Saturday, February 23, 2013

QPR 0 - 2 United


DDG
Rafael Rio Vidic Evra

Nani Carrick Giggs Young(Valencia)
RVP(Welbeck) Chicharito(Rooney)

Another professional display, another clean-sheet and yet another step towards that 20th title. Our boys barely put a foot wrong today. 

Our defence made sure DDG didn't have much to do. Rio and Vida were excellent and Rafael was brilliant at right back. Our young Brazilian scored a gem of a goal (probably the best goal I've seen United score this season), cleared a dead cert QPR goal off the line and produced a world-class pass towards RVP late in the first half. Definitely my man of the match. 

Brilliant Rafa
Carrick and Giggs had a very good game in the middle of the park. The former was efficient in his passing as always and the latter put the game to bed with a fine finish on the 80th minute. Giggsy was quite unlucky not to get a brace after his sublime chipped effort hit the bar. It has been a while since both our wingers had a good game but I can safely say that it was a good day at the office for Young and Nani. Young combined well with Evra while Nani wasn't frustrating and managed to get an assist to his name. That's his second assist in as many games. That's why I think Nani is quality. 

Our strikers had a difficult game. Chicharito didn't get much joy in front of goal and RVP had to be withdrawn after sustaining a hip injury. Subs Welbeck and Rooney did quite well.

So we will certainly end the weekend a minimum of 12 points clear. City will face Chelsea tomorrow in what could be a tough game for our neighbors. If I'm honest, I think it will take a colossal fall for us to miss out on the title this year. I know I probably said the same thing last year but we've only got 11 games to go and most of them are quite straight forward. City have 12 games left and will be facing Chelsea at home, Everton away, Tottenham away and United away from home. They'll surely drop points in those games. From our side, we must make sure we win 7 of the remaining games and that'll do. Over and above all, Fergie must make sure complacency does not creep in. Bring on Norwich and then Real Madrid. 

FACTS
  • 20.5% - Man Utd have the best conversion rate in the Premier League
  • 32 - Manchester United's Nani has assisted more goals than any other player in the Premier League since August 2009. 


Monday, February 18, 2013

United 2 - 1 Reading

DDG
Jones(Nani) Smalling Vidic Buttner
Valencia Anderson(Carrick) Cleverley Young(RVP)
Chicharito Welbeck

So we're through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup after a decent performance against a spirited Reading side. Nani and Chicharito scored in the space of a few minutes but the game still had a nervy finish as a moment of lapse from our defence gifted Reading an easy goal. 

Man of the Match
Nani showed today why I believe he's the best winger at our club. Young was anonymous on the left hand side while Valencia was piss poor on the other side. We lacked that spark and imagination until Nani replaced the injured Jones. He's not afraid to try his luck from outside the box and was quite unlucky not to have a couple more goals to his name today. Apart from the goal, he produced a fine assist for Chicha's goal. He was outstanding. Man of the match. If he doesn't start the next game, then I honestly don't know what he needs to do to get back in our starting XI. 

A close contender for man of the match was Vidic who marshaled our defence to a fine performance.  He put his head to every ball that got delivered in our box and got a cut on his forehead to show for his efforts. Cleverley and Welbeck worked tirelessly but the latter disappointed me when in the box. Anderson wasn't bad either but he's prone to make that stupid wayward pass when a simpler option is available. The brazilian had a good shift though. Chicharito didn't have much chances but still got his name on the scoresheet. He could have scored another goal late in the game if it wasn't for a very good save from Reading's goalie.

I'm pretty pleased we're still in with a shout to win 3 trophies. If I'm honest, I don't think we'll be able to bring home the 3 trophies. What happened in '99 probably won't be repeated again by an English side. But as long as we're in with a shout, we should try our luck and go for it. Priority should obviously be given to the league title but, in my opinion, only complacency could stop us from bagging our 20th league title. Fergie will definitely make sure complacency doesn't creep in. 

QPR next. Let's hope we can keep our 12 point advantage and let's hope Jones' injury is nothing too serious. We need the boy. Come on United! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Real Madrid 1 - 1 United

DDG
Rafael Rio Evans Evra
Rooney(Anderson) Carrick Jones Kagawa(Giggs)
Welbeck(Valencia) RVP

I was quite optimistic before the game and hence predicted a draw. We got a scoring draw which is quite a good result to take back to OT. Playing at the Bernabeu is no easy task and, although Real had the most chances, we had our fair share of dangerous attempts at Real's goal. Their goalie made a couple of decent stops. Added to that, RVP also had a misshit shot cleared off the line. 

Impressive Welbeck
On the 20th minute (and against the run of play) we got ourselves in front through a good header by our Danny Welbeck. The boy was absolutely fantastic tonight. He ran his socks off and had to be subbed off because he had no more fuel in his engine to keep playing at that tempo. One of my MEN of the match. He's one of the reasons why our team, although inferior to others on a man-to-man basis,   is at the top of the EPL and have done particularly well against a more fancied Real side. We've got players who are willing to to put that extra effort for the red shirt. Some players we have faced recently do whatever they do for their personal glory. They don't prioritize the team's needs. Our players seem to have their priorities in order. More of the same please. 

Now, where are our goalie's slaters? Today David had his best game in a United shirt. He produced some world class saves and was a huge factor in keeping Real at bay. Of the many shots Real had, only a few were what I'd call dangerous and De Gea didn't let us down. A man of the match performance . That'll do him the world of good. 

Warrior
Two other good performers were Jones and Carrick. Jones kept Ronaldo relatively quiet. Yes, our former player scored a goal but that wasn't really Jones' fault. It wasn't anybody's fault. Ronaldo's goal happened because of the sheer brilliance of the scorer himself. His leap was absolutely fantastic and Evra never really had a chance of getting to the ball. That goal reminded me of the goal he scored vs. Chelsea in the CL final in 2008. It was also nice of Ronaldo to celebrate with such dignity after scoring against the club which made him. Anyhow, that's another player Jones managed to keep quiet. Had it not been for Jones, Ronaldo would have probably got another goal to his name today. Well done! 

I love Michael Carrick. He's been slated time and time again but his critics seem to have taken a back seat in the last couple of years. People have become more appreciative of our midfielder. Carrick was (and has been) the heartbeat of our team. He completed the most passes and kept calm in situations were I almost shat myself while watching the game on my sofa at home. Class player.

Rafael and Kagawa were the players who least impressed me. I've still got to be convinced by Kagawa. He had a couple of good games in a United shirt but that's just about it. Anyhow, overall I'm quite delighted with the effort shown by our players. A draw at the Bernabeu is a good result. 

Bring on Reading on Monday.

Good Improvised Save

Monday, February 11, 2013

United 2 - 0 Everton

DDG
Rafael Evans(Smalling) Vidic Evra
Valencia Cleverley Jones(Carrick) Giggs
Rooney RVP
RVP scored his 23rd goal of the season
That was an excellent display by our boys. Nothing special but they did what they had to do. Giggsy and RVP scored in the first half and virtually put the game to bed. We were more interested in rotating the ball around the field during the second period and that is understandable given our upcoming trip to Spain.  Last year's fixture at home to Everton was what ultimately cost us the title, Fergie promised that won't happen again and our boys duly delivered. 

Where to start from? Oh yes, obviously, I have to mention Giggsy. What he has done is quite remarkable; 21 Premier League seasons and he's scored in every single one of them. When you play with United, a goal or two will somehow come (I mean, even BEBE scored twice!) but what's most remarkable is the fact that he's been playing at the top level for such a long time. Ryan wasn't playing just to make up the numbers. He was effective. Apart from scoring the opening goal, he ran his socks off for the United cause. At one time he hassled Everton's defenders and made them commit a mistake in their own half. At 39, the energy shown there was quite unbelievable. Even Rooney was applauding. Well done.

RVP got his goal, created another and showed us that his right foot is ordinary. Rooney was excellent. He saw little of the ball in Everton's half but worked ever so hard in our half. His tackling is better than your average Premier League defender could muster. I think he would walk into a lot of Premier League teams' back four. I love his determination.

Man of the Match
Our defenders were the best performers. Rafael, Evans and Vidic were excellent. My man of the match was Vida. He marshalled our defence and managed to get some impressive blocks in very dangerous situations. Vidic was virtually faultless. The other two defenders showed how much they've matured. I remember when Rafael was more of a liability for our side. The improvement he's shown this year has been phenomenal. Our centre-back Johnny has been playing well for the past two years now. He had a poor season some time ago but he has really become a solid central defender. Maybe his presence doesn't scare strikers the same way a more powerful Vidic does but he's a very very good defender. 

Valencia showed signs of improvement, thankfully, and Cleverley worked tirelessly. Good displays by the duo. Jones was another player who impressed me today. He had the daunting task of keeping Fellaini out of the game and he managed to do so. Fellaini was nullified. Man marking is probably the most frustrating role one could get. You lose concentration for one second and that's it, you've fucked the plan up. Jones bullied Fellaini off the ball on countless of times up to a point that Everton didn't look for the Belgian any more to start their attacks. I know he's gone out injured but I think Jones will have some part to play on Wednesday in a 5 men midfield.

12 points clear. I know we blew an 8 point lead last year, with 6 games to go, but surely lightning can't strike twice! A lot of people have been looking forward for the upcoming game vs Real. People think it's our biggest game of the season. In reality, I think our game vs Everton was even bigger. Our next Premier League game will be even more important. The fixture vs Real is surely one mammoth of a game but, if I'm honest, I want that league title back. The league is the priority anything else is a bonus.

N.B. It will be nice to see Ronaldo again. He's a club legend. He's given us such lovely memories. In honour of those memories, I hope our defenders snap him in half. He'll be our enemy during the upcoming 180 minutes. Anyone wanting Ronaldo to do well against us is not a United supporter. He fucked off to Madrid and has now realised that the grass is not greener there. Manchester United is the biggest club in the world, he should have known better. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fulham 0 - 1 United


DDG
Rafael Rio Evans Evra

Valencia(Chicharito) Carrick Cleverley(Giggs) Nani(Welbeck)
RVP Rooney
Rooney and Ronaldo goals. Similar positions, similar finishes, similar effect on the title race?
Quite a late post, I know, but my examinations have taken their toll on me. I slept immediately after the game and only woke up a couple of hours ago. A solid 14 hour sleep! I was exhausted.

Anyway, back to what really matters: Manchester United. That was a massive massive win. Rooney scored an excellent goal which was quite reminiscent of what Ronaldo did in the 2006/07 season. I remember, back then, our players celebrated as if they had just won the league. That late win had a significant impact on the title race and yesterday's win will probably be as important, come May. Well, let's hope so.

Great banner by the red army. David's name was also sung throughout the game.
United played very well, especially during the first half. Our boys hit the woodwork twice and were denied a couple more times by Fulham's good goalie (whose name I forgot). That said, Rafael and Robin cleared two  balls off the line. Our goalie had a very good game in goal. He made two stunning saves and looked quite comfortable throughout. Evans was excellent and Rio did what he had to do quite well. Carrick and Cleverley kept the ball moving while Nani looked lively on the left. That was probably his best performance in a United shirt this year.  It's a relief to see we've got a winger who could actually beat an opponent. Valencia was on the verge of decent. He's still off-form. I hope he rediscovers his form because we need the guy. He could be excellent on the right, just as he was last year. Come on Tony!

Lights out just before half time
Rooney was my man of the match. Yes, he scored a good goal but his performance was more than just about that goal. He helped build up attacks and even defended when there was the need to help the boys at the back. I've said it time and time again, I'd choose Rooney over RVP any day. The latter is a world class striker but Roo is an all rounder. I've heard he's quite decent in goal as well so we've got plenty of cover if our goalies get injured, hah.

This could have been a very tricky game and I'm quite glad we got the 3 points and a clean sheet. Before last year, when we battered Fulham 5-0, we found the goings at Craven Cottage quite tough. In the previous 3 games we drew once and lost 3-0 and 2-0 in the other games. 

We're looking pretty comfortable at the top. Fergie has got a full squad at his disposal and that is ultimately what could decide the title. Last year we had too many injuries and had to field players out of their positions. I remember when Carrick and Evra had to play in central defence. At the moment we've got 5 fit central defenders! It's been a while since I've seen such riches. Injury problems have given us a tough time during the past 2 to 3 years.

City will play Liverpool very soon. Let's hope the scousers can do us a little favour. Meanwhile our next fixture is at home to Everton. Another tough hurdle, we know what happened last year. The blues have only lost 3 times this season. 

Ferguson displays his fighting skills after the game. Pretty decent.

FACTS:
  • Manchester United have earned more points this season than they have ever done in PL history after 25 games.
  • Wayne Rooney has scored (10) or assisted (7) 17 goals in 17 Premier League appearances so far in 2012-13.

Credits