Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Norsemen swamped by Red tide....

Manchester United's players went into Tuesday's Champions League clash with Aalborg with warnings from Fergie about what they might expect from the home team and crowd. The Danes were up for it all right, but they simply couldn't match the Champions' quality as the visitors' ran out fairly comfortable three-nil winners with goals from Rooney and a brace from Dimitar Berbatov.

Rooney's first-half goal was the pick of the bunch, it started on the right when Nani made a smart turn inside (pretty much the only thing he did right in the game) and found substitute, Ryan Giggs, who expertly threaded a ball to the feet of the onrushing United striker who applied another clinical finish.

New boy Berbatov weighed-in with a second half double, the first was an absolute gift following a mistake by a defender. The second goal came after smart work by Ronaldo who pulled the ball back from the Danes by-line for the Bulgarian who killed the game off with another decent finish from just outside the six-yard box.

While the contest was a pretty much one-sided affair, the Danes had their fair share of possession, but they failed to make any real impression inside the visitors' penalty area and so it was an easy night for Van der Sar et al.

The game wasn't without its talking points, at the beginning of the season I predicted that by the end of it, Rafael Da Silva and Rodrigo Possebon, could become permanent fixtures in the United first team. Given that Fergie had stated he'd start the Aalborg game with his strongest team and as things turned out that meant sans Wes Brown, it looks like half of my prediction may come to fruition sooner than I'd expected...The Brazilian right-back did his chances of claiming a regular starting place no harm at all with an excellent performance, so much so that he was United's stand-out player on the night, closely followed by Rooney and Giggs.

For his part, Berbatov should have scored his first hatrick for the club, he missed an absolute sitter after just five minutes, however, once he'd scored that brace his game improved, until that point he'd been pretty dire really, all too often his passing was quite poor, given what he is capable of.

Despite his two goals, Berbatov's best moment in the game came late on when he curled a lovely arching ball with the outside of this right boot for Ronaldo to run onto, the Player of The Year should have scored, but instead he pulled his shot wide.

While it wasn't a dirty game, the win came at the expense of United collecting a few injuries to Rooney, Scholes (up to eight weeks) and Da Silva. The good news is that both Hargreaves and Carrick will be back soon as will Neville.

United can cope better these days with injuries to midfield players given the current squad, so even without Scholes the Reds should be ok, added to which it gives Fergie the opportunity to ring the changes. Next up it's Blackburn Rovers and I expect Owen Hargreaves and Anderson to be deployed in the engine room with Tevez starting up front.


  1. great win United. We have been debating Berbatov's "fantasy" value for the fantasy prem, but it looks like his "REAL LIFE" value is starting to come through!

  2. Berbatov's confidence took a much needed boost from those goals. you can tell he's not on the same page as Rooney and Ronaldo...yet.

    That squad is definitely the strongest, except i'd switch out O'Shea for Hargreaves. Having another attacking back in de Silva really makes us scary in the offensive third! (much more than with Brown)

  3. Regarding JOS, every squad needs a few willing stand-in types, but I cannot help wonder what the likes of Da Silva and Possebon think of the Irishman's ability. At one time I thought he might become a central defender or a fullback, now I just dont know what he is.

    I think Gary Neville's days are numbered, Brown should be ok for a while longer.

    The only really sad part of this is that we are having to bring in Brazilians while our own local lads are being offloaded.


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