Manchester United made it two wins in two games in the Champions League as they came from behind to beat Cluj 2-1 in Romania, courtesy of two goals from Robin Van Persie.
The Dutchman scored either side of half-time to secure United’s first win away from home in the Champions League for almost a year, but the Reds were made to sweat until the end for their three points.
When the groups were drawn Sir Alex Ferguson announced his intention to take the competition seriously this season, to avoid a repeat of last year’s embarrassing debacle that saw United knocked out in the group stage, and tonight’s selection showed that his statement was made out of conviction rather than simply to please the press.
Not everyone will agree, but personally I consider the goalkeeper to be the number one most important position on the football field.
Outfield players can spend 90 minutes grafting in search of goals and denying the opposition scoring opportunities but, in an instant, a goalkeeper can undo all that hard work and send morale spiralling to the floor if he’s easily beaten. It’s no coincidence that the greatest teams in history have all had a great, great goalkeeper.
At Manchester United, since the beginning of season 2011, there’s been a fight for the green jersey that’s seen both David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard share the responsibility of keeping sticks. An injury to the latter providing De Gea with an extended run in the team which, in my opinion, led to a marked improvement in his previously questionable form.
Manchester United came into this game looking to continue a good run of results, if not necessarily good form. Tottenham Hotspur came into this game with Andres Villa-Boas still not getting the results that Spurs fans have been hoping. Another slow start by Manchester United allowed the Spurs to gain a lead 2 minutes into the game. United’s performance in the first half was truly shocking, as they lacked fire and effort, and Tottenham was able to overrun an aging Red Devil midfield.
Going in at halftime down 2-0, the Manchester United team that came out in the second half looked nothing like the shambolic team that struggled in the first half. Replacing Ryan Giggs with Wayne Rooney, the Red Devils were able to dominate possession and press the Spurs deeper into their own end. A flurry of 3 goals in 3 minutes early in the second half reduced United’s deficit to 1 and while the Red Devils attack looked potent during the second half, Tottenham defended valiantly and denied United the tying goal. Continue reading
‘You can’t say that about the greatest football manager the game has ever seen!’ – A common retort sent towards any mere mortal who dares to question or criticise the great Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sir Alex has spent almost 26 years building himself an empire at Manchester United, a tenure that’s seen generations of teams all succeed and a foundation laid to ensure the lessons of years gone by are not ignored.
He’s watched great players come and go, some by choice, others by necessity. He’s seen the ownership change hands and directors come and go, he’s overseen the development of Old Trafford from an almost dilapidated place to attend games (it didn’t feel like it back then but compared to today it really was) to one of the most attractive and welcoming stadia in the World (I’m not sure which way I prefer it, probably the former if I’m honest).
Patrice Evra says Manchester United “deserved to lose” to Tottenham on Saturday, citing a sluggish first-half display as the deciding factor in the Barclays Premier League defeat at Old Trafford.
The Frenchman had hoped the Reds could stage a second-half comeback, having trailed by two goals at the break, but conceded the slow start was too much of a handicap to overcome.
“This is what happens when you only play for 45 minutes,” a disappointed Evra toldMUTV. “The game is 90 minutes long and we deserved to lose because we only played for 45. To concede three goals at Old Trafford is not good enough when you want to win the game.
Manchester United suffered their first home defeat at Old Trafford after a shambolic first half performance against Tottenham Hotspur costed them dearly.
If ever the Premier League decided to produce a DVD to market the league abroad, they could do worse things than put together a collection of encounters between United and Spurs as this fixture has produced incredible drama over the years and today’s match was no different.
Mind you, the footage from today’s game could also be used in a clinic focussing on non-existing midfields and overly exposed defences.
On the back of two consecutive 2-1 wins in the past week, Manchester United are starting to kick into gear this season; and according to the stats this progression should continue against Tottenham Hotspur. The visitors last recorded a win against United at Old Trafford in 1989, and since then have lost 22 times out of 26. This should be a banker for the Red Devils. However, with a decimated defence and facing an improving Tottenham side, this will be far from an easy fixture for Robin van Persie and co. Continue reading