Daniel Meola finally joins me on the podcast to discuss the Newcastle and Crystal Palace ties, preview United’s trip to Villa Park and give our legends and c*$%s of the week.
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United welcomed Portuguese side Benfica to Old Trafford for the penultimate game of their Champions League group stage campaign. Having endured a relatively poor start, United had to win to ensure top spot in the group and a berth in the last 16 of the competition, importantly avoiding European giants such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the next round. With Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck both ruled out with injuries, Dimitar Berbatov was handed a rare start for United, only the Bulgarian’s 5th of the season, as Ashley Young also returned after a spell on the sidelines with a tow injury. (More …)
United returned to action following the international break with a trip to new boys to the Premier League Swansea City. The south Wales side had the unusual opportunity to become the only Premier League club to have a superior head to head record against United with a victory at the Liberty stadium. The reds however have had something of a resurgence since the defeat to Manchester City, keeping 4 clean sheets in a row in all competitions. With the news that Tom Cleverley is out until Christmas, United turned to Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick to try and cure the reds midfield woes, and provide the ammunition for Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez. (More …)
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On the eve of the 25th anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson taking over at the club, United welcomed Sunderland to Old Trafford for a game which would ultimately be remembered for off field events rather than those on the field. Prior to kick off, Sir Alex’s big day was marked in grand style with a guard of honour from both sides, and the surprise news that the North stand would be renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in recognition of arguably the greatest British manager of all time. With the festivities over, United got down to business with the small matter of the match, as the reds looked to pick up from their excellent victory at Everton the previous week. With defensive frailties dogging United in the early season, it was a welcome relief to see Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic partner each other in the heart of defence, hopefully to provide consistency during the busy spell of fixtures on the horizon. (More …)
United returned to Premier League action after their dismal defeat the previous week to rivals Manchester City, with a trip to Everton, starting a run of games which will most likely be pivotal in the reds chances in retaining their title. Having struggled of late on Merseyside, United were always in for a difficult afternoon, but were greatly boosted by the return of Nemanja Vidic to bolster what had been a leaky defence and Tom Cleverley to inject some much needed energy into the midfield. Rio Ferdinand and Anderson were the only casualties in the wake of the City debacle, with United opting for an attacking looking side, containing Hernandez, Welbeck and Rooney in a make shift formation. (More …)
United continued their busy week with the visit of local rivals, and potential title challengers Manchester City for one of the most eagerly anticipated Manchester derbies in many years. With the victor claiming top spot, much more than local pride was at stake as two unbeaten records were on the line, and a chance to send out a message to the chasing pack was one both sides were desperate to take. Having rested many players for last weeks trip to Anfield, United returned to more or less full strength, with only the absence of Tom Cleverley and Nemanja Vidic hindering the reds.
United began the game very brightly, with Ashley Young in particular isolating Micah Richards well down the left hand side, winning a few early free kicks and corners applying some early pressure. Whilst Fletcher and Anderson were able to enjoy large spells of possession, they ultimately failed to deliver any telling quality against a rugged and well organised City defence, who were competently absorbing what United had to offer. At the other end, David Silva was enjoying yet another brilliant afternoon, weaving in between a frightened United defence, who appeared to have no answer to the young Spaniard. Inevitably, it was a moment of individual brilliance from the much maligned Mario Balotelli which broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, as the Italian striker’s curling shot found its way into the bottom corner past the helpless De Gea. On the balance of play, it was harsh on United to go into the break a goal down, but Joe Hart had yet to be tested despite the reds enjoying large spells of the ball. (More …)
Fresh off the back of the dreaded international break, United returned to Premier League action with a trip to Anfield, to take on the old enemy Liverpool. Having not won at Anfield since 2007, and having generally played very poorly there in recent years, United were looking to set the record straight and deliver a performance for the small contingent of travelling reds to sing about. With speculation over the personal life of Wayne Rooney, Fergie took the somewhat shock decision of leaving the England striker on the bench, instead favouring Danny Welbeck and Ryan Giggs to spearhead the United attack. Phil Jones was also used in the somewhat unfamiliar role of central midfield, in an attempt to overcome the combative side of Liverpool’s midfield, an area where United had perviously suffered in past trips to Anfield. (More …)
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United welcomed vistors Norwich City to Old Trafford intent on securing 3 points and remaining top of the table with the dreaded international break looming large. Having slightly wobbled after a blistering start, United were looking to eradicate the defensive lapses that had marred the mid week performance against Basel, and which had seen the reds only manage to draw their last 2 games. With Old Trafford bathed in sunshine (and green and gold) an exciting afternoon was in store, as Wayne Rooney was welcomed back to the starting line up following his hamstring injury, to give United the extra composure in the opposition’s half which would relieve the pressure on the under fire back 4. Anders Lindegaard deputized in goal, making his first Premier League start for the club in place of David De Gea, who was rested ahead of international duty with Spain U-21′s. (More …)
The words ‘knee jerk’ get used alot when referring to football
If player x gets a slating, then there’s always someone round the corner to say that its knee jerk. And we’ve all been the one whose actually said it ourselves…”Thats a totally knee jerk reaction…its cos Carlos Tevez wants to go home cos he misses his Mum”….or something like.
After witnessing these first few games of the season, with what could very well be the best of Manchester United in the next few years….last night we saw what has been the worst of MUFC over the past few years. Now when I use the word ‘worst’…that is descriptively an unfair word to use..I simply use it to juxtaposition against the glorious football the kids have produced with 8-2 maulings and five goals away from home thrashings. As champions of England, and statistically the best team in Europe reaching the Champions League final 3 out of 4 years, the word ‘worst’ probably shouldnt be used.
But it’s all about context. And being brutally honest. (More …)
When United fans look back at the derby from the weekend, one thing automatically springs to mind, Rooney’s wonder goal. Without a doubt the greatest goal ever scored in derby games. If we dissect United’s performance a little deeper and two things spring to mind; we changed our formation to 5 across the middle to counter how City play and for vast amounts of the game we were dominated in midfield. I may be using the derby as an example but really this is the story of many games this season, which leads me to think that there could be a big overhaul in the midfield department this summer. (More …)