Liverpool vs Manchester United: Preview

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Valencia-OwenCould there really be a better time to beat Liverpool? If there is, I’d like to know the scenario. The struggles of our bitter rivals have certainly been well documented over the past few days as they endure their worst sequence of results for some 22 years.

Victory for United at Anfield on Sunday would signify Liverpool’s fifth straight defeat and would open up the gap between the two sides to 10 points in the Premier League.  Furthermore, despite the recent vote of confidence, a negative result for the Merseysiders could quite plausibly call a halt to Rafael Benitez’s reign at the club.

Talk about significance. Some may say the less said about it the better as Liverpool, and Benitez in particular, have something of an uncanny knack of escaping even the stickiest of situations.

Sir Alex couldn’t have played it any better in midweek as a potentially tricky trip to Moscow was made decidedly easy as that disciplined 4-5-1 system we have become accustomed to seeing for away fixtures in Europe once again prevailed.  Giggs, Rooney and Fletcher were even afforded the evening off and everything, more or less, went according to plan.

The big team news from a United perspective is centred around Wayne Rooney. We were led to believe he would be fighting fit for Anfield on Sunday although Ferguson has now revealed that he is facing an uphill struggle to make it.

Edwin van der Sar will undoubtedly continue in goal with a back four of John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in front of him. Darren Fletcher remains a doubt so the midfield could shape up with Antonio Valencia and Nani on either flank and Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick forming a partnership in the middle.

Beach balls may be banned from entering Anfield on Sunday but Michael Owen certainly isn’t and, depending on Rooney’s fitness, he could be set for a key role against his former employers. Dimitar Berbatov should definitely start and an Owen goal? Well you couldn’t even begin to script it, could you?

In his Friday press conference, Ferguson discussed his belief that form goes out of the window in games like these.

“Manchester United and Liverpool games, as I have said many times, are without question massive games. That will never change,” the United boss said.

“We are going in in decent form, there is good confidence in our play, but it is a derby game and anything can happen in derby games.

“Going to Anfield at any time is a hard game.”

Despite the history between Ferguson and Benitez, the Scot was quick to point out that he would rather focus on United rather than the predicament currently being faced by his opposite number.

“I’m not interested in Liverpool,” the 67-year-old added.

“I’m only concerned about what we do on Sunday.”

Benitez, meanwhile, has hinted that victory against United could “change everything” in terms of his precarious situation at Liverpool.

“I am really relaxed in terms on my position because I know how we are working on the pitch every day” the former Valencia manager said.

“I’m sure that once we win the first game, everything will change.

“This game against United could be the right opportunity for us because it’s a massive game against our rivals and the fans will be behind the team from the first minute until the last. We can change everything.”

So this is it. A huge game for us and surely a defining game for Liverpool and Benitez’s tenure. It would be foolish to completely write off Carragher and co although the severity of a backlash will surely hinge on the wellbeing of Gerrard and Torres.

Having stretched our unbeaten run to 11 games on the spin following victory in Moscow in midweek, confidence should be sky-high within the United camp. A win on Sunday will surely send Liverpool’s title aspirations up in smoke, indeed if their hopes haven’t disintegrated already.

Prediction: 1-1

Edit: Some further reading on Rafa, ahead of the ‘pool match.

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300 Comments

  1. @Grognard: Yes but the whole of Europe knew we were flush with cash after the Ronaldo sale. The £20m Gourcuff example you mention could easily have gone up to £30m when you add ‘Ronaldo’ tax onto it, not to mention that we usually get ripped off anyway because we are Man Utd. 🙁

  2. @CraigMc: That stubborn old fart will never admit he made a mistake and sorry mate, I will believe he has the money when he SHOWS ME THE MONEY. 😀

  3. @Footy4Eddy: I was not saying Diamanti should be our new attacking spearhead like Benzema should have been, but that he is a good player who could play for Man Utd as another attacking option off the bench (third/fourth choice striker). We are painfully short of strikers after Rooney, Berbatov and Owen. I do rate Eduardo for sure but I don’t think he’s good enough to play as the main striker for a leading European team that’s all.

  4. So where are the people who loved calling me the Prince of Darkness back in July and August? Hmm? Come challenge me now with your positive mantra? Are you all still wonderfully positive? Is the sky still blue and sunny on your block? Come and let the Grognard know just how United is going to make me live to regret my words of condemnation. Come on, let me have it. 🙄

    Man when I think of the BS and grief I was put through and that I almost quit this blog because I spoke the truth and backed it up with facts, but received nothing but grief and insults, I can’t help but honestly feel a little anger, bitterness and hostility towards those who labeled me insulted me due to my opinions. Let them come. 😈 😈 👿 👿

  5. @CraigMc: Skill with the ball and imagination is what I mean. Huntelaar is a goal poacher but he is not seen as supremely skilled like Aguero who up until this season scored far fewer goals. Rooney has way more skill than Cole, but Cole had one skill you cannot teach, goal scoring instinct. It also helped having Beckham, Keane, a young Giggs and Scholes to feed him though.

  6. @Nino: And I would have paid it because he’s frankly worth it. You cannot sell the best player in the world, lose that much quality and skill on the pitch and replace it with bangers and mash. It’s like the old saying goes, to make money, you need to spend it. I don’t like spending money on gas for my van because of the increase in prices but i do. It’s just part of living with the situation you have been dealt with. Fergie is a king sized horses ass and an idiot when says that he expects the prices to get back down to normal this summer. After the World Cup? 🙄 He’s frakken insane or naive.

  7. @Footy4Eddy: I read it mate and if we were a middle of the table team which we will be by the end of the season, I would agree with you. But while we are still considered one of the “Big Four”. I do not risk our position and status by throwing in the towel and depending on kids. Kids are kids and they will choke on the big stage before they become good. United has too much invested in players and business around the world to allow their brand to take a season or two off to blood a lot of youngsters. It just isn’t the prudent or wise thing to do. I am sick of seeing the old farts play to but my solution isn’t playing the diaper brigade either. It’s taking 80 million in money and buying three world class players that will ignite fire and a new look and feel into the team. And also, the retirement of Fergie sooner than later and the hiring of Mourinho would suit me just fine. This club needs a new injection of spirit and life. I’m feeling more and more that Fergie may be past it.

    I liked Fergie more ten years ago when he was less a student of the game and just had the team come out and play Man Utd football and caution be damned. But ever since 2000, he has smoozed with far too many Italian managers and chess master like Rafa and has started to study the game and has forgotten that it is a game of speed, skill and passion. Over the past two years he has systematically zapped the speed and the passion out of our game and the selling of Ronaldo all but forced us to lose half of the team’s talent. There you have it in a nutshell.

  8. @Footy4Eddy: And mate, you can be as stubborn as you like, we are done like dinner. Who cares that we are in second, we are toast. It’s a long season and unless some major things happen to change the fortunes of this club, I see 4th place easily staring us in the face.

  9. @Footy4Eddy: Eddy tell me something, when you play FIFA 10 in Manager Mode do you have a glitch occur where your weather is the same for every game? I am playing Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga in one and Bayern in another and in both leagues I am stuck with rainy weather in every game. In fact my second game with Wolfsburg in mid August was rainy and had snow on the sides of the pitch yet there is no way to control the weather or time to play a game in this mode. Just wondering if the same problem is happening to you. For you it could be a sunny day every game and you might not notice. Either way it is incredibly annoying and ruins all the realism of the game. Playing 34 games in rain is not exactly realisitc unless you live here in Vancouver. 😆

  10. @Grognard: The only proof we have, is that we got 80 odd mil for Ronaldo and we spent 17 on Valencia and nothing on Owen, and perhaps a few quid here or there on youngsters that may or may not become United regulars.
    It’s damning evidence for me, and I agree with your assessment of the Benzema ruse.
    SAF hasn’t led us to trophy after trophy over the years be exercising poor judgement and he didn’t this summer either!
    He probably went to the ownership and said that Berbatov was not cutting it and we need additional help up front. They probably said, in true American businessman fashion, “you bought the bed, now you have to sleep in it”.
    There was absolutely no way that they were gonna feed him more money for his own error in judgment!!

    SAF has a long and hallowed career and he wants his legacy to read about all his achievements and not his falling out with the owners of the club, and so in a way he’s handcuffed to the Berbatov situation and is having a hard time wiggling his way out.
    I would imagine that at some point he will create a drama for Berbatov that will be difficult for him to deal with gracefully. He will explode in some way to the press and SAF will have his out!!
    Sad commentary, but more than likely true!!

  11. Rooney and berbatov are both slow as hell. They dont make runs like Torres, who in my opinion is the BEST striker in the world bar none.

    Owen did more in 20 min than rooney and berba together.

    Benzema and Rooney would have been good. Benzema has pace and fininshing but hes a twat so forget that. Berba has fucked over our play too much. Scholes should not start against Liverpool. What the Fuck was that Ferguson! Stupid stupid!

    Lets see what de laet and co do tomorrow…

    Come on Obertan! give us thst spark we are so missing.

    PS Rooney is looking like a tired player, hope he gets ‘it’ back

  12. @Grognard: Maybe it is time to just blood the youngsters Fabio, Rafael De laet Nani…etc the lot!! Rather them than scholes neville oshea etc

  13. @Taehr: Maybe it’s time to revitalize our starting eleven with some world-class players!!
    The kids will get their chance and one or two could prove to be good players for us. But an infusion of youth is the last thing this team needs!!

  14. Berbatov is an example of Fergie fancying a player without considering how he would fit into the team. Lust getting the better of reason. The same mistake with Veron. A luxury signing that didn’t come off. As for the money we paid-that was ridiculous for a player who wasn’t world class and had never played for a top level team and was in his late 20s so close to his potential.

    Ferguson also made a huge mistake by failing to anticipate Ronaldo leaving so soon. He should have realised that with Ronaldo leaving we could not afford to have two strikers who were not prolific. Owen is not going to play enough to fill that goalscoring gap and neither Rooney nor Berbatov looks like scoring 30 goals a season, and we do not have a Gerrard or Lampard in midfield to score 20 goals.

    Rooney and Berbatov just isn’t a good partnership and each player would do a lot better and score a lot more with another partner.

    Having said that I wouldn’t get overly worried with this result aside from bruised pride and the humiliation of losing to our rival.

    1. Liverpool are a cup team…they can pull off one-off results and they have the measure of us. But over a season they will drop way more points than us. We also have the chance to get revenge at Old Trafford and traditionally we peak much later in the season. This was not a decisive game. We are still in a good position to win the league.

    2. Two of our main players Rio and Rooney were unfit and shouldn’t have been on the pitch. Also we were missing arguably our most important big game player: Darren Fletcher. As we’ve seen in the Barca game Fletcher’s absence really costs us in big games.

    BUUUUUUUUUUT

    The real problem with this game is that it shows we do not have that margin of superiority over big teams that we had in the season we won the Champions League. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool are all capable of beating us and you could say the same for Barcelona and perhaps even Real. Yes Real have a dodgy defence but with our tactics we are incapable of exposing weak defences and our attack is pretty impotent without Ronaldo.

    I can see us finishing second this season and even winning the league if Chelsea have a string of bad results during the African Nationss. But we do not have a chance in hell of getting anywhere in Europe. And this is what gripes for me.

    We are amazing at grinding out results over the course of a season in the league and while we falter at times we never self destruct and throw away titles the way our rivals have a tendency to do. We have mastered the art of playing badly against lesser teams and getting results, while on an off day Chelsea and Liverpool and Arsenal lose against lesser teams.

    But as a fan I want us to dominate Europe and yet again we have failed to build on a Champions League victory and have regressed. I do not see us winning another Champions League or even reaching another final under Fergie. We’ll need an incredibly lucky draw just to reach the semis. And that sucks!

    Also I do not know how I am going to endure these lacklustre performances. We look inferior against our rivals and there is little evident difference in class when we play weaker teams. And yet our league position is pretty much par the course compared to our other title winning seasons. We have that consistency over a season that Liverpool and Arsenal do not have and Chelsea have lost since Mourinho left.

    On this site we are purists. We want to see our team filled with world class players, playing incredible football and winning with style and beating all our main rivals. That is why we are all disappointed. But those things are not necessary to win titles as we have demonstrated many times in the past.

    We are not even in a transition period. We are just playing the same team minus Ronaldo. In the League the loss of Ronaldo is not going to cost us that many points-it just means we fail to destroy teams and have to settle for unconvincing wins. Where Ronaldo’s loss is really going to cost us is in Europe. Where world class players really show their worth is in big games and the highest stages. Ronaldo in the last few seasons evolved into a big game player and played a big part in getting us to two finals in two years.

  15. @Grognard
    4
    You come over as someone who really knows his football. Your insights are very impressive and as I pointed out earlier you called this game today. I enjoy your rants more than most but you do have a tendency to LOSE IT after a while. Let’s gain some perspective on the premier league at the moment.
    I’ll start with today:
    Arsenal after going 2-0 up against a struggling West Ham totally capitulated and ended up with a 2-2 draw. Super rich City capitulated in almost exactly the same way against Fulham (I know we don’t really like to say it nut City are going to be top four very soon – a bottomless pit of money will see to that as it did with Chelsea, despite the dullard Mark Hughes). Speaking of Chelsea, they were recently humbled by Stoke. Liverpool were fighting for their lives today and it certainly showed!! This doesn’t hide the fact that 9 times out of 10 they are an utterly mediocre side without Torres and Gerard. United WILL NOT FINISH FOURTH this season. Most likely Arsenal or Liverpool, us second and Chelsea winning.
    If you look at most of these rants the added together I think the main conclusions are that we need 3 or 4 more players, a lot more trust put in younger players and the letting go of Berbatov and the older players. Footy4eddy makes some salient points on here I ladmire your knowledge and insights too mate!).

    I’m not knocking you at all Grognard but it makes me laugh when you seem to venture over to the dark side too much. As I think that I am, along with you, one of the older contributors to this site I also find it very difficult to criticise SAF. The point is that Fergie has become more conservative in his old age. He certainly got it wrong today. I think he played for a draw but didn’t really bank on every single Liverpool player playing out of their skins for survival. I got the impression that the players were surprised by this as well. So That’s not good. However, he is still the best manager in this league by far with no one in the world good enough to replace him.
    We probably wont win anything this season but we wont be that far away and I truly believe that, with all the permutations available, Fergie will have it right next season.
    So , no offence mate, but just try and smell the flowers, try to garner some of the long term perspective available to you. Perhaps two words will help. Ron Atkinson. 😉

  16. @colver: I feel your pain, mate!!

    It’s really hard to to pull the trigger on what ails this team – and to an extent, it’s because so many things ail this team!!

    Many people blame the manager because it’s easier to blame him than the players we have!

    Some blame the loss of Ronaldo!!

    Some say we need to build a better MF!!

    Some say we need better strikers!!

    I actually think there’s an element of truth in all these theories. We have neglected to pay attention to all of these issues and now we have to pay the price!!

    However it’s only when we all get unified in our uppityness that anyone will listen to a damn thing we say.

    I’m absolutely unhappy by the state of our team, (and you have to remember it was only 16 months ago that we were Champions of Europe)and want desperately, for things to improve.
    If it means moving on from out favorite players (ie. Berbatov, Rooney, Ferdinand, Scholes, Nani) lets just do it, move on to better pastures!!

  17. Most of the game looked like we had 6 midfielder out there…with no forwards and scholes and Carrick jumping in and out of the game.No real possession in liverpools third.

    Valencia had a half chance that hit the bar..aside from that nothing.

    Ref was horrible but we weren’t too good either to deserve any points.

    United at the moment really lacks a through bred striker who stays out there in the opposition third and makes those half chances count.

    Previous seasons Ronaldo fed off the creativity of our midfield but now there is this void with everyone trying to be play makers and really no stepping up and taking those shots (proper chances + half chances).

    Berbatov substitution was a suprise to me as he was clearly playing better that most. Rooney should have gone off instead.

    Its really frustrating for me watching united play in this fashion with everyone trying to both score and create and the same time…resulting is frequent loss of possession.

    Torres had nothing the whole game and then one through ball , he makes an excellent run uses his full body to keep rio off the ball and awesome finish.

    We really need someone to act like a through and through striker out there.

  18. @Grognard: You said we’ll be out of the top four. We’re not yet. And I’m sure we’ll not be. Let us be knocked out of the top four, without a hope in hell of finishing in it then a lot of us will be willing to buy into your theories. There is being proven right, and there is hoping for your doom theories to be proven right. Right now you are hoping for the latter (which really defeats the purpose) so let’s wait till you’re proven right eh?

    There are things that ail our side, but it certainly isn’t midtable form.

  19. @Taehr: I still maintain that a on song Drogba is the best striker in the world. He may be a cunt, but that bastard is unplayable when he’s in the mood. Torres is up there, plus he’s is alot younger than drogba. But he still has a ways tp go before he is the best. His pace is his best asset but he can still me muscled around c

  20. @Red Ranter: In all fairness, Grognard does hit the nail firmly on the head most of the time! And if no one is prepared to give him credit for it, then I guess he’ll do it for himself!!

    No one likes a braggart, but you have to admit that most of us do at some point submit to his theories about the team once or twice.

    He has an open forum with us all, and he will never disguise the intent of what he means. I have grown to respect him for that!

    I think you’ve zero’d in on a particularly frustrating issue for him, and he would have done better not to harp on it, but the value of his opinions remain true to me!!

  21. @Redrich: You’re telling me something I already know. I’ve never knocked him for his opinions. I’m just giving perspective. It’s quite easy for someone to feel over eager to tell everyone that he’s right — after all it’s frustrating for everyone that we lost, and we look to stuff that comfort us (like being proved right). I don’t have a problem with his opinions and you of all people know that quite well. 🙂

    I don’t have a problem if you brag when you’re proved right. But you’re not yet, so why harp on something that’s not yet proven?

  22. we all know this about fergie, no one can get a team to bounce back like he can, over the years we have seen our team suffer heavy defeats but fergie always get us back on track, fergie is the master of come back’s so it should come as no surprise that fergie gave life to a team that many had written off. Yes he has orchestrated the magnificent come back of liverpool, a team many had written off and a team that had not won in their last 4 games.

  23. But the real thing that irks me about yesterdays performance was that we lost to the worst liverpool team in twenty years. The team was without it’s engine, gerald and we still managed to loose to this mediocre team. What the fuck is up with fergie and getting the selection wrong this season. What the fuck was scholes doing in that midfield. And carrick is no where near good enough to play against top teams.
    Rooney and berba should never play on the same team ever again, it’s like having two players playing the same role, they all want to do the same thing and thats not score but provide for the goals. Rooney is every where and rarely where he is expected to be. I remember the many chances berba and owen created because berba knows where to find owen, but rooney on the other hand is all over the place. He seems allergic to sticking to the forward position. I think he should be made a attacking forward, that way no one can accuse him of straying.

  24. @themec: Fair wnough mate. I do get over the top occasionally but I honestly feel my assessment today is less from fury and overreaction and more from a growing and simmering feeling that i have been wrong all along. Many sat quietly as they watched Rome fall apart under Nero and although Fergie is not Nero, his tenure is like that of a Roman emperor who is now in his old age more concerned with his legacy than the future success of the team. He should never have taken the drastic turn in reshaping this teams tactics and overall look as it was simply folly and egotistical stupidity.

    Yu say you have read my rants (which I greatly appreciate) so you know then thaqt even though I ham dark and heavy handed at times, I am fair and the faxct is I greatly admire and respect Ferguson for what he has achieved and brought to the team. But all good things must come to an end and sometimes even a loyal servant can finally lose it and must be shown the door. Fergie has been far to lenient and sympathetic with some of the older players at the great detriment of younger players. He has made poor player purchases after poor ones. Yes he has gotten some right but as he has admitted many times, some of them just luckily fell into his lap like Cantona and Ronaldo.

    He was by a country mile the best manager in the world for twenty years but right now I wouldn’t rank him in the top 5 in England. He has gotten arrogant, lazy and full of himself. He disrespects people and especially officials at greater detriment to his team. His tactics and in game management at times borders on comatose and his tactics and preparation for the debacle in Moscow is almost unforgivable. Even more unforgivable is that we have lost three straight to Liverpool not because they are a better team, but because they are more prepared to play us and because Benitez has learned from his mistakes and corrected them.

    Fergie has learned nothing from Rome and nothing from last year’s losses to Liverpool. He still has shite for a midfield and he still starts Scholes in a game when we all knew Liverpool would place speed and the full court press into effect. Now please tell me why I am so damned smart sitting typing this in my home office in Vancouver and the great mind himself SAF hasn’t got a clue to the obvious. How amny times must we have to endure his new found cowardice before we finally said enough. It took Rome to burn before people finally turned on Nero. Must we hit rock bottom for us to show the great man the door and directions to the best retirement home. Yes this is cold and cynical but it is also honest and it’s what 95% of all fans are thinking but only a few are willing to admit. Football is an entertainment after all. There is not written law of loyalty and ever after love. Entertainers come and go and Hollywood and pro sports as well as the music industry have forgotten so many legends when they were past their usefulness. Sure we think back fondly and remember them but we do not tolerate mediocrity out of sentiment and loyalty for successes past.

    An I loved Big Ron despite the fact he was a git.

  25. @Red Ranter: You are not reading my posts RR. I have stated many times that I would love nothing more than to be wrong because I put the team’s success over inflating my ego…..Believe it or not. But how many times must I be proven right over two years before even you cop me a nod of approval? Seriously, I get no respect for a guy who takes so much abuse for his opinions but who so often comes out of those confrontations smelling like roses months later. It amazes me since you are moderator that you do not see this and you don’t actually give me the credit I deserve. I’m human, I like a pat on the shoulder when I am right. Instead of the wait until the end of the season and we’ll look at the situation BS. And when that comes and they finish 3rd or 4th what will you say then. Well it’s only one year and it was a rebuilding year and so lets see what happens this upcoming season before i declare you right. Jeez, I feel like Rodney Dangerfield. I just don’t get no respect, even when I damned well earned it. I not only predicted this game but I was dead on with the way this team was going to play this season. They have exceeded my points prediction but the season is very young and their schedule was easy with all their tough games before today at home. Now it gets very tough when their confidence has taken a strong pummeling. Lets see how they do from here on. So far the Doom Merchant hasn’t made many errors in his predictions. Why change now. I honestly think you are afraid I may get a really swelled head and be full of myself. Too late, I have there for quite a while 😀

  26. I did not read anything about this game. I am furious! FURIOUS!

    0.Wednesday CSKA game really did us in! 👿
    1. Wanker of a referee+assistants! Absolute JOKE! Put vidic and evra on early yellows for minor tussles while hobbits Mascherano and Lucas kept up the wrestling tactics with nothing from the ref – DISGRACE!
    2. Ferdinand, Scholes, Carrick, Rooney were disappointing! Cut Ferdinands salary until he plays like he should. Carrick should be 4th choice behind Scholen, Anderson, and Flethcer (and Hargo)
    3. Valencia, Berba, and VDS did well with that they had.
    4. Fergie lost the midfield battle (but mainly due to ref dishing our yellow cards early)
    5. I HATE LIVERPOOL! I HATE LIVERPOOL! Their players are diving cheats, wannabe footballers who rely on refs to bail them out. I cannot wait to see them out of Europe and out of top 4 come MAY. Benayoun belongs in a forest chasing the ring that rules them all… f#c%i*g overrated slimy beak-face scouser b*tc%!!! I HATE liverpool.

    I am FURIOUS! 👿 😈 😡 FURIOUS!

    I need United to destroy their next opponents with no mercy and no tactical moves to preserve energy in our superstar players. I want 4,5,6-0 wins with merciless finishing and deadly passing – I want football VIKING style!

  27. @Redrich: Yes I did go overboard with that mate but I really hold some extreme bitterness and hard feelings over a lot of abuse I received for my very accurate predictions which are coming to fruition every week. It’s not that I want to be a braggert but that I feel a need to get some well deserved payback and revenge to the people who insulted me personally and who labeled me a Doom Merchant and Dark Lord for simply having the insight and intelligence to foresee what is happening to the team before our eyes. Lets just say I took my glove off and demanded satisfaction towards those who maligned me so, a few months back. I’d still rather be wrong because I love the team, but truthfully, I love me more. 😉 😀

  28. @Grognard: you are still crazy to think <3rd place finish — I would even say we will be top 2 come May.

  29. @Red Ranter: You so easily seem to forget that the abuse I took was very extreme, unwarranted and very unfair. It caused me to quit for a few weeks to basically think things through. I damned well want and demand satisfuckingfaction for the BS I took. After all, no matter what everyone might think of me, I am a human being who deserved to be treated with more respect and my intellect has shown that I earned this, yet I received very little of it. So forgive me for venting my spleen now and feeling some very righteous payback was needed despite the our team’s unfortunate slide into oblivion. Too soon to call the coroner? We’ll see.

  30. @spizzy: This season? Hell mate he was screwing up like this last year too. He just had Ronaldo to bail him out all the time last year.

  31. @[OPTI]Madschester United: I take it you have learned nothing from today’s unmasking then? 😯 🙄 😀

    There is a song by an old Canadian band named Trooper that is titled “Three Dressed Up As A Nine”. Well what we have in United is a “4.5 Dressed Up As A Nine”. 🙂

  32. @Grognard: I’ve given you credit when it’s due. I’ve maintained from the beginning that this is a rebuilding year, although we failed to build on the one position, in my view: ie, the midfield. You’ll get credit when you’re proved right. I don’t see where the problem is here. You’re saying we’ll finish mid-table or fourth place — well I don’t subscribe to that. Why would you want me to give you credit for something I don’t agree with? I’m more than a man to give people credit when it’s due. This is a debate over the internet, and my ego won’t take a hit if I’m proven wrong. It’s ridiculous if you think I don’t want to give a pat on the back to you because I fear you.

    I’m a man of my word: if you’re proved right, I’ll give you your due.

  33. at the beginning of every season we hope that the team will be better than what it was. i think we have watch this team deteriorate for three seasons now. that is simply because the manager puts his faith in the wrong players.
    1. rooney vs tevez: fergie single handedly drove tevez out of old trafford. while he simply isnt as prolific as ronaldo, i frimly beleive he was a better finisher than wayne rooney. i remember coming into last season, he was our best player pre season and scored a good goal aginst liverpool (berbas assist), but as soon as everyone was fit, he was ushered to the bench. keeping him, would have shocked some of the gap created by the departure of ronaldo. rooney’s best position i now beleive is on the left side of midfield. he is a rubbish finisher, a good passer and is a great attacking threat, but most importantly a fantastic engine which can be extremely beneficial supressing good wingers. Plus if he can get us 20 goals a season, what on earth is the problem.

    2. eto or owen: while owen was the bargain of the summer. samuel eto for 20million, would have been money well sspent. i frimly believe he is the best striker in the world and has all attributes suited for the premier ship. the only problem would be containing the egos, fergie had trouble containing carlos tevez let alone samuel eto.
    3. our midlfield contrary to everyones belief is fine. we have two defensive midfielders in hargo and fletch. three central in gibbo, carrick and scholes and one attacking in ando, giggs. personally i think that is not world class but it alright.
    4. defense picks itself, rio will get better the fitter he becomes. he is here for another 4yrs minimum. i think maicon would be a fantastic addition.

    5. i think valencia will prove a fantastic buy, we still should have brought in ribery (if he wanted to come). rooney was most effective with ronaldo, they understood each other and played the penetration game quite brilliantly. while i prayed nani could deliver, it has become evident he cant. he has lost alot of confidence. ribery or robben to be fair can penetrate with immense dribbling ability and pace. if you cant get those, pls why not aaron lennon. 22yrs of age, can only get better.

    6. those striker we have are too stagnant, love the ball played to their feet, never run off the last defender, lack the “strikers instinct”. they are too similar, and where rooney has a great engine, berba makes up for it in creativity and possbly ariel threat. either or should be played with an out and out striker ( samuel eto)

    Fergie has relied too much on old legs, there is no way giggs, paul scholes and neville should be starting games now. i dont care how many fantastic games ryan giggs has had over the last 18months. it shows how bad out team really are to be relying on players that should be winding down their carrers.

    Still i don not believe we will finish outside the top two, but know this. WE ARE IN TROUBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry for the loss! we are and forever will be one united

  34. @colver: That’s just the problem though isn’t it mate – having to SETTLE! We have had to settle for lacklustre performances for one whole season and it’ll be two by end of this season. You say that it doesn’t matter, but it does to me 🙄 . United used to fill grounds wherever they played, but I have noticed now in a good few away games there’s seems to be rows of empty seats when United visit. Also tv viewing figures will go down – because our performances BORE the shit out of opposition fans, and definately us fans at home and on the terraces. We are bad mate – rank bad. I mean just go back to the recent Sunderland game, where we were very lucky to equalise, and the Bolton game where they were very UNLUCKY not to equalise, and this at our glorious Old Trafford Home – NOT! No excuse for a top team like United not buying a top class and prolific STRIKER. Berbatov and Rooney are never going to be that, and certainly not playing together – they are like a hapless duo comedy act. SAF has to sacrifice one of them and give Owen more games. I mean Owen came on in Moscow against CSKA, and sparked things up front. He would have KOPPED a goal at Anfield, had Bruiser axe murderer Carragher not clattered him down. Owen has a history of showing up in the BIG games, as SAF says, but yet never plays him – stupid, just plain daft!

  35. @Grognard: Mate I said I have an issue with our performances – lacklustre ones most of the season, and last, and I stuck my neck out and said that I don’t think we will win anything, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying we won’t finish in top 4. Folk will say that we won silverware last season in spite of the lacklustre – yes but Ronnie was still here. Also, we were being dicked about by the Sunderland’s and Bolton’s or Burnley’s of this world. This is what is concerning me about our lot this season, because even the lesser teams are saying that United have no fear factor whatsoever in this present team. The other thing that has caused doubts for me is we are leaking goals, and Vida and Rio are being found out! Out MF is all too easily over run too 🙁 🙁 🙁 .

  36. you do suffer from a short term memory dont you?, it was only a few months back that you did not seem to have a problem when fletcher did a similar tackle on arshavin and was let go, you brushed it aside by saying that they scored anyways. Probably you should have scored too. And if my memory serves right fletcher committed as many fouls as lucas in that game was he sent off?..I am a neutral and enjoy reading your blog but some of the recent shite youve put up smacks of hypocrisy.You lost it, own up and stop blaming the ref,the least you could have done is put the ball in the back of the net.

  37. @Red Ranter: Ah mate, I’m not asking you to give me credit and to fear me. I am just asking for a little respect because I have been proven right on many occasions. I predicted th outcome of yesterdays game if you do not count the freebee the team gave Liverpool at the end because I predicted exactly how they would play and how Liverpool would play. I was right, dead on to be exact. I have bitched and whined since before the season about a lot of factors and concerns about the team from it’s lack of leadership, to the fact that they have no midfield to the fact where they are clueless at breaking down good teams and scoring at United’s usually prolific pace. Up to now i have proven myself to be right and all the players I had major concerns about have validated my reasons for that concern. So would it hurt you to say yes you have been right about a lot of things over a long period of time. It’s not about stroking my ego, I’ve said many times I’d prefer to be wrong if the team played better, but it’s about getting a little bit of respect. Why is this important to me? Because I am opinionated and I have the balls to come out and make unpopular but well thought out predictions and arguments and I often get the predictable negative and abusive reactions. So because of this, I came out yesterday and damned well demanded a little satisfaction.
    I am not wrong here and it’s not about ego, it’s about pride and justice. It’s about others taking back the mean spirited and thoughtless personal jibes they threw at me and the labels they tagged me with and all along I have been right. It’s not even about finishing 3rd or 4th, it’s about whether this team is doing it’s utmost to win and to satisfy it’s spoilt and loyal fans. It’s about valid suspicions over the direction and ownership of the club and the unwillingness of the manager and the club to be honest and forthright with us. It’s about playing better and playing the United way but also not lying to us through their teeth and the manager not using negative cowardly tactics that choke the life out of every game and every fan. And all this I have been right about all along. Yet no respect as usual. Like I said earlier, I am this site’s Rodney Dangerfield. 🙁 🙄

  38. @Red Ranter: I know you agree with me a lot on things mate. You just don’t like the fact that I come across so pompous, arrogant and egotistical. Well to quote Julius Caesar again, “It’s only hubris if I lose” And in my case it’s only hubris if I’m wrong. Since I’m not, well I just think that has to count for something. I’m not pissed off or mad with you mate. Just a bit frustrated that you deny me my moment in the sun. Yes the season is not over but I am not just talking about my more recent predictions that are right or seem to be heading in that direction. I am talking about the many times I have been dead on over the past two and one half years I have been on here. Sure I am wrong once in a while but then again Fergie has lost a few games in his career too. 😉 😀

  39. @CraigMc: I haven’t said we will finish out of the top four. I have said we will finish either 3rd or 4th. But then again, lack of confidence and the team tuning out Fergie the way they have, anything is possible in this wacky season where nobody seems to want it that badly. Not Chelsea, not Liverpool or Arsenal. A very strange season to say the least so far, don’t you think? 😀

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