Send us a message

Interested in being a part of the team? Get in touch with us today.

United’s Cardiff Comedy Capers

 Posted by on November 25, 2013 at 10:19 am  Blogs/Media
Nov 252013

Cardiff City 2-2 Manchester United
1467403 545986098821761 835272647 n Uniteds Cardiff Comedy CapersYou know it was bad, really bad when even Paddy Crerand could find nothing better to say than that United had extended their unbeaten record to ten games. After finally seeing the team play like a team in a sumptuous display of unselfish camaraderie and pure will over Arsenal, it all came to nought as they returned to the fugue state of dogged mediocrity which has enabled them thus far after a disastrous break for internationals.

There are always absurdities in football and everybody likes a good David and Goliath story, but this one was a shrugger as such stories go. Yes, Cardiff showed spunk and fortitude in twice fighting back to equalize against the champions, but, yes, United were also relentlessly awful, especially in midfield. Just how a converted center-back, Gary Medel, and the decidedly ordinary pairing of Peter Wittingham and Jordan Mutch managed to wipe the floor with Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley is embarrassing to contemplate. Injuries are worthwhile using as an a excuse. but the brazen defeatism Cleverley works hard at indoctrinating into the rest of the team is clearly showing. It is no exaggeration to say that neither one of the pair is capable of stringing together a sequence of passes beyond one. Their broadcasting every short square pass they attempted made Medel look like Franz Beckenbauer reincarnated into the body of a Chilean dwarf.

Attacking Cleverley is easy, of course; understanding why his teammates give him the ball in the first place is impossible. I’m not usually one for throwing out statistics, but these are stultifying. Fellaini contributed defensively by easily winning six headed duels and three tackles, but neither player covered themselves in glory going forward as they failed to make a single key pass between them. Cleverley was particularly poor, making 11 passes fewer than Fellaini and failing to make a single tackle or win a header. Fellaini is much harder to figure out, though. As big and awkward as he is–especially in the eyes of pundits like Gary Neville–Fellaini was an inspirational leader for his old club Everton but seems to have lost his confidence now. Brought in to theoretically protect Cleverley and the injured Carrick, Fellaini seems lost in trying to be both an enforcer and a rival to the likes of Yaya Touré and Mohammed Díamé. This seems to be where David Moyes ought to be taking over. Even if injury problems are considered, just how the team can tactically degenerate so precipitously between matches beggars belief. United’s repeated sloppiness was also typified by the number of failed take-ons they made when they should have been slowing the game down.  Moyes’s side attempted 16 take-ons, but only completed three– a success rate of just 18.75%. Just how an eighth-placed red devils side goes up against a club who look already mired in and resigned to being relegation bait, and loses the plot is difficult to understand.

Wayne Rooney was definitely a conundrum. Perhaps he was distracted by thoughts of his pair of awful performances against Chile and Germany for England. Or, perhaps an amped-up rival, Jordan Mutch, said or did something off the ball which wound Rooney up. Either way, he really should have been sent off in the seventh minute when he blatantly kicked Mutch hard from behind and, after arguing with the referee Neil Swarbrick, was very fortunate to escape with only a yellow card.
1450347 545986118821759 904601710 n Uniteds Cardiff Comedy Capers

United were intense at the beginning of the match, their energy righteously rewarded in the 15th minute when the Cardiff center-back Ben Turner passed the ball straight to Antonio Valencia. The Ecuadorian winger scooped up the the mistake and put in a nice cross, which went to Javier Hernández and then Rooney, whose swiveling shot from 12 yards was inadvertently helped in by a clumsy Gary Medel attempt at intervention.

Cardiff looked good and ripe to concede more goals, but a slipshod United let a team with an average of less than one goal per game sucker-punch them in the 33rd minute. Having relieved a constantly jittery Adnan Januzaj of the ball, Mutch’s seeing-eye through pass enabled a sprinting Campbell to evade a sleepwalking Johnny Evans before firing a beauty past an advancing De Gea. Minus the presence of their only defender with a true football brain in Nemanja Vidic, Evans and Smalling are repeatedly clueless. It was a career moment for Campbell, who had been a star during his academy years at United and still feels umbrage over being let go.

Back in it for a while, Cardiff took advantage of Cleverley’s constant incompetence and Fellaini’s inability to throw his body about after being yellow-carded and repeatedly reprimanded by the referee. Yet right after Campbell blasted the ball over the bar, United suddenly rocked their world, temporarily silencing their noisy fans after Don Cowie gave up an unnecessary corner in the 45th minute and Rooney’s inswinger from the left was headed home from close in at the near post by an unmarked Evra.

Having brought on Ryan Giggs(a Cardiff Home Boy about to celebrate his 40th birthday!)for an ineffective Javíer Hernandez, United’s passing game definitely improved. It took a superb save from Cardiff’s veteran Scottish keeper David Marshall to keep out a back-header from Marouane Fellaini and gob-smacking, gaping, easy-peasy sitters were missed by both Rooney and substitute Danny Welbeck.

Against the run of play Campbell came close in the 54th minute when Campbell was desperately unlucky that his cheeky chip easily beat David De Gea, but hit the right corner crossbar. Cardiff’s under fire boss Malky Mackay brought on a debutante winger, Craig Noone for Peter Odemwingie, and he proceeded in repeatedly embarrassing both Evra and Smalling.
Still, with the clock ticking down and United inexplicably incapable of holding onto the ball and running the clock down, a looming equalizer looked inevitable. After a grinning Welbeck made light out of missing his sitter, Kim Bo-Kyung was on the spot to head down a Whittingham free-kick after Cleverley botched an unnecessary tackle a yard away from the box during injury-time.

“I am disappointed,” David Moyes said afterwards. “Like Southampton, we had it under control with a minute to go but we conceded from a set piece and it cost us. We have been on a pretty good run, but that is a blow. We cannot keep dropping two points with where we are.”

One final comment. I was truly shocked to hear Cardiff City fans boo Ryan Giggs when he took the field at his home-town stadium. For them to boo the British and Welsh institution is up there in the ignorance stakes with those who believe in the viability of getting pregnant off a toilet seat. You can take the fan out of the Championship Division, but you can’t take the Championship Division out of the fan!!!
1426603 546002602153444 82842718 n Uniteds Cardiff Comedy Capers

Rio’s Testimonial Runs Awry!

 Posted by on August 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm  England, EPL, Manchester United
Aug 102013

Manchester United 1-3 Sevilla
Rio Ferdinand Rios Testimonial Runs Awry!It was not the joyful night of abandon that Rio Ferdinand deserved, to be sure. Nobody cried because Wayne Rooney failed to show, that’s for certain also. For a sad quiet crowd of 43,000, including 200 close friends and family, it was terribly embarrassing that the team took up physical space but more or less failed to turn up for the legendary United center back’s testimonial and celebration of eleven years of faithful service to the club. Leaving all the crass post-match quotes from David Moyes aside, the loss was awful and unnecessary. Fielding ‘the kids’ may be an apt excuse, but now there’s only Sunday’s Community Shield match with Wigan Athletic at Wembley before the club starts to defend its title against a splendid Swansea which has already shown itself to be razor-sharp and hungry in a Champions Cup qualifier against F.C. Malmo.

United actually began their home debut under David Moyes well. Adnan Januzaj, who performed sensationally throughout, slipped the ball to the Chilean striker Angelo Henriquez but his soft attempt at a shot was well saved by Beto. United were relentlessly depressing and clueless in midfield. Cleverley seemed to be a 12th Sevilla player, repeatedly losing possession and firing off dreadful gift passes to the opposition. Like the Pierrot-faced Valencia, his confidence seems to have evaporated since the club’s sad exit to Real Madrid in the ECC quarter-finals last season. With a tired Anderson huffing and puffing,it was easy for Diego Perotti to dispossess him and push a neat pass to Tony Vitolo, who sucked up the ball, swaying sideways and back and forth beautifully before shifting around David De Gea and firing it into the net with ease in the 21st minute.

Only four minutes minutes later, Sevilla doubled their lead the lead as Mirko Marin, on loan from Chelsea, humiliated both Cleverley and Büttner before executing a sweet pass to Carlos Bacca, who moved it on to Vitolo. The cheeky Vitolo did it to the hapless Büttner and Cleverley again before finding Marin, who made a neat, snaking run and then executed a sweet stutter step before firing past a diving De Gea. Marin almost added his second soon after when he made David De Gea stretch long and hard to his right from point-blank range to make a simply fantastic save.

Antonio Valencia Rios Testimonial Runs Awry!At this point, Moyes began tramping along the sidelines in earnest, his blue eyes as deep-set as an Ezra Pound poem, and looking as if he’d been stabbed when Shinji Kagawa, alone and unmarked, had all the time in the world to head a Januzaj cross directly at Sevilla’s fine goalie, Beto. It was hard not to feel sorry for the beleaguered Mr. Moyes. It must surely seem in such moments that the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But such is the burden of taking over from a man with his statue in your new back yard.

At half-time, although fans had been geared up by the announcement of ‘a celebrity’ making an on-pitch appearance, they got a former tennis star Boris Becker, and a magician called Dynamo. David Beckham and Wayne Rooney were disappointing no-shows. Had Rooney shown up, in spite of the anticipated booing, I would bet money that the crowd felt so let down by a constipated, lackluster United that at least half of them would have cheered.With the über disappointing Angelo Henríquez, and Tom Cleverley playing football like a couple of accountants playing for a pub team, it was a relief when Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia came on to replace them. Lingard had a couple of shots blocked before Valencia got the crowd rocking for a single delirious moment as he slipped into the box to connect with an exquisite Januzaj cross to make the score 1-2 in the 65th minute.

When a sad Rio exited to a standing ovation in the 80th minute, there was nobody left to direct the rickety defensive line. Bryan Rabello then thrust a thumb in the eye of the Reds’ former skipper with a late finish which saw him wriggle past Evans and Smalling before thrusting the ball past De Gea in the 85th miserable minute. Only on the field for a matter of minutes, as is his repeated won’t, Evans was whining to the referee as Rabello was pushing the ball past De Gea into the net instead of doing his job. This last goal may indeed have been offside, but just how lacking in common sense is Jonny Evans, anyway? The positionally-challenged Evans is surely running short of good will from the fans. If he and Cleverley keep it up, no good will in the world can maintain their places in a squad that looks more and more psychologically brittle and intellectually challenged. This defeat, their third in seven matches under the new regime is worrisome indeed. I have too much respect for David Moyes and Steve Round to believe they need to start using the flame-thrower, but there clearly are problematic issues at hand.article 0 1B38E695000005DC 927 306x423 Rios Testimonial Runs Awry!

Bushido Football!

 Posted by on July 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm  Blogs/Media, England, Manchester United
Jul 262013

Cerezo Osaka 2-2 Manchester United
Wilfried Zaha 008 Bushido Football!The never ending soap opera that is Manchester United continued in Osaka. While the gossip factory back home in blighty belched out continuous yes/no rumor-mongering vis-a-vis Cesc Fabregas leaving F.C. Barcelona to become part of our brilliant crew, the Japanese celebrated the return of a native son as Shinji Kagawa was feted and celebrated to the uncomfortable point of idolatry. For anybody watching this match who doesn’t own a schoolgirl crush on Kagawa, the game took on all the bizarre glamor of a pay-per-view WWF grudge match. With 85,000 locals relentlessly making banshee-like shrieking noises, Our Shinji did it all: Scored a goal, missed a sitter, missed a penalty. I hope the crowd got what they wanted. The game was entertaining indeed, but it was hardly professional football.

At any rate, Our new young rising star, Wilfried Zaha, spared his more famous teammate Shinji Kagawa from much embarrassment when he scored an injury-time equalizer for Manchester United over J League heavyweights Cerezo Osaka just as it seemed like the Red Devils were about to suffer a third tour defeat against Prince Shinji’s old club. The grateful massed squeal of the crowd as Kagawa’s substitute tapped home n a low, beautiful cross from Anderson’s meant a final sense of yin equaling yang after Kenyu Sugimoto and Yusuke Maruhashi had scored either side of Kagawa’s equalizer.

United began with a lot of hustle and Cerezo’s South Korean goalie Kim Jin-hyeon was busy from the get-go after he made a flying save off a stinging left-footed Robin Van Persie shot inside the first minute. The Dutchman had been the victim all week of many panic ridden rumors about having an injured hamstring after being taken off early in the team’s loss to Yokohama. on Tuesday. Clearly, in spite of the Daily Mirror, he was okay! Indeed, Van Persie was in the mood for long-distance target practice as Kim was forced to make three diving saves off him in the first half. Quite a useful custodian, Kim made a string of fine saves, although he was extremely lucky that a spectacular diving Phil Jones header went over the bar.

It’s doubtful that they ever do this normally, but it was so humid and just plain hot that officials and coaches decided to take a drinks break midway through both halves. Meanwhile, as United began to wilt, Osaka improved. Anders Lindegaard was forced to make a series of quality saves before their forward Edno sent his header straight at the Dane from pointblank range. Any kind of nod in either direction would have put the hosts ahead, to be sure. But minutes later, clearly intent upon giving his blundering rival Jonny Evans a run for his money, Chris Smalling hesitated with the ball at his feet in the six yard box and a thieving magpie, Masahiro Sugimoto, was there to steal away the ball and fire home past Lindegaard to make it 1-0.

Late in the half, Van Persie picked up a loose ball after Danny Welbeck had failed with a beautifully powered rocket which hit the post. Normally, the lethal Rotterdam assassin would surely have surely scored himself. Instead, in some weird kind of reverse loyalty and Bushido to his teammate, RVP squared chivalrously toward Osaka’s venerated Home Boy Kagawa. Absurdly, ridiculously and almost unbelievably, Kagawa caught the ball on his instep and hit it with his laces high over the bar accompanied by Takashi Mike samurai-movie moans from the capacity crowd.

Still, United kept up their pressing game and that other legend, Ryan Giggs, narrowly failed with a chip shot over the bar before Welbeck came close as his shot beat Kim but curled wide by a bare inch or so. Kagawa then really blew everybody’s mind. After a sprinting Ashley Young was brought down in the box, Van Persie shrugged, bowed to his colleague and allowed Shinji to take the spot kick. Unfortunately, Kagawa hit it too softly and the goalkeeper guessed right, making a fine low save. This caused the embarrassed crowd to make even more bizarre keening noises. Luckily, ten minutes later, Kagawa was the recipient of a sweet lobbed Giggs pass into the box which Kagawa had all the time in the world to fire home.

Cerezo were not to be easily shrugged off, however, and after some sterling midfield work, Anderson lost the ball to Minamino. Minemino then executed a fine bit of dribbling, executing a deft run to the edge of the box before firing a bazooka which exploded into the top corner of the net.

With both sides clearly tired and wilted, the exhibition match began to take on the look of the final round of an old Rocky Movie as the two teams staggered all over the grass, the Japanese team desperately trying to hold the lead as United periodically worked toward a draw. Yet, after some marvelous dribbling artistry from Zaha, Cerezo almost scored a third as Lindegaard made a fine, flying. fingertip save to deny Maruhashi.

It was only in injury time that the Premier League champions managed to salvage their dignity as Zaha, the new young winger who has impressed the most on this three-week trip, ruthlessly took his chance from close range.

Yokohama Marinos 3-2 Manchester United
Read the usual blogs and you’ll see the usual fans are going at it, as per usual. The panic brigade is already considering collective seppuku while the usual Orthodox loyalism-obsessed jihadis want to behead anybody who hasn’t fallen into a state of instantaneous thrall to Davie Moyes and his new crew. All of it is stuff and nonsense, of course. As with any preseason match, much that’s useful can be learned by the coaching staff and pundits alike, but nothing significant; nevertheless, a vanity -beguiled Manchester United side suffered a second defeat out of three preseason matches when the J League’s Yokohama Marinos scored late for a well deserved win.

The good news is the same. Jesse Lingard scored another goal and, alongside the equally hungry Adnan Januzaj and Wilfried Zaha, United clearly own some impressive and potentially fruitful young attacking talent. Bad-news wise, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans were just as mismatched at center back as they were when paired together for Sir Alex Ferguson’s 5-5 farewell at the Hawthorns in May. Once Fergie’s blue-eyed Ulster boy–leading to the exit of a far superior talent in Gerard Pique–Evans, along with teammate Tom Cleverley, is the ultimate proof of the cliché that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Repeatedly positionally retarded, Evans is living proof that, no matter which videos you watch, or how much good coaching you receive, all the natural athleticism in the world can not render you intelligent. The opposite holds true for Cleverley. Although he is energetic and intelligent, he is shockingly slow and technically predictable. When scouts on the other side of the world can so readily prepare their less talented players to trivialize two of your starters, there’s a problem.

The United team which won the World Club Cup in its last appearance in the same stadium in 2008 clearly bears no resemblance to this one. Of course, the introduction to massive applause of Shinji Kagawa, was very moving for the locals and lucrative for the Glazers. Lots of Kagawa, Van Persie and Rooney replica shirts were sold. Yet Moyes started a youthful lineup. and was clearly happy early on as they fought back after suffering an early sucker-punch. Yokohama attacked straight away and David de Gea had to make an acrobatic save to deny Brazilian striker Marquinhos. But the ball was too desperately hacked-away by a leggy Patrice Evra, who is clearly just a shadow of his old self. Hanato then played the ball back into United’s penalty area for the 37-year-old Marquinos to streak past the flat-footed Evans, Jones and Evra, before slamming home. And all before a minute had ticked by.

But United tied it up after eighteen minutes as the 20-year-old Jesse Lingard played a pretty pass out wide to Wilfried Zaha,. Sprinting into Yokohama’s box, Lingard took a difficult return pass from the speedy Zaha. A desperate Masakazu Tashiro stretched to intercept the cross but Lingard was there to seize the loose ball and fire home

With United fairly bubbling with energy, Yokohama were not coping well. Repeatedly teased and trivialized by Lingard and Zaha, Tashiro went up to block a wickedly hit Adnan Januzaj free-kick. The ball glanced off Tashiro’s shoulder into the net and United took the lead in the 32nd minute.

Slowly but surely, however, the high humidity began to slow United down. With Michael Carrick injured, United have offered ample opportunities to Tom Cleverley and his partner Anderson to prove themselves. Their passing quality from central midfield proved to be awful, however. Yokohama seemed to pick off every pass. Steadily growing more and more fatigued. United still made more than a few good chances. only for the plodding Jonny Evans to squander them. How he missed a beautiful Zaha cutback which was dished right onto his foot, but which he blasted way wide despite an open goal.
Minutes later, United let it all slip as the crowd’s national hero Kagawa made his first appearance. In the midst of a wall of noise, Yokohama’s Brazilian defender Fabio leapt high and headed Nakamura’s precise curving corner home.

In the latter part of the match Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck each squandered chances repeatedly. Yet, instead of keeping up the pressure, United looked ready to settle for a draw
The Marinos tireless veteran midfielder Jim Hanato had other ideas. Hanato took the ball from the weak-tackling Cleverley and zigzagged his determined way toward United’s box. With United’s whole defense backing up, Hanato chipped a long ball straight to Yoshihito Fujita, who tapped the ball home past a a stranded David de Gea for the victory.

Aside from minor injuries to Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck, what Moyes called “wee worries,” United got away with no more than a loss. Yet with so much at stake back home in the world’s most lucrative league, and so many parallel changes in the Premiership at Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton, the new manager and his number two, Steve Round, have much to chew upon. With Vidic repeatedly injured, Evra’s legs gone and repeated lackluster ineptitude from Young, Cleverley and Anderson, they are running out of time to decide whether to cut them loose and sell them on the cheap or persevere with their presence. At worse,we should repeat last year’s Jekyll and Hyde model: Inspirational attack accompanied by a porous defense. If Moyes can find two or three pieces at the back and to bolster the midfield, United can still win it all again.

Jul 162013

Much ado about nothing thus far in the rumor mills. United seem to be interested in everybody but the new pope to solve the club’s squad problems. The biggest speculations concern United’s need for a midfield General. Moyes seems to have dithered over Thiago Alcantara too much, but the wily Scot clearly had doubts about the veracity of signing a 22-year-old and piling too much responsibility on his shoulders. At any rate, Alcantara has signed for his agent’s brother, Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich and may yet end up sitting on Bayern’s bench as he did at Barca.

Will Barcelona sell Fabregas after also flogging Thiago? It does seem far-fetched, but with Barca repeatedly lusting after Wayne Rooney and Wayne being told he’s more or less #3 in line if RVP or Shinji get injured, it looks like the club would like it if Wayne put in a written transfer request.

It does look like Moyes will pull the trigger and acquire Marouane Fellaini. Although the Belgian lacks pace, he is a true physical competitor, a fine tackler and will give us the kind of aggression we’ve missed in midfield since Roy Keane exited. Why we need a 29-year-old Leighton Baines at such a high price is beyond my comprehension. I would personally prefer a much younger Emilio Eyzaguirre of Glasgow Celtic.

Alternatives to Fabregas? I like Erik Lamella of A.S. Roma or Javíer Pastore, who seems to have sat on Paris St. German’s bench all last season. Then there’s Joe Kinnear’s favorite Yohann Cabaye of Newcastle United. The clock is ticking

Singha All Star XI 1-0 Manchester United
In spite of all the negative gobbledygook doing the rounds about “Moyes’ Disastrous Debut” (The News of the World), this one seems to have been pretty rewarding in the educational stakes for the club’s new boss. Teeratep Winothai: may make history for becoming the first scorer in the new Manchester United era but his 50th minutes goal, when he wrong-footed our third-string goalie Ben Amos, saw the Singha All Star XI captain being booed more than complimented by a local, but fiercely partisan pro-red devils crowd in the 65,000 sellout Rajamangala National Stadium, all of whom seemed to sporting United replica regalia.

A humid, broiling 97 Fahrenheit and a squad debilitated by both injuries and permission from the club allowing most international players to take their sweet time about returning to the fold did not help, either. Nine players short, missing David de Gea, Shinji Kagawa , Nemanja Vidic Nani , Chris Smalling , Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young, United, nevertheless, muddled through. Although there was one more injury when Alexander Büttner limped off in the first half with a tight hamstring “It wasn’t a brilliant result,” Moyes said after the match, “but I’m more pleased with the way they kept going. We gave one or two young players an opportunity. It was certainly a good fitness workout.”

United’ looked disjointed. Danny Welbeck, childishly desperate to impress after a poor previous season, tried in vain to execute step overs, dribbles and backless, most of which went comically wrong. Atypical was a shot that wobbled past the Thai team’s goalie Narit Taweekul’s right post as the striker fell over. like a pratfalling comedian. And with Tom Cleverley and Anderson unable to make more than a handful of accurate short passes, little seemed to go right beyond the sweating off of pounds.
A star was born in Bangkok, however. 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj, a sparkling blonde ethnic Albanian from Belgium showed wonderful skills. Quick-footed and a superb dribbler, Januzaj looked unfazed and bright-eyed despite taking fair amount of jostling and stick from the Singha defense. Comfortable in the slot behind striker Danny Welbeck in the spot usually taken by Rooney or Kagawa, Januzaj shone before getting leggy on the hour mark. “If he continues to play like that he’ll get more chances,” said Moyes.

63 minute in,United brought on Wilfried Zaha, Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard. A very sexy debutante, Zaha came closest to scoring for United as he speedily left defender upon defender in his wake, zigzagging hither and thither before dipping left and firing a beauty which easily beat the goalie Taweekul before hitting the right upright. Minutes later, a snake-hipped Jesse Lingard picked up a fine Giggs through-ball, beat two men easily before scuffing a shot at the keeper.

Thus, all in all, although it was no masterpiece, Mr. Moyes has surely learned a thing or two about what he has at hand and exactly what he needs to bring in,

I 8-2 to be an Arsenal Fan

 Posted by on August 30, 2011 at 1:59 am  Uncategorized
Aug 302011
Sunday was supposed to be a big test for the young Manchester United players. They were going to play against Arsenal, and even if they had poor form as of late, you couldn’t just write Arsenal off.
Turns out, It was more challenging for Arsenal than United. The final score said it all and anyone that saw the game can’t deny who the better team was. United even proved they were better than Manchester City, who earlier had beat Tottneham 5-1.
Fergie decided to field the team that played so wonderfully against Tottenham last weekend and to leave his experienced defender on the bench since he just came back from injury. The game started off very fast paced and both teams were giving up the ball quite easily in the opening minutes.
Andrey Arshavin was more the determined to stop any United player that was on the attack and was booked early on in the game for a foul on Phil Jones. In the 21st minute Anderson chipped the ball over the Arsenal defense only for Danny Welbeck to head it in. Although I am very happy we got the goal, you can’t help but notice how weak Arsenal defense looked. Three of their defenders were on Welbeck but no one could prevent him from heading the ball in.
Not long after Jonny Evans committed a foul in the box and Arsenal were awarded the penalty. My opinion, it was a great call. Evans should have never had his hands on Walcott especially inside of the box. Thankfully David de Gea dove to the right to save Robin van Persie penalty kick. All the United players swarmed de Gea after the ball went out of play.
A minute or so later United doubled their lead through Ashley Young. He launched a screamer that Szczesny couldn’t even get anywhere near it. Unfortuantely Welbeck time on the field was cut short as he pulled a hamstring during an attack. Its sad to see him get injured when he was having such a great game but was replaced with Chicharito.
Just before halftime, Rooney scored a wonderful freekick from 20-yards out to put United up 3-0 before Walcott scored to pull one back for the gunners as he hit a low ball under de Gea.
The goal did barely anything for gunners because as soon as the second half started they were once again scrambling to defend as United continued to attack furiously. Rooney scored beautiful goal from a free kick once again. Szczesny didn’t even move for this one.
Nani was able to chip it over Szczesny to score United fifth after some help from Rooney. When the substitutions came you could only feel for Arsenal players and Park Ji-Sung and legend Ryan Giggs were brought on. Park was only on for a couple minutes when he score United sixth goal. RVP was able to pull another back for Arsenal but it wasn’t enough to restore any confidence within the team.
Things continued to go down hill for the gunners when Jenkinson received his second yellow for fouling Chicharito when he was on his way to scoring a goal.
Rooney scored his hat trick when Evra was brought down in the box by Walcott. They weren’t exactly done just yet. Young scored another goal in extra time to make it 8.
The average age for both teams was 23 and obviously the better team won. Arsenal fans will of course try to say that because of injuries the team suffered, but we can use that same argument and say we were without our Mighty Captain Vidic, Ferdinand, Valencia, Owen, Rafael, Fabio, Carrick, Fletcher, and Berba. Plus Giggs and Park didn’t even come on till late in the second half and United were already up by a lot.
Sunday marked a special day for all United fans. Along with defeating Arsenal we returned to the top of the league where we belongs

Throwing Some Sweat on the Fire

 Posted by on July 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm  Uncategorized
Jul 252011
Nani Throwing Some Sweat on the Fire

Chicago Fire 1-3 Manchester United

The highlight of this game came just as the whistle blew. as a sweaty Nani  executed a spectacular somersault to celebrate the third United goal of the game, a sweet clincher l in the 88th minute.  The man sitting directly behind  me, his sun-scolded face as raw and ruddy as the replica shirt he was wearing, broke the seat he was jumping up and down on. United’s win may not have been nearly  as impressive as their last outing on the US Tour, but at least the Red Devils’ were tested this time out. Shvitzing hot and sweaty it was, and United, who looked rather anemic in the first half, nevertheless proved themselves to be fit, wilting and able in spite of the 94 F  heat and the  high midwestern humidity. Well prepared by their interim coach Frankie Klopas, the Fire hung in there, tackle for tackle and shot for shot, until midway through the second half.

Header Throwing Some Sweat on the FireHaving liberally tested everyone else in the squad, Sir Alex Ferguson took the opportunity to blood new signings Phil Jones and goalkeeper David de Gea. It was also  season debut time for  late arrivals Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck. Given the wickedly hot temperature–it was 115 F on the pitch–a lot of kudos has to go to Gabriel Obertan, who,  starting for the first time of the tour, ran non-top  After an indifferent season, the Frenchman made it clear that he wants to stay with the club and showed himself very much willing to compete with the logjam of wingers in the United squad. All desire and energy, he repeatedly set up the ever languid barely interested Dimitar Berbatov with a pair of  early chances. Indeed, on five separate occasions, Berbatov came close. Still, Obertan and a hard running Danny Welbeck dominated for United in a first half , which surely gave the Gaffer much food for thought.

Surprisingly, against the run of play, in the 13th minute, the Fire scored the opener as a crafty Cory Gibbs charged between the stationary center back pairing of Smalling and Jones and rose above both to carefully place a fine header into the top corner from an exquisite lobbed pass by Marco Pappa. For this one moment, United’s new goalie David  de Gea  did not cover himself with glory, hesitating a little about leaving his line. Naturally the crowd went crazy and at last a real match was on.

Chicago’s confidence .ballooned an they began testing Jones, Smalling and de Gea repeatedly. And de Gea made fantastic reflex save after a fantastic bit of pizzazz from Pappa. Indeed, when the whistle blew for half time, United, who seemed to have nobody aggressive in its midfield, were lucky to not be at least two down.

For the second half Ferguson brought on Jonny Evans, Ryan Giggs, Anderson, Wayne Rooney and Ji-Sung Park at the expense of  Fabio, Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov and Mame Diouf, all of whom disappointed. Ryan Giggs, the eternal Welsh wizard, was spectacular, controlling the center of midfield from the get-go.  Two minutes in, his gorgeous chip found  Smalling, who blasted a beautiful angled shot  into the net only to be called offside after a late late whistle. The Fire then missed a couple of chances as Evans and Ferdinand also seemed to wilt in the heat.  Yet  Ferdinand seemed to shrug the weather off,  holding the ball well, keeping it, pushing forward, cajoling his tired teammates and venturing forward.  And 60 minutes in,  it was Rio who split Chicago’s defense with a perfect lob, finding  Wayne Rooney, who let it bounce and then lifted tit over the Fire’s stranded goalie Jon Conway for the equalizer.

With the initiative well and truly in the hands of United, the Reds still had to endure one final scare before really getting it together. Midfielder Pappa beat Ferdinand before firing a shot toward United’s goal which beat de Gea, but slammed into the  side netting. Then, out of nowhere, Rafael, the Brazilian live wire, galloped down the right lank, took a terrific pass from the hard running Rooney, before executing a clever one-two with Nani, shimmied away from his two markers, before firing home a lovely finish through the legs of Fire goalkeeper Conway. It was a lovely goal to behold and one that the packed house deserved as a reward for attendance.

Minutes later, the Cape Verdean winger Nani  came on and had his razzle-dazzle going on right away. After prompting  multiple ooh-ahs out of the crowd, Nani finally scored with two minutes remaining on the lock. Gathering up  the ball on the right Nani, took off for goal and found  Rooney. The ball bounced off a Chicago defender, however, and bounced  back to Nani, ricocheting conveniently back into his path. Nani then waited for the keeper to charge him  down before lobbing it over Conway.

Truth be told, the 3-1 score was tough on on Chicago, but, taking the relentlessness of the heat into consideration, United had something to celebrate, too.  Rooney, Giggs and Ferdinand all impressed tremendously.  Giggs genuinely seems to still be enjoying his football tremendously, perhaps because he’s been able to avoid the savage British tabloid press in the U.S.  Rio Ferdinand, much maligned over losing the national team’s captain’s badge, suffered from injuries over a substantial part of last season. With Evans, Smalling and Jones around to pick up the slack for him now, Ferdinand was at his happiest bringing the ball upfield. He looks to definitely have at least one more good season in him.

Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney looks about as effervescent as he’s ever been in a United kit. He seems to be getting more and more used to bringing the ball up from midfield, acting as more of an attacking midfield pulse for the team. Indeed, Ronny genuinely seems to be enjoying his current role. If Ferguson fails to find a quality Summer replacement for Paul Scholes in the transfer market, I for one think an experiment with Rooney in the hole behind  any two or one of Macheda, Welbeck, Berbatov and Hernandez, looks like it could work.