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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.

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Manchester United vs Sunderland:Preview

Posted by united4ever2009 on October 3, 2009

Venue: Old Trafford.

Kick-Off:17:35 GMT

A former United stalwart returns to Old Trafford this weekend (along with a few other familiar faces), bringing along with him a Sunderland team that have endured something of a yoyo start to the season. Yes Steve Bruce skippered the Reds to three Premier League titles once upon a time but he will be desperately hoping to outwit his former mentor in the opposing  dugout come Saturday.

To get the ball rolling, the Black Cats haven’t won at the Theatre of Dreams in some 41 years. With eight wins on the bounce for the Reds heading into the game, anything but victory would surely be deemed a disappointing result.

Following the hard fought triumph over an aesthetically pleasing Wolfsburg on Wednesday, three points at home in the Premier League is certainly a must in order to keep things ticking over. Sunderland, on the other hand, were 5-2 winners against Wolves in their last outing, a deceptively flattering scoreline as I’m sure those who witnessed the encounter will testify.

The main bits of team news from a United perspective refers to opposite ends of the pitch. After putting in a steady shift without covering himself in glory against the German champions, Tomasz Kuszczak will have to settle for a place on the bench as Ben Foster resumes as Edwin van der Sar’s Premier League deputy. Michael Owen’s latest injury, meanwhile, will keep him out of action for the forthcoming round of international fixtures next weekend.

At the back you would envisage little change with Ferdinand and Vidic at centre-back and Patrice Evra and John O’Shea on either side of them.

Ryan Giggs’ cameo on Wednesday evening brought about his 150th career goal for United and the landmarks are coming around thick and fast as a strike against Sunderland will see him notch up his 100th Premier League goal. Your guess is as good as mine as to who Fergie may decide to play on Saturday (you’ve probably a better chance of predicting the lottery results in fairness) but given the current rotation policy and that we should be afforded plenty of space, expect Scholes and Fletcher to possibly start with Nani and Valencia on the flanks as Park remains doubtful with a virus.

That leaves Rooney and Berbatov to head up the attack, a partnership that is showing signs of flourishing and should come to life against the frailties of a Sunderland defence that is hardly up there with the best in the league.

The big decision Steve Bruce will have to make is whether to sit back and soak up pressure or attack United from the off and hope for the best. Whatever tact the one-time United captain decides to go with, Darren Bent will undoubtedly start having scored eight in his last nine Premier League starts.

Speaking to the media, Ferguson explained that he is hardly relishing the task of picking his team with so many players fighting fit and on top of their games at the moment.

“We’ve a strong squad. The problem with having everyone fit is picking the right team,” he is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“Our two central midfielders – Michael Carrick and Anderson – were fantastic against Wolfsburg, and I thought Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes were outstanding at Stoke. It is giving me a real headache.”

The United boss went on to praise the managerial work of his former player and that he expects Sunderland to achieve big things with Bruce at the helm.

“He’s had experience of the other side, from down there scrapping at Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield, Birmingham, and the job he did at Wigan in his second spell there last time was fantastic, almost getting them into a European place,” Ferguson added.

“Now he’s had the chance to spend some money and he’s looking good. Steve’s galvanised the club already, and you can see something great happening there. Hopefully not against us on Saturday.”

On the other side of the fence, Bruce paid tribute to Ryan Giggs, a player he labels one of the greatest to have graced the Premier League.

“He started in 1993 and where are we now, 2009? Jesus. And to play at the level he has been doing, he has to be the greatest ever player to have played in the Premier League” he is quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

“Not just because of his longevity but because he is playing for Manchester United and still getting man of the match awards.

“For me he is their best player, at his age as well.”

Saturday’s match will be the 13th time that Bruce has gone head-to-head with Sir Alex with the Scot possessing a record of ten wins and two draws to date. The former Birmingham City manager may fancy his chances more than ever before considering the form of Darren Bent but the likes of Vidic and Ferdinand haven’t been in opposition before now.

Anything but a comprehensive result will clearly be frowned upon and bar  a woefully poor United showing, a comfortable victory should prove the final outcome and put further pressure on Chelsea needing to gain a positive result against Liverpool the day after.

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CL Matchday 1: Besiktas vs Manchester United

Posted by united4ever2009 on September 15, 2009

Manchester United begin their quest to avenge last season’s UEFA Champions League final defeat to Barcelona when they face Besiktas on Tuesday.

Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson and a number of his senior players have confessed the manner of their 2-0 defeat in Rome at the hands of Barca still wrangles, with the Scot admitting he would love another final showdown with the Catalans this term.

United travel to Turkey on the back of their 3-1 win against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in what many described as their best performance of the season.

However the Premier League champions have been handed a tricky opening group with long distance flights to Turkey and Russia, along with what promises to be a tough test in Germany against Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg.

Besiktas will be aiming to prove to be worthy opponents on home soil and will be determined to restore some pride after losing 3-0 to fierce rivals Galatasaray in the Istanbul derby on Saturday.

United have played against both Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe in Europe over the last 15 years and will have an idea of what to expect in the Inonu Stadium. The Besiktas fans are sure to have the ground shaking come kick-off.

Dismal start

Despite often living in the shadow of city rivals Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, Besiktas are Turkey’s only representatives in the competition.

However the Black Eagles have begun this season dismally having taken just six points from their first five league games.

The hosts will have to do without defender Ibrahim Toraman due to a heel injury but other than that, Besiktas will be at full strength.

Besiktas goalkeeper Rustu Recber will be looking to banish memories of the last time he faced Wayne Rooney after the England striker put three goals past him on his United debut in a 6-2 win over Fenerbahçe at Old Trafford in 2004.

United will have to be wary of the attacking threat posed by Nihat Kahveci after he joined Besiktas in the summer following a successful seven year stay in Spain, playing for Real Sociedad and Villarreal.

Meanwhile Besiktas will be looking to do better than the last time they faced English opposition after they lost 8-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in 2007, a record Champions League loss.

United team news

Rio Ferdinand should keep his place after he came through the full 90 minutes at Spurs unscathed having missed the first four games of the season with a thigh injury.

John O’Shea was expected to miss the match against Spurs having returned from international duty with a calf complaint but he came through to complete the full game and he should start again.

Ferguson is likely to mix his squad up once more so Michael Carrick, Nani and Park Ji-Sung could all be pushing for a place in the starting line-up.

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Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United

Posted by united4ever2009 on September 11, 2009

vs

Date: 12th September, 2009

Venue: White Hart Lane

Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

Read the rest of this entry »

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