Thursday, 29 July 2010

UNITED 'KIDS' TURN ON FIVE STAR PERFORMANCE!


One thing is for certain; The stick Sir Alex and his young 'kids' were getting recently will have to subside for a while at least given what we saw last night.
Beating an MLS All Star team (albeit having never been done before by an English side) is not one of those things that will move me from my seat but having five goals scored by a supposed bunch of 'not good enough' kids is what ought to raise eye-brows.
The thing is Sir Alex has done it before and could easily do it again---win all with kids! So those that criticise his decision not to dip in the transfer market are best advised to keep their cards to themselves until until United finish third in the league, and get knocked out of every Cup competition at the first time of asking.

The biggest news of the night however was the brilliant cameo performance of Javier Hernandez. I thought he looked lively when he came on and his finish has given us that itch of what he could actually turn out to be at OT.

Meanwhile Sir Alex has defended the Glazers! [I had some difficulty typing that]. Anyhow, our manager feels that the situation would have been no different had the club been bought by anyone else. He also drives home the point he's been making all year long that the Glazers have given him the money to buy any player that he wanted.

Yuck!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

AFTER GAME 3, GOING ON TO GAME 4!


United LOST their first pre-season game on Sunday night against Kansas City Wizards (of all teams) albeit in controversial circumstances. Needless to say that the debate of goal line technology did feature in this one but given the relative unimportance of the fixture, no dust was raised about the manner in which the Wizard won the match.

From our perspective, well, it was only a matter of time before inexperience showed. Sir Alex was quick to use that 'excuse' to underline that he started with a back four that included Rafael, Smalling and Evans, not to mention rookie goalie Ben Amos.
One of our bright spots from the game should be that Berbatov finally buried the ghosts of that FA Cup semifinal penalty-shootout miss (against Everton) with a lazy lovely spot-kick.

We've had three games on the tour so far and I'm not impressed with the midfield we intend to start the season with. For starters, Scholes and Giggs will play just half the games next season so that leaves us with Fletcher, Carrick and Gibson--not quite intimidating of you ask me. Worse is the news that I've just read over the Internet that Anderson and Hargreaves might be omitted form Sir Alex's Premier League 25 (under the new rules). It only leave us with the expectation that the manager shall sign a creative spark before the window closes, or that we shall have to cross our fingers even harder.
The press has one or two reasons to believe that we're favourites to sign Mesut Ozil but again, that is just speculation. Meanwhile David Gill and Sir Alex are convinced that there is money to sign players---if only there was 'value' in the market.

The fourth and final game we'll play in America will be against the MLS All Star team that includes Londan Donovan. This will prove a hell of a test for our lads and it remains to be seen if Fergie will still name a rookie side for this one as they are well capable of handing us a thrashing. It'll be as if we're playing against the US National soccer team. (especially when you consider that the coach is Bob Bradley).

Chicharito joined the squad in America after returning from holiday and its likely that we'll see him in action for us on Wednesday night. Given what he's done at the world cup, I'm sensing that the expectation will be quite high as far as he's concerned.

The season proper draws ever closer!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

AFTER GAME 2, GOING ON TO GAME 3!


Manchester United have already got two pre-season games under their belt. The game against Philadelphia in mid-week was just about the perfect work-out that our players needed. I certainly didn't want us to romp the opposition in the manner we did last summer in Asia. Gabriel Obertan got us the winner--the first time he's hit the back of the net for the club. One hopes he can carry his all-action displays into the season. The other outstanding performer on the night were Danny Welbeck who I'm meant to understand could be loaned out to a Premier League club.

On the transfer front, Sir Alex remains firm in his stance that United do have enough firepower in them to last the course next term so no one new is in as far as that is concerned. However, the biggest news on the transfer front was about keeping one of our key players. Coming in yesterday, David Gill broke the news that Nemanja Vidic had agreed a long term contract at the club. That went a long way in soothing fans who have waited all summer to hear 'positive' news coming through from OT.

United play Kansas City wizards tomorrow evening in their third pre-season fixture. Meanwhile the World Cup stars return to Carrington on Wednesday so hopefully i the last week of the month, everything will just jell together for the new season.

Monday, 19 July 2010

AFTER GAME 1 GOING ON TO GAME 2!


So United were 3-1 comfortable winners over Celtic. Yeah well, nothing much you can read into the game besides the ,an of the match performance from a certain 'lazy' 'flop' player.

Chris Smalling made his debut for us but it as clear that the lad still has a lot to learn. He gave away a penalty--but that never really comes into the reckoning when the team eventually wins. Besides, the lad did quite well whenever he went upfront.
I think the Da Silva twins should either be converted into wingers or given some serious coaching about mean defending. They are that good and at the same time that bad!

Celtic were by no means easy opponents as they are as good as many of the teams we get to play each season. So this is the part where I say that it will be nerve itching of we don't play even better against Philadelphia on Wednesday night/morning (depending on where you live).

Sir Alex has put rather strong faith in the players he has at his disposal so hopefully the lads realise that they'll have to do a '96 this coming season.
If they do then we shall not be moved that Joe Cole has become a Dipper!

Friday, 16 July 2010

AND NOW FOR PRE-SEASON!


So United get their pre-season schedule underway tonight (and I mean very late in the night if you're not in America) against Celtic.

Celtic are preparing for their Europa League qualifiers coming up so for them, this is a 'no-joke' fixture. Opposition such as United is just about the best yardstick against which they can weigh their readiness.

Sir Alex has with him a 22 man squad to pick from but given the absence of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, there is wide expectation that Chris Smalling will make his debut for the club. It's a chance for Reds fans to get a glimpse of him in action. It will also be an opportunity for fans to see ho the players look out there on pitch in that recently unveiled sorry kit.

The pitch however, according to what I've just seen on Skysportsnews, is dangerous. It's only been 24 hours since it was laid and there is solid concrete beneath it. So above all, I'll be praying that none of our players comes away with nasty injuries that we could rue for the remainder of the season year.

Sir Alex has come out to say that he's put his faith in youth for the coming season and for the future. Well it did work in the 1995/96 season when 'the kids' won the league off Blackburn but given the demand for success and the level of competition these days, I don't know. I'm an observer on this one, but if he does pull it off, then I will safely say that Manchester United will be in a minor crisis when the old Gaffer calls it a day and signs out.

For this pre-season therefore, a lot of my focus will be on how the likes of Darren Gibson, Kiko Macheda, The Da Silva brothers, etc...will be staking a claim for regular first team football next season.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

NEW (GROSS) KIT LAUNCHED



So United are in Glazer-land ahead of their pre-season schedule that will also involve trips to Canada and Mexico. Yesterday, in Chicago, our new home kit was launched by Nike, this time in partnership with AON.

For starters, its one of the poorest jobs that Nike has done for us kit-wise. I wonder what happened to the creativity that saw us very smart in the 07-08 season. Why the collar? Why the sorry red? Why?

Anyhow, the players have (against their will) praised the kit and all and so hopefully this sorry kit will be the lucky charm for us next season.
In not so different news, the Glazers are still hovering around the M16 so this is, for many fans, an opportunity to drive another dagger into the Americans by abstaining from the new kit and going to OT with the older kits that the club wore before the Glazers took charge.

LUHG!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

BACK TO WORK


Manchester United players who were not involved in the World Cup ended their eight week holiday. Monday was the unofficial start of the season for the club with most of the players returning to begin their shape-up work for the new league season.
The real business starts in a little under five weeks so it's more or less still holiday time but given the failures last season and the expectation at the club, you can only hope that the players really give us something to look forward to next year in pre-season.

Before all the pre-season talk, one or two stories in the press this week need mention. The first would be that the club are finally getting 'officially' linked to the best players on the market. It's something that we've not had come our way since the Glazer situation. We'd all like to take that as a positive.
Secondly Owen Hargreaves; Now the one reason as to why I was not so up in arms about our blunt transfer activity was this lad. Hargo has no played a game for us in over 20 calender months. That's two seasons of football. So I viewed his return to the side as a major new signing for us. He's great going forward and defensively and there are not many players around who bring what he can bring to the party.
So when Sir Alex ruled him out of the start of the season, my heart sunk. We paid close o 20million for him but it seems his contribution in helping us win the Double in 2008 is all we shall ever remember him for.
I now think that the manager must invest in another attacking midfielder to solve the crisis---yes crisis in our midfield. If Carrick doesn't step up from last season, then I'm afraid the blame will not be on our forwards next season but on the lack of creativity in the middle.


I recently blogged here that it is unlikely that we will suffer a similar injury crisis like we did last season. Well, I'm now thinking that we just might. I mean we could start the season without as many as six first team players. It's really sad that we are losing players for the opening games.

A rather strong enough squad has been announce by the manager for pre-season so hopefully we'll get to see some good performances over in America, Canada and Mexico.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

MANCHESTER UNITED INTO PERSPECTIVE


Press reports today indicate that Sir Alex is lining up Wesley Sneijder as his major signing of the summer. The 25 million on his head suggests that that would be all as far as new players are concerned. It's just speculation so we'll leave it at that.

So far, Sir Alex has added Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling to his side that finished just a point behind Chelsea last season. The question is does Fergie think that United are strong enough to regain our trophy?
In his defence, one would definitely point out the injury crisis we had at the club last season especially in defence and say well its unlikely that we'll lose 7 defenders to injury at the same time.
Another could point out that this season, unlike the last, we'll have Owen Hargreaves available (fingers crossed). Maybe its all these factors combined and the fact that we finished a point off the top that the Gaffer feels that we are actually good enough for next season.

The Glazer issue cannot be kept from this but I doubt whether the Americans expect a treble winning season with the squad we've got. So it can only be in their best interest that they look to strengthen the squad in a bid to impress fans and make certain that the club will be popping champagne come May 2011.

The other factor that fans must be fretting over is the goal-scoring prowess of Wayne. He hammered in 34 last season and that went a long way to ensuring that we remained fighting for silverware till the end of the season. The question is whether he can do it again. We've already seen how goals can disappear from his boots as quickly as they appear at the World Cup so hopefully he gets something right in his mind whilst on holiday.
Dimitar Berbatov has just about frustrated fans and media enough times to suggest that the spotlight will not be on him next season--I mean we all know what to expect from him--Maybe this could be the season that he surprises all.
If he doesn't then step up Javier Hernadez. If this kid adapts as quickly as is expected at United, then there we are.
At the moment though, we could do with one or two new extra faces at the club.

Meanwhile sky sports have extended our summer by a couple of days by scheduling our fixture with Newcastle United--the opening game for us---on a Monday night. It all starts therefore on 16th August at 8pm.
I think I noticed that we play quite late in our first few games of the season. By that I mean that we play after just about our main rivals have played and hence there will always be the pressure to match or better their results come our kick-off time. Oh well...

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A LOT ABOUT THE WEEK!


Manchester United interest at the World Cup in South Africa was ended by Argentina's controversial victory over Mexico at the start of the week. It goes a long way in explaining the absence of World Cup updates on this blog.
It's down to the last eight so we can safely say that the World Cup winner will be one of Ghana (yes Ghana the African country), Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Paraguay and Uruguay. It'll be all clearer by the start of next week.

Goal line technology has been the big issue around the world cup since England's elimination. You could always bet that it would take something to go against the English for Blatter to come out and say that FIFA will finally sit this month to discuss technology in football.
I really hope that something comes of that meeting as I think its only fair to footballers that they will no longer suffer defeats that are unfounded.

As far as the world cup is concerned for United, Hernandez has proved his ability to do a job in attack for us straight away. I really hope that Fergie finds a way of working it out with him in the first team instead of rotting him away in the reserves.

But unfortunately that is just about it for us on the transfer front for us--so far at least. We've seen City get Silva, Yaya (most likely anyway) without doing anything really positive about ourselves. It's unlikely that Rooney will be as ruthless as he was last season and even then, we failed to land the league. Thankfully, despite the Glazer Shmucks at the helm, we still have a manager who is worth all our trust.

Its 15 days to pre-season so you'd think that if nothing happens between now and then, United will be pretty much unchanged form last season.