Apr 08 2012

Sparky Returns as United Look to Continue Title March

Another season, another second-half charge by Manchester United. United’s prowess when it really matters has been proven time and again, and it looks to be another case of the same old, same old this season. United left it late against Blackburn, but the end result was a seventh straight league win and a five-point lead atop the Premier League table.

For much of the season, many have pointed to United’s visit to City later this month as the tie that could decide the outcome of the title race, but there’s a real chance things could be all but decided ahead of that match. Three of United’s four matches prior to derby day are at home, whereas three of City’s four pre-derby fixtures are away from home. That’s notable, given United’s present form and the fact that City have won only twice in their last nine away fixtures in the league.

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Apr 02 2012

Title-Chasing United to Pass Tough Ewood Park Test?

Ewood Park has had a tendency to be an unfriendly place for Manchester United, but a win there tonight against Blackburn will not only significantly aid United’s title charge, but it’ll help make up for the embarrassing 3-2 defeat that Blackburn inflicted on New Year’s Eve.

United have come a long way since the back-to-back defeats to Blackburn and Newcastle, at least in regards to league form, and another fine performance tonight will bring title #20 even closer to being realized.

Tonight’s lineups, without further ado:

Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Jones, Scholes, Rooney; Hernandez

Subs: Amos, Smalling, Giggs, Park, Pogba, Young, Welbeck

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson; Orr, Dann, Hanley, Olsson; Lowe, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Olsson; Hoilett, Yakubu

Subs: Bunn, Dunn, Modeste, Formica, Petrovic, Rochina, Henley

Mar 26 2012

United Aim to Reclaim Top Spot against Cottagers

There’s nothing wrong with saying that it’d have been nice for Chelsea and Stoke City to hold a couple of important leads over the last several days, because the opportunity to take a seven-point lead with eight matches left would have been a fantastic one that would leave my soccer picks looking very healthy indeed.

But heading into the home stretch of a tight title race, any advantage is a helpful one, and with a win tonight over Fulham, Manchester United will be three points clear of City, who moved back to top spot with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Stoke. And along with an advantage in points, United could also take an advantage in goal difference if they can crush the visiting Cottagers, who went down 5-0 to United at Craven Cottage in December.

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Mar 15 2012

Is Another Legendary European Night in Store for United?

Another off-night for Manchester United in a European home match means that tonight could well be the end of a forgettable European season. That is, if United are unable to overturn a 3-2 deficit at Athletic Bilbao. The mission? Win by two clear goals, win 3-2 to at least force extra time, or win by anything from 4-3 to 10-9 and beyond to win on away goals.

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Mar 11 2012

United Look for Bilbao Bounce-Back Against Baggies

Last season, all that stood between Manchester United and a perfect season at home was a 2-2 draw against West Brom. That nearly unblemished home mark was a necessity too, given that United didn’t fare all that well away from home last season.

Old Trafford hasn’t been the same fortress this season, as United have suffered two defeats and a draw in 13 league matches at home, went out of the Carling Cup quarters at home to Crystal Palace, and have won only one of five European home matches, with Thursday’s 3-2 stunner against Athletic Bilbao making it two defeats in two home Europa League games.

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Mar 08 2012

Manchester United Match Preview: v. Athletic Bilbao

As expected, Real Madrid and Barcelona are dominating La Liga once again this season, and that naturally dominates the headlines, for better or worse.

But when you look at the best of the rest, Athletic Bilbao are solidly perched near the top of those ranks and head into the last few months of the season with a chance to lock up their first Champions League berth since 1998, and they’ll be a confident bunch as they pay a Europa League visit to Old Trafford tonight.

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Feb 26 2012

Will United Clip the Canaries at Carrow Road?

The one good thing about Manchester United’s European adThe one good thing about Manchester United’s European adventures presently being on Thursday nights is that it means league games on Sundays instead of Saturdays, and when the archrivals and chief title rivals are playing the day before, that means you know what you have to do well ahead of time.

With City defeating Blackburn at home yesterday, United head into this afternoon’s visit to Norwich City needing three points to keep the deficit at the top at two points heading into next Sunday’s crucial clash at Tottenham. But to get those three points, we’ll have to see a much better performance than the one we saw on Thursday in the 2-1 fall-from-ahead and hairier-than-it-should-have-been home defeat to Ajax. Given this season’s overall success away from home to this point, there’s reason for optimism, even after what was an extremely forgettable performance in what should have been a stroll.

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Feb 23 2012

United Look to Seal Europa Progress at Home

For those who’ve grown accustomed to seeing my pre-match previews, I apologize for my absence last week. However, it was an excused absence, as I was welcome my first child, a rather adorable little girl (yes, I’m biased, of course!), into the world. The last week has been quite hectic, to say the least, but I can’t say I’ve had many better weeks.

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