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Why City failed and United triumphed!

April 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

 

The way Manchester United reclaimed the Premier league title from Manchester City, was a true sign of the desire within the club and everyone involved, from Sir Alex right through to the reserve players. Wrestling the title out of Roberto Mancini’s hands with four games still left to play can and should be viewed as an empathic response from a side born with the never say die attitude instilled by Sir Alex Ferguson. But exactly what went wrong for Mancini and his team? What has Man United done differently this season compared to last season?

As soon as Aguero won City the title with virtually the last kick of the season that is when Mancini should have started to think about improving his squad. Knowing that Fergie would respond with some big name signings, it baffles me as to why Mancini settled for players such as Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia and the overrated Maicon instead of focusing on problematic areas. Any team aspiring to be the best must have versatility, clearly City is lacking in that department. With no recognized winger in their squad except for Scott Sinclair, I am mystified as to why Mancini did not go for an established winger, someone who knows the English game and has vast experience in the Champions League? Arjen Robben comes to mind, I am sure if City tried to they could have persuaded Bayern to sell. Samir Nasri has been a shade of what he was last season. The creativity in midfield is mainly placed on the shoulders of David Silva and Samir Nasri but since the latter failed miserably to create anything, it put more pressure on the likes of Yaya Toure to push forward. Yaya is in all honesty City’s most valuable player and what makes him such an outstanding player is his ability to read the game and break down potential threats around the penalty area. He is also an outstanding tackler but since he was forced to play the role of creator, City’s defence became vulnerable. Perhaps Mancini could have strengthened a key area by signing Arturo Vidal. By the time the January transfer market came around, Mancini already had a mountain to climb to get back into the title race and not to mention their dismal performance in Europe.

James Milner, Gareth Barry and Mario Balotelli should have been sold long before the season started, but in January it was only Balotelli who left and joined AC Milan. A good move on behalf of Mancini but failure to sign a replacement made no sense at all. Gonzalo Higuan has been on the brink of leaving Real Madrid for some time now, so why Mancini never made an attempt to sign him is beyond my understanding. As soon as Wesley Sneidjer became available City should have tried to sign him, especially with the abysmal performances of Nasri.

Sir Alex Ferguson made a huge statement when he announced the signing of Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa. It was no secret that those two attacking players were signed with the sole purpose of scoring more goals than last season. The impact of Robin Van Persie was immediate and United showed just how good Van Persie really is. Ferguson finally had a squad of players with whom he could impose different formations and tactics without sacrificing the quality with which United play. Phil Jones and Michael Carrick played their parts to perfection and both can be viewed as unsung heroes. The emergence of Jonny Evans has given Man United fans around the world something to smile about, as his wonderful maturity in defence at such a young age is proof that the future indeed is looking bright. Last season Man United were lacklustre too often  but this season Manchester United’s consistency became the massive difference between losing the title last season and winning it with time to spare this season.

Is it time to retire?

April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

The question regarding the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson has been asked ever since Manchester United conceded the title to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea back a while back. I remember Ferguson walking around Old Trafford saluting the crowd and for once he looked like an old man, tired and weary! Yet here we are, nine years onwards and Manchester United is closing in on a record 20th League title.

After United let a two goal lead slip against Chelsea in the Quarter final of the FA Cup, it was always going to be a huge mountain to climb at Stamford Bridge. And when the starting line-ups were revealed for the much anticipated clash of the titans, I feared that this game would be a bridge too far for Ferguson’s men. I could not understand why Fergie decided to field a team with so many non-first team regulars? Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck and even Nani. In a game that had to be won, Manchester United left Robin Van Persie, Kagawa and Giggs on the bench. If the starting line-up wasn’t enough to make United fans worried, which it should have been, then playing Valencia at right back and Nani at right wing with Jones in central midfield was cause for major concern.

Defensively United were always going to be outplayed by the attacking prowess of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Demba Ba. It is for this reason that I firmly believed Evans and Vidic should have started the game and not Ferdinand and Smalling. I understand Rafeal’s omission but why wasn’t Jones put into that role of right back? This would have given United more stability and versatility at the back, it also would have put Nani where he belongs, on the left wing with Valencia playing on the right wing. Carrick in midfield was always a no brainer but how Kagawa was left out when United clearly needed some creativity in midfield to combat the creativity of Chelsea is beyond me. Robin Van Persie should have started the game alongside Javier Hernandez . Hernandez has been in good form all season and I am sure he would have linked up better with Van Persie than with Welbeck. The reason behind the signing of Shinji Kagawa was so that United could have some creativity in midfield, so why is it that when the important games, the ones you simply have to win is Kagawa not playing?

This is not the first time we have seen Ferguson make stupid mistakes in team selection. No Wayne Rooney against Real Madrid was a shocker! And last season against Manchester City he played a fairly defensive minded team. Has the time now finally come for the great Sir Alex Ferguson to retire? I believe it has, a fresh approach is needed, a changing of the mind set in the players. Perhaps a new spark in midfield is needed in the form of Gareth Bale or James Rodriguez? Last night’s performance of Lucas Moura for PSG has made me realize exactly what United is missing in midfield, which is pace, energy and excellent passing ability. If only United secured the services of Wesley Sneidjer!

Clear intent to screw Manchester United

March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

After reading many writers around the world express their opinion regarding Nani’s Red Card, and listening to many experts, I have come to the conclusion that Nani was the victim of a biased match official.

I am sure many would disagree with me, but then again “Hating United” is second nature to virtually every non United fan.  Sir Alex got his tactics spot on.  Madrid was barely in the game, until that red card of course. Sure it is not the red card dribbling the ball over the line and we can argue the fact that what Nani did was reckless dangerous but why on earth was Nani the only one punished for dangerous play? Arbeloa’s tackle on Evra was late, reckless, dangerous and full of intent to injure, the outcome? Only yellow! Ramos’s bullying of Rafael deemed fair, Ramos obstructing Welbeck to get to a ball in the penalty area is a goal scoring opportunity denied which according to the Laws of the game is a straight red card. Diego Lopez’s punch against Vidic’s head was dangerous. Yet no one has the guts to even talk about it, why? Clear intent to screw Manchester United out of Europe’s elite competition. Did that decision change the game? YES. Did United lose the will the fight? NO!

Funny how everyone is quick to point out how many times United benefited from other teams’ misery, yet they fail to point out what should be obvious. This was a Champions League Quarter Final match; the financial implications are far more vital than that of a normal League encounter where only pride and three points are at stake! People say United fan’s should grow a pair and move on from this heinous injustice, but they have most probably have no idea what it is like winning the treble.

Uefa is quick to investigate United but what about the match official whose sole duty is to be objective and fair? His obligation to Football first and foremost is to be fair and to put personal feelings aside. I fail to understand why no one has even so much as mentioned this blatant disrespect for the game of football? The respect campaign means nothing these days. Arbeloa knew he would run into Nani’s boot, he knew the ref would see it his way thus the reason he continued with his run. This falls under the category of conning the ref. They both should have received yellow cards and with Arbeloa already on a yellow at the time would have seen his marching orders.

I am disgusted with the way the situation got handled, I am befuddled by how many ex-players and referees seem to be in favour of what happened.

Pride comes before the fall!

March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Yesterday’s result between Tottenham and Arsenal in the North London derby proved what many already knew. The SS Arsenal is a sinking ship. Arsene Wenger’s insistence to remain at Arsenal is a sign of clinical arrogance, as it sends out a message that no one can do a better job than him. The board’s failure and lack of backbone to fire Wenger is a sign of misguided trust or just pure greed. The pride of Wenger did indeed come before the fall.

Is it too early to compare Bale with Ronaldo or Messi? Is it absurd to suggest he will become the world’s best player in the near future? At the young age of only 23, the footballing world is yet to see him at his peak. Another point worth making is that both Ronaldo and Messi began their free scoring records at the same age. So far no manager has been able to cope with the pace and brutality of Gareth Bale. Bale’s recent performances have seen him receive praise from all corners of Europe and this could spell the end of his career at Tottenham. I know at some point Wenger will come out and say that he had an opportunity to sign Gareth Bale from Southampton and then he will go on about how he is happy with the decision to go for Theo Walcott. Isn’t it all just too familiar? Wenger claimed he could have signed Ronaldo but missed out on the deal because at the time Carlos Quiroz convinced his fellow Portuguese to join United. Wenger claims he could have signed the likes of Yaya Toure, Xavi Alonso, Ibrahimovich, Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and even Javier Mascherano. Funny how Wenger comes out and claims to have had an opportunity to sign players only after they become superstars for other top teams?

Arsenal fans will claim that they can compete with other big clubs for prestigious players, but I cannot see the logic behind that claim when clearly Arsenal’s wage policy suggest otherwise. Yes there was a time when Arsenal attracted great players but those days are over. To even suggest Wenger had a deal lined up for Messi but backed out of it because Messi was according to him not big enough in stature is utter rubbish. The bottom line is Arsenal’s board of directors and coaching staff is living in a world of denial. Now is the time for a changing of the guard! Now is the time for new owners with new ideas and a fresh perception. An entire shift in mind set is a necessity. A new coaching staff and manager is also required. Fabio Capello comes to mind as a candidate or even Claudio Ranieri.

 

Scrapping the bottom of the barrel!

February 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dreams are like grains of sand in one’s hand, the tighter you hold on the quicker it slips through your fingers and reality sets in. Winning the Champions League is such an honour and ranks very high on any managers list of priorities.

For Arsene Wegner the illustrious Champions League title eludes him and is perhaps the single most important objective on his agenda. Another season of failing to win a domestic trophy has not gone down well with the Arsenal faithful. Losing against Blackburn Rovers in the F.A. Cup this past weekend was the first time in Wegner’s career at Arsenal that he has lost against a lower league team, and surely this is an indication as to how far he has fallen from grace. During a press conference held after the match, Wegner’s respect for the Prestigious F.A. Cup were questioned, his response was an arrogant one stating he won it four times and followed that statement with an even more arrogant question, who won it more than me? Well it seemed like no one present in that press conference knew the answer, the answer is simple Wegner, Sir Alex Ferguson has won the F.A. Cup five times with Manchester United.

Perhaps now is the time for everyone at Arsenal football club to realize and concede the fact that its most successful leader is no longer competent enough to lead them to success. Gavin Hunt once said, strikers win matches but defenders win titles. Spot on, I could not have put that better myself. The foundation of every successful team is a solid defence and let’s face it, for the past 8 years Arsenal’s defence has been their Achilles heel, yet no significant signings has been made in a problematic area. Scrapping the bottom of the barrel has become the one thing Wegner does better than any other manager.

Reports suggest Wegner will have at least 70 million pounds to splash out on new players in the summer, but that is merely prolonging the agony of the Arsenal fans. That money is not nearly enough to rectify a squad of very average players. An entire new back four is needed to shake things up. At least two new midfielders are needed; a holding midfielder and a winger that can score goals but also track back to help out on defence. Then a proven goal scorer of note is needed to fill the huge gap left by Robin Van Persie. Theo Walcott’s demand to play as a striker is utter rubbish. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one Theo. What is even worse is that Wegner allows himself to be dictated by spoiled little brats, something that other managers just would not stand for.

 

Form is temporary, class is permanent

February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Perhaps now would be as good a time as any to evaluate Manchester City’s dramatic fall from grace. A grace period stretched over a measly two seasons. Yes in the 2010/2011 season Roberto Mancini brought the FA Cup to the somewhat dusty trophy cabinet of the Etihad Stadium. This achievement brought with it renewed hope of things to come and last season Man City clawed their way back into the Premier League title race and with virtually the last kick of the season won the 2011/2012 EPL. Slowly but surely Mancini found out the hard way that getting to the top is hard, staying at the top is near impossible.

So how exactly did Man City go from being the team to beat to being 12 points adrift and looking more like a team battling from game to game for a victory? Every great team that has enjoyed a vast period of domination would testify to the importance of continuity. Why did Mancini break up the impenetrable defence of Jeleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany? After failing to land Robin Van Persie, why did he not go for Zlatan Ibrahimovich or Edinson Cavani whom are both proven goal scorers? Knowing that Yaya Toure would leave in January why did he settle for Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell as midfield signings? Clearly the likes of Felliani of Everton or Alex Witsel of Benfica would have been much better signings. Samir Nasri, Gareth Barry and James Milner would not even come close to being included in the Manchester United starting line up so why are they regular starters at a team aspiring to be the best in Europe? I still maintain that City’s problem is in the wide areas, there is no spark, no magic that the likes of Gareth Bale could have provided, because at the moment Manchester City is relying on Zabaleta and Clichy to provide the width thus leaving them vulnerable and exposed at defence.

Form as it always has been and always will be is temporary but class is permanent! Gradually we have seen Manchester United’s defence improve and now with only 12 games to go who would dare bet against the clinching the title. A massive 12 points separate Manchester United from Manchester City. There can be no doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson is the real special one and not Jose Mourinho, after all Sir Alex has faced many pretenders and all have failed in their quest to dethrone the best manager of all time.

Desperate times yet no desperate measures!

February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Arsene Wegner I remember, is the one who brought Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Nicholas Anelka, Patrick Veiera and Marc Overmars to a club aspiring to be crowned Champions of England. Arsene Wegner build his team around a solid defence which featured Tony Adams and Martin Keown. Having David Seaman in goals was also a massive plus point for Wegner. Having a well structured team meant Arsenal was at times hard to breakdown defensively but at the same time fluent on attack. I miss those heated matches between the gunners and the red devils of Manchester, those days are long gone and it is a memory that is slowly fading into the distance.

I cannot help but critise Arsenal’s signings in the past couple of years and also the players they have allowed to leave the club. Thomas Vermaelen is a good player but has cost Arsenal on numoures occassions, recently he gifted Liverpool a goal when failed to clear the ball. Chamakh is a first class Flop and so was Nicholas Bendtner. Per Mertesacker’s good performances are few and far between. Alowing Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy and Robin Van Persie to leave was perhaps good for the financial side of things but poor when it comes to footballing terms. While I understand the risk involved of them leaving on a free transfer respectively, perhaps a further six months up until the January Transfer window could have been fruitful for Arsenal. Hypethetically speaking lets say Arsenal did hang onto all the above mentioned players and found themselves well and trully in the title race, Arsene Wegner would then have a much better chance of extending their contracts with the potential of winning the Premier League a possibility. Yet this has not been the case and now Arsene Wegner finds himself with mediocre players in a mediocre environment at a mediocre team, with its only ambition these days to qaulify for the Champions League.

Arsenal needed to spend money and big money on problematic areas within the current team. Sagna just isnt up to standard at right back and this would have been a great position for Wegner to start with. A central defender would also have been high up on my list with players such as Subotic and Hummels coming to mind. I would then have gone for a holding midfielder, someone in the same mould as former Arsenal skipper Patrick Veiera, Arturo Vidal of Juventus comes to mind or even Mesut Ozil of Real Madrid.

United public enemy number one!

January 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

I could be wrong, I could be right or I could simply be labelled as a foolish follower of Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson. I will state for the record that I am a Manchester United supporter and always will be. It is in my blood. It has been brought to my attention not once but several times in this season alone that United get favourable decisions from Match Officials. It has also been mentioned by Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew, that there is a different set of rules for Fergie and his men.

I seem to remember when Rafeal Benitez was in charge of Liverpool a couple of years ago, he decided it would be wise to go to war against Ferguson and the end result was that United won the League title. Perhaps it would have been wise for Pardew to consider that particular incident before making statements about Ferguson and United. Since Man United defeated Newcastle 4 – 3 at Old Trafford, Alan Pardew has seen his side slip further down the table with no sign that it will improve anytime soon.

The recent decision of a linesman to deem a foul on Wayne Rooney as not worthy of a penalty is absurd. What is even more remarkable is the fact that the same linesman allowed Didier Drogba’s goal to stand even though he was offside. It was a crucial decision in terms of the title race which Chelsea eventually won. The failure or incompetence or just blatant hatred for Manchester United has become obvious for everyone to see. It is no wonder Fergie is once again throwing his toys out the cot and once again it is for good reason. I can point towards Manchester United’s recent game against Liverpool as a real indication of how incompetent and inconsistent Match Officials are these days. Howard Webb had a shocker plain and simply.

It is unacceptable that these men in charge of the game have a say in the outcome of such a crucial match and more importantly, has a say in the outcome of the title race. People are quick to point a finger at Ferguson ranting and how he gets favourable decisions but no one seems to see the blatant and unbelievable abuse of power from match officials. The greater the power, the bigger the chance of abusing that power.