Sunday, September 30, 2007

Birmingham 0 - 1 United

Starting Line Up:
Brown Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Ronaldo Carrick Scholes Giggs
Rooney Tevez

Another 1-0 win, the fourth one this season. I only got to watch the second half since I had my Accounts private lesson. Thank God United's next match is an early fixture, so I won't miss it. As seen from previous matches, Birmingham are no pushovers they sent out a clear message on their season's first match vs Chelsea when they gave Chelsea one hell of a difficult match at Stamford Bridge. United won this match thanks to a brilliant individual goal by Ronaldo, a breath taking display by Tevez and a great save by Kuzczak which was destined to the back of the net since it took a slight deflection off Ferdinand.

Since I only got to watch the second half I couldn't dish out my opinions about the first half, all I know is that Van Der Sar got injured and will miss the next match. Should this be true, he will be missed, especially given the fact that our next match is vs Roma, a team striving to show us their true colours after last years match.

The second half kicked off promisingly as United took an early lead. Some slow thinking by the Birmingham defence gave Ronaldo a chance to enter into the box and score what would be the winning goal. Birmingham tried to attack, but their attacks were always cut short by our defence or Tevez who was industrious in the second half. Birmingham had several threatening shots on goal but in the end our Polish keeper was always on his toes to keep another clean sheet for United.

Another three points in the bag, another 1-0 win, and yet another clean sheet. We're doing what Chelsea have been doing during the past 3 years under the Mourinho reign, and we - United supporters - used to make a fuss about it. United invested heavily on attacking options, with players such as Nani, Anderson and Tevez yet we only scored 7 times this season in the premiership. Giggs looked poor, although it will be difficult, Fergie must realise that Giggs this year isn't what he used to be, with all respect to this United legend he should be dropped from the starting line up, maybe this will make him try harder to get back into the team, and get back at least the Giggs we had last season. We would be pushing our luck to ask for the performances a young Giggs used to have. Anyway a win is a win, and we're keeping up the pressure on our title rivals Arsenal. In my opinion this year it will be between 3, Arsenal, Liverpool and of course United. Chelsea are way off track, so early in the season. That Abrahamovic guy is a complete idiot, he had a great Ferrari and an exceptional, though controversial, driver(Mourinho) and thanks to his decision the Ferrari is still there, but without a decent driver. Well I thank him for making our life easier to win the league.

Our next match is vs Roma, another 1-0 win maybe? Surely we won't be seeing a 7-1 scoreline, come the end of the game. Will we? Dream on Oli

They say you couldn't judge a player from just a match nevermind 45 minutes, therefore I won't give my player ratings.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

United 0 - 2 Coventry City

The title should say, Man Utd 0 Michael Mifsud 2...

I don't really know what the line up was since most United players were second string players, although the likes of Nani, Anderson, O'Shea, Brown, Pique and Carrick all featured at a point or another this was quite a weak team. The match itself was boring like most United matches this season, well this match was Ultra boring form a United's fan point of view. From a maltese point of view, I'm quite pleased for Michael Mifsud. Prior to the match, I really wished he could score, yet United go on to win the match. Mifsud scored but Utd lost the match, Oh well farewell Quadruple.

Mifsud scored an opportunists goal after half an hour, but his second goal was special. He sprinted for the ball, dribbled past a good defender, Pique, and lashed an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net. Something thats makes you feel proud you're Maltese. I hope his talent gets noticed from other teams, maybe next year we'll watch him feature in the Premier League. It was his dream to play against his favourite team, United, he did that and scored two at Old Trafford, The Theatre Of Dreams, Theatre of reality for Michael Mifsud.

Michael Mifsud we salute you, he's a red you know!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

United 2 - 0 Chelsea

The Line Up:
Brown Ferdinand Vida Evra
Giggs Scholes Carrick Ronaldo
Rooney Tevez

This was Chelsea’s first match without Mourinho, some think the timing couldn’t have been perfect for United, but I was afraid Chelsea wanted to prove to the whole world that life goes on without Mourinho. But it was United who proved a point, we can actually score more than 1 goal! With a lil’ bit of help from the ref. Tevez opened the score and Saha secured the 3 points from the spot.

So the match started after Ronaldo received yet another award, and we could have scored inside 2 minutes when Rooney marked he’s back with a fine shot which was parried well by Cech. Carrick and Tevez got close but their respective shots were saved by Cech. The referee made a controversial decision when he sent off Obi Mikel for what seemed to be an ordinary tackle. Replays showed that Obi’s tackle was dangerous but in my opinion the referee shouldn’t have sent him off, but it was a blessing from above since our confidence rocketed sky high. Vidic nearly scored, after a fine header but Cech once again was well placed to keep the ball out of his net. Normal time ended and the referee ordered 2 minutes of injury time to be played on, Chelsea could have advanced up the field and attacked but they decided to keep possession and pass the ball around to see out the remaining seconds. This decision will haunt them in tonight’s dreams as United won a corner which in the end resulted in Giggs crossing the ball and Tevez heading in the back of the net. The first half came to an end, Man Utd dominated throughout the 45 minutes in which Van Der Sar was never called to make a save. The 10 shots on target made by United to the 1 shot by Chelsea tell the whole story. This was the only first half United performance I have enjoyed this season.

The second half started, no one really threatened the opposing goalkeeper and the only shots by United ended off target except for one. A Ronaldo freekick, yes you heard that right, for the first time this season he managed to get a shot on goal through a freekick. The second half wasn’t as great as the first, tackles dominated the half and referee was kept busy booking the villains. Saha replaced Tevez in the last 10 minutes of the match. Tevez quite rightly got a deserved standing ovation from the United faithful. Saha was keen to impress Ferguson and he managed to win a penalty. The commentator said that Saha made the most of a challenge by Ben Haim, yes he did, but it was surely a penalty. The same Saha converted the ball from the spot to seal a win over Chelsea who were literally lifeless.

A win over Chelsea is always great, perfect timing to record a win of more than 1 goal against our bitter rivals. All in all United simply dominated the game, but we must be more deadly in front of goal. If we were so, we wouldn’t be looking at a 2-0 scoreline but of more goals from United’s side. Credit goes to Carrick for a great performance were he showed great vision and awareness of lose players around him. Now we moved up to second place and are heading to the place where we truly belong. We must pray highflying Arsenal slip. Chelsea’s mediocre performance really makes me think, Is there a life after Mourinho? Is Stamford Bridge falling down? Who knows, we’ll just wait and see.

United’s next match is in the Carling Cup against Coventry City. I am really waiting for this match, it doesn’t hold any significance at all but the prospect of seeing a MALTESE player (Michael Mifsud) play against United really excites me. While I hope we win, I wish Michael a sound performance.
I’m off packing my bag for tomorrow. School’s In Summer’s Out, my joy over this match will soon come to an abrupt end :(
Ratings : VDS-5, Brown-7, Ferdinand-7, Vida-7, Evra-7, Ronaldo-7, Scholes-7, Carrick-9, Giggs-7, Tevez-8, Rooney-7 (Saha-7)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sporting 0 - 1 United

The Line Up:
Brown Ferdinand Vida Evra
Ronaldo Carrick Scholes Nani
Giggs Rooney

Another 1-0 win, this time in the Champions League. We were quite lucky to end up with 3 points as Sporting attacked relentlessly, credit goes to Van der Sar who in my opinion was the man of the match and kept the Sporting attacks at bay. The match was decided by a great diving header by Ronaldo after the hour's mark. This lad could dive!

United's first half performance, like all other United first half performances this season, was mediocre. The only team that looked like scoring were Sporting, and if it wasn't for Van der Sar, Sporting could have been leading at least 1-0 before the break.

In the second half United didn't seem to change, Sporting kept attacking but credit goes to our defence for a fine performance and of course Van Der Sar. In the last half hour of the match, United seemed to get the hang of it and actually began attacking and for the first time in the match they looked like scoring, and alas United got the goal. A fine move by United was finished by a brilliant diving header by Ronaldo. When it comes to diving, Ronaldo is surely an expert! At least his dive was fruitful to United. After the goal United seemed to have got their confidence back, Ronaldo resurrected and became quite threatening and Saha could have scored at least a goal from two great chances. Luck was on our side when Sportings diving header was brilliantly saved by VDS and from the rebound the ball was sent sky high. Tevez replaced Ronaldo in the dieing moments and he[Ronaldo] got an emotional standing ovation from the Sporting fans, of whom he once was a hero.
United's performance, once again, disappointed me but in matches like these its goals that count. Yeah we need to see some entertainment so that we won't sleep on our couches but a 1-0 win, away from home against a relatively good side, is great to say the least. 3 points in the bag, and we a maximum of another 9 to qualify, should we win all our home matches we will achieve this feat and head to the 2nd round of this Champs League, a cup which Ferguson seems to have a keen eye on.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Everton 0 - 1 United

Line Up:
Brown, Ferdinand, Vida, Silvestre
Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Evra
Tevez, Giggs

After the International break, and witnessing some good football by England(at last), the Premier League action is back. To sum up a perfect week, in terms of football that is, United won 1-0 and at last we’re leapfrogging some teams and heading to the top of the table. By no means was this a good United performance but we survived with Vidic’s sole goal.

The first half was literally event-less, United didn’t trouble the debuting Everton goalie and nor did Everton. We were playing without a centre forward, for some reason Saha who is supposedly ‘fit’ didn’t start the match, only God knows why(and Ferguson.) Scholes was given a yellow card, for a mad reaction and could have been sent off seconds later had the referee been senseless, and luckily the ref was a bit cruel(to everton that is) when he awarded a freekick, for a dubious foul committed by Yakubu on Brown, had the ref not given the foul, Yakubu would have ended up one on one with Van der Sar. Silvestre got injured and I bet he will be sidelined for a few weeks, I wish him a speedy recovery. Anyway the first half ended with little to recall except the above mentioned incidents.

So the Second half got underway, in my opinion it was a decent second half performance by United. Scholes should have scored after some good passing by Tevez and Carrick, and Ronaldo should have been given a penalty, instead what did he get? A yellow card, that sums up his diving reputation. But in the end Vidic was our hero, after superbly heading in the back of the net. Although we didn't play so well, we were way better than Everton, they barely threatened our goalie, but I should say that our defenders were spot on at times, in fact Ferdinand saved the 3 points when he blocked a promising shot by Yakubu at the face of goal. Saha who entered instead of Giggs wasn’t as effective as the game vs Sunderland.

Another 3 points in the bag, this time at a difficult stadium, in front of a hostile crowd. I was quite excited by the prospect of seeing Ronaldo play again after the suspension but to be honest he made me sick. He was a step over too far and didn’t manage to beat Arteta nor any other Everton defender, maybe his alleged partying has got him off the pace. Another thing that bothers me is that he alywas steps up to take a freekick, spends a whole minute 'concentrating' and then he sends it staight to the player wall. It's about time Ferguson had the balls to tell Ronaldo to give up on hitting freekicks, even I could hit them better. Tevez played brilliantly but still he wasn’t a threat in front of goal, maybe we should have bought Owen after all, his revival is there for all to see after scoring 3 international goals, he was cheaper and yeah he could score goals but Tevez’s work rate is unquestionable. Last year, after 6 games we bagged 13 points, this year we bagged 11. So we’re not doing horribly after all. What is our only problem? You don’t have to be a graduate to realize that it’s GOALS! We only scored 4, but to be on the positive side we only conceded 2, credit to our great defence. Anyway our next match is vs Sporting Lisbon in the Champs league and then vs Chelsea in the Premier league. I’m off to my Accounts private lessons. So long.
Over and Out.

Player Ratings (thanks to Karan for his help)
VDS-6, Brown-6, Vida-8, Ferdinand-8, Silvestre-5, Ronaldo-5, Scholes-7, Carrick-7, Evra-7, Tevez-7, Giggs-6. (Nani-6, Pique-6)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

United 1 - 0 Sunderland

The Line Up:
Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
Eagles, Hargreaves, Scholes, Nani
Tevez, Anderson

After last week's win, United win 1-0 yet again. This time against Sunderland, practically made out of former United players, the coach Roy Keane who was given a very warm welcome and 5 other Sunderland players used to play for Man Utd. The scoreline doesn't reflect by any means the way United played, at least in my point of view. I knew we needed an attacker, and when Saha was called he did his job well, was influential, and at the end of the day he was our saviour. I can't understand these people who question his ability, it's there for all to see. He was threatening throughout the whole 2nd half. As Ferguson said: "Louis Saha gave the players a target. He's very much needed, with his speed and his strength we've missed him so we're delighted to have him back." He's a great forward but due to his niggling injuries, he never completes a whole season, thats why a lot of 'fans' question his abilities.

I didn't get to watch the first half since I had an Accounting private lesson. My teacher decided to fix a time for this private lesson and to my dismay its every Saturday at 5pm, this means I'll miss most of United's premiership matches. Too bad for me, but I'll do my best to skip some lessons, maybe pretending to have a thummy ache or headache would do the trick hehe. Anyways I can't comment on the first half all I know is that it was quite boring.

The second half was entertaining, United played some slick football and Saha replaced Anderson. I heard Anderson had a quiet debut, but Saha was back with a bang! From the moment he set foot on the pitch he looked threatening, especially when he hit a half volley, which was saved brilliantly by the Sunderland goalie. Moments later Saha headed Hargreaves's corner into the back of the net, a goal which sent the fans into raptures, a goal which proved vital. Apart from some shots the remaining minutes of the match proved uneventful and thus the game ended 1-0.

I expected more goals to be honest but a win is a win and we got what we wanted, 3 points. Tevez played quite well, this game proved that he's just like Rooney since he was always there to help the midfield and defence, something Rooney loves doing. I'm not sure we wanted a player with these abilities since we already have one, but anyway Tevez is a United player and he's doing all he could for the club. Meanwhile the much awaited return of Saha was great to witness. He played some good football and brought to the team what it was missing, great finishes and breath taking pace. Personally I think Saha was the man of the match. Anyway we got what we wanted and our next hurdle is away vs Everton. I think it will be a difficult match, but I think the return of Saha as well as Ronaldo will prove to be decisive. We'll wait and see. Until then, I hope England win the next two Euro 2008 matches, and wish there will be no injuries to United players during this international break. Come On You Reds and Come On You Lions!

Over And Out

My Player Ratings :
VDS-6, Brown-6, Ferdinand-6, Vidic-6, Evra-6, Eagles-5, Scholes-7, Hargreaves-6, Nani-7, Tevez-7, Anderson(N/a didn't watch him play) (Subs: Fletcher-6, Saha-8, O'Shea-5)

"The United fans were fantastic - and the Sunderland fans were too - but we're still leaving with no points." Roy Keane