Barnsley vs Manchester United: Preview

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Carling CupYou’re only as good as your last game and following eleven without defeat, Sunday proved something of a wake-up call. United certainly need to up the ante and fortunately they won’t have to wait very long to attempt to put things right. A little over 50 hours to be precise as a trip to Barnsley in the Carling Cup will hopefully lift spirits, if ever so slightly, following the depressing result at Anfield.

It’s been eleven years since we last visited Oakwell where Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham were on target in a 2-0 win. You may or may not be aware that the current Barnsley manager, Mark Robins, once scored a winning goal against Nottingham Forest for United back in 1990 that is widely believed to have saved Sir Alex Ferguson’s bacon at Old Trafford. He certainly hasn’t looked back since.

You would expect that Ferguson is bound to make a plethora of changes for the tie although he should stop short of picking an entirely different eleven to Sunday. Ben Foster or Tomasz Kuszczak will replace Edwin van der Sar in goal and the back four should definitely see starts for both Wes Brown and Jonny Evans. Gary Neville or Rafael could feature at right-back while Fabio may replace Patrice Evra on the left-hand-side of defence despite his red card in the third round against Wolves.

Following Gabriel Obertan’s return from injury, it has been confirmed that he will make his first appearance for the first team. Darron Gibson should definitely vacate a central midfield slot and Darren Fletcher could come in alongside him having missed out in recent weeks through injury.

Magnus Eikrem will be desperate to show what he is all about following a string of polished performances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second string although one would suspect he will only make the bench. With Obertan expected to start on the right, Nani or Zoran Tosic will most likely be selected on the left.

With Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov all involved against Liverpool, Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck could be given the chance to impress up top. After a lively debut in the previous round, expect Josh King to appear later on in the game as an impact sub too.

Speaking prior to the match on Tuesday evening, Ferguson has challenged the Reds to prove their credentials by recovering from the defeat to Liverpool.

“Part of the challenge is to get over disappointments,” he said.

“Last season we lost at home 4-1 to Liverpool which was a travesty but we went on to win the league.”

While Sir Alex may be directing his comments more specifically at those who are to be involved against Blackburn this coming weekend, a result against Barnsley will be the first step in the right direction before the vitally important visit of Sam Allardyce’s side. The critics have already surfaced once again despite 10 wins from our previous 12 although anything but a victory against Barnsley and the knives will be sharpened even further.

So what exactly stands in the way of United and a safe passage to the quarter-finals of a competition that has served us so well in recent times? Well Barnsley are struggling in the Championship where they currently sit in 20th place, four points above the relegation spots. Having put together a decent run at the beginning of October, the south Yorkshire club have lost their last two on the spin.

Despite their relatively poor league standing, the Tykes put on an impressive show to knock Burnley out in the last round of the Carling Cup and watch out for Daniel Bogdanovic, the Maltese striker who has scored four goals in eight for Barnsley so far this season.

Prediction: 3-0 United

RoM is running a liveblog

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281 Comments

  1. @Dan: Well excuse me then as I am a little too busy playing with my Lego set and Transformers to sit here and argue with you. Bye bye. 😉

  2. @Dan: yes they do play in the league, but none of them play for united. so the stakes are to high for them for united’s first team.

  3. @Grognard: I don’t know why… But I have a feeling that this 4-3-2-1 will work MUCH better…….

    EVDS
    Rafael/Brown Ferdinand Vidic Evra
    Hargreaves/Fletcher Anderson/Carrick
    Valencia Rooney/Giggs Nani
    Berba/Owen

    Just your thoughts… Because this would be the system we played in 06/07 when we won the first title and by far in my view played the sexiest football ever….
    Tell me of your thoughts.. Because I know this would work as we are basically just replacing Ronaldo with Valencia.. And I know it’s a difference but still….

    Either this… Or a 4-2-4 would be sexy as well…

  4. @Grognard: …and what is tactics anyway? I remember watching Dowie on the touch line making signs to his players and all the commentators were wondering what he was doing! the next week, they were the same dumb a**es shouting how tactical Mour was while he was using the same signs giving instructions to his players.

    Grog, why stub yo’self in the back, you blame United for playing negative football which falls straight to SAF and then try to measure his tactical acumen using the most negative football manager i’ve seen in football history? Yo kidding me! It was roumoured that CQ was the man behind the formations and tactics of United, not so? …what has achieved without SAF? You talk of Capello, same boring and negative football year after year, has he added anything to the 3 lions? Time will tell, a man who likes 4-5-1 as satan likes hell!

    From the few good teams that play the so called entertaining football that i’ve seen, its not tactics that made them prosper. it was their phylosophy: attack attack attack. If you have technically gifted players, the only task is to teach them how to keep the ball and let them enjoy themselves, there’s no way how their opponent is going to have a go at them when he’s never in possession of the ball, “Rome rings into my mind” and that was the foundation of total football.

  5. @Darth Red Diablo: The reason it has a chance to work is that it forces them to have to play creatively in the center of midfield. All those bodies just behind the striker has to create something. Then again, not if Anderson, Scholes or Park are involved.

  6. @Jay Jay: And tell me, do United look like they are enjoying themselves? Do they look like they are attacking attacking attacking? Too many of us are living in the past when the game was more entertaining. The bottom line today is the result, not the entertainment value. The dollar value means more to teams and the managers as well as the job security from securing points for the team means more to these people than winning over the fans by playing champagne football. There are negative coaches out there but some are seen as being negative when in fact they really aren’t. Mourinho just wants his team to be organized and cautious but his teams do nothing but attack. Watch Inter sometime and you will see a team that likes to attack and that usually gets a lot of chances in a game. United only get a lot of chances against minnows, and then only at home. We keep the ball but we do not have fun playing the game. We waste valuable time making nothing more than back passes and playing with extreme caution these days and at a snails pace. This is anti football

  7. @Jay Jay: I’m assuming you feel that our players are technically great? Well for some time they havn’t been able to hold onto the ball, pass it properly, tackle or shoot that well. Maybe some tactics could come in useful. They certainly would have against liverpool!

  8. @Grognard: Mate, you have every right to be pessimistic. I fucking told us to practicall change our whole team after our defeat to Liverpool, and Im personally getting sick of the way we play. Our two games against CSKA and Liverpool were discustingly cowardice, its not how I like it. Im a fighter, my heroes when I was younger were Keane, Smudge( 😯 ) and Gary Neville in his prime. And its not only the players like Berbatov, Carrick, Oshea and Scholes who seem like they dont fucking give a shit, its the tactics as well. We seem more afraid to lose than willing to win, and for me that is a loser tactic. Its annoying, and it drives me crazy! 👿

    However, my point was that sometimes people want to hope and believe the best. The bad things come from experience and from just living life. 😐 Thats why we should hope, believe that this team will come good. It may give a false hope of something that is already lost, but you should be allowed to silenty believe that everything is possible in your mind. Hell, Im a United fan! Born and bred, raised like one! Ive learnt many lessons by supporting United, but there is always one thing that stands out. That is that we never give in, we never think its over and We never die! 😈

    You have all right to be pessimstic, but it annoyed me when last week you replied to my comment about everything going right by practicaly saying I was living in a fantasy world and should open my fucking eyes. If I wanna be optimistic, let me be. If some other guy, take Dan in this instance, thinks Foster is going to become a great goalkeeper, and is so stubborn about it, let it be. Its not your valid right to tell everybody their opinion is wrong just because its different to yours. I personally think Ballack is a wank, you like him. I love Andy, and think he is gonna be a top class player. If I believe so, let me believe it and dont come with statements that crush my opinion. You may not notice it, but when you come out strongly towards another persons opinion you may crush his confidence. Opinions are what make a person, crush their opinion and you crush them. Think about that before you make a comment which may crush everyones belief… 😐

  9. Wow! I come to what seems to be a series of interminably tedious verbal fisticuffs. As it is I’m in a ridiculously bad mood because some cunt thought it would be cool to break my 2 month old car window into smithereens. 😡 😡 All for nothing really. All he must have seen is a stray aux cable sticking from my car’s music system and thought there might be a GPS/ipod in it. That’s $500 down the drain in repairs. 😡

    I hope you all have managed to end your squabbles and move on, because right now I can’t give two shits about your personal problems. Sorry, if I come across as rude, but give me time before I return to my senses.

  10. @Footy4Eddy: I do. Despite the insurance I have to blow $500. The insurance will cover costs over and above $500. Damages include scratches to my door (it’s a shiny new black car, so it’s worse), an attempt to pry something open adjacent to my window, and small (but visible) tears on my leather seat due to the glass.

  11. @owen: There are many better strikers than Hunterlaar. But there are also many better keepers than Foster. There are also many worse strikers than Huntelaar. And there are worse keepers than Foster. 😉

  12. @Footy4Eddy: Listen mate, you have every right to feel and act the way you want but please remember that on a rant site people will have differing opinions and that will quite often cause one to call the other one wrong without trying to make it a personal indictment. I have to be honest and say that your optimism is not something I share but know this, even if I disagree with it, I fully respect it and that’s the key point to all of this. I disagree with many on this site and most of them I have nothing but respect for. There are a select few who I will not name that are hopeless and annoying but even them, I like but I honestly have a harder time respecting. Still, you reap what you sew and so if I want to be liked, it is important for me to feel the same about others or I should get off the blog. Lately I a have been called flawed, full of myself and that I consider myself above everyone else. This is so not true. But am I too apologize if I am intelligent and if I do know myself. Quite often I have been wrongfully accused of being something I am not on this site simply because I have the courage of my convictions and because I know my subject matter. So if I disagree with you on something, it’s because I feel I know a lot about it. If you do not hear a peep from me, it’s because I do not feel qualified to speak on the topic. So I am very cool with you mate and I have much respect for you always (provided you don’t go on another drunk rant like a couple of weeks ago. 😉 ). Life and experience has taught me much and so I try often to offer some of my accumulated wisdom. I’m glad there are those like you who appreciate and respect that. 🙂

    And Ballack is a wank…..but he is my wank.

  13. @Red Ranter: Don’t you have insurance mate? That kind of thing should be covered. I had a similar thing happen four year ago to me and I got the window replaced and 75% of the value of my stereo system (had to show them the receipt).

  14. @Red Ranter: Jeez mate, I’d look around for a better insurance company. It should be no more than a 15% or 20% deductible no matter what the price is over $500.00.

  15. @Footy4Eddy: Whose a worse keeper than Foster? I’ve even begrudgingly elevated Almunia above him recently, and I never thought anybody could be worse than him. 😀 😀

  16. @Footy4Eddy: I’m just upset that Foster once again screwed up and when that was an easy stop. That’s what happens when you dilly dally around too much. It forces teams to bring in the 12th man. 😉 😆 😆

  17. @Red Ranter: That’s a crappy insurance company mate. But then again it is the US so that really shouldn’t surprise me. That’s a tough break mate. If it was me I’d be kicking asses and taking names. I can imagine how you feel.

  18. We forget to mention that the players we love are the most jacks of all trades.Can anyone tell me whether Rooney is a striker,or just a player on the pitch?

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