Saturday, 28 July 2012

PRE-SEASON SO FAR

United laboured to a 1-0 victory over Shanghai Shenua on Wednesday in a game that saw Shinji Kagawa net his first for the club. The former Dortmund attacker was by far the best player on the pitch and quite frankly, he'd definitely going to make the grade in the EPL. The only thing that might just let him down are his teammates. Whereas Anderson and Carrick are capable partners in the middle, his thinking and expectations might just be too crisp for them. It's my opinion that we either increase the pace of our game in the middle, or pair him with someone like Cleverley who is quick on the pass too. Players like Kagawa require a sharpness of mind and speed of thought from partners to complement their talents. Hopefully the manager addresses what I'd perceive to be a possible concern.

The Euro 2012 players are back which effectively means pre-season is 'officially' underway. The mistakes we make in games against Valerenga, Barcelona, and Hannover are pretty much the same we'll make in the season proper. Our rivals don't seem to have weakened so we might have to do even better than last season collectively to reclaim our trophy. What's for certain is that if the manager does not add one or two ready made bodies in the team, we could suffer next term.

The injury crisis that usually hampers our campaigns has already kicked in quite earlier than usual this time. Chris Smalling is out until October and one wonders how close Jonny Evans is to fitness. It all means that our potential patch up bodies to fill in for the seasonal niggles of Rio and Rafael are greatly reduced for the start of the season. The only way we can get past it with minimal damage is if the captain returns for the start of the season and stays fit, and if Evra and Jones remain fit as well. Given our luck with injuries, it's hard to fathom that they'll remain intact till October. It's why the manager will do well to add a body more preferably from the reserve team as we've seen one or two kids do well on the tour. The likes of Blackett and Brady don't seem to be that bad.


In contrast to last pre-season, the goals have so far dried up this time round. It's nothing to get one worried really but some of these games are against opposition we should be taking to the cleaners. It is no secret that strikers gain confidence from goals, so its disappointing that the likes of Javier Hernandez are yet to find the net despite the number of minutes on pitch they've had.  The Mexican managed a respectable 12 goals last season in an injury plagued campaign but a little more will be expected of him especially considering that this time he's had a full rest and a pre-season to take him into the new campaign. Hopefully he's saving them for the one against Barca.

Till then...Ciao!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

PRE-SEASON NERVES

For the past few years, pre-season has not been my thing as a United fan. It's not that I'm not looking forward to United games after months of not watching them but that I look ahead to the new season, I consider our shortcomings in the season past, and look at our challengers and then start getting nervous way before the first competitive match is underway.

Unless you've been in a coma for the past few seasons, you should have noticed or at least heard it somewhere that Manchester United lack a quality central midfielder to complement the abilities of Scholes and Carrick. That lacuna has somewhat widened since Darren Fletcher got diagnosed with a bowel condition.

Now I've been a United fan long enough to put my full trust in Fergie. The reality is I'd rather have him than any manager in the world. It therefore goes without saying that he knows what is best for the club. If he thinks we need a central midfielder, we'll get him. However, if our recent transfer activity is anything to go by, we might just not get one this time round as well. Shinji Kagawa is virtually a false 9 if you may. The other names linked to United are Lucas Moura, who would be a brilliant buy by the way, Robin van Persie (still pinching myself) and Leighton Baines.

From that list, we need Baines to cover for Evra. Lucas Moura would be the marquee signing in my estimation. Firstly because his purchase will break our transfer record signing and that he's the closest thing we'd get to Ronaldo in the side (forget Nani). He is one of those players who could blossom in a free role and take a lot of pressure from the team in a defensive position with a killer burst of pace in a counter-attacking format that suits United's play.

Now when it comes to RVP, I struggle to see how we shall line up next season if he's in. At his age and given his record of injuries, it's one of those signings that we United fans have grown to feel nervous about. I mean for all of Anderson's failings at United, he retains a re-sale value and that has kept us somewhat comfortable with him around. It's therefore hard to fathom why United are in for the Dutchman---Having said that, as far as the short-term and nest season are concerned, adding him to the side would definitely rest some of my nerves.

We laboured to a win in Natal against Amazulu in our first pre-season tie, the biggest irony being that the player on his way out, Berbatov was our best player on the pitch. United take on Ajax Cape Town later today, and hopefully it'll be less painful to watch.
Till then!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

WHILE WE WERE AWAY. . .

Greetings FLOM fans, as this is the first of many 2012_13 posts, welcome to the new season. It's the 4th of July, #Happy Independence Day to those in the US, but also the last day of holiday for United players who had no summer engagements. Tomorrow morning, you can bet Carrington will be a buzz with optimism for the season ahead along with one or two new faces.

Speaking of which, while we were away, United added Nick Powell but more crucially Shinji Kagawa to their midfield__something that is a season or two overdue and the manager expects to add one or two faces before the window closes. Hopefully it will be another top class midfielder as well as a new left back. Just as well it is that I add that our would be cover left back Fabio was loaned to QPR.

The fixture list for the new season was releases on the 18th of last month with the only qualm being away games in just about every Champions League week. The last time we had such an issue with the fixtures was in the 2010 season that saw us lose ALL of those away games after a Champions League schedule_fingers crossed it won't be an issue again.

Meanwhile, the Glazer family has floated about 64m quid on the New York Stock Exchange in a bid to pay off the debt. Quite frankly, writing about the Glazers sickens me so I'll just end that bit with LOVE UNITED, HATE GLAZER.

At the moment we still do not have the squad to comfortably expect to get our trophy back  but with the genius that is SAF, who knows.
The squad is going virtually around the world for this summer's tour with destinations South Africa, Norway, China and Germany among the countries that the Reds will visit. The most attractive fixture no doubt is against Barcelona in Norway_a game that had its 43,000 tickets sold out in 30 mins.

We've got De Gea, Cleverley and Giggs at the Olympics so that means we'll have to do without them for August and a part of September in the league.

Whilst I may not be able to chip in with analysis after every preseason game, its great to have United back in action.