Tuesday, January 31, 2012

United 2 - 0 Stoke

Amos
Smalling Evans Rio Evra
Valencia Carrick Scholes Park
Berbatov Chicharito(Pogba)

Two goals, scored from the spot, by Berbatov and Chicharito gave United the much needed 3 points and gave our out-of-favour strikers the much needed morale boost. We controlled the game but found it difficult to penetrate a resolute Stoke defence. However, two inane challenges proved to be Stoke's downfall and they were lucky the ref overlooked another clumsy challenge on Evra inside Stoke's box. 

This fella needs his confidence back
It was a good game of possession from our side with Scholes prevailing as my man of the match. The ease at which he hit passes and controlled the midfield area was an eye pleaser. Another player who stood out today was Evans who looked brimming with confidence. He's been doing quite well lately but I sense there are quite a handful honing their machete for when Evans commits a mistake or two. If I am honest, while I hate slating our players, I still don't feel 100% confident whenever I see Evans' name on the team sheet. Anyhow, it's nice to see him so composed on the ball and I thought he had a good game vs Liverpool as well.

This fella could sell some of his confidence to Hernandez
With Morrison on the verge(or is it completed?) of a move to West Ham, which I fully comprehend given Ravel's puerile behavior, we saw a 15 minute show from Pogba today. I've seen him play a lot of times with the reserves but you just cannot give a verdict based on those games. But today, the minute he stepped on the field you just knew that this lad, 3 years my junior, is special. He put in two dangerous crosses, passed the ball around with ease and put himself in some decent positions. The huge question mark is, could he have done the same at the start of the game? Or was that performance the result of a Stoke side whose confidence had depleted? I can see what the hype is all about and I honestly cannot wait until I see him play again. He's a marvelous talent but the problem is that he knows it. Furthermore, his agent, I hear, is a greedy bastard. I just hope he doesn't follow in the footsteps of Morrison out of the club. My worries are that Pogba is French and he probably doesn't understand how big this club is. Let's hope he doesn't get too big for his shoes, I'd love to see a Cleverley-Pogba combination in the future. 

All in all it was a good win on home soil. Every player did his job quite well while in scouseland, another red scored his most important goal for Manchester United, albeit in the blue of Everton. Gibson single handedly managed to raise the roof at Old Trafford today by scoring vs Man City. We're now on top of the league with our neighbors and at least now there will be less pressure on our players in the upcoming game at Stamford Bridge. Everybody now    "ONE DARRON GIBSON, THERE's ONLY ONE DARRON GIBSON!!"    ....I always liked our Gibbo :) 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Liverpool 2 - 1 United

De Gea
Rafael Smalling Evans Evra
Valencia Carrick Scholes(Chicharito) Park Giggs(Berbatov)
Welbeck

Centre of Attention. His error ultimately cost us the game.
A late goal by Kuyt knocked us out of the FA Cup. Had we scored such a goal, that late, the scousers would probably be blabbering about how lucky we are.....buuuut I ain't complaining. We could have easily won but two errors cost us the game and that's the harsh truth of today's tie. De Gea was as confident as a bullied child facing his aggressors while Evra went to sleep and let Kuyt get the winner. Park scored a very good goal during a first half which we dominated but then we looked tired during the final 20 minutes of the game and I guess Liverpool were simply better than us during that period.

I'm not sure whether anyone will agree with me but I feel that as soon as Scholes was subbed off, we lost control of the game. Depending so much on a player on the wrong side of the 30's isn't good news but anyway we had quite a few players out injured and I guess we did quite well in Liverpool's backyard. Kenny is doing a Rafa Benitez i.e. turning Liverpool into a cup team. They did well in the Carling Cup and they're through to the 5th round of the FA Cup. I still don't think they're as good as they think they are. I know it's no use crying over spilt milk but had there been the likes of Roo, Jones and Nani, I'm pretty confident we would be looking at a different scoreline. They'd probably argue that had there been Suarez, they would have scored more. Fair point but I'd laugh it off. 

Overall, I'm not displeased about the performance. I thought our defence did well. Smalling and Evans were solid and Rafael was immense. Man of the match in my opinion. Scholes and Carrick carried proceedings in the midfield area while Valencia was his usual self. Giggsy was as calm as ever with the ball while Welbeck had a hell of a tough time up front. He worked hard though. The biggest surprise of the game was produced by Chicharito though. 15 minutes on the pitch and he didn't manage an offside. Well done lad! 

And now in the words of every Liverpool supporter, who are probably celebrating by preparing a fine dish of pasta with rat sauce, as far as the Fa cup is concerned "next year will be our year." Meanwhile I'll be at Old Trafford to witness our revenge on the scousers on the 11th February. I'm off. Study Time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Arsenal 1 - 2 United

Lindegaard
Jones(Rafael(Park)) Smalling Evans Evra
Valencia Carrick Giggs Nani(Scholes)
Rooney Welbeck
Welbeck Scored The Winner
It was a deserved victory against a team vying for revenge. Arsenal were nowhere near us during the first half but they did produce a handful of decent chances during the second. In fact, Van Persie could have easily had a couple of goals to his name. In the end, a good header by Valencia and an emphatic finish by Welbeck decided the issue.

United were head and shoulders better than Arsenal during the first half. However, the final ball was pathetic at best on most occasions. Nani was magnificent running rings around Djorou(I'm not sure how you spell his name!), in fact he got the Frenchman subbed off during half time, but his final ball was feeble. Had he been more effective, Arsenal would have never got themselves back in the game during the second half and I would have watched the game at ease without having my heart skip a few beats every now and then. 
Very Good Performance By Eva
Our defence did very well today. Evra was my man of the match. Apparently he was SKY's too. He barely put a foot wrong. Maybe there's time for him to win me over again! Smalling and Evans were solid. It's a pity though that Evans' reputation of being an error prone defender often makes most of us overlook his contribution. He headed away most dangers today. I  also thought Rafael played his part well so I guess him getting subbed off was just to put an attack minded player on. Fergie was proven right as the winning goal was the product of a fine build up by Valenca and Park. The difference between our manager and Arsenal's was evident today. Fergie did something that won us the game while Arsene killed off his team's chances by withdrawing Chamberlain (I finally saw what the hype was all about, excellent prospect.)  just when they had the momentum. Awful decision that but I won't complain.

Another Impressive Performance By Valencia
The midfield battle was won by our side. Arsenal's didn't hold a candle to ours and that's the reason why our team emerged victorious. Giggs rolled down the years with a fine assist and some decent runs while Carrick distributed the ball majestically. Valencia dragged his recent form into this game and at the front Rooney was a bit off beat but worked hard while Welbeck ran his socks off, scored and maybe could have had another goal or two to his name. 

Over and above all it was a good game. It's a shame that Ledley King couldn't keep his leg out of that tackle that won City the game. Football is a funny old game, we're just 3 points behind and I guess we're doing quite well to put pressure on City. Liverpool next. Honestly, given the difficult upcoming games, I'd sacrifice this game for the Premier League. Our players are getting injured too easily and we cannot afford to lose another one! We'll wait and see what happens, until that game I've got two exams to sit for so I'm off to study! 

"Happy 91st Opa, We Only Lost By The Odd Goal Of Three"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

United 3 - 0 Bolton

Lindegaard
Rafael Evans Rio Evra
Valencia Carrick Scholes(Giggs) Nani(Park)
Rooney Welbeck(Chicharito)

He Scored Goals Galore
Although we only scored the killer second goal late in the game, I thought the three points today were never in question. United were much better than Bolton. The latter defended really well and had their goalie perform a couple of miracle saves. It was a frustrating first half, Rooney missed another penalty, although there wasn't anything wrong with the shot itself, while we made far too many wrong decision in the final quarter. However, at the end of the day it was a good day at the office scoring three and keeping a cleansheet.

Welbeck and Carrick scored two good goals but the goal of the match, although not in terms of beauty, was Scholes'. 7 odd months ago, when I saw Scholes leave the Old Trafford pitch for the 'last time', I never expected to see him in the red shirt again, let alone score. His goal was what ultimately won us the game. Bolton had been resolute in their defence and, knowing from my playing experience, going down to a goal just before half time just kills you. So I have to take back what I said last week that Scholes doesn't have enough left in him to help us. He helped us today with his goal, even though his long range passes are a far cry from what they used to be. There's room for improvement...I can't believe I'm writing this about a 37 year old Paul Scholes. 
My man of the match

My man of the match was Valencia. He was terrific today. That's what we missed vs Blackburn when Fergie was forced to play Tony at right back. He doesn't do much wrong at right back but the opportunity cost is huge...and the result showed. I can't really pick up anyone who didn't do well today although I was quite pissed off with Nani's efficiency. He's such a skillful player and he can do much much better than that! Evans and Rio were solid and young Rafa did a pretty good job at right back. When I dislike someone, I don't appreciate his work even if he does something right and that is what's happening with Evra. I just don't like him and his blabbering mouth anymore and I'm not sure how he played today. Carrick was good once again and scored a great goal. At the front Rooney and Welbeck worked really hard but it clearly wasn't Roo's day.

Good win. A very tough hurdle awaits next Sunday at the Emirates, let's hope for a win. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

City 2 - 3 United

Lindegaard
Smalling Jones Rio Evra
Valencia Carrick Giggs Nani(Scholes)
Rooney Welbeck(Anderson)

Loved Rooney's Celebration Today and what a Goal he scored!
We never do it the easy way! Two sublime goals which sandwiched a reckless challenge by Kompany, paved way to today's victory. Rooney's header and Welbeck's finish were great goals. Rooney then scored the third and that's when I thought the game was over. I was very wrong. City fought back with character and made the game interesting for any neutrals watching and managed to shave a couple of years off my life. How I wish this was a Premier League game.

We should have never let City get back in the game. Their first goal was excellent but the second was the result of a bit of a gaffe by our keeper. We destroyed them during the first half but complacency obviously played a huge part in the second period. 3-2 wins are sweet but not if you had been 3 nil in front with a one man advantage. 

Sublime Volley By Danny
Enough with the mumbling and grumbling, looking at the first half performance, we played the way United should play. Valencia ran rings around Kolarov while Giggsy and Carrick controlled the midfield. I dare say that City are weak without their formidable Yaya Toure and even weaker without Kompany. I'm now looking forward to see how City will deal with the loss of Kompany on suspension added to the loss of their African players and the couple of injuries they have finally sustained. Knowing City, they'll probably buy their way out of this situation by splashing the cash on a January acquisition. 

Our defence had a couple of shaky moments, especially Jones who seems to have gone off the boil. Smalling had a good game and Rio was so and so. The best thing Rio did was give Evra a deserved telling off. I just can't figure out why Evra is our captain. Anyway, at the other end of the field we had two strikers who worked their socks off and therefore I'm pretty pleased with their input. 

Now, I will obviously say something about Scholesy. I loved him as a player and I like him as a person who always had Manchester United at heart. But I'm not too keen on the idea of him returning. His decrease in form during the past couple of seasons was almost tangible so I'm not sure whether he's able to help us. This move is a desperate one. It suggests either that Fergie believes so much in young Cleverley that he thinks it's not worth making a permanent move for a player or that we're skint. I'd like to think that the reason is the former. Although the odd sight of Scholes sporing the number 22 did put a bit of a smile on my face, I don't think it is a good move. I'd love to be proven wrong but I don't think Scholes has enough in him to change the outcome of our season. We'll wait and see.

After reading the comments posted by the anti-United brigade on facebook, I cannot help but feel annoyed. Remarks such as "the ref is red", "penalties, red cards - why always in favour of United?" etc etc, make me feel like punching through bricks. The red card was a double footed challenge, nowadays that's a no-no. If Nani didn't jump, he could have had a foot broken. The penalty was as plain as day. BUT the foul which lead to City's first goal should have never been a freekick to City. Richards fouled Evra, so City get the freekick. Very logical indeed. Valencia was fouled midway through the second-half in the box but the Ref waved play on. I might have red tinted glasses but I'd change the specs these idiots(anti-united) wear before they're run over by a bus. Although, if I'm honest, I like the idea of it. 

Roy Keane, who has been a right pain in the ass lately, summed up today perfectly with this sentence: "You can give City all the credit you like, but they're out of the cup."
Finally something sensible came out of our former captain's mouth. Bolton next.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Newcastle 3 - 0 United

Lindegaard
Valencia Rio Jones Evra
Nani Carrick Park(Chicharito) Giggs
Rooney(Anderson) Berbatov(Welbeck)

Word-Class Goal by BA
So the start to 2012 turned out to be identical to the ending of 2011. 1-0 at half time, 2-0 just after the break and then a killer goal just before the final whistle. Last week we had the character to come back from 2 down but today we were totally outmuscled. Newcastle have got themselves two great players in Ba and Tiote. They might turn out to be one season wonders but their play today impressed me. On the other hand, we looked weak, tired and even disinterested at times. Maybe the "scary" flight our players endured yesterday had taken its toll. Anyhow, nothing can hide the fact that our players failed to turn up today. Our most influential players were as silent as the grave.   

Lindegaard didn't stand a chance in any of the goals. The first two were sublime strikes while the third one was a mishit by the usually irrepressible Jones. You know there's something wrong when Jones has a bad day. I'm not sure whether our players should be criticized for failing to put Newcastle under any real pressure or whether Newcastle's players should be praised for their perfect performance. Our central midfielders were simply brushed aside. We only had two decent shots, one was cleared off the line and the other hit the post. That pretty much summed up our night. 

An inform Berba could do little vs their strong defence
I'm pretty calm after this match and I was quite relaxed throughout it. Reason? I expected a tough game today. I would have put a tenner, a month ago, on us beating Blackburn comfortably and then dropping points today. The three points we lost on Saturday should have been won because we could - SHOULD - have played better against a team as mediocre as Blackburn. Meanwhile we all know that Newcastle are a tough nut to crack at St James Park, sorry, I mean The Sports something Arena. I believe in Fergie and rarely question his judgment but maybe we really do need to make some sort of acquisition during this transfer window. I know, I know, I was full of praise last week after the demolition of Wigan and Fulham, but losing vs Blackburn and losing today without putting in a fight has worried me. Man Utd never succumb without a real fight. 

City next. Winning vs City after back to back defeats would be sweet, losing our 3rd game in a row is almost unheard of. I cannot remember when such a thing happened but judging by the last two matches, a 3rd loss in a row is now highly possible. We'll never die. 

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