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Dejavu!

Posted by united4ever2009 on April 18, 2010

Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United

Their body language said it all. They thumped the ground. They looked to the skies. There is nothing in football as brutal as the stoppage-time winner and at the final whistle the pitch was littered with players on their hands and knees: exasperated, broken, disbelieving. All of them wore blue shirts.

The game had waited a long time for some drama and when it finally arrived it was in the 93rd minute, with the referee Martin Atkinson already checking his watch. For one so small, Paul Scholes has always been magnificent at the art of heading a football. This was classic Scholes: the perfectly timed run, the arched jump, the twisting of the neck muscles and then, finally, that familiar sunrise of a smile.

Was this the moment the title race took another late twist? At the final whistle no one here could truly know the answer to that question, but Gary Neville was running half the pitch towards the away end, pulling deliriously at the badge on his shirt. Wayne Rooney was roaring. These were scenes of wild jubilation. They ran together, cavorting, embracing, with Sir Alex Ferguson doing that curious little war-dance on the touchline. It was reminiscent of that centre-circle dash in Moscow two years ago.

It had been a poor game, pockmarked with mistakes, as these matches often are, but United were marginally the better team. City looked tentative at times and they might have to be more adventurous in their last four games if they are to finish in fourth position and reach the Champions League qualifiers. Kirk Bradley, the 26-year-old fan, who has a tattoo commemorating City as the “2010-11 Champions League winners” might regret that decision one day.

Perhaps they might have penetrated the United defence more had they exploited Craig Bellamy’s pace against Gary Neville. Or maybe the credit should go to the visiting defenders. Carlos Tevez buzzed around and Emmanuel Adebayor toiled away. But the three did not combine as they have recently against lesser opposition. Bellamy, in particular, had a disappointing game, although, in mitigation, it was a common theme for the front players from both sides. This was one of those games when, for long spells, the more effective players were tacklers such as Nigel de Jong and Darren Fletcher or defensive stoppers such as Vincent Kompany and Nemanja Vidic.

The Premier League is so fast these days it can be like watching ice hockey on grass at times. Scholes seemed to be the only player who realised that sometimes it can be of benefit to put your foot on the ball and slow everything down – pick out the pass, spread the play. Ryan Giggs, with a proud record of having featured in every Manchester derby since making his debut, also brought a measure of poise and Dimitar Berbatov did well when he came on but there was no doubting the identity of the best player: cometh the 93rd minute, cometh the little ginger man.

As a spectacle, however, there were too many attacking players, Rooney and Tevez included, who struggled to impose themselves. Perhaps Tevez was trying too hard. As for Rooney, he looked laboured throughout his 74 minutes on the pitch, not as sharp across the first few metres, perhaps only 80% fit. You can always tell when things aren’t going well for Rooney when he starts sniping at the referee and he was yapping away at Atkinson for most of the first half.

Atkinson was a strange choice given that he was the referee at the centre of the “Fergie Time” controversy when the teams met at Old Trafford in September. The original choice, Steve Bennett, was abroad, unable to fly back because of the Icelandic volcano eruption, and City had been sufficiently concerned about Atkinson’s switch from Stoke against Bolton that they tried to contact the Premier League referees’ chief, Mike Riley, to voice their misgivings on Friday afternoon. In other words, Ferguson is not the only practitioner in the art of trying to influence match officials. The biter had been bit – and you can only imagine the eruption from United’s manager if Atkinson had made a telling mistake in City’s favour.

As it was, Atkinson made a few errors here and there but generally got by without any major controversy and, ironically, his most obvious oversight was not booking Rooney after he had flicked out his leg to trip De Jong. The truth is it has been a bad season for the Premier League’s referees but, on this occasion, there was no sense of grievance about the dramatic, late and decisive goal.

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Posted in English Premier League, Manchester United, Match Review | Leave a Comment »

The Manchester Derby!

Posted by united4ever2009 on April 16, 2010

The Critics Preview!

Manchester City and bitter enemies Manchester United meet at Eastlands on Saturday lunchtime in one of their most significant derby battles.

Roberto Mancini’s City are desperate to reinforce their hold on fourth place in the Premier League and they are aware a win would also inflict further damage on United’s title aspirations.

City are now the favourites to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, but they sit just one point above Tottenham in what promises to be an agonising conclusion to the season.

United occupy second position and trail leaders Chelsea by four points after a defeat to the Blues and a stalemate with Blackburn loosened Sir Alex Ferguson’s defending champions’ grip on the trophy.

In contract to their neighbours, City are hitting form at the perfect time of the season having won their last three matches and they have scored 14 goals in the process to build a degree of confidence.

Revenge

To add to the spice, the home side are out for revenge after they felt they were denied at least a point by refereeing inconsistency in September’s injury-time defeat at Old Trafford, while they were also knocked out of the Carling Cup semi-finals by United.

Carlos Tevez will start against former club United and the Argentina star will want to continue a rich vein of form which has seen him score six goals in his last three matches.

Wayne Bridge has a chance of featuring as he has recovered from a hernia operation which caused him to miss five matches.

The full-back is one of four players who are in line to return with Stephen Ireland (ankle) and Patrick Vieira (knee) on the mend following injuries while Pablo Zabaleta is free from suspension.

Ferguson has confirmed that striker Wayne Rooney is in contention to return from the ankle complaint which forced him to miss the draw with Blackburn after aggravating the problem against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

United are also boosted by the news that England midfielder Owen Hargreaves is set to be included for the City game, giving him the chance to make his first senior appearance in almost 20 months after a series of knee operations.

Possible Starting XIs

Manchester City: Given, Onuoha, Kompany, Toure, Garrido, A Johnson, De Jong, Barry, Bellamy, Tevez, Adebayor.

Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs, Nani, Berbatov.

Match Facts:

  • The last three Premier League Manchester derbies at Eastlands have ended 1-0: once in City’s favour and twice in United’s.
  • Ryan Giggs has appeared in all 28 league Manchester derbies since his first league start came against City in May 1991.
  • No current Manchester City player has scored more than twice in Premier League Manchester derbie.
  • Wayne Rooney has scored in his last three consecutive Premier League appearances, bagging a total of five goals.

Posted in English Premier League, Manchester United, Match Preview | Leave a Comment »

Anderson out for 6 months

Posted by united4ever2009 on February 25, 2010

United midfielder Anderson has been ruled out for six months with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

The Brazilian was forced off in the first half against West Ham on Tuesday and will undergo an operation in Portugal in a fortnight, but Sir Alex Ferguson hopes the 21-year-old will be fit for the start of the 2010/11 campaign.

“The real bad news we have got is that Anderson has suffered a cruciate knee injury and he’ll be out for rest of the season,” confirmed the boss on Thursday. “It’s unfortunate for the boy. It’s a bad blow.

“We’ve assessed the situation, we know he needs an operation. That will be done in two weeks’ time when the swelling has gone down. We’re going to let him go to Portugal to do it. Sometimes we send them to Colorado and to Dr Richard Steadman, but on this occasion he is comfortable with the specialist he has dealt with at Porto in the past. He will deal with it. We made these decisions yesterday once we had assessed the damage. But hopefully, six months, should have him about right for the new season.”

The incident itself against West Ham seemed innocuous enough, Anderson stretching to reach the ball to make a pass. “With these types of injuries, it’s usually something simple. He stretched to pass the ball and his knee just popped,” added the boss.

“It’s a bad bit of news for him. He was just getting back into the first team after being out for a few weeks. He was looking forward to it and he was showing great energy in the match.

“So that is a blow to us, particularly with the Milan game coming up, because Michael Carrick is suspended for that one.”

Courtesy: Official Website

It’s a big blow for the lad, especially after his alleged misconduct by leaving for Brazil without the club’s permission. He just got back into the team after a good reserves game, but unfortunately it lasted a mere 15 minutes.

Posted in Manchester United, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Decade of the Devils!

Posted by united4ever2009 on December 24, 2009

We have come to the end of the first decade of the new millenium.It has been one hell of a roller coaster ride for the Red-Devils and Co. During this period, United have set benchmarks for other teams to follow, reached the zenith of success the others can only dream of, thereby becoming the envy of a few and the love of millions. There has been the odd hiccup, a dry season with lacklustre performances, stars who’ve left the club.But,who can complain? Be it the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup or the World Club Championship! The Devils can boast of all these crowning glories in their kitty.

United’s success can be attributed to coordinated team effort, moments of individual brilliance, the support staff and last, but surely not the least, the man who envisaged this vision and laid the foundation for the  journey to the summit of success. Sir Alex Chapman Ferguson’s name needs no introduction to any football lover and commands the respect of every one. Ferguson celebrates his 68th birthday on December 31st! So here’s wishing him an advance happy birthday and reliving some of the finest moments of the devils the past decade.

5. The Great Comeback( Tottenham  Hotspur 3-5 Man Utd )

4. Playing Catch-up (2002-03)

This season,United were trailing leaders Arsenal by 11 points at Christmas.Yet,we won the title.

3. The Premier League Season (2006-07)

2. The Hattrick (2008-09)

1. The Champions League (2007-08)

Posted in Manchester United, Miscellaneous, Sir Alex Ferguson | Leave a Comment »

Owen at 30!

Posted by united4ever2009 on December 13, 2009

He announced himself on the world stage in the 1998 World Cup with a spectacular finish against their bitter rivals Argentina.Since then, he has scored 40 goals for England in 89 appearances and is in striking distance of Sir Bobby Charlton’s record tally of  goals for England.Was considered to be finest striker of his generation. Michael Owen’s career has been one filled with many ups and downs. Spate of Injuries,Wrong choices have let him down over the years. Move to Real Madrid saw him spending more time on the bench, which was grave injustice to his striking prowess. The time at Newcastle was ridden with lack of coordinated team effort and service to him was meagre.

Adding to the woes, Owen was dropped from the National Squad.With the 2010 World Cup less than a year away, the transfer to United could be the right break at the right time. The spectacular finish against City in the dying moments, increased his acceptance among the Redfellas. The recent hattrick in the Champions League has not only increased his chances of making it to 2010, but also an answer to his critics,who felt he was a man past his prime.Enough said!

Owen celebrates his 30th birthday on December 14th.

Here’s Wishing Michael Owen a Very Happy Birthday! May the force be with you and United!

Posted in Manchester United, Michael Owen | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Injury-hit United thrash West Ham

Posted by united4ever2009 on December 7, 2009

United had to play with a make-shift defence due to injuries to Ferdinand and Evans, while Vidic was suffering from flu. Gary Neville and Wes Brown suffered injuries compounding United’s problems. But United had no problem in brushing off West Ham in a convinving 4-0 win that will  surely galvanise United especially after Man City beat Chelsea 2-1 to reduce the gap at the top to 2 points between United and Chelsea.

The game was pretty even in the first half but United had more of the possession. United made the crucial break when Scholes struck a powerful left foot shoot past Green after superbly controlling with his chest. United went into the break leading at 1-0. Gary Neville had to be substituted due to a groin problem. He was replaced by Carrick in the defence. West Ham stepped up the pressure in the second half, but United hit the Hammers on the break and a superb exchange of passes between Rooney and Giggs, who setup Gibson to drive an unstoppable strike into the net. Shortly after United netted their third after Anderson low cross into the six yard box was met by Valencia at the far post to score his 5th goal of the campaign. The game was all but over for the Hammers. Seconds later, Rooney got his name on the scoreboard when Valencia crossed into the path of Rooney who greatly obliged. It was 4-0 to United and one of their most convincing performances at Upton Park in recent years. United have injury problems to worry about as they face Wolfsburg in the last round of CL matches.

Posted in English Premier League, Manchester United, Match Comments, Match Review, Wayne Rooney | Leave a Comment »

United back-off from Ljajic deal

Posted by united4ever2009 on December 4, 2009

United have decided not to take up the option to sign Partizan Belgrade midfielder Adem Ljajic.

A report from the club’s official website states


The 18-year-old Serbian attacking midfielder had been lined up for a potential move to Old Trafford next year.

However, with a wealth of top young talent in that position already at the club, United have announced that the initial interest in Ljajic will not be followed up.

A club spokesman told ManUtd.com: “We had an option to buy the player but, having closely monitored his development over past 12 months, and taken into the consideration the young players emerging through the ranks, we have chosen not to pursue the transfer.”

There are interesting theories to why United chose to walk away from the deal. United either wanted to free some funds so they could spend it for a bigger player in January transfer window or they felt that Ljajic’s progress wasn’t good enough to go ahead with the deal. It would be interesting to note Fergie’s version on this.  On the other hand, one must feel sorry for the lad. His dream of playing for United have been shattered. Ljajic, interesting has been nicknamed ‘Little Kaka’. United apparently had a ‘get-out’ clause in the deal. In my opinion, there could be some sort of financial crisis at the club. One wonders what United do in the January Transfer window.

Posted in English Premier League, Manchester United, Youth | Leave a Comment »

23 years, 21 trophies and thats a FACT

Posted by united4ever2009 on November 6, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 6, 1986.

Alexander Chapman Ferguson was appointed manager of Manchester United. The club was in great turmoil at the time, having won the league title the last time in 1967. His job at that time was to end the club’s wait for the league title.

23 years on..

Sir Alex Ferguson has established himself as one of the greatest managers in world football. He has won a total of 11 premier league titles, 5 FA cups, 3 League cups and 2 Uefa Champions League trophies, not to mention a truckload of individual honours. He has developed a galaxy of stars : Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Darren Fletcher, Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few.

Honours:

Player

St. Johnstone (1960–1964)
Scottish First Divison: 1962-63

Falkirk (1969–1973)
Scottish First Division: 1969-70
Manager
St. Mirren (1974–1978)
Scottish First Division: 1976-77
Aberdeen (1978–1986)
  • Scottish Premier Division: 1979–80, 1983–84, 1984–85
  • Scottish Cup: 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86
  • Scottish League Cup: 1985–86
  • UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1982–83
  • UEFA Super Cup: 1983

Manchester United (1986–)

  • Premier League: 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09
  • FA Cup: 1989–90, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04
  • League Cup: 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09
  • FA Charity/Community Shield: 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008
  • UEFA Champions League: 1998–99, 2007–08
  • UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1990–91
  • UEFA Super Cup: 1991
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1999
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2008

Individual

  • Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award: 1996
  • Mussabini Medal: 1999
  • UEFA Champions League Manager of the Year: 1998–99
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award: 1999
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award: 1999
  • IFFHS Club Coach of the Year: 1999
  • LMA Manager of the Decade: 1990s
  • Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year: 2000
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award: 2001
  • English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
  • Onze d’Or Coach of the Year: 1999, 2007
  • Professional Footballers’ Association Merit Award: 2007
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2007, 2008
  • Premier League Manager of the Year: 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008-09
  • Premier League Manager of the Month: August 1993, October 1994, February 1996, March 1996, February 1997, October 1997, January 1999, April 1999, August 1999, March 2000, April 2000, February 2001, April 2003, December 2003, February 2005, March 2006, August 2006, October 2006, February 2007, January 2008, March 2008, January 2009, April 2009, September 2009
  • LMA Manager of the Year: 1998–99, 2007–08
  • World Soccer Magazine World Manager of the Year: 1993, 1999, 2007, 2008


Orders and special awards

  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): 1983
  • Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE): 1995
  • Knight Bachelor: 1999

Posted in Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Cause for concern??

Posted by unitedfanatic on November 1, 2009

Sir Alex FergusonAfter a 2-0 victory over Blackburn, many fans were left disappointed with the scoreline. United dominated the entire game, kept 60% possesion and had 11 shots on target to Blackburn’s 1. We SHOULD have bettered the scoreline and increased our goal difference. Blackburn were thrashed 5-0 at Stamford bridge, and let off the hook with just two goals at the Theatre of dreams in consecutive games.

Of course it was a stunning goal that Berba scored, and I would rather settle for fewer such quality goals than numerous routine goals, granted that both help us get the three points. Indeed there would be nothing like having numerous quality goals, but that’s beside the point I want to make here. Following Ronaldo’s departure, considering the stick United receive from the press after every loss or draw, it is true that fans are starting to expect more from the team’s performances, while the more centred-fans will atleast acknowledge the several doubts and questions rising in their minds irrespective of their faith in Sir Alex Ferguson. As Berba rightly said after the match, 3 points are the most important thing. The goals will come sooner or later. Just like the opening goal in the Blackburn game. Wave after wave of Red army attack, several misses, and finally that jaw dropping acrobatic volley.

So what I’m really trying to say is we should not panic. I’d be happier savouring the win than grumble about the lack of more goals. I repeat. The goals will come sooner or later.

Ahead of our trip to Stamford Bridge, here’s a set of stats between the top two of the lot.

Manchester United Chelsea
Scored in 1st half 6 26% 8 29%
Scored in 2nd half 17 74% 20 71%
Total Goals scored 23 28
Conceded in 1st half 5 45% 5 63%
Conceded in 2nd half 6 55% 3 37%
Total Goals conceded 11 8
Clean sheets 4 6
Top Scorer Wayne Rooney (7 goals) Didier Drogba (9 goals)

Posted in Manchester United, Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Scholes was the real diamond amongst them, the baby-faced assassin

Posted by unitedfanatic on October 27, 2009

Andy GoramAndy Goram, who landed a shock loan deal with Manchester United in 2001 from Motherwell, in his Biography “The Goalie: My Story”, has revealed how his loan deal happened, and how he hung up on Sir Alex Ferguson thinking it was someone else mocking him!

Excerpt:

When I had three months of my contract left, they let it be known that I wouldn’t be offered another one. I was knackered. Miriam and I were together at the time and she was driving me to training one day when my phone rang. Coisty. It was 9.30am and I thought he must be coming in from a night on the batter. Ally never phones you in the morning. We blethered, and I shrugged it off and went into training.

Then at lunchtime on the way home the phone rang again. Walter Smith. He was manager of Everton at the time and warned me to keep my phone on because someone was going to ring me.

‘What is it, gaffer? You got a job for me?’ I asked. ‘Just keep your fucking phone on,’ he growled.

Now I was starting to wonder what was going on. I suspected I was about to get the piss taken out of me. Two minutes later, the phone rang again.

‘Goalie, it’s Alex Ferguson here. We’ve got Bayern Munich on Wednesday and Liverpool at the weekend. Barthez is injured and Raimond van der Gouw is struggling. I need you to come down on loan until the end of the season.’

I said: ‘Coisty, f*** off’. And put the phone down. Ally could do Sir Alex perfectly. I wasn’t falling for that old one. The phone rang again and I told Miriam to answer it this time.

’Miriam, this is Alex Ferguson, and you can tell that fat bastard he’s got ten seconds to say aye or naw.’

It really was him. I thought I was dreaming. I’d been playing football for 20 years, and there had been many great moments. But I don’t think many come close to that call from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Further, he tells us about his experiences at the club right from the first day and has some interesting words for David Beckham and Paul Scholes.

McClaren took me around and introduced me to the squad, player by player. Here I was in the inner sanctum of the biggest club on the planet. Gary and Phil Neville’s dad is called Neville Neville. He was a lovely man I’d played cricket against in my summers growing up in Lancashire. As a result I knew the family and that was an ice-breaker. And for all of Keane’s fury at my arrival, the rest of the dressing room respected me and accepted me right away.

Jaap Stam changed next to me each morning. He was a huge man, imposing, and some player. He was brilliant with me and helped me through it. Paul Scholes comes from Middleton, where I grew up, so we also had a bond. Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes – they are technicians of football, craftsmen of their trade.

Beckham has earned every penny he has now because he is an unbelievably dedicated athlete. I was his guinea pig on that training ground every morning. We’d stay behind after the session had finished, and he’d practise his free kicks with me in between the sticks. I loved it in the morning when he’d pop his head in after training and say: ‘Right, Goalie, let’s go’. He would stick a wall of plastic defenders in front of him, set down his 30 balls and we were off. Sir Alex had to force him to take days off. I loved working with the guy. Beckham came through the youth ranks with Giggs, Scholes and the Neville brothers, and there was a strong bond between them.

Giggs was the best crosser of a ball while running that I had ever seen – moving at pace and swirling over a killer centre. But Scholes was the real diamond amongst them, the baby-faced assassin. He was a man of few words, but he was well worth listening to when he did crack a sentence or two.

Here is another excerpt, in which he explains how he never got along well with Roy Keane, while all the players respected Keane and were scared of him.

Shark’s eyes. Dead, devoid of emotion, glaring at me. No handshake. Welcome to Manchester United. Roy Keane-style. The man who saw himself as the heartbeat of the Reds was giving me a message. He just looked right through me as the embarrassed Steve McClaren, the United No 2, tried to introduce the new on-loan keeper to his volcanic captain. From that second I knew there was no point in me making an effort with Keane. Roy had things he stood by, things that framed his life, beliefs he clung to with a burning intensity. Well, I had mine. What he did to me on that first morning at work at the most famous football club in the world didn’t faze me. It didn’t send me scurrying into my shell. I just thought: ‘F*** it. He’s not going to stop me enjoying this.’ He was a Celtic man, I was a Rangers man. He didn’t like me. End of story. Fair enough. After all, I’d done enough to make some Celtic fans dislike me in seven years at Ibrox. There was to be no handshake. Ever.

KeaneReferee_468x402

The truth is we didn’t exchange a civil word in the three months I was at Old Trafford. From day one we had arguments on the training pitch and didn’t get on. It was serious stuff. He hated the sight of me. However, I was 36 years old. I’d landed the move of my life in the twilight of my career. Was I going to let one man’s sneering disdain for me wreck the experience? Forget it.

There were clashes between us. One day in training, we were playing a game of eight-a-side, and Keane and Luke Chadwick were up front for my team. I always prided myself on the accuracy of my kicking, on being able to pick out a player from a distance, and that day I half-volleyed a peach right onto Chadwick’s foot. The kid snatched at it and ballooned his volley over the bar. Suddenly, I was the target of a volley of abuse from Keane.

’Hey you, give me the f*****g ball,’ he screamed.

I replied: ‘What, do you get the ball just cos you’re Roy Keane? F*** off.’

The atmosphere was icy from that moment on and on the way off the field Gary Neville collared me.

’Goalie,’ he said, ‘we don’t talk to Roy like that down here. We just don’t.’

It was a telling insight for me. I respected Keane as a player, but I couldn’t have that. As far as I was concerned, the way he spoke to some of the players was bang out of order. Many of them were clearly shit-scared of him.

Posted in Manchester United, Yesteryears | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »