Sunday, September 30, 2012

United 2 - 3 Tottenham

Rafael Rio Evans Evra
Nani Scholes Carrick Giggs(Rooney)
Roo was brilliant and unlucky
No, I haven't gone into hiding although, if I'm honest, that first half performance made me contemplate the idea. It's taken me a while to update this blog because my laptop decided to act silly and I have to make do with my Mum's PC.

Well what can I say about the game? The first half was an absolute disaster. I don't think I can recall seeing United play that badly. If I'm not mistaking, we only had one goal attempt during the first 45 minutes....and we were at Old Trafford! I accepted United's poor performance vs Liverpool, just because Anfield is probably a very difficult stadium to play in. But to play like we did during the first half, at OT, was unacceptable. Piss poor.

RVP looks like he needs someone up front with him
I wasn't surprised we found ourselves trailing Tottenham by 2 goals. Our defence was in shambles. Our midfield was ineffective and our sole striker was a mere spectator. No one looked interested. Scholes and Carrick didn't put tackles in while our defenders gave Tottenham's strikers an unobstructed way to goal. Giggs and Nani were useless while Kagawa was bullied off the ball again and again.

We needed a change and Fergie did that during half time. Apart from the inevitable barrage of shouting at our players, he put in Rooney instead of Giggs. A change which sparked our side into life. Suddenly it felt like we were heading to one of our famous comebacks. Tottenham were run ragged. Rooney was absolutely brilliant. Nani became more effective while Scholes delivered one immaculate pass after the after. Even new boys Kagawa and RVP actually got involved in the game. Although the latter did miss a chance that even I would have scored, while balancing a basin full of water on my head. Our Dutchman looks like he needs more game time, and if this is the case, I can't fathom why he's an automatic starter. Both Welbeck and Chicharito have a full pre-season under their belt.
Nani had a good game

Nani clawed one back but just when we were building up the momentum, our defence let us down again. Tottenham scored their third. We made it hard for ourselves, even though Kagawa reduced the deficit almost immediately. We huffed and puffed but lady luck was having none of it. We hit the post TWICE, had a decent shout for penalty turned down and found Friedel blocking every shot that came his way. 3 dropped points, while our main rivals won their respective games.

Surprisingly, I'm quite upbeat after the game. That second half performance was one of the best I've seen. The United faithful created an atmosphere synonymous with the big European nights at Old Trafford. It was the United of old that I've grown to love. Although our defensive and midfield frailties will probably come back to haunt us more times during the season, I think we can cope with it because we're really good up front. Young and Valencia will soon return and that will add more ammo. It's time Fergie reverts to the more traditional 4-4-2 formation, I just don't like the 4-2-3-1 we've been playing to accommodate Kagawa. Apart from that, we need to turn up from the 1st minute of the game. We have trailed our opponents during 5 of the 6 Premier League games.

Cluj and Newcaslte away next. I'm not too confident about the game at Tyneside, we were swapped off the park last year. Let's hope our attacking qualities prove too much for Newcastle to handle. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

United 2 - 1 Newcastle

I couldn't watch the whole game because I was on a subs bench with my local football team in a Gozitan stadium. I did get to see the second half and I liked what I saw.

The passing in the midfield was a breath of fresh air, because it's been a while since I've seen United pass the ball with such ease. Cleverley and Anderson both scored very good goals and both played quite well in the middle of the park. Cleverley's goal was his first for United and, well, he looked ecstatic.

It was also good to Rooney back. Let's hope he rediscovers last year's excellent form. I'm also made up for Fletcher. He looked eager to play and it's good he got more minutes under his belt. His start was the first one in 10 months. Welcome back football genius! 

The youngsters at the back didn't do bad either.

We'll be meeting Chelsea in the next round of the League Cup. Shame we didn't draw an inferior side but anyway Fergie will still give a young gun or two to prove his worth against the Londoners.

Short post today but I'm really busy doing my school thesis. Until next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Liverpool 1 - 2 United

Rafael(Welbeck) Rio Evans Evra
Valencia Carrick Giggs Nani(Scholes)

We finally won three points at Anfield, even though the lads put in a dire display. Admittedly, the ref did give us a helping hand by awarding an in-existent penalty and showing Shelvey the red card. Although not entirely sure, I think the red was probably a correct decision. Obviously Facebook is bombarded with the usual claims by scousers that the ref wanted United to win. They can say what they want, what matters is that we've won the three point while Liverpool's miserable season gets even worse. Winning after such controversial decisions make a win even sweeter to be honest.

Brilliant performance by Rafa
We were piss poor during the first half. In fact I cannot really recall Reina making a stop.  Deep down I know that had Liverpool stayed with 11 players, we wouldn't have won all points at stake. Having said that, football works in funny ways so one cannot really use IF statements in this game. We obviously looked better during the second half, especially when Scholes came on for the abysmal Nani. I've defended Nani quite often but his performance today was pathetic. You just cannot defend such performances. Anyhow, Gerrard opened the score but Rafael scored a stunning goal to put United on level terms almost immediately. RVP secured the points with a good penalty. Yeah, we have finally scored a penalty....although Reina was unlucky not to push it away.

If I had to choose a man of the match, it would be someone from three of our defenders. Rafael, Evans and Rio were brilliant. The goalie wasn't bad either. It's the midfield which really really worries me. The wingers were in and out of the game, while Giggsy wasn't effective. Kagawa won some freekicks but something tells me he's a tad too weak (physically) to play in such games. Carrick and Scholes did well. RVP cut a lonesome figure up front and when the ball got to him, it was on the flanks and could do little harm to Liverpool's defence since he had not one to aim at in the box. 

Overall I'm delighted we won. I'm a bit concerned with the performance though. It was an undeserved victory, but really, who the hell cares?!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

United 1 - 0 Galatasaray

Rafael Vidic Evans Evra
Valencia Carrick Scholes(Fletcher) Nani

So we needed to start on a good note and we did..... but only just. Carrick scored after 7 minutes and I thought the Turks were there for the taking. However they battled back and could have easily drawn the game. Our side put in a lackluster performance, not too different from what we witnessed in the CL last season.

Man of the Match - Carrick
Galatasaray were quite unlucky not to be awarded a penalty one minute into the game but the ref decided to turn a blind eye on a clumsy tackle by Vida. The Turks also hit the bar with a sublime effort by one of their strikers and De Gea also made two stunning saves in quick succession to keep the Turkish giants at bay. Carrick was my man of the match today. Apart from scoring a decent goal, he also managed to break countless of Galatasaray attacks and distributed the ball with aplomb. Excellent footballer. Scholes didn't have a bad game either although he wasn't spraying balls to the wings like we're used to seeing in the PL. His tackling was good though, as astonishing as it may sound.

RVP needs more games
Valencia wasn't up to the task today. Sure, he did take on Galatasaray's right back and beat him on a couple of times but there was no end product. Sometimes I get the feeling that Valencia, as much as I like him, just shoots the ball into the box without targeting anyone in particular. I've been getting that feeling for quite some time. Obviously I'm not complaining because he manages a good amount of assists per year. Whether his assists are intended is a different matter. On the left Nani was his usual self. Frustrating at times and brilliant on others. He missed a penalty. I admit, it wasn't the best of efforts but it was certainly a better taken penalty than RVP's(vs Southampton) or Chicharito's(vs Wigan). Unfortunately a fair amount of United fans decide to look at him when he's at his worst. On United forums and facebook pages today, he came under a barrage of abuse. However, he did create a host of decent chances, which Chicharito and RVP spurned. I like Nani, maybe I try hard to like him. He's a good footballer but his actions may deem him as one of those unlikable players. You know, the ones in the fold of Joey Barton and Balotelli just to name a few (although I happen to like both of them). This will most definitely be his defining season. If he comes up with the goods, then Fergie will offer a new contract otherwise he'll probably be shipped out at the end of the season. Which would be a shame.

RVP was anonymous. Kagawa was bullied off the ball on countless of occasions. Chicharito has brilliant movement but has lost all confidence when in front of goal while I was particularly pleased with Rafael and Evans. Vidic looked slow while Evra was lazy. I'm not too keen on this 4-5-1 formation. Whenever we used that formation, our midfielders had no options and hence we never really performed. I'm more of a 4-4-2 fan. 

Liverpool next. It's their cup final, they'll be up for it. They're enduring a very hard season but I wouldn't be surprised if they beat us on Sunday. Not much optimism, I know, but it's just a gut feeling. 

Darren Fletcher made his first appearance in 10 months for Manchester United. Great to see him back.
Man Utd have already missed as many penalties this season as they did in the whole of 2011/12 (all comps). 
United have now missed a penalty in 3 consecutive games (van Persie, Hernandez, Nani).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

United 4 - 0 Wigan

Rafael Rio Vidic(Evans) Buttner
Nani Carrick Scholes(RVP) Giggs(Powell)
Welbeck Chicharito

Scholes....He Still Scores Goals
After a lacklustre first half performance, our players must've taken on board whatever Sir Alex told them during the break. During the second period, our side looked more determined and wiped Wigan aside with some very good football. Scholes opened the floodgates with a tap in. Chicharito, who missed a penalty, was positioned well to score the second, while new boys Buttner and Powell both scored very good goals.

We were awarded a penalty barely 10 minutes into the game. From the live action, it looked like Welbeck was floored by El-Habsi. However the replays suggested that Welbeck took a dive.  Justice was served since Wigan's goalie saved Chicharito's tame penalty. We never really looked like scoring during the first half and, apart from Buttner's lung busting performance, I thought there weren't any real positives to look at. However, we looked a different side during the second half. We attacked with intent and Wigan were never in the game.

Man of the match
Buttner was my man of the match today. His combative display won over the crowd. He managed to bag an assist and a goal by the end of the game. Our other left back, Evra, scored 3 goals during his United career. Patrice has been shit recently when defending and that goals stat shows that he can't really score a goal even if his life depended on it. He does cross the ball quite well though. Anyhow, this Buttner guy has given Fergie another option and thankfully the days when Evra was an automatic starter are over...or soon to be over. Admittedly, Buttner wasn't really tested enough for me to pass my judgement on his defensive abilities but he surely brings a lot of options at the front. He scored a very good goal albeit with a touch of luck but (quoting the words of the commentator) "He deserved that luck". Welcome to OT Alex!

Meanwhile I was equally pleased with Powell's goal. The way he took it was reminiscent of a young Scholesy. If he's half as good, then we've made a very good buy. Fergie certainly thinks he's got a really good player in young Nicky. I was also very relieved for Chicharito who got his first goal of the season. He looked a bit down in the previous games so a goal should do him the world of good. I don't like Chicha when he has the ball at his feet but his positioning in the box is just brilliant. 

Turkish giants Galatasaray visit next. Let's hope we don't take Champions League football as lightly as last season.  

FACTOn his 700th game for United, Paul Scholes completed 41/45 (91%) of his passes & scored a goal. Legend.

All our summer signings scored on their home debut. Van Persie & Kagawa vs Fulham and Buttner & Powell today.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Southampton 2 - 3 United

Rafael Rio Vidic Evra
Valencia Cleverley(Chicharito) Carrick Welbeck(Nani)
Kagawa(Scholes) RVP
From hero to zero and back to a hero

Phew! We didn't deserve to win, but we did.... and thank goodness for that! We started brightly but when Southampton scored, our players looked demoralised. Thankfully, our new hero Robin Van Persie managed to get one back when one of their defenders slipped inside the area. That was one of the few chances we had during the first half and thankfully van Persie didn't miss.

I thought we were going to create a lot of chances during the second half but that didn't happen. Instead, Southampton managed to tear our back four apart with some intelligent passes which exposed the harsh reality that our central defenders have both slowed a yard or two....although their presence still instils that secure feeling in me. Southampton deservedly scored the second when Evra slipped inside the area and their striker got a free header. I thought that was game over but Fergie made a couple of subs which managed to spark some life into our team. Scholes and Nani replaced the ineffective Kagawa and Cleverley and they instantly left a mark on the game. We managed to win a penalty but van Persie took it carelessly and wasted a perfect opportunity to get us on level terms. He would have had to experience the wrath of Sir Alex after the game had he not scored two other goals that ultimately won us the game. Our second was an easy tap in but the winning goal was an excellent header by the Dutchman. Excellent. 

I'm obviously delighted but I can't hide the worrying fact that we're letting too many goals go in. 5 goals conceded in 3 matches is not a good statistic and we didn't play against teams which will be competing to get in the top 5 (bar Everton, maybe). Fergie should try and sort out our midfield and defence because it is clearly not working out well. Till then, we've got a much needed international break were we could recover a player or two. Skipping heart beats so early in the season.....things are not looking promising for my heart! 

Short post today, just coz I have the 'small' matter of organising a BBQ in torrential rain. Until next time!