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Heil Giggsy!

 Posted by on November 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm  Blogs/Media
Nov 292013

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-5 Manchester United
71391978 71390809 Heil Giggsy!Thanks to a brilliant performance by Ryan Giggs and a few moments of pure craft by Wayne Rooney, Manchester United made fairly easy work out of an overrated Bayer Leverkusen away from home. More Sybil than Jekyll & Hyde, David Moyes’ team seems to have problems which are more psychological than physical. Sailing into the round of sixteen knock-out phase with a game to spare in Group A as they quite casually humbled the Bundesliga‘s second-best team, Bayer Leverkusen, United enjoyed their biggest away win in club history since the Busby Babes hammered Shamrock Rovers 6-0 in 1957.

We are left with questions. All good ones. Is Ryan Giggs ageless? Are Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa, a more effective pairing than El Wazza with RVP? Are the teams problems being caused by the lack of spontaneity and speed of Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley? Is Rio Ferdinand done?

In two days Ryan Gigs will be 40-years-old. This is truly amazing, particularly considering the fact that he played against Cardiff City three days before. A substitute, to be sure, but the feeling persists that he needs to be wrapped in cotton wool between matches. Nevertheless, Our Moyesie is not exactly blessed with options in central midfield as a result of Michael Carrick’s injury and Marouane Fellaini’s suspension, ands he may have actually had the choice of using Anderson or Cleverley before having to pick the Old Geezer, but that simply can’t detract from the remarkable feat the Welsh veteran performed with a no-frills, no nonsense Phil Jones by his side. Where Fellaini and Cleverley seemed to telegraph everything they were about to do on the previous Sunday against Cardiff, Giggs was a bottomless bag full of tricks and surprises, reading the game perfectly again and again: His successful passing percentage an astonishing 91%. Feeding Kagawa, Nani, Valencia and Rooney with a never-ending supply of lobs, curves, squares, taps and long diagonals, Giggs was simply awesome to behold. None of the flash of the old days, to be sure, just sort of simply brilliant.

Bayer attacked hard from the beginning, their trident of strikers, Castro, Kiessling and Son, plenty for Ferdinand and Evans to handle, with Smalling often drafted into fills the holes they made drifting around vaguely marking the three. A leggy Ferdinand in particular had much to thank the indefatigable Giggs for. Never thought of much as a defender, Giggsy was repeatedly in the right place, his timing impeccable as he stepped in to retrieve three successive bad Ferdinand pass attempts early on. But, make no mistake, Giggs was zen-like, concentrated, supremely mentally prepared, in the zone, breaking forward with an immaculate touch and vision, making pass after brilliant pass, daring the whole hovering Lerverkusen midfield to foul him. Slowly, inexorably, the German’s team’s machinery lost its coping mechanism. The first cracks beginning to show in the sixteenth minute as Giggs created United’s first opportunity with a back-pass inside the penalty area to Nani, who was over anxious and blasted the ball high over goalie Bernd Leno’s goal.

71391905 valencia Heil Giggsy!

Calm and patient, United rode out three attacks in two minutes as Emir Spahic headed over from Gonzalo Castro’s corner, and then Castro shot wastefully high after a slovenly Jonny Evans allowed a Leverkusen defensive clearance to reach the United area. A pouncing Stefan Kiessling was then denied as Evans made a fantastic recovery, intercepting the big striker after he nutmegged Ferdinand easily on the edge of the box.That immaculate tackle proved to be a game changer that silenced the rowdy crowd. Seconds later, after United cleared, Kagawa stripped Stefan Reinartz of the ball in central midfield and passed quickly to Giggs. The Welshman hoovered up the ball and fed Rooney down the left. Rooney floated an exquisite cross into the centre for Kagawa, who was distracted by his marker Emre Can behind him, which allowed a sprinting Antonio Valencia time enough to speed in unmarked and blast the ball inside at the back post. past a helpless Leno to make it 0-1 in the 22nd minute.

United almost doubled their advantage then when Giggs took their next attack to the byline and his cross was clumsily deflected by Toprak into Evans’ path. The defender’s shot and the follow-up from Jones were both blocked, but the Red-Hot Devils did not need to wait too long for a second goal. Kagawa and Rooney were right there again as Reinartz fouled the blur that the Japanese master technician made as he was about to pass him by. Rooney’s dead-eyed free-kick tumbled into the heart of the Leverkusen six-yard box. as two panicked defenders rose to block off Chris Smalling, but the ball’s flight fooled them both, ricocheting into the net off the head of Spahic.

Sammy Hyypia has done yeoman work in the Bundesliga at Leverkusen, leading them to their best ever, record 10 wins from 13 matches. Only the European champions, Bayern Munich. Eight consecutive wins stretching over three Champions League campaigns had made their stadium seem like a fortresss, consequently United pulled off no mean feat in putting a hammering on them. Having walloped Arsenal too, with a silly draw in between, the issue is obviously consistency.

At any rate, the Welsh wizard’s influence continued well into the second half, way after he normally would have been substituted. His 65th minute corner produced the third for Evans, after a cheeky Patrice Evra flick set a Rooney shot up. Leno made a brilliant dive to save at close range, but Evans was there scramble the ball into the net.

Still cool, calm and collected, United toyed with the Germans for another twelve minutes before Kagawa clipped the ball through to Rooney inside the area. The Scouse striker , lithe and elegant, lobbed the ball over Leverkusen’s over-worked keeper and Smalling arrived at a sprint to tap the ball home into an empty goal.

Last, but not least, the Premier League’s elder statesman did a sweet bit of shuck and jive dribbling and had the whole Bayer back-line in disarray. His sweet flicked pass sent Nani clear of the German defensive line. The tricky Cape Verdean then swerved around Leno before smacking a nonchalant finish into goal.

Two days after this match, On November 29 is the birthday of Ryan Giggs. He will be 40-years-old and still owns enough passion. moxy and fitness to carry on playing the game for as long as the legendary Stanley Matthews. Don’t fret because you can’t buy him a gift or a beer, have one for him! Thank you, Giggsy. Happy Birthday!
71390766 71390759 Heil Giggsy!

Sep 192013

69902634 69902633 An Improving United Battle Past BayerNever mind Wayne Rooney reaching the landmark of 200 goals for Manchester United or the new manager David Moyes making a victorious start start to his first Champions League group play. This was the Manchester United we know and love. Score four goals: One dead jammy! Give up two home goals out of sheer bloody-minded laxity. Moments of utter bliss coupled with pub team slovenliness. “Who’s that team we all adore?”

Although Wayne Rooney may be a pain in the arse: Someone we see a train wreck in wait for somewhere in the infinite distance. All is now definitely forgiven! After all kinds of soap opera machinations at the start of the season–not all of which were his fault, to be sure, Rooney has gone into the second month of the season on fire. On the night, while covering every slippery blade of grass at Old Trafford, he was downright inspirational. 4-2 looks simply like a successful win, but the truth is that Bayer Leverkusen really were comfortably beaten. The main reason was the Scouser striker. Still covering up a head wound with a toweling bandage—an injury that had kept him out of the club’s defeat at Liverpool and England’s draw in Ukraine–Rooney put the red devils ahead in the 22nd minute.

Leverkusen felt Van Persie was offside by the corner flag in the build up, but then had a mass hissy-fit when, with the referee’s assistant standing directly in front of of the incident, he failed to spot Valencia, standing in a clearly offside position as he tried to block Bayer’s keeper Bernd Leno’s line of view. This allowed Rooney to charge in and push a Patrice Evra cross home. And despite Bayer’s righteous protests, the referee allowed the goal to stand.

69902694 hi019338987 An Improving United Battle Past BayerThis was Rooney’s 200th goal for United, he now stands fourth in line as part of the clubs goalscoring history behind Jack Rowley at 211, who he will certainly catch this season, Denis Law at 237, and, at 249, Sir Bobby Charlton.

United were uneven for the rest of the half, still prone to give the ball away to the German team’s hard-pressing midfield. Indeed, Leverkusen showed signs of life after Rooney’s goal, although Simon Rolfes seemed to miss the presence of his usual sidekick, Sven Bender, who stayed on the bench until the second half. Still, despite some ragged passing, it was definitely United, with Marouane Fellaini patrolling midfield with a kind of effortless majesty on his full debut, who were well in control and creating the better chances, as Rooney went just slightly off target with a free-kick and Shinji Kagawa’s shot was deflected just wide by Leno.

Still, nobody was even slightly surprised when a casual United defense made a hash of getting a loose ball out of their penalty box in the 54th minute. A slipshod pass from Rio Ferdinand didn’t make it to Patrice Evra and Leverkusen’s captain, Simon Rolfes, was there to volley home beautifully from fifteen yards out to make it 1-1.

This was just the bit of a scare United needed. It took a while, though. Another sixteen minutes before Robin van Persie’s acrobatic volley allowed them to grab the lead again, It was only justice after United had attacked the Germans in wave after relentless wave. The sitter Rooney missed after collecting a long De Gea kick and casually rounding Leno was a gob-smacker. The two wide open, gaping chances Van Persie missed after exquisite set-ups from Valencia and Carrick were a shocker, too. But then Rooney did it again, twice. Firing one home at the near post minutes later after ghosting past a tired but static Bayer defense as a clever Valencia pass found him. Rooney then set up another for Antonio Valencia with a pass weighted to perfection, allowing the Ecuadorian winger all the time in the world to make long diagonal strides into the box before firing home in the 79th minute.

Omer Toprak’s late second goal for Bayer was the result of another slipshod pass from Rio Ferdinand coupled with a slow-witted lack of concentration from an otherwise faultless David De Gea and an accidental deflection off Carrick. One of these years the defense will get it together early in the season, I pray.

Along with finally seeing a return of confidence and form in Antonio Valencia and witnessing the superb quick feet and awesome passing skills of Shinji Kagawa, Moyes will clearly feel happy to be finally receiving the benefits of United’s truculent refusal to do business with Chelsea. Here was the evidence that the club’s early season stance was righteous in spite of much criticism. It was also good strategy for Moyes to substitute Rooney late with Hernandez. The two clearly did not act out any kind of rapprochement as the striker left the field, but the crowd, which stood up en masse for him, and its passionate applause lasted for minutes and surely reiterated to our sensitive Scouser that he really is truly adored by the majority. Well, of course, there was crusty Sir Alex Ferguson, who remained glued to his padded seat, but he’s just had hip surgery!
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