Saturday, 29 May 2010

NOT FOR SALE?


Let me get straight to the point; it's shocking that the Glazer family insists to hold on to their status as owners of Manchester United. You'd think that the £500m or so debt would have convinced them to sell. I mean its not like we are doing very well in terms of paying back that money. What we're doing well is financing the interest on the debt each year--and that is even made possible by our success on the pitch that for instance has attracted sponsor partners for just about every program at United.

Now the reality is that a lot of what we earn directly or indirectly depends on our success on the pitch. Success on the pitch heavily depends on what the board invests in the squad. What we have in place is a very good Academy structure. We have a lot of young players at the club and one might say, the future is bright in that aspect, but the question is are we willing to wait for four years without major success. Young players can only learn alongside established players. It means that we need to start bringing in players who will walk straight into the team. I'm talking about players who have four top years left in them, players who will be on their way as soon as the likes of Macheda finally get a grip of things.

So far, the Glazers have nod done anything outstanding to show their intent to win back our trophy from Chelsea next term. It's interesting that the Blues are looking to strengthen whist the team below them have no major interest in that department.

It's not to suggest that Manchester United as they are now cannot win it next season because we can but the reality is that over the course of the season, injuries expose the weaknesses in your team. I mean look at last season; a little more luck with injuries and we could have won the fourth title in a row. That essentially means that we do not have enough in us to last through the thick and thin.
The point is that you do wonder how much faith the Glazer family is putting in the United team as it is to win things next year. The transfer season is not even officially started so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Ultimately though, you pay off such huge debts as the one United carry by being as successful as United were in 2008. Anything less and you could be in major trouble--as the Dippers have found out.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

LOOKING BACK AT THAT NIGHT!


Sad news to start with. Our second highest scorer last season---Mr Own Goal has had two goals chopped off. Nani's brilliant effort against Arsenal at the Emirates, which I've always thought was his, has been given to him by the Dubious Goals committee. It now means that the Portuguese has seven goals to his name last season. It therefore means that Nani has scored one of those goals that should be inscribed in the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Own Goal will not be happy as well to learn that United's third goal against Portsmouth at home has been given to Michael Carrick. I thought at the time that it was his goal as well. It's just that at the time everybody was so used to seeing us get own goals in our favor that every time the ball touched an opponent on its way in, it was taken as an own goal.

Wednesday 26th May 1999! What a night it was! Ole won IT for us with THAT goal! It still ranks as the most important goal in our club's history. Ladies and gentlemen, the main aim of this post was to urge you to take off a moment and relive those images in your head. Relive the most dramatic European Cup final ever!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

FOLLOW THE WORLD CUP FROM A UNITED PERSPECTIVE!


Transfer speculation is just about the only 'football' available for those of us who do not have any strict affiliations with any of the 32 teams at the 2010FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

FLOM will therefore comment one the one or two thrilling games at the tournament, plus a full follow-up of Manchester United players as well as the performance of possible transfer targets on the biggest stage.

Meanwhile, it just under two months to pre-season training...hang in there folks!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

SO HOW CONFIDENT IS SIR ALEX?


I mean he must be in a world of his own. Manchester United have just seen their nearest neighbours flex one or two financial muscles in the transfer market. We've known all along what Real Madrid are capable of, so they are always a competitor in the transfer market. Manchester City are slowly building a squad that we shall soon dread if we do nothing about our own.

Real Madrid cannot continue to attract some of the best players in the world and yet still fail so their spending spree will soon reap results. Barcelona are currently the best team in the world and they have a style and tradition that has made it easy for them to attract the best players in the world. As I pen this, we are already looking at the Catalan giants adding David Villa and Cesc Fabregas to their already talented squad. These clubs are making themselves spoilt for choice as far as picking a team is concerned. Isn't that what United should be seeking to achieve this summer in a bid to address an injury crisis as terrible as we experienced last season to our best players?

This blog is not meant to get into all the transfer nonsense that is filling the press lately but it really did shock me when Skysports reported that Fergie will be making just one signing this summer. I don't know how many are buying the excuse of the 'current market' because I'm not. United are not the only only ones in the market. Barcelona and Real are in it too. I'm comparing us with continental kings a lot because that is our level of competition. If it's just about another Carling Cup next season then I'll stand by Fergie in saying that we are fine---I mean how good do you have to be to win the Carling Cup? It's not to underestimate the fact that other clubs participate in it too but we all know the difference in investment in the four major trophies at the start of the season are quite different. The thing is I thought United will be looking at more than just domestic next year. I thought we'll be looking to regain the title of European Champions--something that Barcelona are clearly doing.

The question for Fergie is therefore how does the current United team compete against a Barcelona that will be twice as strong as when they beat us in the Champions League final of 2009.
The most frustrating for me is that there are players who have 'hinted' at willing to join United and given the situation at their clubs or rather their potential, it would be worth signing them up. Luis Fabiano is almost begging Fergie to sign him up and I'm talking about the current leading forward in the Brazilian national team. His contract at Sevilla is almost up so it will be on the cheap that he can be got us well. Valencia are willing to let David Silva go to solve their financial problems and if they can sell David Villa for 34m, Silva should be not more than 28m. Anybody who saw him play at OT in pre-season last year ought to have noticed the brilliance with which he passed the ball and initiated attacks. The player has already talked of how flattering it is to be linked with United and so why not Fergie?
We could also get Angel di Maria from Benfica if we splash out a portion of the kind of money we were willing to spill out for Sebastian Veron and the like. Even with just such three additions, we would be a force to reckon with---without spending 60m on one player.

It really comes down to the Glazers holding back the cash in a bid to finance their debt. I don't think its 'the current market'. The fans therefore have every right to protest in a bid to win back our club form the Americans and save it from the embarrassment that Liverpool (hehe) has become.

Together now; LOVE UNITED, HATE GLAZER!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

FAREWELL BEN!


As mentioned earlier, this blog will not engage in the 'silly season' untill deals are just about as good as done.

Skysportsnews, which is just about as good an authority as you can find anywhere on the internet and TV, has this morning reported that Ben Foster has agreed terms with Birmingham City and is hence set for a medical.

The thing is Ben has not actually cut at United or to put it better, has not done enough to merit himself a place in the team ahead of Tomaz K aka PIG. He had that magnificent opportunity to convince United that he is the goalkeeper to replace EVDS when he was chosen ahead of TK to fill in for EVDS at the start of the season. Carvalho stole in from a weak clearance by Ben and scored the equaliser in the Community Shield. Then Lampard shot at at him in the same game and he failed to parry the ball away for a corner at least. The thing is that Lampard's shot was poor as it was hit almost straight at the goalkeeper so that for me should have been a routine save.
Sir Alex, in a bid to restore confidence in his keeper stuck with him for the start of the league proper.
Then Arshavin scored that goal. Ben once again parried the shot into his net rather than turning it over for a corner.
If that didn't raise enough eye-brows, then his next howler did. The Englishman tried something which even EVDS wouldn't do at the peak of his powers--- the stage was the all important Manchester derby, he took on Carlos Tevez outside his penalty area. We all know how robust Tevez is so it was heart in mouth when the Argentine crossed the ball for Gareth Barry to aim for an empty net. The result--1-1 at halftime. It hurt going into that break.

By the time Sunderland came to OT, you thought that Ben would have come to grips with his task. Darren Bent opened the scoring with a shot that a number one keeper at United should have been able to keep out. Berbatov equalised for us with a spectacular goal in the second half at the Stretford End and you would have put your house on a bet that United would go on to surely win that game. Then just as United were hitting that top gear, spurred on by our rejuvenated fans, Kenwyne Jones beat Foster in the air to put Sunderland ahead. That was a giant blow to our momentum and we never quite recovered from it. That would be the last time Fergie entrusted Foster with an important game.

That Tomaz K. aka PIG provided better cover for EVDS mid-season with a defence that included Carrick and Fletcher didn't help Foster's cause.

The thing is that Foster is a wonderful goalkeeper and his time at Watford attests to that. Maybe the expectation that comes with playing for Manchester United trimmed his confidence. Hopefully he'll go on to make a better show at Birmingham City. We certainly wish him all the best.

Monday, 17 May 2010

TALK ABOUT KARMA; MR. BALLACK!


Let's be honest, we all have players in our clubs that 'cheat' a bit---in the sense that they might have dived to win a penalty or something like that. We also have players in our teams that are entrusted with the dirt work of winning balls no matter what it will take. They are usually disliked by opposing teams and its clear to understand why. Roy Keane was the last sort of player like that for us, and even when he went in with a nasty tackle on a player, you would understand why....in that he never took on a player before forming some kind of rivalry with them or hatred if you like. The point is that at least he had a reason.

Enter Mr. Ballack, the lad is a wonderfully gifted footballer but I've quite never understood the means with which he tries to win the game for his side. I've observed the player since 2002 and interestingly, its not until he joined Chelsea that I thought his behaviour on the pitch changed dramatically. He was a star in my eyes until I realised that he was an artist at winning unfair advantages for his team. In short, I think he's grown into a cheat over the last few seasons (and that has impacted on his attacking contribution for his club).

I'm only too eager to point out the one moment when he exercised his 'cheating stunts' because it was against United and that's just about what concerns this blog.
At the start of the season, United and Chelsea squared up for what was the traditional curtain raiser for the new season----The Community Shield. United took the lead through a pile driver from Nani but Carvalho pulled Chelsea level. Just as we were getting on top of the game once more mid way through the second half, Patrice Evra cleanly made his way past the German in question in in attacking move but Ballack was all too eager to deliberately elbow Evra, rendering our left back in pain on the turf. United players just about switched off their engines as the foul was more or less blatant to all those at Wembley that day. Chelsea quickly won the ball off the victim of that challenge and went on to score their second goal of the game, putting them 2-1 up. Play was halted for a little under three minutes as United players surrounded the referee in search of answers. In the end we had to get on with it anyway.

Rooney went on to tie the game late on but Evra endured the rest of that game being booed by the Chelsea fans for allegedly feigning the foul. Meanwhile, Ballack, instead of doing what all footballers do when they cheat (i.e apologise) refused to acknowledge that it was a foul. It's the least we expected from him but perhaps more importantly, this was to serve as a curtain raiser to controversial decisions going in favour of Chelsea when we were to meet in the season proper. The defeats at Stamford Bridge and OT attest to this.

Dear reader, I've held a grudge against Ballack since that day and I've waited patiently for some sort of retribution and what better way to come than courtesy of his own medicine. From the moment that Boateng went in with that challenge in the Cup final, I was convinced that Ballack wasn't going to South Africa--well as a player that is.
That was, in a certain way, Karma. (I'd like to think so anyway).

Now that you've earned your punishment, we can be friends again eh...Mr. Ballack?

SILLY SEASON----WARNING!


Dear reader, Manchester United have a policy of not commenting on any transfer speculation. I like to think that linking all sorts (and I mean all sorts) of players to the top clubs in Europe is the media's way of making money in a period devoid of nay notable club football. That essentially means that more often than not, there is likely to be no substance in the transfer speculation you read every morning in the paper over your cup of coffee.

I think there is no point in drooling over a player's profile, etc. when there is no truth in their signing by the club. It is for this reason that this blog distances itself form any transfer speculation in the media. I only comment on imminent arrivals, imminent departures, and already signed players. Having said that I have a Label for Transfer speculation (Blame Cristiano, not me!)

Just in case you haven't got by now, this is not the place to search for United's latest transfer targets. In any case, you'll find more about the World Cup than transfer targets here.

Yours,

Saturday, 15 May 2010

SEASON REVIEW----PART THREE!


The third and final chapter of this review features one of the most thrilling league title races of all time in the Premier League era as well as some of the mot heart-breaking moments that United fans have ever experienced.

You might want to read the previous post once again to keep up. The games were coming thick and fast and Wayne Rooney was just about the reason as to why we were still with a major shout of landing the league and the Champions League and then IT happened. The one thing that we feared all along from the start of the campaign happened at our most crucial period of the season. I mean Wayne Rooney could have got injured at the start of the season and we could have recovered easily since United know a thing or two about chasing league leaders, but to get injured at a time when we had Chelsea and Bayern in quick succession was a real blow for us. That league defeat to Chelsea was for me the telling blow in the season's title race. It gave Chelsea the breathing space they would later capitalise on when they lost to Tottenham.
Wayne Rooney was back in the side for the home leg against Bayern and the difference in the team's confidence was visible. Unfortunately, Rafael got himself sent off for the third time this season and that was just about it for our European ambitions. It was heartbreaking because we were all over Bayern till the sending off and it was more or less a Champions League semifinal (no offence Lyon).

At that point, many of us were resigned to just the Carling Cup this season and those that still had the belief gave in as well when our team played out a 0-0 draw with Blackburn at Ewood Park. It meant Chelsea could again climb four points clear with a win against Bolton at home and they duly did. That was just about it for the title. With a trip to the Wastelands coming up shortly, things were starting to look bleak and blunt for us....and that is exactly how they looked going into the final ten seconds of the match at the City of Manchester Stadium. Failure to win would mean that Chelsea would win the league that same day with victory later in the day at White Harte Lane.

Now, we United fans pride ourselves in the fact that our team plays to the death. The underlying truth in all that is that deep down, we all know that our team is not entitled to last minute winners every time so given the situation with the league and with Europe at the time, I was resigned to seeing the ref end the game at 0-0. To put it into perspective, I was not as expectant as I was I the derby at OT at the start of the season. More to that, we'd already defeated City in the League Cup semis at home with another late winner from Wayne Rooney so it would be a bit too demanding of me to expect the lads cook u another against the same team...or rather City should have learnt their lesson by now and were therefore willing to defend to the end, but wouldn't you just know it!
PAUL SCHOLES
Paul Scholes scored THE goal that sent such a shiver down the spines of Chelsea players that they went on to lose their match at White Harte Lane. However that would be as far as pushing Chelsea for the title would go. They never lost a match since then albeit neither did we. For me, that last minute goal against City, scored by one of our veterans did it. I never celebrated like I did with the Michael Owen one but deep down, I thought Manchester United proved or rather reminded the rest of English football and the media alike about their character and the importance of the veterans in our squad. Scholes was just about our man of the match for nearly every game since then. It was nice for him to get 100 premier league goals for the club this season...and that goal proved vital as well as it helped us to three vital points against Wolves at Moleniux.

NANI
To be honest, the pressure of filling Ronaldo's boots weighed down so heavily on him that the long range stunner he scored against Chelsea in the Community Shield was his highlight of the opening half of the season. By the turn of the new year, that pressure seemed to have died out as we all knew he wasn't going to make the step up afterall. Then, at the Emirates stadium, with the game tied at 0-0, Nani, from the right hand corner of the park, beat Clichy and Vermaleen with just about as good a trick as Lionel Messi would pull out of his hat. He ran on and flipped the ball beyond the reach of Almunia and then form the most impossible of angles, it went in....so impossible it was that it had to go down as an own goal. It was harsh on the player but the piece of magic that put us ahead in that match was visible on replay for all to see. Nani went on to play one of his best games in a United shirt as he later on in the half set up Wayne Rooney on the counter-attack with an assist that led to the Englishman scoring what would prove to be our goal of the season.
Another goal against Portsmouth in the the league was chopped off as an own goal but there was no denying him a magical back flip that put us 2-0 up against Bayern (his first of two goals in that match). That should be one of those that makes it into the Champions League goals of the tournament this season.
He was now an established winger for United, swapping roles with Antonio Valencia at will. He won himself the player of the month award for April with a stunning strike that arguably won us the crucial game against Spurs. He also won us the penalty that sealed it all.
His final goal of the season was vital for us as well as it won us the game against Sunderland that took the title race down to the final game of the season.

And that just about concludes our season review. A look back at the three chapters does tell you that it was not just about one player as people like to think, it was a combined concerted effort. Individual focus of players at different parts of the season does show you that different players stood out at different parts of the season to keep us challenging for the major honours right to the end of the season. That we've achieved as much as we have despite the so many problems we had throughout the season is an outstanding feat by the players. I mean, if you sell two of your best players in the summer, including the best player in the world at the time, suffer horrific injuries to a defence that won you the previous title, play almost a month with one defender in your team, and still finish a point behind the Champions, you're not a bad team are you? Ohh did forget, still manage to win a trophy in a supposedly terrible season!


Friday, 14 May 2010

SEASON REVIEW----PART TWO!


So where were we, yes...I think we stopped at Darren Fletcher....and that was just about towards the mid-way point of the season;

TOMAS KUSZCZACK
Regular readers of this blog should will know that I've always failed to get his sir name right so hopefully that will do. I know its wrong but you obviously know who I'm talking about.
That TK makes an appearance in the context of a season review must be a surprise to most of you but so has the whole season. You might remember that we were thankful to have EVDS back in goal for us for our trip to Anfield. It was a rather welcome relief given what we had endured when Ben was in goal. Ben himself must have been pleased as it was finally a breather for him.
However, we lost our veteran custodian to another injury sustained in the home clash against Everton. Enter TK!

Ben Foster blew his chance, but what would TK do with his....well given that he contributes a sizeable portion of this review, it's only fair that I tell you that in my opinion, he did well. People will always point to the fact that we had six to nine defenders injured mid-way through the season but what about the goalkeeper who had to stand behind a defence of Carrick and Fletcher for four games and try to keep United in the game? For me TK is another unsung hero of our season. For all their commitment and determination, Carrick and Fletcher are not the ideal partnership in central defence simply because they are not central defenders.

The game against Portsmouth was supposed to be an easy one and the result suggests so but you might want to remember that TK was the reason as to why we did not concede at crucial moments. He also pulled off a reflex save late in that game which at the time was in the reckoning for save of the season----but I guess no one will remember that.
What about the point at Birmingham? Who should we credit for keeping the Blues at bay. I remember Alex McCleish's boys had three good chances to add on to their one goal but were only thwarted by TK. Michael Owen scored a hat-trick in Germany but with just one recognised defender in that game, TK kept out the Germans at very crucial moments in the game.

I'm not saying that the lad is as good as EVDS or anything but he does rate higher than Foster if form is the yardstick. I thought he covered well for the Dutchman in his absence so big ups to the Pole.

WAYNE ROONEY
Couldn't avoid him for long. It's not to suggest that Wayne had been poor at the start of the season because you don't get 34 goals in just three months but there was a period after Christmas when he certainly grabbed the goal scoring mantle. He was playing like a possessed man and scoring goals as though his salary depended on it. He bagged three at Pompey and all four at Hull. That was when the talk of passing Ronaldo's 42 goal tally crept in. He almost single handedly helped us beat AC Milan in the champions League as well. There was however one interesting stat that was being added to his game through all this and that was the fact that the goals were now coming off his head vide provider in Chief--Antonio Valencia!
It was a remarkable run that also saw him score what would in the end be our goal of the season---a 9.2 seconds counter-attack at the Emirates Stadium (eat your heart out Cristiano). It would all climax in the Englishman heading in the winner in the CarlingCup final against Aston Villa at Wembley and from that moment, his individual accolades for the season were intact. It is during that period (February) that most awards are voted for and now wonder that he is the PFA and FWA player of the year, the Barclays Premier League Player of the Year, The Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, etc.

PARK JI SUNG
Cameo role usually but Park was a sort of assistant engine to Wayne Rooney. His energetic displays from midfield could not go unnoticed and hence his man of the match performances in the game at the Emirates, The home and away legs against AC Milan, climaxing in his winning goal against Liverpool at OT to keep us in the hunt for the title. He has proved yet again that the manager did not sign him just to sell shirts as you wouldn't play a player for that purpose in all the important games of the season.

The final Chapter---Part three to come!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

THE SEASON REVIEW! PART ONE


A more level headed review now but it won't be as long as you think because over the close season, I'll do a player by player review that should just about cover every minor detail. That said though, our season is can only be reviewed with a slight focus on individual players as they stepped up and down at different periods of what I still think was a crazy season.

Ben Foster:
Whilst all the attention at the start of the season was on how Nani and Wayne Rooney alongside Antonio Valencia would fill the lacuna left by Cristiano Ronaldo, a less obvious hole was 'sitting' pretty in our squad. The preceding statement is not meant to ridicule Mr. Ben Foster but rather to emphasize the importance of our first choice goalkeeper whom we lost for the first five months of the season because of a finger beak sustained in the penalty shoot-out against Bayern in the Audi Cup. Come to think of it, Bayern cost us the fitness of two of our best players at crucial parts of the season.
Anyway, enter Ben Foster ahead of Tomas K. We were lucky against Birmingham, paid the price at Burnley (not that he could have done anything though) and then there was that Arsenal save from Van Persie that restored our confidence in him. Sadly that was misplaced as City exploited his error proneness in two of the four goals scored in the first of 4 Manchester derbies this season.
Luckily for us (and Rio Ferdinand), we won in such style that made us all forget the circumstances in which we conceded the lead.
But Sunderland and Kenwyne Jones helped remind us of all that and Ben Foster's future at United was now in the balance when the press started writing about CSKA's Ankifeev who we struggled to score against throughout the Champions League group stage, and a certain Manuel Neur and even as I post this, we're not quite sure if Ben will be at OT for the long term. More on that later. (Did I mention the Community Shield?)

RYAN GIGGS
Notwithstanding the form of Foster and the pressure on our boys to deliver, a certain Mr. Ryan Giggs was our player of the opening quarter of the season (at least in my opinion) as his assists (8 of them going into October) had kept us well the reckoning for the title. He really made us tick and you only have to look at the Stoke City game away to appreciate this. The manager chose to rest him and opted for Nani. After enduring over an hour of frustration from the failure to provide the attackers with service, on comes Giggs, and before you know it, we're 2-0 up with two assists from Giggsy!
Just to underline his contribution, his standout performance wasn't in that game. It was his three assists in the Manchester derby that won it. The last of those was what I still regard as the most underrated pass of the season. People will talk about Michael Owen's 96th minute winner but how about the weight of the pass that made it a Michael Owen chance to the extent that Jon Champion (commentator) was caught in praising the expertise of the pass instead of screaming about the fact that Mickey was about to score an injury time winner against City.

DIMITAR BERBATOV
Surprise!!! Yest the Bulgrian did have an influence as well in that first half of the season albeit what many would like to think. He was a thorn in the Chelsea defence in the Community shield, as well as the opener against Birmingham when he was unlucky not to score and win us a penalty.
Who wasn't grateful for that opener against Stoke albeit put on a silver platter for him. I mean what we want from a striker us right place at the right time and we can't say our forwards were doing well that respect up until then.
How about that for a goal scored against Blackburn....and if that can't do for you, I'm sure the one against Sunderland was one for the Premier League Hall of fame!
Those goals are not much talked about because of the player in question and maybe the one against Sunderland sis not in the end lead to three points but I know that at the time, I was glad to have him playing for Manchester United (not that I'm not today).

DARREN FLETCHER:
We missed him in Rome against Barcelona but Fletch didn't let that get to him. He is now one of those who can walk into the United team whenever fit. He was another standout performer at the start of the season. His goal against Everton at home speaks volumes of the confidence he had in himself at the time. I mean he was even willing to out do Zinedine Zidane.
His brace against City was a season highlight for him as his headed goals were on the back of conceding leads in that game.
The thing that amazed me about Fletcher this season was his ability to put in a defensive performance whilst at the same time creating goal scoring chances for his teammates. You might be shocked at how many crucial goals have come from an assist by him this season. His commitment to the team was summed up when he played just about across the entire back four line at a time when we were short of defenders.
Darren lined up at Stamford Bridge against a 'better' midfield that included Ballack, Essien and Lampard but neither three had an influence on the outcome as much as we all thought. Why? Dareen Fletcher!

Listen; we've got a long road ahead of us till the start of next season, so why not digest that first?

Monday, 10 May 2010

SILVER THIS TIME----MAN UNITED VS STOKE REVIEW!


So in the end we're not good enough to win the league. That's okay, despite the expectation to win the league every year. I mean you look at what we've achieved this season given the problems we had both before and during the season and you really have to cut the lads some slack.
To be honest, the situation with the Glazers has not helped our season but to think that we're just a point worse than the champions in a season in which we've lost 7 games is something that can always remind us of what a crazy season this has been.

Sir Alex doesn't think that it's worth looking back at some of the key parts of the season that cost us the title but I'll still look back at that in the season review when I get used to the fact that we're second this year. I have a feeling though I'll recover faster than Evra.

So the last game of the season was a rather rare occasion. For starters, Stoke fans were Chelsea fans---what cunts they are! Then our players seemed resigned to second place by halftime when the Chelsea's halftime 3-0 lead got to their ears. Then despite the fact that the referee added one minute of stoppage time in the second half, it seemed like the longest game of the season. Then again it seemed like the easiest game of the season---I mean how often does Gary Neville try a few tricks with the ball or take a stylish control of it in open play?
To be fair, it was agony.

Fletcher, Giggs and Park got us the goals and Mr. Own Goal added to his tally (in any other season, OG would have been in the race for the Golden Boot). The three players who scored our goals I thought kind of reminded us about the largely unsung heroes of our season.
The feeling and the emotions of losing the league in the way we did was evident on the players' faces but that is just about all we need to mount another title challenge next season. Manchester United always bounce back, it's the club's DNA!

Friday, 7 May 2010

....AND FINALLY-----MAN UNITED VS STOKE, THE SEASON FINALE PREVIEW!


Sir Alex is still offering his pre-match thoughts as I pen this so I'm not completely informed about the team news ahead of this game but at least I can confirm that Antonio Valencia will sit out the final game of the season. It must be that ankle injury he sustained against Spurs in our previous home game. Thankfully he's 'chosen' the right time to get injured--when the season is more or less done. If he needed any praise, Wayne Rooney has certainly heaped enough on him. Our footballer of the year has said that the reason for his success infront of goal this year is because of our Eucadorian winger.

So the whole season boils down to Sunday. In all probability, Chelsea will go on to beat Wigan at Stamford Bridge and clinch the title but I feel that we ought to do our job as well. It will be less painful to finish one point behind them---I mean if you look back at people's prediction in August, majority thought United would finish behind Chelsea and Liverpool, and who knows what might have been if injuries had not targeted our strength the season before--defence!

That we have scored more goals last season (when we had Tevez and Ronaldo et al) and that we have the best defence in the league this year is testament to how the lads have played to their potential this year. Granted, most of the season it didn't look like it but the stats don't lie.
Even Champions elect Chelsea cannot claim to have won more games than us this year if we beat Stoke. Victory for both teams would mean that both finish with 27 wins out of 38 games. In the past, that has won us the title.
The reason it might not this year is down to the horrific injury crisis we had mid season and the two defeats to Chelsea this year--both of which were handed to them by the officials. I know we all get lucky at any point in a season but for Chelsea to get lucky twice against us was really hard to take. Ultimately though, we've only left the ABU's with just the one point to base our decline on. How embarrassed they'll be to utter than even after selling two of their best players including the best player in the world at the time and replacing them with what at the time was nothing, United have only fallen short by a point or so.

Funny that the preview has already given Chelsea the title and yet they still have to avoid defeat and a draw against Wigan on Sunday. The reality is that United's victory at Sunderland last week made sure that Chelsea will have little margin for error in their final home game. I know how nervy we've performed when we were in their position for three or more times so it goes without saying that the times might just choose United ahead of Chelsea.
Stranger things have happened!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

....AND THE PLAYER OF THE SEASON IS.....



PATRICE EVRA! Manchester United will this evening hold the Player of the Year gala and without a doubt Wayne Rooney will walk away with the Sir Matt Busby award but this blog has decided to recognise the efforts of one player who I feel has been the unsung hero of our season.
Ladies and gentlemen; Patrice Evra.

There is no player in our ranks who has played more games than Pat this season. He has been a mainstay in the defence all season and performing at a consistent level all through. But for the manager's decision to rest him for the game at Ewood Park, Pat would have totalled the 38 league games on offer this season as far as starting them is concerned.

It's fair to say that Pat has, this season, displayed the level of fitness that Cristiano Ronaldo showed at while at OT. Ronaldo was just about always fit despite the number of challenges he attracted. Pat has been just that this season. His attacking displays from left back obviously make him a target for the opposition. He was our only recognised defender in that period when just about all our six possible defenders were out injured. He even took the opportunity to captain United during that time and boy didn't they do a goo d job in Germany against Wolfsburg in the Champions League.

Evra is currently recognised by UEFA as Europe's finest left back given his presence in the UEFA Champions League team of the year. Given that this award is bestowed upon him ahead of the likes of Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy puts his achievements for us in that position into real perspective. You only have to take a look at Evra's performances on that left flank to know that he has an indirect hand in just about every goal we score. For instance in this most crucial of periods we might be cheering on Nani and Scholes for the goals they've got us but think about it, who provided the assist for Paul Scholes to head in that last second winner at City? Who won the penalty that saw us on our way to beating Spurs at home?

When I think of the form of Giggs early in the season, the rejuvenation of Nani towards the end, and that all those played with Evra behind them, it's fair to say that the left flank has been our most potent weapon this season.

I vote Evra; without a doubt a future Manchester United captain!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

SO UNCONVINCING....SUNDERLAND VS MAN UNITED REVIEW!


So unconvincing.....If somebody watched Dimitar Berbatov today for the first time, you would struggle to convince them that the Bulgarian is worth 30m quid!
I like Berbatov as a player and I've really done my bit to defend him over the last two seasons but if he can't put away chances like the ones he had today then I'm sorry. One of his missed efforts has actually made a late entry into the miss of the season.

Liverpool duly rolled over for Chelsea so the pressure was all on us going into the Sunderland game. Nani got the goal that eventually won the match but really we could have won by five or six goals. That is testament to how wasteful we were infront of goal today.
Not much to blog about this game because attention was really on the the earlier one.
It was nice seeing HARGREAVES take to the pitch for the first time in 18 months. It was more like a new signing making his debut and given the qualities that he's got, it's rather a huge bonus for us at the moment. How we all wish we could have had him earlier in the season.

It all boils down to the final day of the season. Chelsea have the ball in their court so we play Stoke next Sunday whilst monitoring events at the Bridge. I'm grateful that we've taken this title fight to the final day of the season. It's all I could ask for given the position that we were in. All we have to do is beat Stoke at home on Sunday, put on a good performance (better that today's), get our 27th win of the league season (which can only be equalled by Chelsea), have our traditional lap of honour and that's it. Obviously stranger things have happened---stranger than Wigan pulling up a shock result at Stamford Bridge.