Thursday, April 30, 2009

United`s Creativity Subdues Arsenal

The 4-3-3 formation United started with meant that Arsenal were under the cosh from the word `go` in last night`s first leg semi final match in the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo almost broke the bar with his 30 yard shot. Carlos Tevez was twice denied by Arsenal`s best player on the night-goalkeeper Almunia.

Fortunately the Red Devils` efforts paid off with the first half goal by John O'Shea. Manchester United deserved much more. They were more creative by far, and if it hadn`t been for Manuel Almunia Arsenal would have suffered a heavy defeat last night.

As it is the second leg next Tuesday at the Emirates keeps their hopes alive, though the odds are still with United going through to the finals.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wins For Manchester United, and Ryan Giggs

What a great weekend for the Red Devils!

On Saturday, in the late kick off in Manchester, Spurs got in front by two goals. Then, a United penalty put the scoreline 1-2. The rest is history, as Ronaldo scored again, along with two from Wayne Rooney, and ex-Spurs striker Berbatov silenced some of his critics and put the game beyond reach, with a 5-2 victory.

Then on Sunday, Ryan Giggs was named the PFA Player of the Year.

Of course the chances were that a Manchester United player would carry off the trophy, since five of the six nominees were from Old Trafford. The other player was from Liverpool, Steven Gerrard.

Whether Giggs deserved it in this particular year is open to argument, but who could possibly begrudge him such a prestigious reward after almost 20 years in top flight football.

Congratulations, Ryan.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What About Manchester United`s Future

Without doubt, Manchester United is one of the most exciting and consistent football teams ever to grace the turf.

With two titles already under their belts this season, there is still the potential to make that in to four, with the Premiership and European Champion`s League titles still to play for.

True, at times they`ve looked jaded, a result of playing so many matches during the season. And, to remain successful United will have to continue to bring good young players through the system, and probably to enter the transfer market when the window opens at the end of the season.

Sir Alex Ferguson will certainly be at the club next year, but what after that? He`s the most successful manager of all time. Whenever he does retire, his successor has a tall order to keep the club at the level we`ve seen over the past decade.

And, what about the tried and trusted players who have served Manchester United so magnificently over the years? Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Butt and the Neville brothers were synonymous with the United success of much of the 1990`s. Of those, only Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, and Ryan Giggs remain. When outfield players reach their mid-30`s in football most are generally in the final part of their playing days, and contracts tend to be given on just a year-by-year basis.

Paul Scholes recently played his 600th game for the Reds against Portsmouth. Scholes is a `players player`- his talent recognized by other players, managers, and fans alike. Giggs now tends to come on as substitute (a very good substitute at that), and Gary Neville has been beset by injuries since last season, and is struggling to find his old form.

Michael Carrick is reliable in midfield, Patrice Evra at left back, and Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as centre halfs are rock-like in defence. Following his knee surgery in November 2008, Owen Hargreaves should be back next season. Edwin van der Sar has another season left on his contract, though Ben Foster is a good goalkeeper, a future England keeper many reckon.

The rumours surrounding the `will he/won`t he` transfer to Real Madrid of Cristiano Ronaldo persist. And as good as Fletcher, Nani, Ji-Sung Park, and Anderson are, none of them have yet shone as consistently great players.

If Ronaldo does leave, United won`t only lose a midfield player, they`ll lose a striker too, who`s one of the best goal scorers there is. And with Carlos Tevez seemingly still undecided about his future at Old Trafford, the strike force of the experienced Berbatov and Rooney may not be enough. Having said that of course, youngsters such as the Da Silva twins, Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson, Danny Welbeck and the very confident Federico Macheda are all excellent future prospects for Manchester United.

The problem may be the gap that could be created by the loss of the current experienced-but getting on in years-senior players, and the youngsters who are coming along. Fergie hasn`t let the club down thus far. Where do United go from here? Hopefully onward and upwards, but only time will tell.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Manchester United Back to Top

After Manchester United`s win last night over Portsmouth, United go back to the top. 2-0 was a fair result and just reward for their efforts.

The goals by Rooney and Carrick both came from excellent passes, one early in the match, the second goal not long before the 90 minutes was up. The suppliers? Those old stalwarts Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

With Chelsea only drawing against Everton Gus Hiddink has now conceded that Chelsea are unlikely to win the Premiership.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fergie`s Gamble Didn`t Quite Pay Off

Oh well, Fergies gamble didn`t pay off, but United`s youngsters went down fighting.

Having so many games midweek and at weekends is taking its toll on the top teams, and the Reds had to make some changes to their usual first team to take account of upcoming matches. Some players were rested, one or two were injured, but those who came in for them didn`t really step up to the plate.

Unfortunately, although Everton rarely looked threatening United couldn`t get the goal they so badly needed. They frequently managed to get the ball up to the opposition box, but somehow just couldn`t find a way through to get many shots on target. Without Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs, or Carrick, the Reds lacked the cutting edge.

When it came down to penalties, Tim Cahill took Everton`s first, but when Berbatov took one of the worst penalties I`ve ever seen for United, the writing was on the wall.

So, Manchester United now have to concentrate on the two big ones-the Premiership title, and Europe.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ronaldo`s Screamer Wins The Match Against Porto

Surely Cristiano Ronaldo`s sixth minute goal has to be one of the best goals ever.

The Porto keeper had no chance against Ronaldo`s screamer from almost 40 yards out.
Alex Ferguson is the first manager to reach a sixth Champions League semi-final, which is against another of the English teams, Arsenal.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Macheda Does it Again For Manchester United

Manchester United's Federico Macheda has done it again! United were 0-1 up after Paul Scholes headed United in front in the first half.

Sunderland then levelled 10 minutes after the break through a Kenwyne Jones goal.

The Italian youngster deflected a second-half winner for United just seconds after coming on as substitute, with match ending Sunderland 1-2 Man United. The Red Devils go back to the top of the Premiership after a brief spell at the top for Liverpool after their 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in the early kick off.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Manchester United Looked Tired Against Porto

Four weeks ago it looked like nothing could stop Manchester United. Everything looked there for the taking. What`s gone so wrong?

Tiredness on the part of players, age of some-such as Scholes,Giggs,Neville-injuries and suspensions to some key players, yes, all of those. There were some flashes of genius last night in United`s game against Porto, but in truth they were shocked by how the away side came out and attacked.

The first goal after just a few minutes rattled the Red Devils. When a poor backpass put Rooney through to score it levelled the scores at 1-1. United left it till late in the match to get their second, a fine goal by substitute Tevez after a delightful pass from Rooney. Yet, even that didn`t slow down the Portugese side who kept on going right till the end, and managed to score their second, earning them a well deserved draw.

The return leg next Wednesday will be a real test for United, who have it all to do, as they must score, and probably win, to get through to the semi finals.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Federico Macheda Who? The Hero of Old Trafford

Stand up if you`ve ever even heard of Federico Macheda. Hardly a household name to most United fans, but as of now he`s on everyone`s lips.

The 17 year old Italian came on as a last minute sub at Old Trafford in Manchester United`s match against Aston Villa a few hours ago, and scored a vital winner.

Although Aston Villa were at one stage 1-2 up against the Red Devils, they just couldn`t keep Ronaldo from scoring an equaliser, and the new boy Macheda getting a winner in the last part of extra time.

United go back to the top of the Premiership above Liverpool, who must be sick at United`s win.