Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Champions again: Whatever happens against Barca, United are most successful club in the land...

Manchester United wrapped up the Premier League title on Saturday thanks to a scrappy 1-1 draw away at Blackburn. Surprisingly, it was a nervy performance by the then champions elect. United went behind in the first-half when Emerton scored on 20 minutes. Rooney settled the nerves of the Red Army with a well taken penalty in the 73rd minute and the game ended in a stalemate as both teams were happy to settle for a point apiece. In truth, it was something of an anti-climax at Ewood Park but let's not forget, United had done the job when beating Chelsea the week before.

In what at times has been an unusual season, United have been labelled as the team who "know how to win", or alternatively "the team that just does enough" and of course the Premier League title winners still have to face Barcelona at Wembley in the Champions League final at the end of May. Before that huge game, Blackpool will visit Old Trafford for the final league game of the season; it is to be hoped there's no repeat of United rolling over as happened when West Ham clung on to their Premier League status in 2007 thanks to a Carlos Tevez goal and of course Fergie had fielded a weakened team...

Looking ahead to the Champions League final at Wembley, United will take on Barcelona as under-dogs and rightly so, because even the most die-hard red would surely have to agree that the Catalans' standalone at present. No one can match Barcelona's passing, movement and come to that few match their work-rate. So Barcelona deserve to be favourites. United have a chance and it isn't all doom and gloom, because we know we have players like Chicharito, Rooney and Berbatov who can score against any team given the chance. United also have pace and power on both wings and this area could be interesting because it will mean Barca's attacking defenders will have to think twice before pushing on to support their attack.

United's defence is as good as any in the competition, but midfield will, as ever, be the key area and it's here where Barca are at their collective best.

Much could depend on Fergie's approach: Does he tell his players to hit Barca hard early doors as happened against Chelsea at Old Trafford? Or does he tell his players to sit back and try to soak up Barca's pressure and hit them on the break? The latter scenario would surely be inviting the inevitable? But however United approach the final there are no obvious answers when it comes to tactics. Hopefully, United will take the game to Barca and the final will worthy of the name and it is memorable for the right reasons. Whatever, happens we reds know our club is the most successful in the land and how the dirties won't like that...we can all smile about that over the summer.

Finally, the Red Army have removed that '35 years' banner from the Stretford End. In over 40 odd years of watching United I've never known a banner cause so much distress; it has been hilarious listening to the bitters complaining. But with all that money, even City were not going to continue to mess it up forever; it was just a question of time before they won that first major trophy.

6 comments:

  1. Didn't you lose to Arsenal a few weeks ago?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's Not Done Yet, People
    As there continues to be frequent references of Liverpool being 'knocked off their perch', I thought I'd once again look to challenge this from a neutral perspective (I'm a Norwich fan and have no preference over Man Utd or Liverpool).

    The claim of United now being 'top dogs' seems to be based on their extra league title. However, I would argue that it's necessary to consider a club's success in all tournaments before arriving at such a conclusion. Further consideration has to be given to the value of each competition (i.e, a Champions League victory is greater than a League Cup victory), therefore to fairly assess who really does sit on the perch, it is necessary to give a priority score to each tournament. The fairest way I could put this was:

    European Cup/Champions League = 5 points for each tournament won.
    League Champions = 4 points for each title won.
    Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Cup = 3 points for each tournament won.
    FA Cup = 2 points for each tournament won.
    League Cup = 1 point for each tournament won.

    I am not including the European Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, World Club Championship or the Charity Shield, as all are more exhibition matches than proper tournaments.

    If you tally Man Utd's victories in each competition and multiply by the appropriate score, they reach a total of 120 points. They will score 125 if they beat Barca in this year's Champions League final.

    Liverpool on the other hand currently score 127 points, therefore in my completely impartial opinion, Liverpool are yet to be knocked off top spot. Sorry United fans, but Fergie's work still isn't done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Arf, do me a favour, "I have no preference"...

    ReplyDelete
  4. VOTE IN MANCHESTER TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HERE:

    www.desportoevoradistrito.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Norwich fan my arse.

    Let's have points for the Community Shield and the World Club Cup while we're at it...

    ReplyDelete
  6. VOTE IN MANCHESTER TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HERE:

    www.desportoevoradistrito.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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