Sunday, December 09, 2007

Weekend of contrasting fortunes for two of Manchester's finest...

It was another one of those very wet weekends in Manchester, and one of contrasting fortunes for two of the city's finest sons, for both it will be one which will never be forgotten, but for very different reasons.

For Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton it was a case of tasting defeat for the first time in 44 professional fights as he was knocked-out in Las Vegas by Floyd Mayweather Jr. In the wake of Hatton's first defeat, respected voices within boxing circles are telling the Hitman to retire. By all accounts, the step up in class and weight was a step too far for the little man from Hattersley who says that his pride more than the punches has been hurt.

Meanwhile 12 hours previously and five thousand miles away in the rainy city, the adopted son of Manchester that is Ryan Giggs celebrated his 100th league goal on Saturday for the Reds as the Champions narrowed the gap to just one point at the top of the table when they brushed aside relegation candidates Derby County 4-1.

Cristiano Ronaldo denied Carlos Tevez the opportunity of scoring a hatrick as the Portuguese winger scored late on from the penalty-spot after being hacked down on a rain sodden Old Trafford pitch. Before that Tevez scored in either half with two well taken goals, his first was similar to the Giggs opener in that both players were in the right place to capitalise on any openings when lurking on the edge of the visitors six-yard-box. It was a case of perfect timing and positioning for the Welshman and the Argentine.

In his post match interview, Fergie said that he wasn't totally happy with the Reds passing, but given the state of the pitch he was rightly very satisfied with the victory - nothing less was expected given the Rams plight.

However, while this fixture may well have looked easy on paper, Premier League games of this nature can turn out to be a case of 'sheep to the slaughter' for the visitors or they can be coupon busting disappointments as was the case when Sunderland took a point off United a couple of seasons ago during that woeful campaign which ended with the Black Cats being relegated.

One player who has seen it all before is Ryan Giggs. The Welshman has divided opinion among fellow Reds on his undoubted abilities like no other United player that I can recall in recent times. Throughout his United career Giggs has often been quite brilliant but also very frustratingly annoying on other occasions. What is beyond doubt is the Welshman's sublime record.

Apart from this glittering collection of silverware, Giggsy has several lesser known claims to fame, such as he remains the Premier League's all time top goalscorer for a none striker. He scored the United's quickest ever goal against Southampton (15 seconds) against Southampton in 1995.

United fans voted his FA Cup semi-final replay match winner as the Reds greatest ever goal when he beat four Arsenal defenders (Lee Dixon twice) along the way.

The Welshman has the privilege of being the only player in the Premier League to have been named in an episode of the Simpsons.

To date Giggsy has scored 144 goals for the Reds from 731 games and he has 284 assists. Ryan very nearly made it 145 United goals against the Rams on Saturday with a wonderful second-half left foot effort that just went beyond the far post. Long may it continue.

United fans will have many fond memories of their top Giggs moments. What in your view is his most important league goal? Ryan scored a match winning brace late on against Southampton when the Reds were one down as Fergie side eventually ran out 2-1 winners in a game of huge importance in that defining season of 1993 when United ended that 26 year wait to finally secure the league title.

1 comment:

  1. The exchange between Homer and Marge:

    Homer: Well Marge, you gotta admit, I've been on my best behavior this trip.
    Marge: You punched out three people on the street.
    Homer: That was over soccer results. Can you believe they gave Giggs a yellow card in the box?!
    Marge: Do you understand any part of what you just said?
    Homer: I understood the word 'gave'… unless it means something else in this country!


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