Thursday, August 27, 2009

United to slip up in Champions League Banana skin group?...

So then the Champions League draw proper has taken place, Arsenal have been drawn in a relatively easy looking group H. United face difficult looking away trips to Moscow, Wolfsburg and Besiktas. No doubting Fergie and the Glazer family were desperate to avoid being drawn against Real Madrid for very obvious reasons - at least the potential for great embarrassment for all concerned has for the time being been delayed.

Wolfsburg are the Bundesliga champions and United have struggled against German, Turkish and Russian opposition in the not too past and surely Ferguson will not need reminding that United failed to qualify for the knock-out phase after being drawn against very modest looking opposition in 2006 in a Group D that consisted of Benfica, Lille and Villarreal.

On paper United should progress into the first knockout round, but of course it's rarely as simple as that and with so many questions being asked about the forward-line and exactly who will score the goals this campaign, it won't be that surprising if the champions have a really tough time in the Group phase of the competition.

Barcelona along with Real Madrid will be the favourites to lift the trophy and it certainly looks as though La Liga has the two strongest teams in the competition following the big money moves this summer at the Santiago Bernabeu and the Camp Nou. This year's final is in Madrid and if either of the big two Spanish sides progress through to the final it could be a real cracker.

8 comments:

  1. I think the real problem might lie in the damage returning from distant away fixtures in Europe just days before playing tricky matches at Anfield and Stamford Bridge could inflict on United's league title defense hopes.

    With the closing of the transfer window rapidly approaching--without any apparent attempts to bolster the midfield, I fear United will be fortunate to earn more than three points in their next three fixtures (Arsenal, Tottenham, and City). Dropping more points at Liverpool and Chelsea would just about do for United's chances of retaining their Premiership crown.

    I'd very much like to be proven wrong, but I don't believe we have the midfield to compete in Europe or to remain at the top of the Premiership.

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  2. NWshoegazer,

    You've made some very valid points and I agree with you especially about the PL games after those away fixtures.

    It's going to be a bumpy ride and I've been posting that view all summer.

    Fergie's inaction in the transfer market is more than likely down to financial pressures IMO, I'm not quite sure what the Glazers' interest payments are on their huge loans, but it certainly cannot be helping the situation.

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  3. James,

    I didn't want to believe that United were broke, but SAF cannot possibly have failed to see how crap his midfield has been so far this season. If he isn't doing anything to address the situation, I am forced to conclude it's because his hands are tied due to a lack of finances.

    It amazes me that some supporters are so blase about our midfield problems. Here is something for them to think about: Giggs, Scholes, Keane, and Beckham were the backbone of our finest team; do we have even one midfielder worthy of being mentioned with those four? Absolutely not! Carrick and Fletcher compare favorably with Butt, as none of them are at their best when surrounded by lesser lights.

    I don't want to hear about the potential of Anderson. All the Anderson apologists can offer is the claim that he is being played out of position and never gets a sustained run in the first team. I have seen Anderson play all across the midfield--with performances ranging from pedestrian to pathetic; it's no wonder he is dropped so often.

    With Arsenal's current form, I can see them cutting right through our midfield and tearing into an injury-riddled, makeshift defense placed in front of a relatively inexperienced goalie. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

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  4. NWshoegazer,

    I agree with you about the midfield it's not great at all. I think Barry would have been a good acquisition ( but I don't like admitting that).

    I don't think I've seen Anderson play well for 90 minutes in a United shirt, yes, he's had some very good moments but he lacks consistency. I'm not at all surprised Fergie has been giving Gibson a chance.

    Regarding United fans being blase about the midfield. It amuses when when I hear so many fans saying "trust in Fergie", because while it's true enough he almost always comes good, there has been brief periods when he's had to rebuild and following the departure of Ronaldo and Tevez this will turn out to be another such occasion, but of course time is against the manager - he cannot go on forever.

    Regarding Arsenal, I can see them coming away with all three points, there's no doubt it's going to be a tough game but United usually rise to the occasion and that is what I'm hoping for. However, I'm also concerned about players speaking out as Anderson has apparently and you do wonder if Fergie's authority is beginning to be questioned following what can only be described as an awful summer in the transfer market.

    United have been labelled as a selling club following the loss of Ronaldo who we didn't want to sell to be fair, but from a players point of view they want to be winning trophies and if the club starts to show signs of a lack of ambition it could lead to further departures, I'm thinking of Vidic...

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  5. Champions League group looks ok, except when we travel to Besiktas and CSKA.
    However the EPL games are more difficult, with matches against City, Liverpool during the champs league intervals.
    Am more concerned about the center midfield, apart from Fletcher no one is really worth playing, and may be fergie should have looked for someone who can lead the keano style

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  6. Rite$h,

    Easier said than done ref Keano...

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  7. Don't be so hasty, I'm an Arsenal fan but I follow United quite closely. One thing I learned from our troubles last year is that we, like you, have a fantastic manager and they know more than we do, they see what the players can do day in day out in training etc. If Fergie thinks he needs to bolster the squad he will.

    It's only been three games so far and it's the very start of the season, bar long term injuries to key players you do have enough at the moment to challenge in all competitions, there is no replacing Ronaldo. He could go out and buy 100 players but none will adequately replace him.

    Besides neither manager wants to spend the ridiculous amounts for players that are being quoted at the moment due to citeh and madrid's mad spree's. Have faith I think there'll be a surprize or two on the final day of the transfer window, it makes sense that they'd wait 'til the final day because that's when the price will be the cheapest.

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  8. Blank,

    I cannot see United making any moves apart from possibly for Robben but isnt' he always injured?

    Whatever happens in the next few days it isn't going to be United's season. There's a wind of change blowing through the Premier League and Fergie hasn't done his homework on players he might have signed that might have helped with regards to playing "differently". If United take just three points from the next three games I for won't be that surprised.

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