Sunday, January 18, 2009

United go top: Are you watching Liverpool?

Manchester United fans are not used to seeing their beloved team sneak so many 1-0 victories; it's alright for Liverpool and Arsenal of old, but not the Red Devils. It is why United supporters have been singing "attack, attack, attack attack attack" so often this season. It was sung again against Wigan on Wednesday in another match that ended with the Champions winning by the only goal of the game.

But with so many injuries and with the games coming thick and fast in all competitions United fans realise that winning, no matter what the margin, is all important, especially given that we have been chasing Liverpool for so many weeks.

For their part, the Scousers will have been anxiously looking over their shoulders for the big Red juggernaut that has been in their rear view mirror and threatening to overtake them. It has been a bit like that Spielberg film, Duel, in which Dennis Quaid is being chased by a faceless truck-driving maniac, except in this case that maniac happens to be Fergie who is on a mission to run the Liverpool bus, giddy manager and passengers off the road.

I don't know about my fellow Reds fans, but I've been chortling at the thought of the Scousers, who will have been tuning in to every United game, when watching in hope of calamity for the Champions, only to see them clinch victory late on.

Yesterday, United took on the Trotters at the Reebok, it was another occasion which would have surely left the Scousers cursing long into the night, as they supped their beer, following Dimitar Berbatov's 90th minute winner against hapless Bolton.

Gary Megson's team looked to be playing not to get beaten from the very start of the game. United for their part were trying to win, but like in so many games this season, they found it hard to break down a packed defence and create clear cut goal-scoring opportunities. Despite the demolition job on Chelsea last weekend and the fact that United haven't been conceding, there is concern at the lack of goals this season.

Ronaldo is still some way off his very best, but in fairness, his first-half header was United's only other really threatening effort on goal against Bolton. Last season the Portuguese winger scored 42 goals, in what will probably turn out to be his finest season ever, he deservedly went on to win every top honour in the game.

In the current season, Ronaldo is still the Reds' leading scorer in the league with eight to his name, but the goals have been spread around with Berbatov, Ronaldo and Rooney on nine from all competitions, with Tevez just one behind. Nonetheless, creating and scoring goals is still a big problem for United.

United need to strive to find a way of creating more goal-scoring opportunities, because we have the players' who can finish. The Champions are still some way of their collective best, but last weekend against Chelsea we saw glimpses of what the team is capable of - the fans want to see much more of that and less of the nerve-racking late goal victories - but of course we will accept wins, no matter how they come about.

For their part, Liverpool fans will no doubt continue to hope that Fergie's big Red juggernaut ends the season in one big calamitous crash, just like in the movie Duel. United fans on the other hand, will be hoping that Liverpool and their supporters end the season having to once again rely on archive footage of former League Championship glories.

10 comments:

  1. Don't worry Liverpool Fans...One day the Deal Fergie made with the Devil will run out and so will Man Utd's luck...one good aspect of the game, it was nice to see Rafa's words about Man utd getting all the Refs decision's was not just Rafa having PMS, but the truth that some extreme gum chewing and Mr Diver Ronaldo can make sure the game goes Fergie "The Red Devils" way!!

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  2. ...excuse me, which 'decisions'? You were clearly watching the game, as expected, but you weren't paying any attention because there few, if any controversial decisions which just goes to show you're as deluded as your stupid manager.

    The only controversy yesterday centred on Makukula remaining on the pitch for as long as he did because he should have been sent off.

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  3. I think it's fair to say that it isn't just Liverpool fans who are hoping to see Utd fail...

    But, on current form they are looking like the team to beat again this season...

    I'm just glad that Liverpool are still in with a good chance of challenging for the title after Christmas...

    Hopefully, with a bit of luck, number 19 will finally arrive at Anfield this season :)

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  4. Conversely, I know Everton fans who want to see Liverpool fail too.

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  5. James ryddell you are awesome. I just found this blog and very happy and excited to read and see entries come up frequentlyunlike the others.

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  6. I will be damn delighted if Everton beat the shit out of Liverpool.

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  7. I don't know, United have lost their classic composure and innovation when the ball comes near the box of the opposition. There were so many bloody errors in attack inside the box, that it was a frustrating game to watch, to tell the truth. I don't know what's going on really, but it's heartening to watch Tevez and Berbatov play well together.

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  8. Uday, You're right, it was very frustrating to watch. As I outlined in my post, United are struggling to break teams down and as a result they are not creating enough chances.

    Against Bolton, United only had two really worthwhile efforts on goal, that isn't good enough.

    I think Berbatov, despite is goals, has unsettled the forward line. United were more inventive/creative when Rooney was paired with Tevez every week, this is becuase the two of them work tirelessly off the ball - which is in marked contrast to the Bulgarian's philosophy of minimum effort work ethic.

    It isn't about what Berba does on the ball, when he's on it because he's usually quite effective, but it is what he isn't doing when he's not on the ball, which is movement off the ball - a key element in any truly world-class striker.

    That said, Berbatov has been key in United's last five wins. Unlike Rooney and Tevez he has also been there to finish chances inside the box when it mattered most.

    Rooney and Tevez both have this tendancy to rome whereas the Bulgarian appears to concentrate on making sure he's there to finish off any chances inside the box.

    It's a difficult call for Fergie to get the balance right.

    As for Tevez. I have been amazed at some of the comments about the Argentine "not being worth £32m". I don't know what game these people are watching sometimes because for me he is world class and worth every penny. He has also scored 8 goals - he is only one behind Rooney, Ronaldo and Berba...

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  9. Yes, Ferguson still has the problems of abundant choice, at least for now they have been 'resolved' by Rooney's injury, but United can set up a team-by-team approach in terms of their strikers.

    It is amazingly ridiculous how little interest United seem to have in Tevez, this might be a front for serious contract negotiations, I really hope it is, but we cannot risk losing one of our key players just because we don't think he's 'worth it', players are overvalued these days, but the trophies they bring certainly aren't.

    Although we must say that United's squad depth is really being tested and is showing its value in these quickfire games, as we have played almost all of our available players at least twice or thrice this season already in some position or the other. Fletcher's flexibility, Park's work ethic, Gigg's and Scholes' constant contribution, Evans' effective deputising, Rafael Da Silva's emergence, and Gary Neville's returning to form, built upon solid performances by Vidic, Rooney, Tevez and Carrick (Ronaldo and Berbatov coming good at certain moments) have really formed the backbone of United's title challenge till now.

    Here's hoping to a brilliant rest of the season, with Tevez starting as often as possible, and United winning four titles.

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  10. Another fantastic draw for LIverpool!

    Liverpool 1 - 1 Everton

    Congrats Liverpool fans!

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