Saturday, 22 February 2014

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE: Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United

I don’t remember when I enjoyed the match this much last time. After 5 days training in warm weather of Dubai, I guess every fan of United was expecting something magic today. At this point, every game becomes crucial and you have to win every one of them. After Everton lost against Chelsea, United fans and players were already excited to win and move up to 6th position. It was also important day for Rooney: his 300th premier league appearance for United and his first game since his new £300,000 per week contract.

When I first saw the team line up, I wasn’t happy. I don’t know whether it's me or something else, I have never been impressed with Januzaj’s performance. He just looks too weak and you can never play like this for 90 minutes. Moyes seems to like him bit too much. People keep addressing him “Man of the match” sometimes but I don’t see at what aspects they say that. May be I watch different game than them. I thought Valencia would have done better job.

I must say, in the first half, I could really see some magical difference in the game though they struggled to score. At some point, they looked like they have forgotten how to score. Once upon a time, I used to criticize their defensive skills but now, I am talking about the strikers. I even asked myself “What happened to our Van Persie who used to score when he wanted to?”. Crystal palace might not have been in Dubai for the training but they certainly had similar training as United. They were defending very well. One of the closest target shot from United's side was by Fellaini. He got great chance from 10 yards but still couldn’t find the net. Isn’t that depressing? Well, we haven’t seen much of him anyway.

Second half was lot better. It all started when the penalty came in. I tweeted- “Thank you Evra for getting injured”. Speaking from an experience (I missed penalty once L), penalty is nerve dreading for both striker and goalkeeper. Since United has a reputation of missing penalty, I actually closed my eyes during that time and peeked through the gap of my fingers to see if they were celebrating. Then I knew it went through! And of course, Van Persie, a golden boot winner of last two seasons can never afford to miss penalty. Then came magnificent missile by Rooney; another goal for Manchester United.

So, that was the highlight. Moyes later brought Valencia and Giggs in and took Van Persie and Januzaj out. I didn’t actually understand what he was trying to do there. I got confused on whose territory is which after that but it was another 10 minutes to go and I wanted them to defence as much as possible. In 5 minutes remaining, Fletcher came in. I must admire Vidic today. Boys! if you can defence like that, we might just want to focus on mid field and striking, and we are done.

In conclusion, great game today! Van Persie and Rooney both scored and clean sheet for De Gea. The most important thing is United escalated up to 6th position (Yay!) :D. David De Gea made some amazing saves and for me, either him or Rooney are eligible for man of the match title.

PS. Crystal Palace fans were bit rough though. I know its a big competition but you don't treat guests like that. Let them do their job. You just sit back and cheer for your teams but do not discourage others. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United

Although this was not the top of the table clash, it is one of the games that not only fans but also players wait desperately. Manchester United and Arsenal have a long history of rivalry and when there is a feeling of strong rivalry, games become enjoyable no matter what. The highlight of show was Van Persie, who has a record of scoring from both sides. Since he joined United, he has scored in all games they played against Arsenal. So, he was expected to scored this time as well but since Manchester United haven’t managed to give quality games this season and Arsenal’s embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Liverpool last weekend, people were actually confused on whose favour the result will be this time. At least I expected Van Persie to score. Oh I know what happened! He couldn’t score because he was booed when his name was announced at the start of the game. Arsenal people still haven’t forgiven him for leaving them for Manchester United. C’mon people! You cannot expect players to retire in one club. Its his choice what he wants to do (Just like Ronaldo left Manchester United for Real Madrid). If he wants to change the club, learn new skills, work with new people and move on, that’s his choice. You all should respect his decision. You should admire player’s skills not the club’s trophies.

So that’s enough mourning. Lets review a game. Arsenal is pretty difficult club to beat especially this year when United is degrading and Arsenal is upgrading. Although United played better than few of their last games, I actually found this game quite boring (considering its Arsenal vs Manchester United). As strong as their rivalry is, the game used to be so exciting to watch. I guess draw was expected. I have actually reached to the stage where draw is like a win for me. However, I must admit United’s defending was magnificent today. I have always complained about their defence but today, they were playing like reigning kings. Vidic was very noticeable. Actually, even Carrick, Rooney and Valencia were seen defending and it was very clear that players were more focused on defending. Van Persie got few amazing chances but he couldn’t find net for himself. Attacking side was still bit weak today but we shouldn’t forget Goalkeepers did great job too. Both of them were so alert, active and defending. Juan Mata played from left wing but he wasn’t really noticeable this time. The team is still lacking some serious management plan. It looks like the whole team has to be reorganised and the players have to focus on what their part is. Sigh! 12 games left but wait! I actually forgot- “when was the last time United won?”

Sunday, 9 February 2014

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE: Manchester United 2-2 Fulham

The game started with a minute silence tribute to Busby Babes. Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson we among 76000 fans in the audience supporting their team. Before the match, Fulham were in the bottom of the table and Manchester United were 7th. I was kind of confident that United was going to win this one, but things didn’t turn out good. All I can say is poor defending from United’s side. They focused more on attacking rather than defending and because of that, Fulham didn’t even take 20 minutes to score. Actually, few times during the match, David De Gea was completely left alone with no defenders in front of him. Fulham’s defending was really good though. Van Persie was blocked by 2,3 opponents all the time. 

We have seen so many times United coming from behind in Sir Alex Ferguson’s era. Today was similar but just that they couldn’t hold for final 1 minute. Like previous games, players were still lacking consistency. I don’t know whether it’s due to opponent’s good defending or something else, United were crossing just too much and even with more than 70% possession, they were struggling to score. Just in first half, a commentator counted 46 crosses from United whereas Fulham just had 1.

I have to admit, it was another brilliant play by Mata. He was seen active all the time but Van Persie was rising a lot. He probably had bit too much energy than needed. Wayne Rooney worked really hard. I always admire his versatility but in today’s game, there was not enough contact between ball and his foot. Then Adnan Januzaj came in 60th minute, which took Rooney down to central midfield. Since Mata arrived, Valencia and Kagawa have settled down to waiting list for first group but Valencia did get chance in later part of second half.

With brilliant assist from Juan Mata, Van Persie scored at 78th minute and within 90 seconds, Michel Carrick filled second goal in United's pocket. Then, we could see lots of smiley faces, including mine. I thought the game finished.

But, at 90th minute, 5 minutes was added. Although I complained about 5 minutes being too long, I was kind of confident that United had already won but guess what? Fulham scored equaliser goal at 94th minute. So, that was it! I am slowly losing hope of seeing Manchester United in top 4 this season L.

PS. Everyone should stop blaming Moyes!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Munich Air Disaster 1958- We will never forget!

Today is hugely important day in the history of Manchester United. We remember those 23 people including 8 first players of Manchester United who lost their lives in plane crash in Munich on 6th February 1958. Today, while the fans of Manchester United around the globe remember them, I join them to sing "The Flowers of Manchester", as well as to remember those who worked tremendously hard afterwards to bring the club up to what it is today.   
‘Dear Busby babes, you were never gone!’

The Flowers Of Manchester
One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany,
Eight great football stalwarts conceded victory, 
Eight men who will never play again who met destruction there,
The flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

Matt Busby's boys were flying, returning from Belgrade,
This great United family, all masters of their trade,
The Pilot of the aircraft, the skipper Captain Thain,
Three times they tried to take off and twice turned back again. 

The third time down the runaway disaster followed close,
There was a slush upon that runaway and the aircraft never rose,
It ploughed into the marshy ground, it broke, it overturned.
And eight of the team were killed as the blazing wreckage burned.

Roger Byrne and Tommy Taylor who were capped for England's side.
And Ireland's Billy Whelan and England's Geoff Bent died,
Mark Jones and Eddie Colman, and David Pegg also,
They all lost their lives as it ploughed on through the snow.

Big Duncan he went to, with an injury to his frame,
And Ireland's brave Jack Blanchflower will never play again,
The great Sir Matt Busby lay there, the father of his team
Three long months passed by before he walked again.

The trainer, coach and secretary, and a member of the crew,
Also eight sporting journalists who with United flew,
and one of them Big Swifty, who we'll ne'er forget, 
the finest English 'keeper that ever graced the net.

Oh, England's finest football team its record truly great,
its proud successes mocked by a cruel turn of fate.
Eight men will never play again, who met destruction there,
the flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester
                                                                                                  Written by Eric Winter

Saturday, 1 February 2014

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE- Stoke City 2-1 Manchester United

I was excited for the match since morning. Rooney and Van Perise started together after a long gap, and with Juan Mata (Manchester United's most expensive player ever) starting again, I was somehow confident that United will win and was already calculating what their position would be in league table if Everton and Tottenham lose.

After seeing the line up, the first question I asked was, ‘Why is Juan Mata on right wing and Ashley Young on left?’ because Mata’s left foot strength is more popular than right and Ashley is by default right winger. Apart from that, I was pretty much happy with the line up. However, the match didn’t go as expected. In first 10 minutes, Evans got injured and was replaced by Rafael. The worse nightmare came when Phil Jones got injured just before half-time and was taken off from the ground in stretcher, and was replaced by Danny Welbeck. Now, I am not sure that was a good decision. Welbeck then took over Rooney’s place. Rooney was sent down to Carrick’s and Carrick down to defence. Whole line up was changed. I was wondering where Darren Fletcher was during that time. Bringing him in would have made everything much better.

I don’t know why but from the beginning, the players were not seen that confident. They looked like they came straight down to the field from bed. There wasn't much of coordination between them too. In fact, with players being confused at where to play, passes were generally inaccurate. The whole line up was messed up. No wonder why people blame Moyes. I have always backed him up but today; it wasn’t hard to spot the stupid decisions he made. The fact too many players were injured disrupted the game too much, and added time was unusually 6 minutes before half time and 7 minutes before full time whistle (not sure its good news or bad).

So, congratulation Stoke City for your first win over Man United in 30 years. Looks like this season is all about breaking records.

Lets blame the windy day, shall we?

Still sitting in 7th position of Premier League table, lets wait and see where the future lies in next 14 games.