Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bayern 3 - 1 United

Jones Smalling Vida Evra
Valencia Carrick Fletcher(Chicharito) Kagawa
Rooney Welbeck

This morning everybody was trying to guess how many goals United were going to concede to the mighty Bayern Munich. Three, four, five, someone even said Bayern will hit SIX! We just didn't have a chance. So I watched today's game with no expectations whatsoever, I knew we were playing the best team in Europe (mind you, I don't think Bayern will win the's a gut feeling) and I just wanted United to bow out of the Champions League with a performance worthy of the great football club that we are. Our players didn't disappoint. At the end of the day we did concede three but some of our players gave their all for the red shirt and I'm very proud of them. Jones was United's man of the match, absolutely excellent. 

A moment of brilliance from Patrice Evra (of all people) did give us some time to dream, not a lot of time though, just 72 seconds. Evra hit the sweetest volley he'll ever hit in his life, probably one of this year's best CL goals, and I was going bezerk at the place where I watch United. I was about to get back to my seat when I told my friend "I think we scored too early, Bayern will up a gear now". I don't think I had finished the sentence when Bayern leveled. Those two minutes showed us the brilliance of Evra when going forward and the harsh fact that he's become shit when defending. I think he was to blame for Bayern's first. Their first goal could have easily been defended but our level of concentration decreased exponentially when Evra hit that super strike. At 1-1 Rooney had one heck of a chance to make it two but he missed and that's when we lost the game. Bayern took over, scored two and put the final nail in our season's coffin. That was our last Champions League game for, at least, another year. 

I cannot fault our performance up to the 60th minute. I can't help but think that the worst thing that happened to us tonight was indeed when we scored first with half an hour still to go. You just get the feeling that a team of Bayern's excellence will come up with a reply. They hit us at the worst time possible. Anyone who plays football knows that conceding a goal seconds after scoring one is a killer blow. To make matters worse, I thought all three goals were very defendable. Our defence didn't put a foot wrong for an hour but everything when balls up after we scored our only goal. 

The likes of Fletcher, Welbeck, Kagawa, Jones, Valencia and Smalling impressed me today. The levels of energy they put in was a joy to watch and augurs well for the future. I expect all of them to still be at the club come next August. Vidic and Evra evidently tired out as the match wore on. I was slightly disappointed with Rooney coz he could have snatched a brace today but hesitated and did what Welbeck usually does in front of goal i.e. scuffed his chances. I guess Roo was really injured and perhaps it wasn't the wisest of ideas to play him the whole game today. However, had he not started the game the Moyesout brigade would have absolutely hammered our manager. 

I like what I've seen lately from United. We bowed out of the CL with a real fight and put to the sword a couple of Premier League teams in the past weeks. I do wonder whether RVP's exclusion from the side (due to injury) has helped our team perform better since Mata and Kagawa have been playing in their ideal position. What's even more encouraging is the fact that, contrary to what these keyboard warriors like to suggest, Moyes does have a clue about tactics as he was spot on in the first leg and again in today's game. His game obviously needs some polishing but the past few performances bode well for the future. I was becoming a bit sceptic when our team lost comfortably to the likes of Chelsea, City and Liverpool. Our players looked tame in those games, however, they were fearless when they played Bayern. 

So this is the last Champions League post on this blog for the foreseeable future. Don't worry Europe, we'll be back. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Newcastle 0 - 4 United

Again, I missed United's match today because I had a league game with my local football team. That's the second match I missed this season...United scored four in both matches. Perhaps that was the problem with United this season, Moyes is not the problem, I am. I think I should give Wednesday's game a miss, maybe United would put four past Bayern! Wishful thinking. 

There's not much I can say except that all four goals were well worked out. Mata scored two and brilliantly assisted Januzaj, it's a shame the Spainiard is ineligible for our game vs Bayern. He looks like he's finally bedding in our team and we could do with his passes vs the Germans. What's very worrying is Rooney's absence today. Moyes said that he's got a toe injury. To be honest, I don't really believe our manager 100%. I think he was rested today and Moyes played some kind of mind game before Wednesday's game. Regardless of the mind game played, Bayern will still have a plan for United side with Roo in it, so it won't really affect them. Anyway, I hope Roo's not really injured and if he is, then we're in trouble. Roo is the heart of our football team. 

My thoughst on Wednesday's game? I don't think we'll go trough, Bayern are too good a side. However, it doesn't hurt to dream so come on United, give us something to shout about!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

United 1 - 1 Bayern Munich

Jones Rio Vidic Buttner
Carrick Fellaini
Valencia Giggs Welbeck

Let's all be honest, we expected to be out of the tie after today's game but hey, we're still in it! A brilliant header by Vidic put us in front but we gave away the lead after a lapse of concentration some 8 minutes later. The goal we conceded could have easily been avoided had Fellaini tracked back and marked Schweinsteiger. Anyway, it's useless crying over spilt milk. We should just be happy that our players played with the same spirit and passion that most United players had shown in the past. Well done boys!

Every player played his part, Rio and Vida rolled back the years and were immense at central defence. Jones made some important interventions. Buttner handled the Robben threat much much much much better than I expected. In fact, after that performance, I think he deserves to start the second leg as well. It's obviously highly unlikely that'll happen but anyway, I'd even play an under 18 player as long as I don't see Evra in the starting line-up. He looked disinterested this year. Fellaini was a bit of a mixed bag. His distribution was abysmal but he got stuck in and that's the main reason why we bought the guy. Still, he's got plenty of room for improvement before we can say he's a United player. Roo defended, threw himself into tackles and tried to set up team-mates... usual day at the office for him. Welbeck worked his socks off, as usual, but he did waste the best chance of the game. If only he placed in goal instead of going for the chip...

Anyhow, considering the opposition, that was definitely our best performance this season. We've played against the likes of Chelsea, City and Liverpool this season but never rose for the occasion. Today our players raised their game, avoided a potential humiliation vs Bayern and kept themselves in the tie. If our players can play like that, why didn't we play with the same drive in the EPL this year? We would surely be in a better position!

Most criticism this seasons has been directed at David Moyes and if you criticized Moyes after defeats, now you should have the decency of admitting that Moyes was tactically perfect today. He managed to hold the best football club in the world with a makeshift defence and a couple of important players missing. Well done Moyes, well done United! 

P.s Old Trafford was absolutely buzzing tonight so a big well done also goes to the supporters. We make Man Utd the biggest club in the world. No room for petty protests against Moyes, we need to stand by our players and manager and believe that we can go places in the not too distant future. Whatever happens in Munich, today's game was a real confidence booster. Come on United!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

United 4 - 1 Villa

Didn't watch the game because I had a football match with my local team. From what I've heard, United did well to bounce back from an early setback. Mata seems to have had a very good game. He scored one and won a penalty. I've seen the highlights and I think that Kagawa and Januzaj did well to assist the other goals too. Nice to see Chicharito on the scoresheet but he's surely on his way out. Roo's form is a good thing for our upcoming game. We'll need him at his prime. Anyhow, I can't really comment on the game because I didn't see it so I'll talk about the shameful act done by some muppets who flew a plane over OT calling for Moyes' head. You might not agree with the man and you might think he's not fit for the job, and that I understand, but you don't embarrass this club and its faithful fans with that stupid move! Thankfully, our supporters inside the stadium didn't approve that message and booed the plane. We've had a dreadful season but our supporters need to stand up and support our manager. What good did that message do? Moyes looks a broken man and that foolish act by a few supporters won't do our team any good. Furthermore, we've been made to look like complete twats with fans all around the word. And by the way, do you think the Glazers will sack our Scotsman? He's been given a 6 year contract because whoever advised them to offer Moyes the job, believes the man's good enough. So who are we to question the man's abilities? Sure, the showings this year might suggest he's not good enough but I believe every team above us has a better squad than we do. Get rid of the deadwood during the summer, buy a few quality players and then we'll judge Moyes. We should be patient. It was a turbulent season but I still believe someday things will revert back to normal. Unfortunately what I believe hasn't been backed by our team's showings lately but our club always bounces back and I live in hope that the United spirit will prevail once again.

Next game is vs. the champions of Europe. Will be tough and if we're going out to them, I hope we go out with a fight. Come on United! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

United 0 - 3 City

Rafael Jones Rio Evra
Cleverley(Kagawa) Carrick Fellaini(Valencia) Mata
Welbeck(Chicharito) Rooney

Late post but after the horrific football my team played today, I decided to vent my frustrations on my friend in FIFA. Three hours and 12 wins later, I'm back home to write something about today's game. Well, first things first, that was a pathetic display. I can't believe we have reduced ourselves to this level. There was no passion shown tonight and that really gets on my nerves. After those two good performances last week, albeit against average sides, the least I expected today was to give some worries to the City defense. That barely happened as we got down without a real fight.  I thought our players and management knew what went wrong against Liverpool but apparently they didn't as we repeated the same mistakes today. We only played well for 15 odd minutes during the first half when Mata and Fellaini should have scored from ideal positions but missed. After those chances Hart's role was more of a spectator than a player.

I know jack shit about tactics so I cannot really criticize the manager in that respect but I do recognize a motivated player when I see one and our players just weren't today. That motivation primarily comes from within the player but the managing staff also play an important role in pumping their players up for such games. True, there's not much to play for but a derby is a derby and I expected our players to be ready to put a dent on our neighbor's title challenge or, at the very least, put up a fight. Instead, our players looked like rabbits in headlights. Scared and clueless. That's difficult to take in, especially since we're quite used to seeing players give their all for this great club.

Any positives from the game? Yes, TWO.  
1. City could have easily scored 6 goals today and gave us a real hiding. So we should be thankful it was 'only' 3-0
2. If this win gives City the edge over Liverpool in the title race, then at least there's some sort of consolation. I hate Liverpool so much that I'd rather see City win the title for 3 years in a row than see Liverpool win a title. Can't believe I'm putting the words Liverpool, win and title in the same sentence but this Liverpool side is dangerously close to winning it this season. I hate City and I equally hate Chelsea - soulless clubs - but nothing compares to my hatred towards the red scousers. I respect their club but I just despise their fans. Deluded bunch.

Regardless, I still live in hope. I still back the manager and won't call for his head until I see that he was given enough time and funds and still failed to deliver. One season with some over-the-hill players is not enough. The likes of Evra, Rio and Vida are not good to play against top sides anymore. I'd rather see a defensively clueless Buttner play at LB than Evra. Apart from last season, he has been underperforming for a good four years now. Is it Moyes' fault that we haven't got a better LB? No, it's Fergie's. Our midfield woes? Fergie's fault. And that's the reason why I'm still hopeful Moyes tenure will turn out to be better in the near future. Time and money, that's what Moyes needs. Until then, I just can't wait for this season to end.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

West Ham 0 - 2 United

Rafael Jones Carrick Buttner
Young Fellaini Fletcher Kagawa

Well, that was another pleasing performance. That makes it two satisfying performances in a week, which is a lot given this year's standards. I think I've seen the best counter attacking football we've played this year during the first half. It's a pity we sat back during the second instead of creating more chances and, maybe, score more goals. Nonetheless, well done Moyes and his boys. 

Every player had a good game today. Jones and Carrick were rock solid at the back while Buttner, probably, did better than what Evra has been doing during the past weeks. Rafael started the game a tad too aggressive but seemed more composed as the game wore on. Fletcher was ever present in our midfield and Fellaini keeps on improving with every game. Young did well on the right and Mata looked more happy playing behind a sole striker. Could RVPs injury be a blessing in disguise? I saw a stat on Twitter which showed that Mata completed 50 passes out of 53. That's a very good stat that. 

Finally, a big fat "well done" has to go to man of the match Wayne Rooney. His first half performance was excellent and it was crowned by a true wonder goal. I've seen some good goals this year, unfortunately most of them weren't scored by United, however, I think that goal is probably one of the best I've seen this season. Few players in the world have the audacity, nevermind the precision, to do what Rooney did today. Brilliant vision, brilliant awareness and an overall brilliant goal. His second goal was the complete opposite; I don't think he knew much about it but he was just in the right place at the right time. He was lucky if you ask me. His overconfidence meant that he wasn't at his best during the second half but I'll excuse him for that. If I scored a goal like his first, I would probably think I turned into some kind of God and expect everything to work for me with little effort. Well done Roo!

City next. I won't lose much sleep if we lose the game. I'll just sit on the sofa and watch the game relaxed without giving a fuck about the repercussions (not that there are many; we miss out on the Europa league, maybe? I don't mind!) if we lost. That's quite an odd feeling. Normally I'm quite tense during this time of the year but my heart needed a deserved break. Let's hope next year things get back to how they used to be i.e. a lot of stress, heartbeat skipping moments and the occasional swear words and fist punching at the place where I watch my beloved United. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

United 3 - 0 Olympiacos

Rafael Rio Jones Evra
Valencia(Young) Carrick Roo Giggs
Welbeck(Fletcher) RVP(Fellaini)

That's the kind of performance we have been yearning for all season long. The passion and desire shown by the players today was a joy to see. They went out there to get the result and they did exactly that. Yes, we were playing Olympiacos and yes, they're miles away from the elite of European football BUT we were playing an Olympiacos side that was leading by two goals. That's a pretty comfortable lead and any team chasing a game is prone to being caught on the counter attack. One goal by Olympiacos would have ended the tie so it was a pretty delicate game for us and our players played it out well. Granted, the Greeks did produce some fine chances and if it wasn't for the brilliant De Gea, I don't think we would be looking forward to a couple more European well played the Spaniard!

RVP reminded us what he's capable of when he's actually interested in the game. I thought this year our Dutch striker looked a tad disinterested at times so it was a pretty pleasing sight seeing RVP chasing balls and scoring goals. He got an injury for his troubles and I hope he gets back as soon as possible. The van Persie we saw tonight is a player who's capable of giving sleepless nights to any defender in the world. Well played. 

Anybody who scores a hat-trick merits the man of the match award but my man of the match is either Rooney or Giggsy. What the latter did is nothing short of unbelievable. He produced the first two goals and played the whole 90 minutes. We're talking of a 40 year old playing in the latter stages of the biggest competition in Europe. That's nothing short of phenomenal, although, if you look at it from a different perspective, you can say that it's quite sad that we rely on a 40 year old to produce a spark in the middle of the park. Roo was also excellent tonight. He ran his socks off from the first minute up until the last and also produced an assist. He's been our shining light during a pretty mediocre season and he did not disappoint today. That was a captain's performance and that's exactly what he'll be next year; our captain. 

Welbeck, Valencia and Jones should also get a mention. Welbeck was a constant nuisance for the Greeks' defence, Valencia played through the pain barrier and had a very good game (I think he should consider playing with an eyepatch for the remainder of the season, he clearly plays better with one eye) and Jones was a rock at the heart of our defence. The Greeks did open our defence on some occasions but considering we were chasing a particular score, I thought our overall defensive performance was good BUT it could have been better.

We're now amongst the last 8 teams in this competition. If I'm honest, each and every team in the draw is better than us so I'm not really bothered who we get as long as our players play with the same grit they showed today. It will be a very tough task playing against any of those 7 teams but as long as we're still in it, we should give it a real go. 

P.S. I cracked a smile when I saw a beaming David Moyes heading towards the tunnel. The man is under intense pressure and this win will make the constant criticism ease a bit. I've almost been feeling sorry for him but I've never lost my faith in him. As long as he's our manager, I'll always support him.