not one derby for the same price (their profit).
After a first leg defeat at Wastelands last week---a game that itself needed the full force of the police to go by, United must now beat their rivals at home to stop them from lifting a trophy for the first time since 1976. The FA and Greater Manchester Police are now discussing means of having the game played on Wednesday without a scene of violence...don't hold your breath!

A lot can be written about this game. Gary Neville vs Carlos Tevez, Sir Alex v Mancini, 34 years and Counting, City 'closing the gap', the anti Glazer revolution...name it....
They say that pictures tell a thousand words. It's why I have tired to explain the many sub-plots for Wednesday night's game using pictures that have been doing the rounds in the world media this past week. You might want to take another long hard look at each one of them!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

ALL ABOUT WAYNE ROONEY---MAN UNITED VS HULL CITY REVIEW!


It's sad that United managed to post four goals yesterday but still look unconvincing for the best part of an hour after Rooney got his first inside eight minutes. Just like we said against Burnley, and Wolves and etc, if our opponents had taken one of their chances when they were still in it, we might have had a different result, a different Sunday!
I won't go on about slating the players even when we win because I'm one of those that believes in the adage that the end justifies the means. I mean I would never complain if we win the league whilst playing the way we are---but the question is can we do like this?

Yesterday was all about the players. I mean given that the manager had left out Giggs, Valencia, Berbatov, Anderson, and Brown from the starting line up, one can only imagine that he wanted to give the likes of Owen, Nani, Park and Rio Ferdinand a chance to help themselves on different causes.
Nani did enough to show that he is worth still being around OT. The lad really did put in a few crosses that would have left a box striker spoilt for choice! Whether he can do what he did yesterday consistently is the question and its answer could be what keeps him in or takes him out of Manchester United.
Rio Ferdinand needed match fitness so hopefully the game yesterday gave him that. However, he ought to expect a lot more work on Wednesday from City. Hopefully, he'll be up for it.
Michael Owen did little as far as taking his chances against lowly opposition to boost his goal tally for us.
Rooney did help himself to some breathing space as far as the Premier League golden boot is concerned.

There was nothing more that we could ask from United these past couple of weeks other than the two home wins. We are now top of the league (albeit for only a while) and the next few weeks give us a direct opportunity to put ourselves clear of our rivals in direct confrontation.

In the meantime, there is a small matter of a Carling Cup semi at OT against City!

Friday, 22 January 2010

THREE POINTS, NO LESS!---MAN UNITED VS HULL CITY PREVIEW!


You might have realised that this is the second consecutive league game that I'm previewing with this title. A couple of weeks ago, I stated that the home games against Burnley and Hull were must wins given how many points we dropped in December and also considering the fixture list after these games.
Next Sunday we visit the Emirates Stadium and in all probability, we'll be playing against the team that is on top. Arsenal have shown a bit of title winning form of late and so we'll have to be at our very best to get the result we want. I'll leave it at that for now because it's a different game tomorrow.

We are out of the FA Cup and so are Hull so we are the the only team that plays tomorrow. It's a chance for us to go top of the league as where we are right now is in more ways than one unacceptable! I mean we kick off tomorrow in third place having played a game more than Chelsea. It really does say a lot about the need to win. Quite frankly, only the most optimistic fan will still have hopes for a fourth title in a row if we fail to post another three points against Hull tomorrow.
Our team is getting stronger by the day so the excuse of injuries is almost pointless these days. I thought we played well at City on Tuesday. If we match that performance, then we could not only win but also eat well into the goal difference gap between us and the top two.

Granted, the opportunity is there for United to take a threshold of this league. Whether we take it is a different matter--but a look into the future suggests that any of the top three clubs is bound to drop points within the next couple of weeks. After our visit at the Emirates, Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge--it essentially means that if we beat Arsenal, we can comfortably watch our rivals cancel each other out the following week---and who know, table leadership could be ours heading into February!

All that though heavily depends on getting three points tomorrow. Berbatov is fit again and so should play. Rio Ferdinand, after missing 19 fixtures, will start in defence (hopefully he'll be back to his very best). The rest, bar Hargreaves(three weeks) and O'Shea(possibly the rest of the season) should be fit.
We've got Mame Briam Diouf, who seems to have the touch of an assassin infront of goal. Did I mention that he came off the bench at City and directed a sweet header at the City goal--I thought it was a good leap and good strength and determination to connect with the ball given the crowded box.
He's now made it four goals for United with a treble of goals for the reserves on Thursday night. At this rate, we might not need a striker after all--I only hope that he keeps his feet on the ground. Diouf should be in the reckoning for the game tomorrow as well.

We beat them rather easily at the end of 2009 but we all saw their ability to grind out a result last week against Spurs. We need to keep our wits about them

There will be nothing as good as going top this weekend whilst our rivals get dumped from the Cup!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

SO FAR---NOT TO BE!




Yeah, it feels like after the game at Stamford Bridge earlier this season doesn't it---United lose and yet somehow you cannot slate them because they were the better side over the 90 minutes.

So it wasn't to be last night. I mean there is only so much that you can do when the referee makes such terrible decisions. It wasn't a penalty and it wasn't a corner kick---at least not to the naked eye, but as fate would have it, we conceded from those terrible decisions.
Conclusion: Mike Dean is a cunt!

Now that we've got that out of the way, the review;
2-1 to City after the first leg was the popular prediction I must say. The important thing was that we remain well in the tie going into the second leg and if we play like that at home, then we'll make yet another trip to Wembley.
I thought Shay Given was City's best player on the night--not Tevez! The Irishman might be the man to decide which way this tie goes if he puts on a similar show at OT. I mean, any other keeper and we could have won 4-2 on the night!
Wayne found it impossible to beat him but what excuse does Valencia have when the goal was at his mercy. I thought he should have at least fell in the goal with the ball--turns out he fell in without the ball even after making contact!

The away goal will only come into consideration after extra time but it will only count if United themselves do no concede--something you can't bet on these days!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

TO BE OR NOT TO BE...THAT IS THE QUESTION!


A quick preview ahead of the Carling Cup first leg semi tonight----For many United fans, tonight could be the night they find out if their club will end up with silverware come May.
Failure to get a couple of results against City will leave us with the League and Europe as the only chances of silverware....and judging by the way we are playing this season, you wouldn't want to bet on the latter two.

I really hope that the manager sends out a team that can match what City have got. This game represents one of the most crucial derbies that Manchester has ever contested. I mean City will want to end their 34 year trophy drought and United will be desperate to stop them.
We can't afford to make the mistakes we've been doing as City, and God forbid, Tevez will punish us.
At worst, United should be in position to remain in the tie for the second leg at home. A couple of away goals will therefore do us good since you can't bet on us keeping that home clean sheet anymore! The one thing you can bet on is that I'll be eating up what is left of my finger nails throughout the game---in fact, I might just get started already!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

THANK GOD, NOT UNITED, FOR THE POINTS!--MAN UNITED VS BURNLEY REVIEW!


You only had to look at Chelsea's halftime score at home to Sunderland to know how wasteful United were yesterday. The one thin that has eluded us this season is the ability to be ruthless as far as chances to goals ratio. I must say we have the chances, but we do not have somebody to make one of every two chances count. I know the name that springs to mind is Cristiano Ronaldo but I believe that we've got enough in Berbatov and Rooney to put away most of the chances they get.
The thing is, Burnley could easily have won yesterday. They had three good chances to take the lead and given how they defend, they could have held onto the lead. We seem not to have learnt that lesson in our second league game of the season.

Worsestill, we seem to have as porous a midfield as it can get. Time and time again, our opponents marched through our midfield unchallenged. I thought it was testament to the role Fletcher plays for us. Without him and Hargo, we seem to be done for!
Antonio Valencia needs to take the shot himself. I mean the lad was as close as ten yards to goal several times but still elected to pass the ball into a crowd of players. It is the confidence of shooting that made Cristiano get as many goals as he did for us---and you don't have to be a Ronaldo to shoot.
Nani seems determined to play his way out of OT but fair play to him yesterday, he was better than we've seen in most games this season. But for brilliant goalkeeping, he could have added another spectacular goal to his tally.

It was supposed to be an easy game yesterday but we made it hard for ourselves especially n the first half. Against teams like AC Milan, we'll have one or two chances and we shall have to take it. It's hence a worry that ten times out of eleven, our strikers could not hit the target yesterday. There are complaints about the inconsistency in our back line but I feel that it is in the striking department that we are lacking. Yes, we have scored as much as we did at this stage last season but this team is different. Inconsistency in team selection can only be remedied by goals. If our strikers score, than the defence will be more confident than when you're trying to avoid conceding the lead. It's why I was happy to see Mame Briam Diuof scoring. Fingers crossed, he could go on to become a hit at OT.

It's Man City in the Cup semi o Tuesday. It bodes for interesting viewing....if you are a neutral!

Friday, 15 January 2010

3 POINTS, NO LESS!---MAN UNITED VS BURNLEY PREVIEW!


Forget that United are in decline, or in crisis or in debt or whatever you've been reading in the press this week---what matters to me and probably to the rest of the United following tomorrow is that we register three points on the board after the game tomorrow. For almost six months now, we've been waiting for the club to hit a run of form that would catapult us to the summit of the league. After assessing the situation, we've come down to picking games which we should hopefully win in a bid to stay in touch with Chelsea and Arsenal.
We've had a tough few weeks as far as fixtures are concerned. Winning at Fulham and Birmingham were never going to be easy but at least we now have two home games that we should be able to win even while playing the way were in the past few weeks.
Burnley and Hull at home should be six points for us, any less and even I will raise the white flag as far as the league is concerned.

Patrice Evra has some good thoughts that I suggest you read on the official website. It's good to know that unlike most fans, the players are still optimistic about our chances this season. The thing is that we can still make history with a fourth title in a row but whether the lads are willing to step up is the question.
The players and popular opinion seems to be that the mid-week get-away in Qatar will do the payers good so hopefully we see a better United from now on.

Rio Ferdinand is fit but will not start the game. EVDS might start, it all depends on the manager. Hargo is not far off and so we should be something close to full strength in the coming weeks.
Burnley have a new manager but not even that will be an excuse if we don't win tomorrow!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

AT THE END OF A LONG WEEK FOR UNITED FANS...


Quite frankly, this has been a long week for United fans. I'd like to think that this is not just because we have that £700m debt to service, but because the team is not doing enough to divert the attention of the press.

We failed to beat Birmingham at the weekend and so we missed an opportunity to spend a week at the summit of the league. I think that in spite of all our problems, sitting above the rest would have reduced the criticism that United have received this past week.

Instead, the press have made use of our situation very well in a week that has not really had any exciting football to keep us glued to our TV screens (well that is of you are not interested in what is taking place in Angola).



Whilst the press have made all sorts of stories regarding our debt including selling Old Trafford(can you believe), Manchester United made their way to Quatar in a bid to escape the snow storms that have been doing the rounds in England this past week or so. I mean it's not unusual for United to fly out the squad in the middle of the season as we have seen this time and time again(remember that friendly in the Middle East for some rich fella's birthday that won us £2m?). Last season is the World Club Cup halfway across the globe. The question that will be up for answering after the full time whistle on Saturday against Burnley will be if the trip was beneficial to the team. It's always nice to create a cohesion in the team and perhaps give the players a break from the 'noise' in the press in England but not much will be appreciated if the team come out in 'relax' mode against Burnley.



Then is it just me or.....I saw Hargreaves comfortably training with the team during the week, and so was Berbatov. Is the Bulgarian injured or just on leave? Then is Hargo fit enough to play a reserve game? The season is almost up and we're still holding our breath...and we can't hold it any longer!


Sunday, 10 January 2010

NOT GOOD ENOUGH-----BIRMINGHAM CITY VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!


Well considering the circumstances in the end, a point at St Andrews was not all that bad. We were down to ten men at just about the time you thought that United would go on to get a winner. More to that it was one of our most important players, Fletcher that got sent off.
The fact is that despite how good we played yesterday, we could easily have been beaten. I think Tomaz K deserves some plaudits for keeping Birmingham out several times when our back line was breached.

I thought that Rooney was a bit wasteful with the couple of chances he had one on one with Joe Hart. Rafael was slightly careless and Scholes was better than we've seen in recent weeks but he needs more time on the ball than current footballers are willing to give him. Evra was our best performer---he really does make for a good captain.
United were expected to win this game after the shocking events of last week, but the manager seems to be content with a point. The bottom line is despite our improvement in performance from last week, Chelsea were the winners at the end of the day---and that they have achieved without kicking a ball. They can now extend their lead over us to four points---not unassailable but it's one step forward, and two steps back right now.

More than anything else, the report card at St Andrews should be that we do not have a cutting edge. We seem to b too elaborate with the ball outside the box and yet all it takes to score is to shoot. Given the number of bodies that Birmingham put in the box, there was no way we would get to Hart. Time and time again, I've preached about the value of shooting within 20 yards from goal. It's what makes players like Lampard and Ronaldo what they are. You only have to pick your spot. It's surprising that the likes of Arsenal are shooting more than us. Yesterday they got two deflected goals thanks to the willingness to shoot. I really hope Carrick and co can pick a leaf.
We've had two games in 2010 and so far we don't seem like we've hit top gear for the run in. The least we can do is to keep the title race as interesting as possible for as long as possible.

Friday, 8 January 2010

THE INJURY SITUATION.


Vidic is out for 10 days or so, EVDS is still not available, Hargreaves will be back in a couple of weeks and so will Ferdinand.
Brown and Evans will partner each other at the back tomorrow.

Here's to full health by the end of January!

WHICH UNITED WILL TURN UP?---THAT IS THE QUESTION!---BIRMIGHAM CITY VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


The weather permitting, Manchester United are scheduled to play Birmingham at tea time tomorrow at St. Andrews stadium. The reverse fixture was our first of the season and looking back, we could have learnt a lot from that game as far as the rest of the season is concerned. We won, 1-0 courtesy of a Wayne Rooney goal, but missed a lot of chances especially in the second half and we were not quite up to the task of opening up our opponents. These traits are still with us at the half way stage of the season.
For many a neutral fans, we are 'not good enough' to win a major trophy this year (and by that I mean league and Champions League). We might still lift a Carling Cup here and there because at the end of the day, we are Man United but as far as those national and European supremacy, we're not at the level.
Only the most optimistic of fans can tell you otherwise to be fair. I am one of those fans (the title of this blog should give you a hint). I love this football club and so much so that I still believe that we can turn this season yet into a very successful one. The one thing that still bothers me is CONSISTENCY!

Which brings me to my preview; United have been very inconsistent so far by their standards. That we have failed to put together a run of wins characteristic of every season we play is testament to this. We could still go on a run but then it has to be said that it has a little bit longer this season.
The least we demand from our team (being United) is consistency. It's hard to blame the players though as the manager has not played a consistent team since we beat Barcelona 1-0 in the Champions League semi-final in 2008 and West Ham 4-1 in the Premier League the following Saturday (good old days...huh). The manger himself is not to blame as we've had the worst injury crisis at the back in his time at the club. I thought we would gain a bit of consistency with Brown and Vidic at the back. We won the two games they played together and suddenly Vidic is injured again. He will miss the game tomorrow. Thankfully Brown and Evans are fit but that is what...like the sixth centre half partnership we've had this season? When players are not used to plying alongside each other, you concede goals like the one Leeds scored on Sunday!
Having said that, you still expect a United side buoyed by their 5-0 win over a Premier League club to find a way past a League One club! Inconsistency!

So which United team will show up tomorrow. We've not played a game in midweek so we should be in great shape. I expect Sir Alex to have told the players that this is the backlash the fans have been waiting for since the final whistle last week. The league is, despite our form. still in our reach. Chelsea play a lot earlier than us tomorrow so we could be five points off the top yet again heading into this one. It's up to us to keep up.
United have been lacking that free shooter of the ball in and around the penalty area but we can make that up by fighting like the red devils we are to force our way to our opponents' goal.
The press are keen to point out that this United side is not worth United quality. I expect the lads to use the remainder of the season to prove themselves.
We've got Mame Briam Diouf available with us so that's another striker who should play a part in the run in.

Vidic is out and so are the regular absentees, EVDS might be back in goal. Birmingham are not your ordinary Birmingham this season. They nearly left OT with a point, and neither Chelsea nor Liverpool have beaten them. We ought to keep our wits about them.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

SNOWY MANCHESTER!


The Carling Cup semi against City was called off last night due to snow. I was a bit thankful at first since I was not in position to watch the game had it gone a head but there are negatives to this postponement. First, United will have to play Arsenal and City in the space of four days. That can only be softened by the return of players like Hargreaves and EVDS. Then we've had our game with Hull in midweek postponed. The semifinal is due Jan 19.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

TRYING TIMES FOR UNITED---MAN CITY VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


It's the Carling Cup semifinal next for United and given the state of the team, and the ability of their next opponents, it makes for another interesting viewing for the neutral who is watching an unprecedented script unfold this year at OT.
Leeds (of all teams) ended United's FA Cup campaign pre-maturely on Sunday so defeat to City over two legs will mean that United have the league and Europe as their only source of silverware this term. To be fair, the last two trophies are our priorities every season, but it's hard to claim such honours when you are inconsistent.
That's right I said it---United have been inconsistent this season, blowing hot and cold many a time an that is why we have a catalogue of shocking results!
The players seem to have forgotten that in the red shirt, you are a warrior--not a star. Given the amount of money the club pays these guys, we should be seeing less of the languid striker that Welbeck is turning into and more of the fighter that Wayne Rooney is. It's a shame really.

It's not often that United head into a fixture as underdogs but according to popular opinion, backed by recent form, City are the favourites for the Cup semi on Wednesday. Nobody knows which side Fergie will pick. We seem to have suffered from, inter alia, the lack of a consistent team. It's unbelievable that we've used 24 different players in December. It's also safe to say that we are not sure what our best midfield is for instance. Rotation is good for the modern game but it can also hurt you if there is no consistent core in the side.

The good news for Sir Alex and United is that it's not yet doom and gloom. Beating City will be as good as winning the Carling Cup given the remaining opposition. The manager knows how to win the league and so can still do it and at this stage, everyone in Europe has a chance!
Unfortunately, though, there is even less room for slip ups from United. Whilst glory is still achievable, the line is now at its thinnest!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

'WHAT A RESULT!'

For starters, I didn't watch the game. But having heard the result, I'm glad I didn't and I don't intend to watch any highlights.
So let's get things straight, United were beaten 1-0 at OT by a third tier club. The same United team are now out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle--the first time it has happened in the Sir Alex era---the press are going to have a field day on this one!

The manager is shocked---so where does that leave us....dead? This could turn out to be one long season for United...and when you look at the next fixture...it seems that the next ten days in the press will be full of United...unless....

Saturday, 2 January 2010

2009 REVIEW!


Scott the Red over at therepublikofmancunia.com posted a few pics that define our year. In case you missed them, take a look.

ALL ABOUT THE RESULT----MAN UNITED VS LEEDS UTD PREVIEW!


Cup football requires quite a different mentality from league football. More often than once, the team that strives to grind out the result will succeed at the expense of that which would like to maintain extras such as entertainment, or 'play well' as they call it these days. Man United is a team built to play attractive attacking football and yet win games. Nonetheless, we've managed to gain experience on how to grind out results over the years.

The FA Cup kicks off this weekend, and Leeds United provide the opposition at OT on Sunday. It's frustrating that we last won the FA Cup in 2004. We've been to two finals since and came agonisingly close to another final last year. We still remain the record holders of the trophy but we need to address the drought as far as winning it again is concerned.
Leeds are on the up as far as their form is concerned in League One so we need to keep our wits about them. There is such hatred between both sets of fans that you might find it hard to know who is the home team yesterday. The 9000 fans coming to OT this weekend will make it equally uncomfortable for our players.
I only hope that Sir Alex selects a team that will not earn us a defeat or a replay. The fixture schedule is already congested enough for replays and I don't think the fans will fancy getting knocked out at the first hurdle by a club they love to hate!

Meanwhile, Sir Alex has stated that he will stick with kids for the Carling Cup tie at Citeh this week. It now makes for interesting viewing!