It had been widely expected and all but confirmed, but yesterday, Edwin van der Sar confirmed that he will be retiring at the end of the season.
Following Peter Schmeichel’s departure after the historic 1999 season, Manchester United went through a number of keepers without finding the same consistent excellence that marked Schmeichel’s highly successful run at Old Trafford.
Then along came Edwin. Sir Alex Ferguson considers Schmeichel to be the bargain of the last century, but there’s no doubt that EVDS is near the top of the list when it comes to the best transfer bargains of the past decade.
Van der Sar arrived from Fulham in a £2m deal in June 2005, and in his five-plus seasons at United, he’s repaid that minor investment tenfold, at the very least. Just as those who replaced Schmeichel had big shoes to fill both figuratively and literally, so will those who attempt to take over the #1 jersey starting next season.
He’s had many great moments in a Manchester United shirt, from all of the trophy wins that he’s played a massive part in, to his record run of clean sheets, to many, many memorable saves.
But arguably the moment that he’ll be most remembered for – that is unless he tops it between now and when he hangs up the gloves in May – is the penalty save on Nicolas Anelka that saw off Chelsea and brought United Champions League glory that unforgettable night in Moscow three Mays ago.
What is your favorite Van der Sar moment? Is it that save in Moscow? And who do you see as his most likely successor?
After Tuesday’s thrilling comeback victory at Blackpool, Manchester United return to FA Cup action and to the road as they face League One promotion hopefuls Southampton on Saturday evening.
On Tuesday night at Bloomfield Road, United were down 2-0 with under 20 minutes remaining. But three goals in the late stages, including a brace by Premier League scoring leader Dimitar Berbatov, handed the league leaders a 3-2 win and a five-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.
This weekend, United turn their focus to another trophy pursuit, as they look to secure a place in the last 16 of the FA Cup for the eighth time in nine seasons.
Given the amount of late drama that has occurred for and against Manchester United away from home this season, should anyone have expected any less than what transpired last night at Bloomfield Road?
Over the first 45 minutes, not only did Blackpool stand tall to United’s advances, but thanks to two goals, one of which came from former United prospect Craig Cathcart, United found themselves down 2-0 at the break and in serious danger of losing a Premier League match for the first time this season.
The second half, as expected, brought a United onslaught, but Blackpool held fast through more than half of the second half, and as the minutes ticked away, so went Manchester United’s unbeaten season and, more importantly, a golden opportunity to open up some vital ground on Arsenal, City, and Chelsea.
But as we saw in November at Aston Villa and as we’ve seen so, so many times over the years, one goal can be all it takes to turn the tide into Manchester United’s favor. Continue reading
After producing one of their best results of the season, Manchester United will attempt to translate that momentum into a much-needed away win as they take on Blackpool at Bloomfield Road tonight.
On Saturday, United dominated from start to finish in a 5-0 demolition of Birmingham City, with Dimitar Berbatov leading the way with his third hat trick of the season.
The win moved United two points clear at the top of Premier League table, and if they can secure all three points against Ian Holloway’s side, they’ll be five points up on Arsenal with the same number of games played, six clear of Manchester City with a game still in hand, and ten clear of Chelsea with the same number of games played.
Last week, in previewing Manchester United-Birmingham City, I was cautiously hopeful that we’d see the kind of Manchester United performance that has been lacking for the most part this season.
As fans, spoiled as we may be, we can’t help but hope for and expect to see some domination every now and then, and that’s not been the case thus far, as successful of a season as it’s been and could be.
Well, United delivered said domination, coming out with guns blazing and never letting up in a 5-0 rout of helpless Birmingham. And as in November’s record hammering of Blackburn, the assault was started and led by Dimitar Berbatov, who notched a hat trick to take his Premier League-leading goal total to 17.
In our run of now seven wins in seven Premier League meetings with Birmingham at Old Trafford, United have not been seriously troubled too often on the way to the three points, but this was by far the best performance and result of the bunch.
After coming away from a testy trip to Tottenham with top spot in the Premier League intact, Manchester United look to keep up their fine home form as they host struggling Birmingham City on Saturday.
United went down to ten men almost 15 minutes from time when Rafael da Silva was given his marching orders for a second yellow, but as has been the case many times throughout the season, their resilience saw them through safely to the end of the 0-0 draw.
With Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea all scoring wins against lesser competition on the weekend, United’s lead at the top was dented. Coming into this weekend’s clash against Alex McLeish’s side, United have 45 points from 20 matches, with City holding the same number of points with two more games played and an inferior goal difference. Arsenal are now two points behind with one more game played, with Chelsea seven back with one more played, and Tottenham eight back with one more played.
City face a tough Saturday evening clash at Aston Villa, who’ll be sporting a shiny new signing in Darren Bent, so three points in their afternoon clash against Birmingham could see United quickly reclaim the ground that was given up last weekend.
Still unbeaten, still top of the Premier League, so despite a 0-0 draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane there are still many positives that can be taken from the result.
The match itself was tense with neither team coming out on top despite United having to play the last quarter of an hour with only ten men as Rafael was sent off for collecting two yellow cards.
This season has been one of workmanship, a season where Manchester United have been less entertaining than normal and more anchored, not hitting the breathtaking heights of previous incarnations, but getting the job done nonetheless.
Surprising it may seem that we are still unbeaten in the Premier League, and if history is anything to go by this record will stay intact for another week at least as Tottenham Hotspur haven’t triumphed over United for just less than ten years.
Their last victory was a 3-1 win at White Hart Lane all the way back in May 2001, when Willem Korsten grabbed two goals for the hosts.