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Can United extend the gap at the top to 10 points?

Bobby Zamora celebrates a rare Fulham triumph over UnitedWe’ve been beaten there before. We’ve made complacent errors away from home at crucial stages of a few seasons. This season it’s obvious that everyone connected with Manchester United learned a huge lesson last season when suffering the painful finale of losing the title to local rivals, City.

Everyone’s talking (now more than ever) about how every fixture from now until the end of the season is crucial and about the need to avoid complacency. If United do slip up between now and May it won’t be for the lack of trying or a presence of complancency. No one’s letting anyone forget last season or the complacency that crept in.

Back-to-back Premier League defeats at Craven Cottage in March and then December 2009 have blighted United’s fairly decent record there, but with just one less draw [4] than wins [5] there in the last 11 fixtures, are Betegy right to give United a 45% chance of winning? Are the bookies selling their punters short offering United at a mere 1.57?

Well, I questioned the Betegy prediction on Wednesday when they predicted Southampton to score. They’ve done the same again for tomorrow so who can argue with them?

Rio Ferdinand “will definitely play tomorrow according to Sir Alex who also announced that Jonny Evans would be back in training today but Ashley Young is the only real casualty at present.

Sir Alex said he would “maybe freshen up one or two positions” and went on to encourage the travelling fans to make a difference at a ground which gives the impression of being tight.

With the absence of talisman, Dimitar Berbatov, Fulham look even weaker on paper than they actually were at Old Trafford last week but I fancy Sir Alex to choose a strong, aggressive midfield unit to get (and hopefully keep this time) control of the game.

Formation v Fulham away Feb 2013That could see Rafael replace Jones at Rightback but could see Jones shift into either the centre of midfield with Michael Carrick or the centre of defence with Ferdinand.

With just two games remaining between now and Madrid away, I think Ferguson will have his eye on getting Rooney and RvP bang in form – together – at the same time. For that reason I see the two starting both games in an effort to work on their combination play.

That leaves the wings where hard work tomorrow will be a key component of any success we get. In the absence of Young and Giggs’ omission from Wednesday’s squad I imagine a rested Giggs could be asked to do a job in his natural left winger role while Valencia is asked to reignite his form on the right.

By the time [surely] our only realistic title challengers kickoff at 4pm on Sunday, United could be 10pts clear at the top of the league. With those rivals (City) hosting a better looking Liverpool side with the acquisition of Daniel Sturridge, maybe the pressure could get too much for the now Balotelli-less City to handle. 10pts clear Monday morning anyone? I’m not sure, but there’s a definite possibility this weekend could be a good one for United who need to get their business done with ruthless efficiency on Saturday, then sit back and hope bitter rivals Liverpool do us a favour on Sunday. Too much too ask? I don’t think so.

If you haven’t yet registered with Betegy please follow the link. Once registered, head for their History tab. In there you’ll find the history of all the recommendations made and results gained. So far this season (in the PL) they boast a 96% success rate in games where they recommended a certain team to win. Not bad stats by anyone’s standards.

Fulham Away Betegy Feb 2013

What team do you expect to see lineup come Saturday tea-time?

Can United keep a cleansheet? Who’ll play where?

Have your say now……



  1. yohannis

    2 February 2013 at 16:11

    we do it, with out any doubt, b/c we are united!!!!!

  2. Opti

    2 February 2013 at 19:33


  3. Moscow

    2 February 2013 at 20:32

    What a massive win that was.

  4. Redrich

    3 February 2013 at 04:31

    3 United highlights.
    1/. DDG great save of Riise’s pile driver.
    2/. Rooney’s very well taken goal.
    3/. Rio’s solid headed clearance, late in the game.

    3 United lowlights.
    1/. The fact that we had our best wingers starting the game and neither could put in a decent cross.
    2/. Cleverly not being able to put a toe-hold on the game.
    3/. Rooney having to play wide when 1/. happened.

    • AndyCR7

      3 February 2013 at 13:41

      @Redrich: 4. Rafael’s and RvP’s line clearances.

      • The_Philosopher

        4 February 2013 at 07:06

        @AndyCR7: van Persie saved the game for us with that.

        The guy is worth more than his weight in gold. At one end he’s banging them in. At the other end he’s keeping them out.

        His experience is just as valuable as his clinical finishing.

    • The_Philosopher

      4 February 2013 at 07:07

      @Redrich: Valencia is our first choice right winger but he was very low on energy. That is what is affecting his form.

      He has little to nothing left in the tank. He needs a holiday or something.

  5. Redrich

    3 February 2013 at 05:02

    Even though we think the problem’s gone away, the fact is, our MF is still an ocean away from prime time. As we’ve seen in the last 2 games against mediocre/poor opponents, we struggle to control the game when we need to stop/maintain an attacking momentum.
    It just seems that we don’t have the right personnel chemistry to make it happen and we certainly don’t have a true central leader to marshal a consistent shape there.
    In the transfer market Ferguson’s attention has been, once again, caught by a winger and a striker – looking back, his 2 most prolific position signings (and probably the his most successful), and with casual disregard for what we need most.

    Maybe in the summer – but don’t hold your breath.

    • Moscow

      3 February 2013 at 11:53

      @Redrich: I think fans are now resigned to the reality that we won’t be getting a new midfielder under Fergie. You can bet your bottom dollar the next manager’s priority will be the midfield though.

    • The_Philosopher

      4 February 2013 at 07:15

      @Redrich: Anderson could have played alongside Carrick on Saturday.

      He would have been a better choice than Cleverley. But I think Anderson is probably being lined up for the Everton game.

      Our midfield is in need of a quality all rounder. In terms of defensive midfield we have two functional options in Michael Carrick and Phil Jones.

      In attacking midfield we have two decent options in Anderson and Cleverley.

      We just one more player who has the quality to do a solid box-to-box job.

  6. Redrich

    3 February 2013 at 05:04

    A mention here for my local NFL team, the SF 49’ers.

    Wish them luck in the big game tomorrow, men. 🙂 🙂

  7. Moscow

    3 February 2013 at 18:43

    Van Persie and co to win No. 20 at the Emirates? Now there’s a pleasant thought. We can’t get carried away though, last year in April we were talking about a guard of honour at the Etihad. Must keep winning, pay no attention to what City do.

    • Redrich

      3 February 2013 at 22:52

      @Moscow: Could come as early as the derby game, though. 😯 😯

      • The_Philosopher

        4 February 2013 at 07:19

        @Redrich: And we have to win that Manchester derby. I think if we win the Manchester derby again we will have the best chance of winning title number 20.

        I can’t see City winning it after being beaten by United twice.

  8. The_Philosopher

    4 February 2013 at 08:35

    City dropped 2 points last night in their draw against Liverpool

    We’re now 9 points clear at the top.

    All we have to do is just keep focusing on our games and then beat City when they come to Old Trafford.

    Then we just sit tight through “squeeky bum” time until the end of the season and hopefully the title will be ours.

    • The_Philosopher

      4 February 2013 at 09:01

      @The_Philosopher: City have 13 games to overturn a 9 point deficit.

      We have gotten to a point where we don’t even have to worry about City winning games anymore. All we need do is win our own games.

      Every game we win is worth 9 points and it means one less game for City to try climb a 9 point chasm.

      We could even draw the Manchester derby and City will still be 9 points behind us.

      Its advantage United in the title race. Lets hope we don’t fluff this one.

  9. Stephen

    4 February 2013 at 16:37

    monumental win for us on Saturday, Rooney’s goal was very reminiscent of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo where he cut in from the left hand side. The two centre half’s were excellent, putting their bodies on the line. De Gea has many faults and the incoming Begovic may be bigger and stronger but the Spaniard is a brilliant shot stopper. Cleverley again was disappointing, both he and Anderson have played this week and both were very poor. Carrick does a brilliant job, but he needs more quality around him. We fail to dictate games from the midfield which has been our nemesis all season, hence why we seem to drop too deep. Nani has played two games since he has returned from his injury and ha failed to produce in both games, please perform as I would hate to see you leave. Evra and Rafael have been immense this season and deserve a lot of credit and RvP is truly wonderful, he can defend as well as he can attack.
    This league is far from being won, but there seems to be a great team spirit which wins leagues.

    • The_Philosopher

      5 February 2013 at 08:31

      @Stephen: The incoming Begovic? You say it like its a done deal.

      Ferguson isn’t going to write De Gea off. He is a long term prospect and Ferguson gonna stick with him.

      If we get another no.1 De Gea is gonna get snatched up by another club.
      If we want to keep him (and I for one do) then we have to play him. Its use it or lose it right now with De Gea.

      Next Season he will be better and the season after that.

      I’m not ready to pull the plug on David De Gea just yet.

    • The_Philosopher

      5 February 2013 at 08:37

      @Stephen: Cleverley, Anderson, Valencia, kagawa and Nani.

      These guys need to find some form soon because they are all thats holding us back right now.

      Our strikers are handling business.

      Our defenders are also putting in some solid sessions and have shut up shop.

      Carrick has been a rock in midfield.

      Now these guys need to be the awesome midfield we need to bridge the gap between attack and defense.

  10. Opti

    4 February 2013 at 16:53

    Anyone have thoughts about the “Champions League game played in England in the last 3-4 (2008-2012) years” which was fixed? After reading the BBC article on the subject, there seems to be issues with Hungarian referees.

    Trying to pin-point the game in question:
    1) Assuming they are not referring to final at Wembley, only Arsenal, Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Tottenham, and United have been in ECL over last 3-4 years. Liverpool last played exactly 3-4 years ago (08-09/09-10 seasons and finished 3rd in group 09-10).

    2) From a betting perspective, only upsets make a lot of money. So here are a couple games in England that seems suspicious:
    — Tottenham v. Inter Milan (3-1) in 2010
    — United v. Besiktas (0-1) in 2009 <— 👿
    — United v. CSKA (3-3) in 2009
    — Chelsea v. APOEL (2-2) in 2009

    Most of the other games in England were straightforward victories…

    • Ian

      4 February 2013 at 21:37

      You’re implying that the only way match fixing goes on is based on the outcome/result. With the inception of in-play betting that’s gone hence why it’s so attractive and so hard to trace. Betting on cards, corners etc etc is far easier for individuals to influence rather than the outcome which would require most if not all the team to be involved in.

      Could be absolutely anything in that report mate.

      • Opti

        5 February 2013 at 01:33

        @Ian: good point. Last time I was an “active” better was late 90s, so I am bit behind the curve.

        You’re right. In-game events such as cards, corners, etc… can be enacted by a single player/ref… that opens up a huge can of criminal worms 🙂

  11. Stephen

    5 February 2013 at 08:47

    The_Philosopher , It is the biggest and worst secret in football that Begovic will be at United next season. Think about it, Butland turned down Chelsea because he did not want to play second fiddle to Cech. He has now gone back on loan, it is obvious.
    De Gea has made too many mistakes, he is a top class shot stopper, but the physical aspect of the Premier league seems to too tough for him. He does need to learn the language, me more assertive.
    Funny how he gets time and players like Evans, Cleverely, Welbeck have been wriiten off by many.

  12. Stephen

    5 February 2013 at 09:21

    I agree, Kagawa has all been quite disapointing since he has signed. He seems to have struggled with the pace of the Premier League, hopefully he will adapt. Nani and Vall have been poor, Cleverley has failed to stamp his mark and Anderson, well has been Anderson, one good game and his supporters are calling him the next Bryan Robson 😀

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