Ever since Manchester United were drawn against Real Madrid in the first knockout round of the 2013 Champions’ League, the 5th of March has been on every United and Madrid fan’s mind. It is a match that sets the world alight and inspires a thousand clichés of the highest quality. But no cliché can do this gargantuan game justice (another cliché), as two iconic teams, rich in both history and talent compete in a finely poised tie to advance to the last 16.
“Form goes out the window in games like these.” Of course, this is true to an extent, and United fans will be hoping Real’s two Clasico wins aren’t replicated at Old Trafford.
Cast your minds back as far as they will go, cast them back further again, try to take it to a time when United had a great midfield that everyone was happy with.
Sarcasm of course, it wasn’t actually that long ago but over the past few years you’d be excused for thinking it was as the clamour for United to strengthen the central midfield berths has grown to a point where literally no one seemingly believes United has the ability to compete with any of the European big-boys if or when the time were to come. Well, that time has come, and we’re at half time with all to play for and a one-man-midfield-show fresh in the memory from a player some dare to liken to Captain Marvel….and it wasn’t Ronaldo.
Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk exclusively to bwin ahead of Manchester United v Real Madrid at Old Trafford.
It’s official, Phil Jones has lost his race for fitness ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly anticpated United v Madrid match.
Jones did not take part in the club’s open training session this morning and, after his all-important, all-action performance at The Bernabeu three weeks ago it’s hard not to feel Jones was in line to play another pivotal role in tomorrow’s crucial 2nd leg which United unusually take to the field as underdogs in the betting with bwin.
The former Blackburn Rovers defender suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago in United’s fifth round FA Cup victory over Reading at Old Trafford and has not featured since.
Even the most intense of love stories, those that can reach unexpectedly mesmerising heights and very few low, romances of such force to leave both partners enriched and scarred at the same time, can come to an end. Quite often a very bitter end it is too. Football is no different from other environments and has seen various love-stories crumbling to dust.
By the time Shinji Kagawa effortlessly rolled the ball in the back of the net, doubling up his tally and putting United two goals ahead, every mind inside Old Trafford, bar those of the away fans and the Norwich players, turned towards the huge clash against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
United are without Paul Scholes and Phil Jones for tomorrow’s visit from a team that sprung a surprise inflicting United’s last league defeat back in November 2012. Since that 1-0 away defeat at Carrow Road, United have notched up 13 wins, 2 draws but not a single reverse; conceding a mere 14 goals, bagging 30 along the way and keeping a cleansheet in their last 3 fixtures. It could be therefore be said United are in good form!
Historical form points to nothing more than United collecting all three points. Norwich did the unthinkable between 1986 and 1989 and won at Old Trafford 3 out of 4 years at a time when United under Sir Alex were finding their feet. Twenty-plus years on and Sir Alex knows a repeat of one of those results has to be avoided despite the doubtless need to make changes ahead of Tuesday’s…….ssshhhhh, don’t mention Tuesday.
Betegy hit the post last week with their prediction of a United 1-0 win, I was much happier after predicting a United win by 2 two clear goals. This week Betegy go with a 2-1 United win in a repeat of the 2004 scoreline when Alan Smith scored this cracking volley.
It happened last season, why can’t it happen again this season?
As the clock ticked beyond 90 minutes at Carrow Road last season, United looked to be heading for the exit door with just a point after squandering the lead late in a game they knew they had to win.
Up stepped Ryan Giggs on his 900th appearance to snatch all three points at the death. Who writes his scripts?
bwin make Giggs 12.50 to be the last goalscorer of the match tomorrow and you can get a free £20 bet.
United play host to Norwich and look worthy odds-on shots at 1.33 with bet365 to make it five league wins in a row.
The visitors have won two of their last four league games against the Red Devil but they have both come at Carrow Road and they haven’t won at old Trafford since August 1989.
Sir Alex’s men are also unbeaten in their last 15 and despite the fact already seems to be about next Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Real Madrid, the gaffer will be fully aware that the Canaries need taking care of first.
In the ebullient cauldron that welcomed United in their first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League two weeks ago, one flag stood out from the many that adorned the away end. It read “All the scenes I saw, left me wanting more”, expressing the thoughts of different generations of Reds, from the older heads to the younger fans who are old enough to remember the Treble.
As ever when it comes to Manchester United, moderation is a luxury fans can’t afford, don’t want to afford and aren’t afforded, as the team this season has gone from being the worst United squad ever (for the third year running, I believe) to the point where is now touted to be in a position to emulate the side of ’99.
Journalist Samuel Luckhurst yesterday published an article entitled ‘Gareth Bale Was Right To Reject Sir Alex Ferguson And Manchester United’
What do you make of what he has to say about the development of Bale at Spurs rather than if he’d joined United? Luckhurst also has his say on Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and Phil Jones to name but a few. In the case of the latter pair, myself and @BusbyMUFC believe it’s a weak argument to use players who have both suffered more than their fair share of injuries since joining the club to suggest Sir Alex stifles a players progress.
Have a read for yourself and leave your thoughts at the bottom.
Considering the abundance of striking options at Sir Alex Ferguson’s disposal, one would think that a striker isn’t a necessity for Manchester United but, over the last few weeks, rumours linking some of Europe’s frontmen with a move to Old Trafford have intensified.
While any transfer speculation at this stage of the season must be taken with more than the traditional pinch of salt, United have matured a reputation for sealing their deals well before the opening of the transfer window and, considering David Gill’s imminent departure, Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to be willing to have business done and dusted in the early stages of the summer market.
The Poland international has long been linked with a move away from the German champions, with Manchester United among the favourites to land him.
Now his representative, Cezary Kucharski, has claimed that the 24-year-old already knows where he is going, hinting that he will leave Dortmund this summer.
Bob Dylan has probably never heard of Ryan Giggs. In fact,when the folk legend wrote “Forever Young”, the idea of a 39-year-old footballer trotting around the pitch like a teenager was as far away from his mind as anything else, but Dylan’s words are the last resource left to describe a man who keeps defying age with impressive regularity, just 10 months shy of his 40th birthday.