Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Schalke 0 - 2 United

Fabio Rio Vidic Evra
Valencia Carrick Giggs Park(Scholes)
Chicharito(Anderson) Rooney(Nani)

Giggsy tearing the Germans apart
This was United's best away performance this season. Schalke were totally outclassed today. Their team looked a far cry from the team which beat Inter a fortnight ago. If it wasn't for their excellent goalie Neuer, we would have beaten the Germans by a larger margin. Giggsy and Rooney scored the all important away goals. I guess it is safe to say that after today's game we have put one foot in the final. 

From the first whistle up until the final one, our players barely put a foot wrong. The only regret I've got is that we were a tad too wasteful in front of goal. The tie should have been put to bed by half time but hey, United never do it the easy way! Our defence was rock solid and the midfielders bossed the game. Having 65% of the possession in an away game is no easy feat and that speaks heaps of United's performance today. 

It was a perfect performance from all the players but I have to single out Michael Carrick who was immense today. His composure and passing was superb. 

It is also important to point out that we haven't conceded a goal away from home during this year's CL campaign! Well done United!

Arsenal next...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

United 1 - 0 Everton

Fabio Rio Evans O'Shea(Evra)
Valencia Gibson(Giggs) Anderson Nani(Owen)
Rooney Chicharito

Neville and Roo smiling after Chichi's goal
I wasn't very confident when I saw the starting line up mainly because O'Shea & Evans have calamity spelt all over them and at the centre, Gibson has been below-par all season. The two defenders managed to put in a decent performance but Gibson was really poor. I don't think that it is a coincidence that when he was subbed off we scored. It's a pity really because we all know that Gibbo is capable of playing well in the mid but it just ain't happening for him this year!

We were all over Everton. They had one decent, almost heart stopping, chance that was well saved by VDS. Other than that chance it was all about United. What happened during the game would have made even the most faithful fan think that it wasn't going to be our day. Chicharito blocked a certain goal, Anderson(my man of the match) concluded poorly from a good position, Gibson was misfiring, Nani turned into the player of 2 years ago and then, to put the icing on the cake, Owen hit the post! 

Anderson was Superb
However the stage was set for our new hero, little pea, to come up with the big winner. United's 100th goal this season. At the club, where I was watching the game, everybody went mental! Scoring the winning goal late in the game makes a victory even more sweeter. I'd pay to see the reaction of the Arsenal and Chelsea fans when Chichi scored the winner!

All the huffing and puffing finally paid its dividend -  3 precious points against a very defensive Everton side. We are now a step closer to winning our 19th title and realise Fergie's dream of knocking Liverpool off their effin perch. "It ain't over till the fat lady sings" but the fat lady has done her vocal warm-up and is now on stage. All that is left for her to do is SING!

A mammoth week lies ahead...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Newcastle 0 - 0 United

I didn't watch this game because I was camping with my friends on Comino. Just a little information for the foreigners who bother read my blog. Comino is a small island near Malta and Gozo. There are about 2 houses on it and a hotel. As far as I know, there are 3 permanent inhabitants. An influx of tourists during June, July, August and September means that the island is quite busy during the summer months but during the other seasons it is a haven of tranquility.

The only place where I could have watched yesterday's game was at the hotel. However, I only got to know that the hotel wasn't airing the game when I was in Comino so I had to endure 90 long minutes waiting for my sister, who was watching the game, to send me SMS updates. It was the first game I missed this season and I learned that following a United game through message updates is one heck of a frustrating experience.

I have just returned home and watched yesterday's highlights. Giggs missed a sitter and the ref could have easily given us a penalty. It's been 180 minutes since we last scored a goal so we need to find a our scoring touch again to avoid messing up another promising season.

Come on UNITED! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

United 0 - 1 City

O"Shea(Fabio) Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Valencia(Chicharito) Scholes(s/o) Carrick Nani
Park Berbatov(Anderson)

I'm really disappointed. I'm also livid because we let City get back in the game after destroying them in the first 30 minutes. 

Berbatov turned out to be the culprit today. He had two glorious chances in front of goal and missed both. I guess there's something wrong when Berbatov plays in an FA Cup semi final at Wembley. He missed a penalty 3(or was it 2?) years ago when Everton defeated us. However, I concede that players commit mistakes. Rooney has missed sitters, Giggsy missed a good opportunity on Tuesday and it was Berbatov's turn today to miss his chances. What is the most frustrating thing is the fact that these missed chances came back to haunt us. 

To add insult to injury, their goal was scored after two mistakes by VDS and Carrick. Therefore I think that their goal could have easily been avoided. With 20 minutes left to play, Scholes was justly sent off and that was it, United were never going to get back into the game against a well disciplined City side. I knew that if we were to win this game, we had to score first. Defensively City were really good.  

So there goes our dream of another Treble. To be honest I never expected us to achieve that amazing feat again but it was worth a try! City will probably win their first major trophy after a 35 year barren run and I guess it was inevitable really, given the millions they have spent. It must hurt to be a red living in Manchester in the coming weeks. However when we'll, hopefully, lift the Premier League trophy, this game will be forgotten. So COME ON UNITED!!!

p.s I'm off to Comino tomorrow for a 4 day camp so I won't be blogging after the Newcastle game. I'll be lucky if I get to watch it!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

United 2 - 1 Chelsea

O'Shea Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Park Carrick Giggs Nani(Valencia)
Chicharito Rooney

Phew! We're through to the semi finals! What is most rewarding about our qualification is that we got through to the semis at the expense of Terry & co. I felt quite relaxed before the game because United, at Old Trafford, rarely let us down. Goals by Chicharito and Park sandwiched a goal by Drogba which gave us United faithful an uneasy feeling for about 20 seconds. 

Giggsy Was Excellent Throughout

I heard a lot of blabbering about how Chelsea should have had a penalty last week but  I didn't hear a single word from these same people about how Chicharito's cancelled goal was NEVER an offside. But yes, United are always lucky, the refs always favour United and probably God sides with United. As I said over and over again in football you need that slice of luck but all the ABU's make it seem as if lady luck only smiles at United.  Oh and Terry shouldn't have ended today's match on the field of play.

Anyway we're through and that is what matters. All players put in a brilliant performance and all in all it was a deserved victory, even though Chelsea were much better than us during the first 20 minutes or so. A player who stood out for me today was Park. He was a constant nuisance to the Chelsea defence and also defended very well during the final 30 minutes. Well done Parky! Rooney was terrific again today with a couple of decent shots on goal and a handful of Scholes-esque passes. He'll be missed on Sat.

The Best Three Players On The Pitch
All in all I'm absolutely delighted. Our team managed to reach the 4th semi final in 5 seasons. Surely, Fergie must be doing something right! Speaking of Fergie, I finally found a place where I can watch United without having to endure 90 minutes listening to people who think they are the gaffer himself. Today I went to Malta's Manchester United supporters club for the first time and I enjoyed the experience. As all of my friends know, I don't tolerate anti Manchester United people near me during our matches and therefore, since I don't have cable TV at my apartment, I find it quite difficult to find a place that meets my never ending demands! This club, obviously, won't have any anti United people and most people support the team rather than bemoan every mistake made. Just about ticks everything I ask for.

City are next. Tough match against the massive club. I hope they make it in time to Wembley. Finding their way to the national stadium might prove to be a very difficult task indeed. Might as well follow our coach. COME ON UNITED!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

United 2 - 0 Fulham

O'Shea Smalling Vidic Evra
Valencia(Fabio) Gibson Scholes Anderson(Owen) Nani(Carrick)

We made another step towards securing our 19th title with a good performance vs an ordinary Fulham side. We dominated the first half with Berbatov and Valencia scoring the goals that gave us the 3 points. My man of the match was Nani who terrorised the Fulham defence and made two assists, even though the second didn't look intentional. 

Good Day At The Office
We looked very comfortable up until half time but I did fear that complacency, from our side, could put Fulham back in the game. Remember what happened vs WBA some months ago? I bet you do.  In fact, I thought that Fulham were better than us during the second period and had some decent scoring opportunities. However our defenders and our goalie, who confirmed he will be leaving United during this summer, did well to keep a clean sheet. 

I was also quite surprised to see Berbatov starting alone up front. I thought Chicharito would start this game but I guess this move shows that Fergie intends to heavily involve our young Mexican this Tuesday. Gibson & Scholes did their job while Anderson showed some delightful touches and showed that he couldn't score, even if his life depended on it. Valencia did well on the right flank and I have already heaped my praise on Nani who was excellent.

The substitutions made today definitely give us a clear indication of who's starting and who's not on Tuesday. However, I'm not having a go at predicting our starting XI vs Chelsea because Fergie always manages to outfox me.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chelsea 0 - 1 United

Rafael(Nani) Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Valencia Park Carrick Giggs
Chicharito(Berbatov) Rooney

So we have finally won at Stamford Bridge after a combative performance against Chelsea. Rooney scored the winning goal after an sublime cross-field ball by Carrick and a brilliant run and pass by Giggsy. This win away from home is nothing but a bonus, I honestly didn't expect United to win it.

The referee had an impeccable game apart from a decision he took late on. Evra felled Ramires and I admit that it was a penalty but hey, a ref fucked up 3 of our recent games vs Chelsea so I guess we're now almost even. Torres tried to cheat twice during the game but his cheating was properly addressed by Vidic and Ferdinand who made sure he doesn't do it again. Scouse bastard.

Chelsea, just like in our recent PL game, were outplayed during the first half but came back stronger during the second. However, our defence was exceptional. Earlier today I said that I don't mind Smalling playing instead of Ferdinand but I think Rio was excellent today. VDS had another great game and made a couple of world class saves that kept United in a good position. Chicharito was a tad quiet up front but Rooney was everywhere attacking and even defending. Anyway all in all I'm pleased with every player who played a part today. 

What?! Fuckin' What?!
A 1-0 win is a good away result but it is still a dangerous one.  Chelsea will now come to Old Trafford all out for a win so we need to put in another good performance at Old Trafford and hope we extend our winning streak at the Theatre of Dreams. We are still unbeaten at home in all competitions but as we have learned today, statistics really don't mean anything in football. 

I am now relieved. I have passed yet another daunting heart test. Our next game is vs Fulham and I expect a smoother ride, even though nothing seems to be easy when United are concerned. It's been a while since I have watched a United game without any pressure whatsoever. Anyway, WELL DONE UNITED!

United vs Chelsea Preview

A Very Brave Slip By Terry
I haven't eaten anything and eating is definitely not on my agenda today yet my tummy aches like hell and I really don't feel like doing anything. My apartment has also been subject to a lot of unpleasant sounds (sorry for the extra details). All of this suggests that maybe I'm down with a virus but this is not the case. In 6 hours time I will be watching my beloved reds take on a side which was almost non existent on the footballing map up until they found a sugar daddy willing to spend his way to the top. Chelsea have now become a force and there's nothing their Russian crook wants more than the Champions League. They came really close 3 years ago but Mr Braveheart, John Terry, slipped while taking his penalty and gave us the cup (and a new chant to sing at OT).  Chelsea will therefore be looking for revenge tonight and that may be one reason for my uncomfortable feelings about this game. 

Premier League - Champions League - Fa Cup. In That Order.
To be honest with you, I really didn't give two flying fucks about the Champions League this season. I really really want United to win the Premier League and I considered other competitions as a bonus. However, when we got drawn vs Chelsea, my feelings towards this year's Champion League changed abruptly and now I really don't want Chelsea to get a chance of winning the cup at our expense. I just don't want to see that John Terry smirking at Old Trafford next week and then having the English media blabbering about how brave the Chelsea captain was during the game.

We have played Chelsea twice this season. We ran them off the pitch during the Charity Shield game and they have beaten us during a recent Premier League game (albeit with a lot of help from the ref). The stats, if they're anything to go by, are all against United. Manchester United last won a game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in April 2002. Since then the we've been unable to win any of our  10 visits, losing six. Carlo Ancelotti has won seven and lost only three of his 11 games against Sir Alex Ferguson in all competitions.

Both managers and both sets of players know each other very well and I predict a very tight game, even though both teams will go out to score (I can almost hear a "no shit, Sherlock" from you lot). Fergie will most probably field a 4-5-1 formation but knowing that we need to score and that their most important acquisition, Luiz, won't feature tonight, I wouldn't be surprised if Fergie fielded a 4-4-2 formation. Rooney is a dead cert but then Fergie will have to decide on whether to play Chicharito or Berbatov. Berbatov is probably one of the best players in world when holding the ball but Chicharito's pace would definitely trouble Terry and Ivanovic and that's why I would give him the nod to start if Fergie fields a 4-4-2 formation. At this point in the tournament United need an away goal because both teams are capable of winning either away or home. 

With Ferdinand Fit, I Still Don't Mind Smalling Starting Tonight
Ferdinand could feature tonight but I honestly don't mind Smalling starting at centre back. Drogba, Anelka and the lady boy didn't really trouble our Londoner last month. I'm not sure if Rafael is fit but if he is then he'll probably start at right back. Nani, Valencia and Carrick will probably feature in our midfield and then Fergie will have the headache of selecting another midfielder from the likes of Giggs, Scholes, Park, Anderson and Fletch(I'm not sure if he's fit though).

I'm not predicting any scorelines, I'm really not good at it, but a scoring draw would be just fine.

It will definitely be an entertaining game for the neutral but for me, well, it will probably be a ride through hell.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

West Ham 2 - 4 United

Fabio Smalling Vidic Evra(Chicharito)
Valencia Park(Berbatov) Gibson Carrick Giggs

What a football game! Once again we were trailing by two goals before half time after conceding two penalties. The first penalty was a dead cert but the second wasn't a penalty. We were unfortunate on that part, however we were lucky Vidic wasn't sent off during the game. I was watching this game at a local pub and most United fans seemed to have given up. Not me though! During half time I told my girlfriend, who thinks United's manager is called Ferrari (at least she got the first 3 letters right), that we were going to win this game. She laughed at me so I recounted the games vs Tottenham a couple of seasons ago, the game vs Blackpool and the '99 final. 
Half Time. 2-0 Trailing. Down and Out? Fat Chance

Up until half time I honestly thought that we weren't doing that bad. West Ham scored two penalties but rarely troubled our goalie. Maybe this was one of the reasons why I still believed that United were going to win it. Our midfield did well today. Valencia had an excellent first half and Park did OK. Carrick had a good game... it's been a while since I've written so! Gibson must have forgotten his scoring boots at home but he broke up a lot of West Ham attacks. Giggsy had an OK first half but excelled when he was put in the left-back position during the second. He did a lot of overlapping and assisted Chico for our 4th goal. 

Both Evra and Vidic were disappointing today but Smalling gave us more reasons to feel confident in him by putting in another good performance. Fabio did what he had to do and earned us a penalty. At the front, Rooney was too isolated during the first half but got a hat trick in a matter of 15 minutes during the second half when he had Chicarito and Berbatov helping him. So, in my opinion, Fergie got his tactics wrong today but still managed to turn the game around with a couple of good substitutions and a change of formation.

Rooney's Curler was a Beauty
My man of the match has got to be Rooney. When he's not scoring the media criticises him and now that he's scored three, the Mirror claimed that Berbatov inspired United. Everybody played his part but it was Rooney's day today with two magnificent goals and a well taken penalty. It's been a while since we had last celebrated a goal from a free-kick!

2 nil trailing up until half time and we still won...."football, BLOODY HELL!!"