Feb 11

Manchester United Hoping To Bounce Back Against City

The second Manchester derby of the season awaits us tomorrow afternoon at Old Trafford as a beaten Manchester United side look to bounce back against a Manchester City team in some indifferent form.

It is a match where the stakes are raised higher each year, and most will remember the two excellent Carling Cup matched last season, where United only made it through to the final thanks to a lat minute Wayne Rooney strike.
These matches were then followed up by an enthralling game at the City of Manchester Stadium in April, where 47,000 witnessed a last minute Paul Scholes effort that sealed a 1-0 win for United.

But with the hype surrounding the game in November reaching an all time high many will be expecting this weekends match to have a profound effect on the ultimate destination of the Premier League title. For those of you who don’t yet have a ticket for the game, you can still get your hands on one at TixDaq.

Rio Ferdinand, though unlikely to feature due to a calf injury, told United Review, that we will be going all out for the victory on Saturday. Along side him on the treatment table are long term absentees Owen Hargreaves and Antonio Valencia, otherwise Sir Alex Ferguson has a full strength squad to choose from as Ji-Sung Park has returned from Asian Cup duty.

Though it must be said as City have only emerged victorious in one of their last 26 outings at Old Trafford, an away win seems very unlikely, and a goal conceded in the first half even more so as United have not conceded at home in the first half since April 2010.

One key area of concern will be set pieces, as United have conceded the highest percentage of goals from set plays in the league. A massive 33%, though this is offset by the fact United have scored the most from headers themselves.

City’s main threat will come from former United striker Carlos Tevez. The Argentinean has scored 18 goals this season, while also bagging four in his last six matches against his former employers. City have also not lost a match in which he has scored, winning 23 from 25.

Kolo Toure added fuel to the fire ahead of the game claiming United could be at the beginning of a slump after last weekend’s defeat to Wolves, “When you’re on a good run like that and you lose, everything becomes harder. It shakes your confidence,” said Toure. “Maybe that can happen to them. It was difficult to lose that game.”

With United having more to lose than City according to BBC pundit Alan Hansen, we certainly have a key match on our hands, but whatever happens, we are sure to get a tasty encounter.

Possible Line-Up: Van der Sar; Rafael, Vidic, Smalling, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Park; Berbatov, Rooney.

Prediction: 2-2


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  • A coworker of mine commented this on American sports and Americans perception of sports “Americans don’t watch sports that do not cater to their level of concentration or lack thereof”..derogatory maybe but perhaps perceptive considering a 1 hour games drags on four two or three more…
    ..personally i have adapted to the American approach to sports.its more of a social event these days…but i faithfully follow NCAA basketball…but my school wont be making it this year :|

    @RedDevilEddy: i believe you made good point there…i believe as years have gone by more and more clubs like to follow the Hull effect meaning they go all out in the first half of the season especially against the big teams meaning it is completely win win situation if they get points and use the momentum to carry the season…of course they always fizzle out but its a tactic for surviving the premiership…it goes to show you that while most of the English men have the technical ability this is sacrificed to ensure club well being and a whole bunch of other factors..in today PL table wolves sit rock bottom but they have some really exciting talents like Jarvis and hammil who are excellent prospects and have done it against eth big boys(*us) as well

  • @Stephen: Are we a little bit touchy today. :grin: :grin: I’m a total sweetheart and you know it.

  • @Grognard: Its Valentines day I just want to be loved…… :lol:

  • @Jay wire: I kinda agree.

    @RedDevilEddy: Rule of thumb: strong individualities does not necessarily equate to being a great, even good team.

    Aimé Jacquet sacrificed Cantona and Ginola (hands down the best french players of their time) in the mid nineties so as accomodate Zidane. We all know what happened in 98.

    Also the amount of times I see english defenders watching the ball instead of their opponents they are supposed to mark…

    I admit though, I know next to zero when it comes to spanish defending.

  • @NicoQB: Spanish defending is practically non-existent. As a defender, I would never go to Spain… I’ve got too much pride to embarrass myself that way. :roll:

  • @Stephen: It was an amazing goal, I concur. I just think its gone a bit OTT.

    I also think Ronaldo’s portsmouth is a bit overrated – unlike his other mammoth freekick against arsenal in the CL, which strangely is rarely mentioned when talking of his great goals.

    I personally also think Macheda against villa is a marvel of a goal, irrespective of timing and importance of it. Not an all tme great but I’d put it on par with Rooney’s against city, as its a much rarer kind of goal demanding incredible accuracy and finesse. Overhead kicks, believe it or not, do actually happen once in a while.

    If you want to know, on the moment, I also thought berba’s goal against liverpool was overrated, but when watching it again, seeing how he placed it perfectly in the only one spot he could have , made me revise my opinion of it.

  • @NicoQB: England don’t know how to use a team. That isn’t due to the players, but the manager. Every player is supposed to do each part to contribute to a team, but when you have a national team they have to get used to a new system with other players than those they play with for a whole season. A good coach, like Hiddink, Løw and Lippi, can do this. Del Bosque didn’t really need to do this, as the Spanish National Team is practically Barcelona! If you’ve got a tactically good coach, as well as a motivator, you’ve got the deal for a National coach!

  • @NicoQB: The best free kick Ronaldo has scored is the one against Europa XI, or Fulham in 2006.

  • @Jay wire: If I misunderstood your meaning I apologize. But regarding American sports, they are not marketede outside of America for a few reasojns. First, they make more than enough money within North America and do not need to waste time and resources trying to win over nations that do not and will not get the sport. Secondly, the sports are expensive to play and to be a fan of. Soccer is popular around the qworld because of it’s simplicity and the fact you don’t even really need a ball to play as tin cans and taped up bundles of garbage have substituted for balls for many kids in third world countries. It’s cheap and you don’t have to be a college graduate to be drafted into a league. That alone makes it popular and accessible to billions. That however does not make it a better sport.

    I myself am a massive NFL football fan and I used to die for hockey and basketball before negative systems and other factors ruined those games for me. I also like baseball but have recently been turned off by it’s greed and hypocrisy. Football around the world is also quickly decaying because of greed and hierarchical hypocrisy which will destroy the fabric of the game as well as fair competition.

    US sport is far from perfect but I feel their model is far more advanced, modern and economically more functional than English or European football for that matter. It is elitist which gives it’s leagues pedigree and does not allow for mediocrity or the peasant classes of teams to ever be allowed membership. It pays a lot of money but also knows how to make it and distribute it more fairly. Even baseball which is very right wing has a salary cap tax that takes from the rich clubs and distributes to the poorer clubs. The price of success. Try doing that to Real Madrid and they will separation from La Liga. Americans think outside of the box and are constantly innovative and willing to push the envelope to try to come up with new ways of winning over and appeasing their fans. I just think of the high tech stadiums that have poipped up throughout North America these past ten years and think of all the amenities and features they have like dressing rooms that are large enough to house five teams with showers and civilized facilities rather than a large bathtub grown men have to share to get clean as well as dressing rooms that are so old, small and antiquated one asks where do all the profits go? I have seen video and pictures of United dressing room and other facilities and I can say that the Vancouver Whitecaps (a complete joke of a team) have far superior facilities. I marvel at how ancient and antiquated Europe still is in designing dressing rooms that serve their purpose well. Perhaps Germany has done this but seriously, England is still in the dark ages.

    America invented box seats and corporate suites in stadiums, they perfected the money maker that is known as tv rights, and they have improved so many conditions for both players and fans at big stadiums throughout the country. But the FA has to postpone games at Blackpool because the pitch is not in good condition or the dressing rooms have flooded etc etc. It is England that should feel embarrassment for not even trying to improve and move into the 21st century. But it’s popular these days for people to rag on the United States, out of envy and jealousy as well as bitterness.

  • @Eddy- And where is the comparison with Spain coming from? Anyway look, I’ve realised you probably don’t accept anything different from this, but the truth is you’re definitely one of the only ppl who believes England and English players are of a high technical standard. There’s no point to it. English ppl in strategic positions have admitted this and the football world at large acknowledges this.

  • @RedDevilEddy: I completely concur with you there.

    But sometimes I just wonder if english players have the mental adaptability to play according to the demands an systems of such coaches. For now I think the Capello experiment is an unmitigated disappointment. Maybe the language barrier is causing this though..

  • @RedDevilEddy: The big difference between Europe and England other than the systems and strategies being used is that UK born players are taught to think team first and individualistic endeavors second. In Europe and South America talented players are taught to play with the ball and to use their imaginations and skill set. They work much harder at one on one skills and on finesse where the English chap is told to pass or cross and to not risk losing the ball by being selfish. Pele and Maradona or Messi or Ronaldo for that matter would never have become the players they are had they grown up in England. English football has no individualism in it. It’s boring blue collar pragmatism. Direct play with a sprinkle of chase and cross. The continental game is about simplifying things, holding on to the ball and then allowing those with talent to use it.

    If I were your career advisor and you had the chance to go learn the game with an English club that is out of the top 6 or to go to any continental club in Europe, I’d insist you stayed away from the UK. I love England and the English and everything about the country but when it comes to their football they are arrogant and stubborn and unwilling to learn. They are set in their ways and because they invented the sport they feel they know more than everyone else and are unwilling to incorporate ideas from the rest of the world despite the fact they have won sweet fuck all since 1966. Even on Red Rants some of those English blokes will argue the merits and beauty of 4-4-2 and direct football when in fact it is boring and unimaginative football tactics designed for everyone rather than something designed for the elite. And that at it’s core is the difference between the great soccer nations and England.

    In Germany, Spain, Holland, Italy, Brazil, Argentina etc, the top clubs work on strategies and styles of play that are hybrids of many styles and cultures as well, they work on being inventive and trying new things by tinkering. Total Football, Catenaccio, Barca style keep away are all systems created from tinkering and playing around and not from being arrogant and so stubborn as to never try it. And this freedom to invent also lends itself to players individual skill sets. The UK is bloody medieval when it comes to football. The only thing they have going for it is passion, marketing and fans who are so blindly passionate, they will accept tosh if it’s dressed up in their team colors.

  • @NicoQB: I don’t think Capello is the solution, far from it. But neither is Mourinho, because he would feel the job would be like babysitting! That’s not what England need. They need a coach who doesn’t feel to big, and one who can relate to the players. Feel like family! I don’t think Capello can do that, he, just like Mancini, is a great manager, but never really gives you an impression of caring about his players. Del Bosque and Løw were close with the players, but unlike Dunga and Maradona, they were tactically good and manager to have a hold of the difference between “friend who knows football better than me”, and “my manager who I love”.

  • @Spizzy: I’m intolerant of stupid people, intolerant of intolerant people and the Dutch. ;-) :grin: :grin: Honestly mate, I could care less about what you think. These days I am in a mellow place where I am not really in any mood to argue, debate or discuss things to such an extent that I get really angry. Yes I can be a bit of a bastard at times but seriously, to know me is to love me. Peace. :smile:

  • I never really rated the grammys, I dont rate them still, but how pleasant it is to see one of your kind recongnised.

    Anyway for the first time I thought a urban/rap record really deserved accolades – Kanye’s MBDTF – he’s amazingly and conveniently absent!

    Genuiney happy for the arcade fire thoug, even if a grammy is absolutely no proof of artistic merit.

  • @Spizzy: I knew somebody would bring up rugby, so I’ll bring up hockey. Anytime you want to drop the gloves we can see who has more testosterone? ;-) :grin: Rugby is also played by a small minority in the countries where it ias popular. American football and hockey howe3ver are part of the cultural fabric of both the US and Canada. In hockey if there is a difference of opinion the gloves are dropped and the fists fly. That may seem Neanderthal to the dress wearing sect that comes from footy, but like I said,, it’s a man’s sport and only alpha males need apply. I love soccer but I also know it’s a sport for wimps and little girls. Two Canadian hockey players would never stand head to head like Tevez and Rafael in the photo above. Instead they would try to knock each other’s teeth out.

  • @RedDevilEddy: I acually think that Harry Redknapp would do a great job as england coach.

    I might be wrong!

  • I have a rule:

    Never comment on something you dont understand enough.

    From my untrained eyes, I see BFL and baseball as insufferably boring. I know better not to pass judgement as my friends think the same of football.

  • @Jay wire: England players are not given the freedom Spanish are. Even when Ronaldo was at United, some people considered Rooney to be more skillful than him! Now I know Rooney is a rare breed, but there are a lot of English players who are very skilful. More so than Brasillians! When they get older with age, the skill and technique is shown more rarely. Not because coaches say they shouldn’t use them, or express themselves, it’s just that they teach you how to use them in the right moment. They tell players that, only use them when you have to. But because of a severe lack of confidence and self-belief that is brought upon these players, they never express themself in their true nature as they are afraid to fail.

    Who would have known Bale was so skilfull a year ago? Now he shows the whole world how good he really is, but he’s always had it within him. It’s just that he now has the confidence and belief that he will be succesful and things will come of, and look how good he is! For fucks sake:
    O’Shea has nuttmegged Figo
    Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Steven Gerrard can hit a can from 70 yards away.
    Michah Richards, Theo Walcott, Lennon and Agbonlahor are amongst the fastest players in the World.
    Ashley Young is the closest you’ll get to a “perfect” winger, in the World!
    Jack Wilshire and Adam Johnson can dribble a defender away to the kebabshop outside the stadium.
    Rio is the best defender in the World at reading the game, and Smalling looks like he’ll become something huge as well.

    C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-C-E is a big problem in English football, when that is fixed let’s just see how good they really are.

  • Here are the names of a few footballers who have gotten their game affected by confidence

    Bale
    Nani
    Carrick
    Rooney
    BERBATOV!
    Torres
    Henry
    Richards
    Tevez
    Podolski
    Higuain
    Ronaldinho
    Ramos

    All of the names above have either become much better, or much worse, because of a boost/severe lack of confidence. And those are some of the best players in the world. Sort it out England!

  • @Jay wire: I have to agree. If I have learned anything over the past 35 years form watching, re4ading and studying the game, the main elements I can say that are really missing in English football finesse, patience and technical skills. It’s all about pace and physicality in England. Read the numerous books I have read on the subject and read the quotes from many of the great players and managers around the world and the one thing they seem to all agree on is that England has a lot going for it in it’s football but technical savvy is not one of those positives. The word technical is related to the word technique. And the majority of English players have none. They are just plodders who learn a few special skills like striking a ball or crossing it but have little subtlety or finesse when doing so.

    When I was young and the only soccer in my region was the NASL, I had a chance to watch the differences bewfore my eyes. The clubs that were high in English or Scottish concentration played a direct style with traditonal wing play. But the New York Cosmos and other teams that hired continental coaches who brought players from Europe and South America played a slower tempo game but the players on the ball were less predictable and far more skillful. That did not ensure victory as quite often the English style teams won but the difference was that more often than not, style and finesse won the day over blue collar work ethic and directness. And need I say what the North American fans who were ignorant of the game wanted? Goals. And the clubs with the continental approach always scored more goals where the English style clubs always had the tighter defenses. So basically it’s a question of pick your poison. I’ll take the continental game played by elite teams except Barcelona anytime over the way the majority of English clubs play. United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City all play a much more continental/English hybrid style which quite often is either hit or miss.

    Finally I think it’s important to note that the most innovative and imaginative systems and styles of football that have originated on the continent do have one serious weakness that the English style does not have. Those intricate tactics can only work best with the elite clubs who possess the elite talent. Total Football dies a quick death because only a handful of clubs had the versatility in their talent base to actually pull it off. The English style however is taught to kids and very little of it changes when it is used by adults. It’s simplistic use is why so many still use it because they know their talent base is nothing like United’s, Chelsea;s, Arsenal’s and City’s.

  • @RedDevilEddy: I also think you’re massively overrating some english or british players.

    Ashley Young, perfect? Eyyyyyyy.
    Flawless maybe, but I’d rather have a flawed giggs – he was very flawed in his peak years- just like Nani is nowadays, but extremely talented player, than a good jack of all trades.

    And just because O’shea nutmegged Figo, doesn’t make him world class. Figo was an attacking player for chrissake, its logical his defensive fundamentals would be weaker than, say, Cattermole or Konchesky!

  • @Grognard: That you think TEAM > ME is correct, I’ll give you that. But you make it sound like there is no such thing as being selfish? There is, of course, but as I’ve said its something you become afraid of. Lots of people have got talent, but how many really get to show it/use it. English coaching hinders you as an individual, but it makes you a better footballer. In Brasil or Portugal and such, you improve more as talented individual, but you don’t really play football. Brasil and Argentina have all the skills in the world, but Football is now a game full of tactics. There is a reason why none of the two big South American countries have done well the last two world cups, they are just tactically inept. Argentina have Messi, Tevez, Aguero, Higuain etc. but were woefully exposed by Germany. At least that is something you will learn in England, tactics and balance.

  • @Stephen: Well I love you mate and I send out to all my mates on the blog much love and many Valentines Day kisses. ;-) ;-) :grin: :grin:

  • @RedDevilEddy: Not just england though.

    Gourcuff.
    Veron. (Not his fault!!!!)
    Poborski.

    Kleberson (I actually think he’s better than Anderson!)

  • @NicoQB: Ashley Young have all the basics of the ultimate winger. I’m not saying he is the best winger in the world, very far from it, I’m just saying his skill set has got everything you look for in a winger.

    Where did I say Oshea was world class? :lol: :lol: The lad is shit mate, I just used it as an example that British players can surprise you, they are better than you think. And although Oshea isn’t the best example, well; credit given where credit’s due! :grin:

    And I may be overrating English players, but I think you guys are really underrating them. It’s about whose eyes are watching. ;-)

  • @NicoQB: Could even say Beckham, for the first part of 2006/07 he sucked, but from February until May, he was Real Madrid’s most vital player.

  • @Grognard: You’ll see that no team with a God-like techincally gifted player become a winning team without the “English grit” player. Zidane was always great for Real Madrid, but when Makelele left they weren’t the same force. With Ronaldo in our team, we had a lot of players who had to do the hard-work for him, doing the “English” job. Germany had Sweinshteiger and Khedira, Holland De Jong, back in the days the likes of Keano, Vieira, Cambiasso, Gattusso… you can’t have a team with ONLY technically gifted players, it won’t be football. Spain is probably the closest you’ll come that, but you fucking hate them for their style of play. :lol:

  • @RedDevilEddy: Mate seriously, the English game sucks, it’s a dinosaur. I mean you were comparing many pedestrian styled English players like Carrick with Xavi and Iniesta. There is no comparison. I hate Spain with a passion but their players are so far superior to anything produced in England it’s like comparing Beckenbauer and Cruyff to Bramble and Heskey.

    I get it, you love England, so do I, but I don’t let that positive bias blind me from the realities of the situation. England’s game lacks superior talent but relies more on pace, physicality and conditioning. Three strong attributes but hardly does that constitute a great game of football.

    Many of the great historical books on football point to one game that best defined how inferior the British game has become to the continental approach andf the game dates back to as far back as 1972. The first leg of the European Championships quarter-final stage between West Germany and England at Wembley. In that game Germany so outclassed England with their use of total football and their superior technical skill that to this day England has yet to recover from that embarrassment nor have they learned anything form the 3-1 defeat which should have been 6-1. All England could do was work hard, tackle hard and run but nothing ever came from it while Germany meticulously poked holes through them like Swiss cheese and destroyed them with a wide array of technical running, dribbling and passing that was a feast to the eye. The Dutch with Cruyff did it to the English later in 1977 in a Wembley friendly that the Dutch won 2-0 but again so outclassed the English that I remember reading the English media’s reaction to the loss as being the end of the world. Then came the loss to Germany this past summer. How much more evidence do you need to realize that those English players you think so highly of are not in the same league as their best opponents from around the world? Not only were they soundly defeated technically, but they were out worked and out paced as well. I’d like to say that one day the English will get it but I know better. They remind me of the old man who refuses to let go of his old beat up analog tv for a new top of the line flat screen. And his excuse is if it’s not broken, why fix it and also that they don’t build them like they used to. That’s English football in a nutshell.

  • @RedDevilEddy: English grit players are so overrated. I’ll take a Khedira, Cambiasso, Makelele, Gattuso, Melo and Mascherano any day. They make them gritty all over the world. How many Diarra’s and Toure’s would you like on your gritty list?

  • @Grognard: First of, I don’t really love England. My national teams are Germany and Holland, only reason I liked England in the past was because of Beckham! :lol: Since the 2006 WC my teams have switched between France, Brasil, Germany and Holland, but I’ve stuck with the last two because I love the way they play. Especially Germany, deary me what football! :twisted:

    I know that English players are better than what they are made to be. And the Spanish are worse than what they are made to be. I hate Gerrard, I hate Terry, I hate Lampard, Cole, Downing etc. but I’ll admit that the first two are very good players. I’ll have a full strength England defence over a Spanish one any day! I don’t really think Carrick is better than Xavi or Iniesta, but I do think that Scholes is. If Fletch can return to 2009 form, I’d have him over Bosquets or Alonso any day. I am of the opinion that Gerrard is superior to Xavi, but Lampard is honestly shite. And David Villa… if Rooney can return to form, he’ll be better than the Spanish hitman. Wilshire really has the potential to become as good as Iniesta, and I’ve got real faith in Cleverley, they possess creativity and belief in themself, they’ll become greats.

  • @RedDevilEddy: England has a handful of great players but 5 or 6 players does not make a national team and it certainly does not speak well for the nations player development, especially since most of those players are over 30 now. For me the problem is and always will be the coaching of player at the grass roots level. From what I have seen and especially read, it’s horrifically out of date. So you have done yourself a good turn supporting Germany and Holland who happen to also be my two favourite footballing nations even though my top club is and hopefully always will be United. Right now I see Germany ruling the footballing world over the next 4 to 6 years because of their young talent and because of the way they play the game and their coaches and development policies. Holland is still a great player factory but what is sad about that nation is how poor their league has become when at one time it was arguably the top league in the world with super teams like Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV ruling Europe. But that was decades ago and the money just wasn’t there to stay competitive. But they still develop great players because their coaching is innovative, technically motivated and the nation has a rich pedigree for turning out world class players at an alarming rate which England certainly cannot say.

    And as for Spain, I hate their combined guts but I will also give them their due. They are a great and highly advanced footballing nation who understand the importance of the technical game far more than England does. And that is why they succeed and why they have turned out so many technically gifted players.

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