Wednesday, November 30, 2011

United 1 - 2 Crystal Palace


Rafael(Pogba) Evans Smalling Fabio(Fryers)
Valencia, Gibson Park Diouf 
Macheda, Berba(Morrison)

I never thought United would bow out today
Ah well, we're out of the Carling Cup. Fergie fielded a team that should have had more than enough in its locker room to beat a championship side. However, the players failed to perform once again. Palace's first goal was sublime, Macheda scored a penalty and Palace scored once again in extra time. The Londoners were excellent when defending and their sheer determination to hang on to their lead in extra time was exemplary. Our players had another stinker with Gibson(apparently, I'm the only one who thinks Gibbo did well tonight!) being one of our only players playing well(the others being Smalling and Valencia).

This was a second string side but it wasn't a weak side. Rafael, Evans, Smalling, Fabio, Valencia, Park and Berbatov are all first teamers. We should have strolled past this championship club. Morrison and Pogba failed to live up to the expectations while most of the other players failed to show that they are first team material. Diouf is not Man Utd standard and I highly doubt whether Macheda is. The latter is still quite young but the former won't make it at OT and you can print that. 

With this loss we gave Liverpool and City a bigger chance to win a trophy. One of the two sides will win it, surely neither of the championship sides left can stun a big gun again. We'll have to do much better in the Premier League if we intend to win it and that, including the FA Cup, are our real chance of silverware this season. The standard set by Real Madrid and Barca in the Champions League is beyond us. The last time we bowed out of the Carling Cup at Old Trafford was 4 years ago vs another championship side (Coventry). Since then the side learned  a lesson and won the cup twice. Lets hope this defeat serves our players a lesson while we bear the smirk on most anti United people wishing this is the first step towards our downfall. The Carling Cup is the least important of the four competitions we're in but it's an important competition nonetheless. No excuses, we just failed to perform for the umpteenth time this season. We never die, we'll come back stronger.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

United 1 - 1 Newcastle

De Gea
Fabio(Smalling) Vidic Rio Evra(Macheda)
Nani Carrick Giggs Young
Chicharito Rooney

An Appalling Refereeing Decision Cost Us 2 Points
After a frustratingly abysmal first half, United upped the tempo and played much better during the second. However, the second period turned out to be equally as frustrating. Chicharito got his customary lucky goal and that's when I thought that luck was on our side. But in comes the spastic linesman, who must have gotten bored because Newcastle barely set foot in our territory during the second 45 minutes, and awarded Newcastle a penalty while I was still applauding Rio for an excellent tackle. 76,000 people thought it was a great sliding challenge from Rio, heck even Ben Arfa didn't look like he was asking for a penalty, but the linesman saw something which the world failed to see. Well done for fucking our day Mr Linesman. 

To add insult to injury everything that we sent towards Newcastle's goal was superbly saved by their keeper and then the post got in on the act and denied Ashley Young (who was poor today) a goal. Chicharito late on in the game had a good header cleared off the line by former red Simpson and the evening got even more pathetic as Chicharito scored what I thought was the winner...which was flagged offside. I'm not sure on that decision either. 

Evra did well against former red who was willing to impress
I believe in every single player we've got. If Fergie thinks they're good, then they are. We've seen Michael Carrick's situation. Our own fans keep getting on his back but Fergie keeps believing in him and he has been our best player in the last 3 games. However when players are due some criticism, then I'm willing to do that. Young, Chicharito and Nani were very poor today. I lost count of the amount of misplaced passes by the trio. Chicharito is very very good inside the box, but God he's so poor in build ups. His movement is excellent, but his passing and crossing? Appalling. Young and Nani were inexistent during the first half. In fact, while Nani had the ball during the final quarter of the first half, my friend asked "Oh, Nani is playing?" He never got involved in the game and don't get me wrong, I love Nani. I think he's a brilliant footballer but he's been well below par recently. If we intend to win the league, we need to have our wingers performing to their best and currently none of them is. 

I thought the stage was set for us to win the upcoming games and for City to slip up vs Liverpool and Chelsea. If City win tomorrow they'll be a good 7 points clear and they could be unreachable. Even with United's long history of coming back from the dead summed up to the history of City's ability to fuck things up and being the laughing stock of the world, I still think that they'll be very tough to overtake if they win tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

United 2 - 2 Benfica

De Gea
Fabio(Smalling) Jones Ferdinand Evra
Valencia(Chicharito) Fletcher Carrick Nani
Berbatov Young

Berbatov Gave Plenty of Reasons Why Fergie Should Start Him

Contrary to what most people made of the match, I thought that United played well. However, two mistakes and some poor finishing meant that we dropped two precious points and its now highly difficult to top the group. We need Otelul to pick up their first points vs Benfica to have a chance of topping the group and that is highly unlikely. Berbatov marked his return to the first team with a good headed goal while Fletcher scored the second and put United ahead, only to be cancelled abruptly by Benfica a couple of minutes later.

Fletcher Put United Ahead...
The two players who get a lot of stick from the United fans, namely Berbatov and Carrick, were the best performers todays. Berbatov had an excellent first half while Carrick was composed throughout and barely misplaced a pass. Again, Carrick was my man of the match.  I was a tad dissapointed with the service our strikers got from the wings. Nani was on a one man mission to impress his fellow countrymen...and on most occasions failed while Valencia only took on their fullback during the second half. Ashley Young, who played as a second striker, had a stinker. He got caught offside one time too many and missed a very good chance. It's not his natural position so I won't complain.

...Only to Have His Goal Cancelled a Minute Later
We are in a very difficult position but luckily 2 results out of 3 will satisfy United in the upcoming CL match. A draw and a win will put United through. In my opinion we can forget about finishing first. The price we'll pay for the complacency shown vs Basel and indeed today just after we scored could be a hefty one, especially if we fail to get through to the second round. Something that should have been a formality.

Anyway, for a change I'm pleased with the performance but disappointed with the result. Next time we win 1-0 and perform poorly, I won't be complaining! Newcastle next. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Swansea 0 - 1 United

Jones Vidic Rio Evra(Fabio)
Nani Carrick Park Giggs(Fletcher)
Rooney Chicharito(Valencia)

Yet Another Important Goals Scored By Chicho
Another good result comes our way and Chicharito was our hero yet again. His early strike was what decided the match as we defended excellently throughout the 90 minutes. It is our 5th successive clean sheet after getting hammered by City. Our defence must have learned its lesson.

International Football Must Have Taken Its Toll On Nani
Attacking-wise we weren’t really menacing. Apart from the goal, we only really troubled Swansea’s keeper during the final 10 minutes and that was as soon as Valencia entered the field of play. We looked a tad better with Antonio on the right so I expect him to start on Tuesday. Carrick put in a very good performance as well. His pocket passes were a breath of fresh and he protected our defence quite well. Meanwhile at the back, our central defenders barely put a foot wrong in front of the excellent De Gea. Our young Spaniard was up to the task yet again. Well done to the Nostradamuses who wrote our goalie off in August. Jones wasn’t so impressive during the first half but played much better during the second. He came agonisingly close to scoring late in the game. On the other side, Evra was given a torrid time by Swansea’s fast winger. I forgot his name though!

Giggsy played some decent passes and was at times our only creative player and, given his age, that is a tad worrying. Nani was anonymous and Rooney wasn’t at his usual best. Chicharito who keeps scoring very very important goals was caught offside quite often, which is quite annoying….and let me not mention his heavy touches at times! My man of the match? Carrick

We couldn’t buy an away game last year but we’re doing quite well away from home this year so I’m not complaining. 1-0’s ,6-0’s  all yield 3 points and that is what we wanted. Bring on Benfica!

Some stats for ya
  • We only won 5 away games last season. We’ve already won 4 this year.
  • This was Swansea’s first loss at the Liberty Stadium this season.
  • Our goal was the first goal they conceded at the Liberty Stadium  (2nd actually, the other being an own goal)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

United 1 - 0 Sunderland

Jones Vidic Rio Evra
Nani Fletcher(Fabio) Rooney Park(Carrick)
Chicharito Welbeck(Berbatov)

Wesley Brown. Once a Red, Always a Red.
I must not kid myself. This wasn't even a good Manchester United performance, it was just on the verge of decent. An abysmal first half performance was followed by an acceptable shift during the second half. Our own Wesley Brown, in the colors of Sunderland, headed past his own keeper to give us the 3 points. I do think we deserved to win because we had a couple of decent chances during the second half, but that's just about it.

Three points are what we needed and we got them. That's what matters in football and thankfully we have become experts in scraping 1 nil wins. Our strikers had very little joy up front, Sunderland defended exceptionally. Our defenders didn't do that badly either. Vidic and Jones were immense, once again. On the other side, Rio and Evra defended carelessly at times but thankfully Sunderland didn't capitalise on that. In midfield Fletch and Ji did reasonably well but lacked creativity while Nani only got going when the game was 15 minutes shy of the final whistle. He was frustrating before that. Wayne was again deployed at midfield and he did quite well. He sprayed passes for fun, a performance reminiscent of a young Scholesy. 

The North Stand was Rightly Renamed After Sir Alex

At the end of the day I'm pleased with the 3 points but I'd love to see United with more attacking intent at Old Trafford. Fergie was given a nice anniversary gift by one of the players he nurtured. I missed the emotional guard of honour towards our great manager because my stupid friend only arrived with our satellite card at 4pm. I'll wait for MOTD to watch that great moment when our great club revealed that the North stand will be renamed after Sir Alex Ferguson. He deserves it. Thank You Sir Alex!

The Guard of Honor Amid Tears From Some United Diehards 
Sir Alex. Number One. Legend.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

United 2 - 0 Otelul

Jones Ferdinand Evans(Fryers) Fabio
Valencia Rooney Anderson(Park) Nani
Owen(Chicharito) Berbatov
Valencia congratulated after  opening the score
Another stuttering display which yielded 3 points, so I don't have much to complain about. BUT that performance was not worthy of champions to be. If we're aiming to win the Champions League, we need to perform much much better than that. Apart from the goals by Valencia and Rooney, there weren't much positives during this game. 

I'm not sure what's happening but something is not clicking. We've performed below par for the last 7 games (in champions league & premier league). We need to get out of this poor form as soon as possible because we just can't slip in the upcoming winnable games. We'll be facing Sunderland, Swansea and Newcastle during this month and any average performance could cost us the three points against the likes of Newcastle, who are still unbeaten.

At least our main rivals, Benfica, drew against Basel today and that means that now we're joint leaders in our group. We should progress towards the second stage of this year's champions league but then again, there shouldn't have been any doubts about our qualification. That game vs Basel should have been won easily but complacency cost us 3 precious points. Anyway, its no use crying over spilt milk. We'll have to look forward and hope that we recapture our August form and destroy anything that comes our way. I believe we have got the squad to do so. Come on United!