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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!

Nov 052012

Manchester United 2 -1 A r s e n a l
Patrice Evra of Mancheste 006 DOh Trafford










It was a miserable day for football fans in general, particularly so for Arsenal supporters as they not only got to watch their former star Robin Van Persie pay a major part in their defeat, but were also reminded, ad infinitum, of the reason he chose to leave them in the first place. On a day where United were so far short of even their usual trademark fluidity that even Wayne Rooney cocking up a penalty proved meaningless, Les Gooners were, by comparison, like your Uncle Fred’s pub team.

“Coming out of the changing room, you would have thought we had lost the game,” Rio Ferdinand said after the match.‘The game went dead at stages. We created a number of clear chances but we always left them with a little sniff. It was 2-1 in the end but it could have been five or six..” A far less even tempered Sir Alex Ferguson put it this way. “We should have won by four or five, it was a strange game. The whole day was disappointing .”

How silly the traveling Arsenal fans must have felt. How ironic that, having booed him relentlessly during introductions before kickoff, that, as they kept their relentless noise going, their hapless Dutch center back Thomas Vermaelen, while stepping in to block a poorly executed Rafael Da Silva cross, made a dreadful hash of his clearance, putting it right at the tricky feet of Van Persie. The ruthless Dutch striker did not hesitate, slotting his tenth goal of the season past goalie Vito Mannone. Unlike other, more embittered expatriates of Wenger’s Premiership profit machine like Adebayor, Gallas and Cole, RVP did not celebrate ostentatiously or gesture toward the Arsenal crowd. He simply wheeled away in triumph, bobbing his sleekly coiffed barnet hither and thither. A player who simply oozes class, he is worth every single penny Sir Alex Ferguson spent on him.

The football throughout the rest of this dreadful duel is barely worth discussing, and to be fair to United, expectations should never have been too high after the two fantastic exhibitions they give in combat at Stamford Bridge last week. It was awful football throughout and a game which the Red Devils controlled throughout save for their predictable lapse in concentration to allow Santí Cazoría to score a consolation goal at the very death. Only Arsenal’s goalkeeper, Vito Mannone managed to cover himself with glory, making a fantastic save of a rising Van Persie rocket after Wayne Rooney had supplied him with a sublime dish midway through the half.

Indeed, with left back Andre Santos repeatedly humiliated by Luís Antonio Valencia–having a distinctly average day, I might add–Mannone had his work cut out, repeatedly making brave saves from Rooney, Valencia, Young and Van Persie as his back four repeatedly seemed hapless and flat-footed. Then, on the cusp of half time, the referee Mike Dean blew for a penalty after Cazoría blocked a Young pass inside the box with an upraised arm. Rooney hit it low, soft and wide and Mannone was there again to keep the margin at one.

For the rest of the second half, misery reigned for Arsenal fans, as, apart from a botched miscue of a pass from Carrick, which Cazoría himself also botched with little but De Gea and an open goal in front of him. United squandered opportunities repeatedly and, to some booing fans, flippantly. Eventually, however, 67 minutes in, as Van Persie hit a weak squib for Mannone to make a meal out of of a fingertip save , Young tapped his corner short to Rooney. His diagonal cross was well headed home by a high-leaping Patrice Evra.

To pile on the misery even more severely, Jack Wilshere, desperately trying to put out fires all day, after a yellow card followed by repeated warnings from Mike Dean, put in one too many hard studs-up challenges on Patrice Evra and was dismissed. Everybody has bad days, but, as they go, for the Jekyll and Hyde Gooners, this was indeed a doozy! Santiago Cazoría who has by far been the club’s best player all season looked like he was hobbling into March for most of the match. Like Wilshere, he was simply trying to do too much to compensate for his lackluster teammates. When the clever Spanish play maker pulled one back, threading the needle through a packed penalty area it actually made the score line of 2-1 seem like an injustice. For those of us who were there  at Old Trafford a year ago in September, Arsenal played far superior football in their 8-2 loss. Such are the ironies of the beautiful game!

United now top the Premier League. Considering the porous nature of Our defense, it is almost a miracle. Clearly, though, Chelsea own defensive issues of their own and Manchester City will have problems of their own throughout the season related more to commitment and psychology than excellence. This thing can indeed be won!

Robin van Persie applauds 003 DOh Trafford