Sunday, August 23, 2009

Goals galore brings smiles back but Arsenal, Spurs and City will be the true test...

The smiles returned to the faces of the Manchester United players yesterday as the champions ran out five-nil winners over Wigan, it was a victory that was much needed following the midweek embarrassment at Turf Moor.

After failing to capitalise on several good goal-scoring opportunities in the previous two games and then squandering three excellent chances in the first-half yesterday the visting supporters in the DW Stadium were wondering if United would end up dropping more points against a Wigan team who looked short on confidence.

Robbie Blake scored in midweek and stunned the champions, but on this occasion it was the visitors who were creating their own problems with Gary Neville and Darren Fletcher guilty of making awful mistakes in the opening period. Neville criminally conceded possession in his own half - but for a brilliant save from Ben Foster the visitors could easily have gone into the break one down, which would have been a travesty given the chances Scholes, Rooney and Fletcher had squandered.

In truth at half-time surely no one could have predicted the second-half rout that was to follow. Wayne Rooney (56) scored with a majestic header to the relief of the travelling fans from Manchester and just two minutes later Berbatov opened his scoring account for the season. The Bulgarian's extremely well taken goal effectively killed-off Wigan who visibly wilted at that point; it also lifted the confidence of the United players.

It came as no surprise that Rooney (65) scored his second with a deflection before substitute Michael Owen (85) got on the score-sheet with a skillfully taken goal after good work by Nani. Deep into injury time Nani hammered the final nail into Wigan's coffin with an impressive free-kick from fully thirty yards as Kirkland was left rooted to his goal-line.

United's goals against Wigan were much needed, as was the win (obviously), but it's difficult put the result into any meaningful context for the remainder of the season because Wigan didn't play like a team in the second-period and if they carry playing like that they will be relegation material.

In the wake of the victory over Wigan everyone has been talking about the goals, but equally as important was the very timely return of Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian defender was immense, he barely put a foot wrong and fears that he might be rusty following a long lay-off were dispelled.

Next up United face Arsenal and that could be cracker, both teams are coming off the back of thumping wins and both are at their best when attacking.

After the home game with the Gunners, the champions have a really difficult looking away game against Spurs in North London. Tottenham are flying at present, so much so that some pundits are even talking about a top-four finish for Redknapp's team - whether this is another case of early season optimism time will tell. Then United face neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford and after that fixture we will know a lot more about the title credentials of United, Arsenal, Spurs and moneybags City.


  1. Don't break your neck looking up Man U, City & Gooners. Spurs may slip once or twice but we be top this year and next year. It's all on for the year of the ONE.

  2. Time2goLevy,

    It's a bit early to be talking up your title credentials - but I guess you've not had many false dawns of late, there's no reason this can't be the first - still it's nice to be talked about as potential winners even at this early stage of the season.

  3. Arsenal are looking an extremely dangerous team this season, with some luck with injuries, as Barcelona had last season, they can be the team to beat in Europe, let alone the Premier League.

    Last season they were losing games to Stoke and Hull, but now they're finishing is great and players like Van Persie and Fabregas haven't even hit top gear.

    Much as I love United, I think a draw would be a good result given the form Arsenal are in. Ok, their defence hasn't been tested. But right now, United's central midfield is in tatters, with no clear combination, and the finishing has been poor, despite the second half performance at Wigan. Where Arsenal are finding goals from their centre-backs as well as midfielders.

    I think once again, Ferguson does not know what his best team his. Well, he might know who his best strikers are, but he cannot pick a midfield that he knows will perform and win games. Scholes and Giggs aren't being slowly eased out, and that is concerning for the moment, at least for me.

    Regardless, still too early to comment definitively, lets see nine or ten games in how United are looking because they have had to change their entire style of play withour Ronaldo.

  4. Great goal by Owen & I'd like to draw your attention to one of your previous blogs where I think you said Owen has no left foot!

  5. Vaud, you're right about Owen and his left foot, we think he miss hit that one :0)

  6. Uday,

    As ever you're right on the money. Fergie has no idea what his team is and as you say midfield is a bbig concern. The thing is we couldn't have been given an easier start so maybe we need some tougher games that will really test the team and manager. I agree a draw might be the best we can hope for but in the past we have raised our game.

  7. I think saturday's game was ample proof of what i think SAF should stick to as his 1st choice midfield.Nani and Valencia on the flanks with Fletcher playing DM.Scholes/Carrick/Giggs as playmaker.
    I think we needed an alternative in centre of the park.Sneijder would have fit our requirements perfectly.Still 1 week to go.But i dnt think SAF gonna buy now.


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