Sunday, 31 July 2011

5 OUT OF 5!------UNITED VS BARCA REVIEW!


There is something about United playing in red and Barca playing in their changed strip that we're yet to appreciate....[kidding]

Manchester United recorded a perfect pre-season tour of the United States of America with a 2-1 victory over FC Barcelona on Saturday night.
Goals from Nani and Owen were enough on the night although it really should have been 4-1---I mean Rooney and Owen should have put away their sitters.

The essence of the exercise was not lost in the desire to get one over our European rivals as I thought it was a good workout for our lads. It was nice to see the manger trust the young lads with such a fixture and I thought they came through well.
Danny Welbeck for instance has certainly got be on his side again and Tom Cleverly held his own against a side that usually hide the ball from opposing midfielders. Evans didn't do bad either.
The manager has utilised just about all of the 29 players on tour and we seem to have in our midst a young and big squad of players that can each contribute something to the season ahead.

We've scored 20 goals on tour and let in 3. The ease with which we have probed our opponent's back lines suggest that Sir Alex has every reason to feel happy with the squad we have so that Scholes replacement might indeed be in this side.

We've accounted for one of 2 sides that caused us heartache last season, there's one more left for next Sunday.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

AND FINALLY, THE BEST OF THE LOT----UNITED VS BARCA PREVIEW!


Manchester United have gone about their pre-season job in America destroying all in their path. 18 goals in four games has so far not raised any questions about our strikers on tour---indeed the striking department comprises of more than a third of Sir Alex's squad. In the same breath, the creativity has been all too evident despite going about the tour without a 'replacement for Paul Scholes' as the press would have you believe. Regardless of the level of opposition, Manchester United have been a joy to watch in the West.

It is therefore only right and fitting that they get the opportunity to test themselves against a side that is generally believed to be sitting on the throne of World Football today. Barcelona was viewed by the coaching management as the epitome of the tasks we should face in the lead to the first competitive match of the season---next Sunday's Manchester derby.

Obviously between now and then we've got a Charity match in France, and Scholes' testimonial on Friday before the Senior Open Training Day for the Manchester Foundation Saturday a week.

Its been a fantastic tour for the lads; Anderson, Park and Rooney in particular as I thought they stood out. Anders Lindegaard can also pat himself on the chest as he has given the manager and fans something to think about as regards who starts in goal for United.

Make no mistake that the press will have a remix of a field day should United lose to Barca tonight...and make no mistake that they will rubbish a United win because it is 'pre-season' and there is no Lionel Messi. So from a distance, tonight is a lose-lose situation but for us close United die-hards, a win is just the sort of thing the players could use to take their confidence into overdrive for the season ahead----and we know how much of a role confidence plays in this sport.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

4-0! NEXT. . . .


Well you thought that the MLS All Stars being the MLS All Stars would give us a tougher evening than any of the sides we've met on tour so far but as it turns out, they were no different.
Like all the sides before them, they started well, giving United a lot to think about in the opening exchanges, but when United got the full measure of them, it was once again about how many United wanted to put away. Sometimes you wonder what sort of scorelines we'd have if the manager kept it full strength for the '90.

Anyhow, it was nice to see Anderson score an opener for United. His midfield performances have for long been devoid of goals and that has perhaps led to some to question his abilities so hopefully he maintains his improved record last season and gets himself 10 or so in the next.
Park Ji Sung is a name that remains in the back of many United fans' minds and doesn't often hit the finger tips but here is a lad who has scored in every game of the tour-----all fantastic goals without really getting much recognition for it. I think he is every bit worth that 2 year contract extension.

Berba was due a goal one of these days so thankfully he got it and Welbeck will not care how much of a deflection that took----in his mind, he's got a tour goal.

Surely Barcelona on Saturday will give us a much difficult task than we've been accustomed to lately. But we're due a win against them and I think its the perfect opposition to get the lads ready to silence those noisy neighbours next Sunday.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

AND NOW FOR THE STARS!


United take on the MLS--All Stars team tonight/morning depending on where you live. This summer though, Thierry Henry and David Beckham will join the cast of stars in a collected effort to throw a spanner in United's so far 100% pre-season record.

Javier Chicharito Hernadez has joined the first team in New York City but it is unlikely he will play tonight. The manager says he will ease him into the team slowly. I reckon the Barca game on Saturday will be his first.

We thrashed the All Stars 5-2 with virtually a reserve team but they seem to be a tad stronger this time round and look like they could beat us if we're not on our A game. The manager has said that he'll play the first team players more often so as to give them a better level of fitness than they had last year when we dropped too many points at the start of the season late on in games.

Hopefully it will be a fantastic watch.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

FINALLY A TEST: THE CHICAGO FIRE REVIEW!


United did really get burned in that first half at the Soldier Field Stadium, needing a significant injection of talent and flair in Nani and Rooney before eventually dispatching off Chicago Fire in soaring temperatures in Illinois.

The best part about the game was that Phil Jones and David De Gea finally got their debuts and Ge Gea in particular did pull a couple of saves that showed one or two things about him that the fans wanted to see.

Wayne Rooney came off the bench to get the leveller, Rafael exhibited some Brazilian full-back attacking to put us ahead and Nani added the cherry on the cake late on. Once again it was our endurance for the '90 minutes that won us the match compared to our opponents who seemed to tire from the hour mark. If anything, the win kept the vultures in the sky as United couldn't simply afford to let the early goal and temperatures cost them victory. Defeat for us will make all sorts of headlines whilst the media will overlook the fact that Hull City thrashed Liverpool 3-0 earlier in the day.

The manager was pleased with the fact that the team managed to ovecome some sort of adversity for the first time in the tour and it puts us in good stead going into the toughest of the four MLS games; the All Stars game on Wednesday in New Jersey; Sir Alex will also have Chicharito available for the first time since Wembley on that day. We're gradually building up strength as we head into the Barcelona game and the Manchester City clash at Wembley.

It's also nice to note that we have such a big squad of players and that can prove to be invaluable in a league campaign as we have found out over the last few years.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

SURELY FIRE SHOULDN'T BE A PROBLEM FOR DEVILS


Manchester United are free scoring in their United States pre-season tour much to the delight of the fans across the pond and those that had fears about the abilities of our current crop of players. 11 goals in two games is not bad even though the opposition so far can be equated to a Championship side in England.

Chicago Fire should however be a much sterner test for Sir Alex's boys not least because of the 100 degrees plus temperatures that Chicago has to offer. The manager has hinted that he'll make even more use of his squad by giving game time to players who are yet to make an appearance in our new kit; It thence means that by the end of tonight, we should have seen both David De Gea and Phil Jones in action for us.
The manager has taken the unusual step of announcing that the young Spaniard will be first choice for us next season so its now up to him to show the world what he's made of by attempting to replace EVDS.

The one downturn for us has been the failure to get a replacement (well, sort of) for Scholes before pre-season. It means that either the cheque-book is closed for the summer, or he'll join in August---which will not give whoever it is the time to adjust to life at United in the same way that the likes of Young and Jones have.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

1,2,3,4,5,6,7----0!


I'm not going too delve into the match report here because I covered the entire game live on our facebook page so straight into what I made of the game;

United did start a little rusty but I thought we got better as the game went on---it was a similar trend to the first game against the Revolution and so far, it seems that our opponents tire much quicker than us. At least we've got endurance covered in pre-season so far. Speaking of endurance, it was pleasing that Rafael got the full '90 today as he and Fabio tend to suffer from cramp after the hour mark.

I thought Anders Lindegaard did himself a world of good again tonight. I've sort of become a fan of him after watching his training and performances on the tour. I'll put my head on the line and say I wouldn't mind him being first choice. I think we've got ourselves 2 good keepers.

Anderson and Nani failed the test of consistency as they weren't as good as I saw them train and play inn the past week or so. That Young has made the left wing our most effective so far is testament to his abilities and Nani's failure to cash in on Valencia's absence. He is brilliant buy consistency would do him a world of good. Anderson meanwhile seems unsure of what role he should play. He does well when he's got one of the 2 midfield roles to perform but is poor when doing both holding and creating. Unless Carrick and Fletcher are ever-present to ease his duties, I think we badly need another signing to supplement the Brazillian's efforts.

Well you know you've been spanked when Obertan scores against you. Nice to see Wayne grab a pre-seaon hat trick. Games should get him on form ready for the season. Special mention to Michael Owen and Park Ji Sung for getting a goal a game in the 45 minutes given to them.

Roll on Chicago on Saturday!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

LOOKING AHEAD TO SEATTLE SOUNDERS!



Manchester United take on Seattle Sounders in Game 2 of their pre-season American tour tomorrow evening. The Sounders are sterner opposition than the New England Revolution so it will be good to see how far the team has gone ahead of the big kick-off next month.

Whilst in Seattle, the lads have been joined by new signings David De Gea and Phil Jones whilst Tom Cleverly and Danny Welbeck also linked up with the squad. We're however more likely to see them in the third game.

That we have more or less pulled out of landing Wesely Sneijder or any other attacking or defensive midfielder means that we need somebody in the team to step up if only to give cover to whoever the manager will bring in to fill the Scholes void. Its why I'll be taking a closer look at the players especially as the games get harder.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

1-4? NOT BAD AT ALL!



Manchester United got their pre-seaon tour underway last night with a breezing 4-1 victory over the New England Revolution.
Obviously its pre-season and hence I'll try not to read much into it but I was chuffed to see the lads go out and put up a performance that had desire written all over it.

Player tend to give just the 50 percent for pre-seaon games but I thought the shift we put last night was excellent for a start. Had to wake up a 3a.m to catch the game so I was pleased at the pace at which the game was played lest I doubt I would have seen it through.

I thought Anderson seemed a tad lighter than we're used to seeing him. I think if he shades off more weight, he'll be more of a threat in terms of being a box to box midfielder. We usually forget that he's still yet to peak so here's to further progress from the lad.
Carrick got himself a couple of assists so no harm done there whilst I thought Ashley Young did so well that the left wing, for once was our main source of attack throughout the match. Unfortunately Nani didn't do as well the other side which he usually relishes patrolling. I just feel that now that we've got three of the best wingers in the league, our forwards and midfielders need to use pre-seaon to work out how they'll crowd the box to get on the end of those delicious deliveries that went begging last night.

Rafael seems to have learnt to defend better than Fabio but again Fabio seems to know when and how to drive forward better than his brother. The only reason our defending wasn't punished further was probably because of the opposition. Sterner tests will call for better. Meanwhile I thought Anders Lindegaard was sharp throughout the match last night. There was nothing he could do about the goal as it was a wicked deflection but he did pull off a couple of saves and was efficient in his distribution of the ball and coming off his line in time to cut out attacks. Compared to the cover we had for EVDS last season, he's a mile better. And I also think he'll challenge for that No.1 position seriously.

Finally I thought that it was ironic that we started with both Berba and Rooney and yet ended the half with a blank whilst Macheda and Owen seemed like they'd score at every attack. The goal of the game was however scored by Park Ji Sung. The move was sublime.

We take on the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday next week in what will be a slightly harder test.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

WELCOME BACK!



For us who just can't stand the thought or sight of United losing a game, today will mark the end of the holiday for us.

On Monday, Manchester United made for the US for their tour and tonight will see the club officially unofficially kick-off the 2012 football season with a friendly against New England Revolution.

Sir Alex clearly brought out my sentiments when he said that Manchester United being Manchester United cannot afford to take any game for granted be it a friendly or not because of the amount of criticism that would thence emanate from the press and fickle fans. Hopefully the players will start the American dream with a BANG!

Meanwhile, David Gill os over in Italy trying to land United's fourth summer signing----Wesely Sneijder. If that goes well; I might just spare a finger or two in the coming season.

On a sad note, Javier Hernandez lost his grandmother today so our prayers are with him. You can follow text updates of the game tonight on our facebook page.
P.S I'll have to wake up at 3.am to watch it!