Friday, 30 April 2010

WHAT A SUNDAY AHEAD---SUNDERLAND VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


By the time we kick off at the Stadium of Light, we'll know just how much enthusiasm we'll go with into this game. There are only three possible results in football, and thankfully, two of those can do for us on the day.
A Chelsea victory at Anfield on Sunday will virtually make Chelsea champions. Anything else and we'll be handed yet another chance to right all the wrongs we've made throughout this craziest of seasons. That neither team has been involved in any other competiton for the final staright means that both will be at their effective best for each of the last three games and hence their results last week.

United's task this weekend is against old boy Stevie Bruce who accounts for the first of 11 Premier League titles in the Premier League era. The reverse fixture this season saw us drop two valuable points at home. People talk about how Steve Bruce's side will roll over for us this Sunday but they forget that it is the two points dropped against his team that could cost us the league this year. I mean with those points, we could be top of the league right now and it could be Chelsea that needs to do all the catching up going into the last few games of the season.

The preview for this game is as simple as if Chelsea drop points at Anfield, we'll only be out of our minds to achieve less than three points at the Stadium of Light.
Wayne is fit so what more need I add? Congs by the way to the lad for winning both PFA and FWA awards this week. He's also the Fans Player of the Year. It's really been his season---and considering what the media expected after Ronaldo's departure, he has delivered accordingly. 34 goals and counting....

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

MID-WEEK NOTES;


So Stoke duly bent over for Chelsea and so it goes on to the penultimate weekend of the season.

Wayne Rooney claimed the PFA Player of the season award---the fourth United player in a row to win it! Nothing really to add to this, I mean he deserved it. Objectively speaking, he is only second to Lionel Messi as far as the hierarchy of football starts this season is concerned.
It was great seeing Fletcher, Valencia and Evra in the team of the season as well. Valencia has surely gone some way as far as cementing his status as a United player for seasons to come.

I'm not arsed about the Champions League in midweek so that's just about it till I'm sure what Sky will hype as Super Sunday! Liverpool vs Chelsea followed by Sunderland vs Man United. By the end of the week, we'll have a clearer picture of where the league will end up.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

CHAMPIONS WON'T BE UNSEATED WITHOUT A FIGHT----MAN UNITED VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR REVIEW!


It's not been easy being a United fans this season---hell it's never easy to be a United fan.

So there I was seated in the living room, cross legged, relaxed, a whole hour before kick-off and then the team news suddenly sends a chill down my spine that immediately translates into minor fever.
Wayne Rooney was not in the starting line-up, not on the bench. Now how about that. I mean all the confidence a United fan had ahead of the game must have taken a major dent.
So not for the first time in the last month or so we had to play 'the biggest match of the season' without Wayne. It's sickening really. I mean Rooney plays just about for the whole season in pretty good shape and suddenly he can't be apart of crucial games like Chelsea and Spurs today. Hell, he wasn't even fit for Bayern in the second leg so it has to be said, we've really had bad luck with him as far as the crucial part of our season is concerned.

Once again, Berbatov was presented with a chance to silence his critics and before I go any further, let me say he hasn't become any worse or any better judging by his performance today. He's just remained Berbatov as we know him at United. He had a couple of good chances today including one in the first few minutes but couldn't take any. Having said that, he was involved with much of our attacking play and two of the three goals scored today were borne of his silky ideas.

More importantly for United was the win. We're involved in a title race that has dragged on for pretty much the whole season but at the same time could end with your next result. Giggs got our first from the spot and from then on I thought we would dominate. I stand to be corrected but was Rafael trying to scissor-kick King's header...I mean it's not often that a team concedes a goal from a corner when the ball is headed towards a corner with a defender.
That goal seemed to drain us of ideas a little bit. Berbatov and Macheda then combined well put Nani through and what about that for a finish. That's a late entry into the Premier League goals of the season DVD.
Nani won us a second penalty that Giggs duly dispatched and hence sending us to the top of the league albeit for just 24 hours.

It was vital that we win today because it now attaches importance to tomorrow's fixture at Stamford Bridge (from a United perspective that is). The least we can do is win all our remaining games and we've now got two left that on paper are more winnable than our last two that we've won. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, it's another eight days of rest before we play again. That ought to be enough time to rest for the vomiting Nani and Evra to recover and hopefully Rooney as well.

Finally it was nice to see Hargreaves warming up at OT today for the first time in what, 2 years?

Fingers crossed for tomorrow...in the meantime cheers!

Friday, 23 April 2010

CHANCE TO GO 2 POINTS CLEAR!---MAN UNITED VS TOTTENHAM PREVIEW!


A quick preview for our penultimate home game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.
For starters, Tottenham don't win at OT and boy what we'd give to maintain that record---in fact to win again!
I mean we've already seen one such record ended this season---remember Villa?
Last season's 5-2 win proved to be crucial in the title race and so will this game. Victory will put Chelsea under so much pressure---the kind they were under against Spurs last week. They play Stoke on Sunday so here's to watching that game when we're top of the league.

We've got Rio and Wes back so Gary should not start this one. I feel that it will be more pacy that he'll think. Our defenders have to take care of Defoe. Forget Gareth Bale, he's the one that propels Spurs. You might want to watch Spurs performances in their last two games when he's been taken off.
Rooney should be fit enough to start. We play once a week these days so I hope we're really up for these last three games of the season. Fatigue cannot be an excuse.
Cheers!

CHANCE TO GO 2 POINTS CLEAR!---MAN UNITED VS TOTTENHAM PREVIEW!


A quick preview for our penultimate home game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.
For starters, Tottenham don't win at OT and boy what we'd give to maintain that record---in fact to win again!
I mean we've already seen one such record ended this season---remember Villa?
Last season's 5-2 win proved to be crucial in the title race and so will this game. Victory will put Chelsea under so much pressure---the kind they were under against Spurs last week. They play Stoke on Sunday so here's to watching that game when we're top of the league.

We've got Rio and Wes back so Gary should not start this one. I feel that it will be more pacy that he'll think. Our defenders have to take care of Defoe. Forget Gareth Bale, he's the one that propels Spurs. You might want to watch Spurs performances in their last two games when he's been taken off.
Rooney should be fit enough to start. We play once a week these days so I hope we're really up for these last three games of the season. Fatigue cannot be an excuse.
Cheers!

Monday, 19 April 2010

WHY WAIT FOR NEXT SEASON?


The thing about winning three titles in a row is that it gives players and fans an excuse if you fail to win the league for a fourth year in a row--I mean how greedy can one get. You can't possibly expect your team to win the league every year especially in a league as competitive an unforgiving as the Premier League.
So United last year achieved the honourable feat of twice winning the league three times. The question was whether we had it in us to; a) Win a fourth in a row and hence set a new record and b) Win the 19th overall title that would put us above Liverpool as England's most successful club domestically.
I mean even if, as some like to think, we had retained Ronaldo and Tevez, that was still a difficult feat to accomplish given that nobody had achieved that before.
So at the edge of a season that will go down for some as the most interesting and competitive but for me as the craziest, this how it stands with a little bit of a recap.

United have lost 7 games this season which is three more than we lost for the whole of last season. That statistic alone was until this weekend, the reason as to why fans and media alike had written off our chances of winning the league. I mean the jinx is no team has won the league with over 6 defeats in a season---and that no team has ever thrown away a four point lead with four games remaining. Chelsea were also many people's favourites from the start so the mood was more like watching a procession of Chelsea walking to their third league triumph, and first since 2006.
It only needed a stalemate at 'Wastelands' for United to be finally condemned by even the most optimistic of fans. For all intents and purposes that result was still intact even after 92 minutes had been played---until....time froze just as it did for Solskjaer, just as it did for John O'Shea, just as it did for Michael Owen....etc. This time it froze for Scholes and by the time it started moving again, City was 0-1 down and the ref was blowing the final whistle. Tales will be told of that game for generations to come but crucially though, Chelsea imploded dour hours later, suffering a sixth league defeat of the season and hence putting themselves in danger of the 'jinx' mentioned earlier as well.

So suddenly, the last few games of the season become more important than we ever imagined. But given our performance over the whole season, we must be delighted to be within a point of the leaders. We've still got to win our games and pray that Chelsea at least drop two points out of the nine available so it's not yet worth getting drunk over.
After the draw at Blackburn, I was wondering to myself if the we should just wait till next season to overtake the record of 18 titles but after the events of the past weekend, I'm thinking why wait? I mean we still have a good chance to win it if we win all three remaining games the toughest of which is the first at home to Spurs, the team we owe our joy this week and the team that has beaten two of the three title chasing teams at this stage of the season. If the players really want the title, and I'm talking about fighting to the death, then we can win it and make history that will never be broken in my lifetime (I'm still young by the way).

Sunday, 18 April 2010

DERBY DAY GALLERY!








It really was a day of days for United yesterday. You just can't get tired of looking at the pictures in the press this morning>

Saturday, 17 April 2010

FOOTBALL, BLOODY HELL....MAN CITY VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!


Well wouldn't you just know it. I like many of those who have blogs on which to vent their passions about the game and particularly Manchester United implored our team to win the derby today but least of all the reasons put forward was because we could still win the league of we win all our games and Chelsea slip up. I thought we needed the win because the media was not done with trying to portray City as equals and probably better than us so a result in their favour would be used against us for just about the rest of the season and the summer.
It was a derby and given the form that had until the game thrown us out of the reckoning for just about every title, this was the perfect game to bounce back. As far as the title was concerned, I like many others thought that it was mathematically still possible but realistically impossible. I mean no team had ever thrown away a for point lead with four games left....but we all said that stranger things had happened.

So it comes to pass that Paul Scholes, after earning a one year contract extension, scores a 92nd minute winner against City. Four hours later, the final whistle is blown at White Harte Lane and Chelsea are beaten 2-1---and I'm thinking, what the f**** is wrong with this season. I mean in any other season, given how bad we've been at times and the injuries we've suffered, we could have run away with the tile, and yet we have still outdone ourselves by being in a title challenge even at this stage of the season and yet somehow with three games left, you feel that there are yet more twists and turns in this season's title race.

I still can't believe how the events today have unfolded but we have to give it up for the fellow who wrote the script for this season. This is Hollywood stuff. To think that even after the abuse that United have suffered this past week as a result of their form they could still win the league is really mind blowing! Forget the title record, this season could be the first where the Champions have lost seven league games. And I should add that it is almost embarrassing that United could still win the league even at this stage. I don't know whether the issue is how good we are or how bad Chelsea are but what I'm sure of is that we simply couldn't have squandered a four point lead with as many games to play.

For City, they have been put in their place--and in some style too! Three last minute goals against them. Needless to add that at the time of the winner, I didn't care a jot whether Chelsea won the league or not. This game was our everything of the rest of the campaign and I'm pleased that we won it in the way we did.

Vidic was solid at the back but so was Evra--that was some cross to head in.

Warning: I'm a little bit under the influence so forgive any mistakes in this post.....it was too good to be true today and almost feel like this dream that is today never comes to an end. Looking forward to a week without the press singing about the 'End of an era' or 'empire'. I mean we've had our fair share these past few weeks. If this win spurs United to win an unprecedented fourth title in a row and 19th overall, then I can safely say that this, in my opinion, will be right up there alongside Fergie's greatest achievements with United.

Friday, 16 April 2010

FOR THE FINAL DERBY--MAN CITY VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


Let's not kid ourselves, the past couple of weeks have been nothing short of hell for Manchester United. We've seen pretty much of what we fought for throughout the season disappear like a fart in the wind and only some sort of football miracle could see us end the season with more than the Carling Cup. Having said that, stranger things have happened in football than Chelsea squandering a four point lead with as many games to the finish line.

We're on the road for the second consecutive weekend, but this time, it's just a short trip across to our 'noisy' neighbours who, I should say, we've managed to keep a bit silent over the three derbies we've had this season.
Saturday lunchtime provides the fourth Manchester derby of the season and what either sets of fans could give for their team to emerge victors. For the first time in quite a while, City fans will not be pleased if they manage just a point against us. That is essentially because for the first time in Sir Alex's time at United, they are chasing something as 'big' as a Champions League place next year. That in essence makes this the most telling or important derby for over two and a half decades since both teams will be fighting for something concrete.

United's form recently cannot inspire one to be any confident going into this game, infact this could be the final nail. However, as a fan, you feel that players need not be inspired in such sort of games. You hope that your team will turn up and give more than a hundred percent. I really hope United do because if that miracle I mentioned earlier is ever going to come to pass, we need to win tomorrow. Chelsea have a difficult game at White Harte Lane tomorrow and we might just reap big from an upset there. We'll be daring to dream till the final whistle at Wastelands tomorrow and, if things go our way, till the final whistle at White Harte Lane.

The team news is more encouraging for United this time. Wayne Rooney is everybody's concern at the moment but crucially for me, the return of Owen Hargreaves is a big bonus for us. I mean last week, it was sickening to see Sir Alex starting Scholes and Giggs at the same time in midfield against a side as physical as Blackburn Rovers. I've always said that we can only accommodate one veteran at a time given the workload that another player has to cover up for him in terms of speed and energy. Playing two or three now makes us vulnerable if the opposition knows the cracks.
Hargreaves, though he probably won't start tomorrow will give us that steel we've solely lacked in the middle since that magical season he had with us in 2008. I'm sure Darren Fletcher feels the same way-the lad cannot do everything on his own.

Ultimately though its bragging rights, its Tevez, its Mancini, possibly a league title, its a Manchester derby and that's just about enough for one to get into perspective what's at stake tomorrow!

Monday, 12 April 2010

'WORLD CUP YEAR' DOES UNITED YET AGAIN!


1998-Arsenal won the League; World Cup Year. 2002-Arsenal won the league; World Cup Year. 2006-Chelsea won the League; World Cup Year, so I couldn't help but think to myself that 2010 being a World Cup Year means that we were never going to win the league after all.

Obviously this is one of those excuses that the mind works up in a bid to prevent you from committing suicide (which is very much an option) when United are in, well, still in hell. Whatever the players ate in Munich, but since then, we cannot say that we've really seen Manchester United play these past few weeks (save for the first half against Bayern at home).
I'm still trying to work out how we put ourselves in such a good position and the next thing you know it's all gone. I mean if we were really this bad, City would have knocked us out of the Carling Cup or Villa would have won the final or Milan would have evicted us from the Champions League earlier.

There was not too much wrong with the performance yesterday but again we lacked the cutting edge upfront. One really must feel for Berbatov, the will is there but what he's capable of has not really gone off for him at United.
Valencia; well, he owes us an apology for not taking a chance that would have eased away some of the criticism Berba is receiving from all corners of the world today.
Macheda didn't do much to convince us yesterday. I mean you'd think that with the recent striker acquisitions we've had recently, he has to up his game to claim a first team role on a regular basis.

And right about now I'm disgusted at the whole result. End of review!

Friday, 9 April 2010

INTRODUCING JAVIER HERNANDEZ aka CHICHARITO!


The latest 'devil'!

FROM HELL TO BLACKBURN---BLACKBURN ROVERS VS MAN UNITED PREVIEW!


How about that for a terrible week or two for United fans. If you've been following up my previews and reviews of those games, you might have noticed the effect these past few games has had on me. From Munich to Chelsea and then to get knocked out of Europe by a technicality---it must have hurt, well, at least it did hurt me.

Let's move on shall we? We travel to Ewood Park this Sunday bidding to reclaim top spot from Chelsea as they are involved in the FA Cup. Now Ewood Park has traditionally been a tough place to go for us so we need to be at our wounded best to overcome them. It's supposed too be a backlash of sorts so hopefully we do not sustain further injuries down there.

The big team news is that Wayne Rooney misses out. Berbatov was largely unused against Bayern so that ought to mean that he should be fresh for this one. I mean he really has to deliver.
Sir Alex will more likely go for the 'oldies' as they hardly featured in midweek as well. (Owen Hargreaves surprise anyone?)

It's five league games, five chances we've got, not to win the league, but to put ourselves in position to win it (here's to Chelsea slipping up). This represents our last shot at major silverware this term. Every league game will be a Cup final for us. Any slip up will be curtains on a somewhat frustrating season.
I understand the players, like fans are bitter at what happened on Wednesday but therein the frustration that the season has served us with lies another shot at history. Whether the players take it is another matter.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

UNLUCKY!


Sad, really it is!

Carrick: Now how about that for poor defending, he was caught into minds and handed Bayern a route back in the game just before half time.

Rafael: Chief culprit; for the third time this season, he gets sent off for a stupid challenge and leaves his team vulnerable. This time, we paid heavily. Now we know why Sir Alex sticks with Gary.

Sir Alex: Why wait for us to concede the second goal before he could put on a striker? That we were made to defend for over 20 minutes without an outlet upfront is his fault as well.

Better performance than he last 2 games but still hard to take given that we could have scored six had we stayed 11 men.
No words really for else....

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

FROM ROBBERY TO RIBERY----MAN UNITED VS BAYERN MUNICH PREVIEW!


Well, the title of this post sums up United for the past week or so. I've been digging up records to find out when United last lost three games in a row. Well I might not need to look further than this season if we turn in another pathetic performance tomorrow against Bayern.

End of preview!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

THERE IT GOES?----MAN UNITED VS CHELSEA REVIEW!


Well it's not often that United lose twice in a week so I'm still smarting from our latest defeat so forgive for any inconsistencies and outbursts to follow in the post.

I'll start with the team selection. It's argued that we all pretend to be smarter than the coach when his team selection fails and yet will laud him when it comes off. Well, that's the thin line between success and failure in football I guess.
I thought that Sir Alex should not have started with all three oldies in Giggs, Scholes, and Neville at the same time. It takes something from the rest of the team when they have to make up for all those 'old' legs.
That was mistake number one.
Then words fail me whist trying to comprehend Neville's defending for Chelsea's first goal. He was a spectator for me in the build up to the goal. Malouda almost ran in slow motion so you can't say that he was too quick for the captain. In any case, after what we saw in midweek, you thought that Rafael would be the better option today. I mean Fergie went for experience but that was way too much of it for one game. I mean should we assume that neither of the oldies will start against Bayern on Tuesday?

Forget Neville; whey the hell do United players turn up for one half? I mean we started from where we ended on Tuesday at Bayern and were so hopeless in that first half. I think we could have given Chelsea more to think about in that half than we offered. We made the game difficult for ourselves in that respect. To think that even when we get the rare chance to take the shot and Berba is more intent on dribbling in the box is sickening. Lampard should not have dispossessed him of the ball. He had enough time to get that shot away!
We played much better in the second (I mean we couldn't get any worse anyway) but given that we turned a 90 minute match into a 45minute match meant it was always going to be difficult. Drogba's goal was offside and it might just be the decision that wins them the title but again United didn't help themselves enough to get such lucky breaks at the other side.

I thought Macheda's goal would bring life to United once more but we still lacked that desire, that cutting edge to force our way to a result. That will have hurt many a fans.
A double defeat to Chelsea this season courtesy of two unfair decisions is hard to take but United themselves have looked that ordinary.
To sum it up, the players do not seem to be up for more history.
It's five game left now and once again we've not lasted a fortnight on top of the league. To win it this year, we'll need more help from the rest than in any other season but it's not a position that inspires confidence as we head into the run in.
Winning all five games left and praying that Chelsea drop points is what
is left of our domestic challenge.
For some reason Europe doesn't feel the same whilst we are doing badly at home. Maybe that's because we're not at the lowly class of Liverpool and AC Milan who don't mind it that way. This defeat has taken away something from that Bayern tie. It's 7 league defeats now and that's over the minimum damage required to win the league....guess there will be more than a few jinxes that United will have to break to win the league this year.

SICKENING!

Friday, 2 April 2010

CHANCE TO GO 4 POINTS CLEAR!----MAN UNITED VS CHELSEA PREVIEW!

This is it! It all boils down to one league fixture (at least for me).
Chelsea visit OT this weekend on the back of a 7-1 mauling of Villa and a weeks' rest. In that period, we managed to see of Bolton last weekend and then forgot to come off the bus in Munich hence a 2-1 thrashing and injury to our best player. I think the one aspect United fans are still coming to terms with is that a week ago, none of us would have envisaged playing two of our biggest games all season without Wayne Rooney.
It really has been an unexpected writing of the script for this one.
The manager has revealed that Wayne will be out for a couple of weeks and that is just about the best news that we could have hoped for.

Attention now turns to a man who has already been convicted by the nation even without trial. Berbatov is now United's fulcrum of attack and that will not change at least till the Manchester derby comes round on the 17th of this month. It means this is his chance of chances to prove that he can lead the line at United. A chance for him to prove his critics wrong. A chance to write his name in United fans' hearts. 'All' its going to take for him is t win us our next two games and even though he doesn't score for the rest of the season, he'll be regarded as a hero for this season in particular. He's probably never been in this position before at United where the whole team looks up to him so this is rather a sub-plot that will interest fans and haters alike. (That's if you can differentiate between the two when it comes to Berba).
Anywho, I still have my reservations about our midfield. Sometimes they turn up and sometimes they don't. You don't have to be a manager to know that they didn't turn up on Tuesday. I mean that was pathetic from Carrick. He's really due a good performance. It's been like that for a while now and he owes us one. Valencia, Park and Fletcher will probably start tomorrow but the other bit of encouraging news I heard today (bar Rooney) is that Hargreaves will be on the bench for Saturday. Now that's something. This is when you kick yourself at the fact that he can't play in Europe till the final. I mean given that we need a combination of defence and attack on Wednesday, we could use such a player.

The odds are probably against United (which is almost unheard of at OT) but I think that is exactly what should win us this match. The manager does not need to motivate the players ahead of our next two games because the rewards are obvious. I've always said that whether the players are up for it is another matter. But they do know what is expected of them.
Above all, I do think that this is a chance for the players to show that they are not a one man team. This is an opportunity fr everyone that is not Wayne Rooney to make themselves an instant hero of the season---the kind of accolade Federicho Macheda claimed last season. Speaking of which, the Italian youngster is back from injury and will sit alongside Mame Briam Diouf on the bench tomorrow just in case we are chasing the game.
If by late Saturday afternoon we are four points clear in the league, we'll almost certainly win it! Anything less and we could be in for one hell of a finish in this season's Championship.
It's high time that we put some distance between us and our rivals, something that we've failed to do all season. History suggests that every time United lead in April, 10 out of 11 times they have gone on to win the league. That is why this is it for United.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

UNITED SELF-DESTRUCT----BAYERN MUNICH VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!

A late review post for a game played on Tuesday but you must understand the state of mind I was in after that Olic goal at the Allianz Arena.
Anyhow we deserved to lose, no doubt about that but what hurt most was the manner. I mean EVDS could have let in nay of the chances that Bayern had and we wouldn't blame him. They were clear cut but the two they scored were rather painful. Ribery's freekick came off Wayne's leg and how the hell did Evra fail to deal with a ball in the box in such a situation. In fact what was the captain thinking to give away such a handball?

It's all done and done now and I think we can only be thankful that we played poorly and still managed to come away with what you'd call a 'result' in Champions League away from home football.
I'm not going to look so much into the game because it still sickens me but I'll look ahead.

For starters, Rooney will be out for what you'd call our most important week of the season. I mean a couple of defeats between Saturday and Wednesday night could see the whole season go up in smoke and yet, YET....even in this lowly state, it still feels close.
I mean wouldn't you take a deal if it involved winning ten games to be domestic and European Champions?
Well that is the position we're in now and I don't care if we're going int this game minus Wayne. I think this is a chance for the rest of the lads to step up. It will feel more like a collective effort if the players we have available get us through this tricky period regardless of whether Rooney comes back to make hos total 42 in the few games left.

I know I should save this for the preview of Chelsea but beating them this weekend is as good as winning the league. Likewise beating Bayern on Tuesday is as good as another place in a European Cup final. Now regardless of whether you have your best player or not, is that not enough to motivate you--because if it can't you need help!