Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Manchester United News & Views

Champions League Draw – On paper this looks to be a stroll into the second round but an opening fixture in Turkey shortly followed by an away tie in Russia will prove to be difficult games. Given the history between Turk & English supporters the away match to Besiktas might once again turn out to be one with a lot of off the field controversies. Since this is the first game anything less than 3 points in Turkey will instill the Russians & Germans with belief. United are expected to take 9 points from their home games & with at least a further four points on the road it should be enough to see us top this group. The away tie to the German champions is the last game & by that time the Red Devils will look to have already tied up the group. If not the Anglo German battle will be the crunch game. After the weekends performance the group rivals will have studied United’s weaknesses which are mainly in defense & goal. Ben Foster does come up with big saves but just doesn’t inspire confidence to the back four when dealing with aerial attacks coupled with the occasional nervous lapse. To displace Van Der Sar & be a permanent fixture for England he needs to get his act together. Hopefully Ferdinand & Vidic can pair up without any further injury problems before the group fixtures start & with Evans as cover we should be stable enough.

Games (vs. Arsenal 2-1)

A lot of talking points about this game but let’s start with Arsene Wenger. After Eduardo’s blatant midweek dive against Celtic Wenger still came out & defended his man. Nothing new as Wenger usually backs his players even when the evidence is to the contrary. By his own admission Wenger recently stated in an interview he has turned a blind eye over the years to protect his players. Not only does it make Wenger look daft but it encourages his players to keep behaving in the same manner. A case in point: Eboues attempt to get Wes Brown sent off by pathetically diving under no challenge at all in the second half. Eboue was rightfully booked for his theatrics whilst Wenger was made to look like a clown after being sent off in the last minute. Wenger has since accused United of ‘anti-football’ which is a joke when the Londoners ended up with more yellow cards. Shifting focus to the game itself the Gunners played well & United were a bit fortunate to get the victory courtesy of Diaby’s own goal. But the official match stats showed United with 58% ball possession & 5 shots on target compared to Arsenals 3. Tactically what started out to be a 4-3-3 turned out to be a 4-5-1 with Rooney being isolated & crowded out by the Arsenal back four. Arshavin’s screamer put Arsenal ahead but Foster should have done better simply because he managed to get two hands to it. He made a crucial save early in the second half & kept United in it. Fletcher & Carrick lost possession far too often they just could not keep the ball effectively & invited a constant wave of Arsenal pressure. Ryan Giggs also guilty of losing the ball on the break somewhat fulfilled his playmaking role with a hand in both goals. Fergie’s vote of no confidence to Berbatov starting the game was disappointing. The Bulgarians wayward finish on goal from Nani’s excellent cross field pass in added time summed up the overall performance.

Looking Ahead

After the international break its Tottenham away at White Hart Lane. This fixture has thrown out a couple of classics over the years with United often coming up trumps. Spurs have been showing off some exciting flowing football with 4 wins from 4. Modric & Palacious have made a big difference in midfield. The impressive Palacious was a United target last season. Defoe has looked prolific & there will be plenty more to come from Keane & the skillful Aaron Lennon who has genuine pace to hurt opposition. Spurs could well crack a champion’s league spot under the savvy leadership of Harry Redknapp. They have players with ability coming off the bench in Pavlyuchenko, Crouch, Jenas & Bentley. However a couple of signings on deadline day added to the possible move of Bentley to City & injuries to a few key players will reveal their quality & depth as Woodgate, King, Modric & Keeper Gomes are all on the treatment list.

With the transfer window closed I’m disappointed United didn’t attempt to sign an established midfielder. We clearly lack that quality in the center which showed against Burnley & Arsenal. The amount of times Fletcher looses possession in midfield is just shocking, he seems incapable of making even simple passes. Forget about being able to score a few goals as he missed a sitter against the Arsenal in the opening exchanges, this guy needs to be put back into the youth team so that he can learn to pass properly. He is a Floppin waster. Yet Sir Alex sticks by his fellow Scotsman. Hargreaves might be back in training by the end of the month & I certainly hope he stays injury free & displaces Fletcher permanently from the squad! Anyway United scouts have been checking out Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard currently applying his trade with Lille in France. The 18 year old can play center midfield or in wide positions. Rio Ferdinand could return earlier for first team action targeting the Manchester derby in 3 weeks time.This game is bound to be a cracker given all the pre season wind ups & City’s emergence as a potential footballing super power. Finally Edwin Van Der Sar picked up the UEFA Club Goal Keeper of the year award for 2008/9.



  1. Red Man.If you were manager to your players would you defend them too or turn them in.
    Arsenes blood flows with the red of Arsenal.
    What is your thoughts on Arsene being embaressed at OT?

  2. Be wary of the man they call Defoe.Defoe vs Rooney.Great to watch

  3. Wenger has to draw a line to maintain integrity. He was badly mauled by the OT crowd, shouldnt have went & stood on top of the dugout.


  4. red man, u say fletcher is bad, but i disagree. carrick is far worse.the man is incapable of emerging from scholes' shadow, as was initially planned. he lacks the basic confidence that a world class midfielder needs. at least fletcher is not afraid to play in big games. he might not be the most elegant footballer but if u think back he has been extremely effective in a number of important games..after all, at the beginning of last season wasn't he the guy putting the ball in the net initially? let's hope hargreaves comes back fit n ready to go cos in my opinion,fletcher paired up with hargreaves will be better than carrcik.

  5. Agreed with comment above.Fletcher has produced in the big games.Carrick as mentioned so many times before is good for the Premiership.
    As a utd Fan I am still nervous about Europe.
    Ronaldo will certainly be missed in Europe and after last years defeat Europe is what Sir Alex wants.Remember Bayern,Juve,Madrid,Inter and Barca are huge this year.


  6. United are always blessed with Luck

  7. It was the FA at fault regarding Arsene.Not anyone elses.He should have been escorted off the field in a dignified manner

  8. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson got his tactics and formation wrong on Saturday, according to football pundit Tony Cascarino, who felt that the Scotsman was luck to have have finished the game with maximum points after falling behind to an Andrey Arshavin strike.

    Cascarino, a former striker for Chelsea, Celtic, Aston Villa, and Olympique Marseille, was also at odds trying to explain why Ferguson tinkered with a winning formula. Following on from the riotous 5-0 triumph over Greater Manchester side Wigan Athletic, Sir Alex fielded a more "timid" line-up against the Gunners.

    "Sir Alex Ferguson got away with murder on Saturday," Cascarino informed The Times.

    "For the first time in a long time the Manchester United manager showed Arsenal too much respect by playing a timid formation — and he was lucky to come away with a 2-1 victory.

    "Why start with only one up front when you are at home and won your previous game 5-0?"

    United beat Arsenal 2-1, with a Wayne Rooney strike and an Abou Diaby own goal ensured the north Londoners left Old Trafford empty-handed.

    Alan Dawson,


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