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Portsmouth Preview

Yesterday was a mad game. Sky Sports pundits love to call it a classic; most pundits love to trot that out when they see a rare occurrence of a high scoring game. I thought it was a rubbish game because of some appalling defending. And mainly from Arsenal who made back pass after misjudged back pass to tease Liverpool into scoring goals. The Chelsea-Liverpool tie over two legs was a better contest, despite poor defending. But what do we care? It was a draw, a good result (although an Arsenal win would have been better) and we have something today that could make yesterday’s result count.

It’s Pompey who have problems of their own. But abject as teams might appear, they suddenly seem to run around like energizer bunnies when they face us. Either that or we have been generally shite going forward. It doesn’t take the Scotland Yard to work out which. I’ll leave that you.

In team news, Rooney, Ronaldo, Carrick, Fletcher and EVDS would surely return to the starting XI having played no part in the weekend defeat. I can’t really predict the starting line up, but Fletcher and Carrick should pair up in the middle, with Ronaldo and A. N. Other on the wings, while Berbatov and Rooney will resume their partnership upfront. The back four would be Evra, Vidic, Rio and O’Shea. (I don’t have any updates on Brown, and Rafael had a long day out at Wembley.)

Tevez would once again warm the bench with his mate, Park, and so will Welbeck and Macheda.

There, I’ve done the preview. This is a very short one because I have to run. My prediction for this one: 2-0 to United.

Come on you reds!



  1. Stephen

    23 April 2009 at 16:55

    @Johnsom33: In fairness he has had some decent games this season, Fulham for example, i am not saying he is the player he once was, not even I am that blind 😉 and he has scored three more goals this season than Anderson, in one more game.

  2. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 16:58

    @phoenix red: I get mad and pissed off with a lot of players on our team and i will go as far as to call some rubbish or useless but I would never fall so low to tell a legend like Giggsy to fuck himself. The bloke has the freedom to say whatever he wants as long as it’s not directed to us here on the blog, but there comes a time when some players and even our much maligned manager deserve much more respect and appreciation than that. It is the epitome of classlessness and a sign of immaturity when we start telling of out players or coaches off like that.
    As if Giggs deserved that. Hell, I admit to having thought that way towards Fergie at times this season, but I’d never actually say it or even worse, write it on this blog. That would be so wrong and so classless.

    I’ll forgive the lad for a moment of temper and frustration but lets not forget the years and infinite times Ryan Giggs has given us pleasure and reasons to rejoice. So for his reward what does he get? Told to FU by a person who has the bollocks to come on here and call himself a United fan. I’d seriously doubt he would have made a comment like that if twenty of us were all together in a pub watching the game. Chances are he wouldn’t have come out of that pub alive. Frankly, he crossed the line. There is criticism and then there is disrespect. I’ll leave to him to figure out which one he fits into. 😡 🙁

  3. Traverse

    23 April 2009 at 16:59

    @Stephen: So Ando needs a hat trick against Spurs to level it up 😀

  4. Stephen

    23 April 2009 at 17:05

    @Traverse: Lets hope mate!! 😛 😛

  5. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 17:15

    @Stephen: Truly a moment that defined an age. I was glued to the tv set watching that semi-final here in Canada wishing I could have been there on that cool night at Villa Park. That for me has got to go down as one of the top three games I have ever seen, one of the top three most dramatic games I have seen and it still ranks for me as the greatest goal I have ever seen. Many may call Maradona’s wonder goal vs England in 1986 better or even Messi’s seemingly identical goal last season against a no name Spanish side in their cup run as the best ever. I loved the goal Ricky Villa scored in the 1980 FA Cup final to win the Cup for Spurs but for me, nothing comes close to that goal for it’s sheer brilliance and for the dramatical manner in which it was scored.

    I think back to that night and I remember so many great events and I honestly thought that Schmeichel stopping a penalty in injury time was as great as it could get, but Giggs proved me wrong. What Ryan Giggs has done as a loyal player for this club for almost 20 seasons is second to none. Absolutely love him and you all might have noticed that when it comes to severe criticism from the Grognard, quite often Giggs gets a free pass where others like Neville and Scholes do not. Oh sure I respect those two but Giggs is Grognard’s pet. I absolutely love him and forgive him instantly when he plays poorly. Why? Because he has earned it and because I know he still has a lot to offer. He is a legend because of his greatness and nobody, and I mean nobody should ever slag him or swear at him no matter what. I feel he is a player who should have his number retired by the club and should also be knighted by the Queen. He has been that great. And even though I feel Nemanja Vidic should win PFA player of the year, my heart is telling me that Giggs should win it out of respect and appreciation for many great and very consistent years of service to the English game, and frankly, out of duty because he has deserved in the past and not won it when he should have.

    I love Ryan Giggs and I ask the individual to hear me on this request. You owe all of us an apology for that comment. We are all guilty of saying stupid things in the heat of the moment and I understand that this one may have slipped but honestly mate, you offended me and a lot of others on this site with that comment because frankly, there are players who should never be told off and frankly no United player should ever be told off like that. Criticize all you want but keep it classy and in good taste. Ryan Giggs above all, deserves that from you and from the entire Man Utd community as well as the entire world football community. He is a true ambassador to the way the game should be played and how a player should conduct himself on and off of the pitch. Long Live Giggys!

  6. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 17:19

    @Stephen: Anderson has just as many goals as you and I so he’s keeping up an impressive pace, don’t you think? 😉 😀 At the pace he’s on, I’d expect EVDS and even Foster to score before him.

  7. Stephen

    23 April 2009 at 17:22

    @Grognard: Superbly put mate.

  8. phoenix red

    23 April 2009 at 17:24

    @Grognard: lol! Black wool is highly sought after! You have high expectations Bro and the quest for excellence demands it.@Grognard: There was a comment from a Gooner on ROM yesterday about how Giggs could go anywhere in England and be lauded and respected, there’s not many/any other footballers that would get this respect, like you said though, it was probably down to the heat of the moment. BTW i qualified my ABU comment on the last post, i only saw your reply late!

  9. Stephen

    23 April 2009 at 17:26

    @Grognard: He has as many goals as Mike Phelan this season, even worse!!

  10. phoenix red

    23 April 2009 at 17:29

    @Grognard: Agree 100% Bro, well said 😈

  11. Red Ranter

    23 April 2009 at 17:31

    @phoenix red: I agree. I also thought Denis Bergkamp would get that respect among the premiership greats that played in the 90s.

  12. Stephen

    23 April 2009 at 17:39

    @Red Ranter: Probably Zola would fall into theat catorgary too.

  13. Red Ranter

    23 April 2009 at 17:44

    @Grognard: Well put. Glad you do think of a United player that way. I suppose some others may think of Neville and Scholes that way too.

    To everyone:
    In general, saying “fuck off/fuck you [united player]” can be offensive to many people because each has his own favourite. So it would be useful to keep that in mind before swearing at a player and later trying to hide under the excuse of “heat of the moment”. Doing it once is fine, but repeating it over and over again, and then giving the same excuse can get a little annoying. I am saying this because I’ve seen repeat offenders on this issue and I won’t name them.

    This is just a word of advice.

  14. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 17:46

    @Red Ranter: Bergkamp was also a great player but part of what makes Giggs so special is the number of years he has been doing it and all for just one club. Bergkamp of course didn’t play for as long and he was not exclusively an Arsenal product as he came from the Dutch League. Too be honest, I cannot think of a modern day footballer that deserves the kind of accolades and respect that Ryan Giggs deserves. Giggs get put in a list with the Charlton’s and Moore’s of the English game. The closest for me in terms of tenure and class as well as having been great for a long period of time is Paul Scholes. I am not the biggest Scholes fan out there but I will not argue his merits as he has performed very well for a very long time and has been quietly loyal and devoted to all things United.

    I love Fergie’s quote the other day when he said something like nobody has ever made a bid for Scholes. It’s because they all new he’s never leave United. I think that says it all and goes for both him and Giggs as well as Neville too. But of course I would not be me if I never poked a little cynicism towards Scholesy and Fergie by saying that nobody ever bid for him because like me, they knew he was overrated. 😀 😉 I say that jokingly of course because many know he is not a favorite of mine but let me say this, he too has been a tremendous warrior for our club and has had many moments of brilliance. He just isn’t my kind of player technically and so my indifference towards him has more to do with preferring a different style of player. But make no mistake, Scholes is and always will be known as one of the greatest and smartest distributors of the ball in the history of the game. And nobody but nobody has perfect the back pass better than him also. 😛 😀

  15. johnsom33

    23 April 2009 at 17:47

    @Grognard: I know your a knowledgable bloke when it comes to GK’s. can you tell us a little about how you rate Akinveev and where he rates among the world?

  16. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 17:48

    @Red Ranter: I just commented on Neville and Scholes before I read your comment. Totally agree.

  17. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 17:56

    @johnsom33: Akinfeev is one of my favorites and I for one would be overjoyed if we signed him. I place him behind Adler, Neuer and Boruc amongst the new breed of great keepers but in many ways he is more steady than any of them. He is a strong shot stopper and commands presence in the box. Where he has weaknesses in his game is in the same area most modern keepers have weaknesses, in the aerial game. He does have the occasional problem judging crosses and indirect free kicks into the box. Not terrible but like the rest, it becomes a bit of a challenge at times. This has become an epidemic throughtout the world over the past 5 to 6 years because fewer and fewer teams play the game old school and crossing from a wide position is going more and more out of style. It’s still utilized a fair amount in England so any purchase of a keeper for our league needs to have a fair proficiency in that area.

    Other areas where I think he excels is in physicality, reflexes and charging out to a player or the ball. Certainly a cut above Fabianski in that department. Overall he is a great keeper and I expect some big club will buy him either this season or next. In fact, I could see Chelski going after him now that the secret is out and Petr Cech has turned into a muppet.

  18. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 18:01

    @Stephen: Zola is certainly a class act and a true gentleman on and off the filed but I would not put him in there with Giggs simply because of tenure. He just hasn’t got the years and when it comes to respect, he is loved by Chelsea but I’m sure he doesn’t get a lot of consideration from other regions because he just wasn’t been around for as long as Giggs has been. Giggs has been like a Roman emperor as the entire era that he has played in could literally be named after him. 1990-2010 is the Giggsian period of football history in England. 😀 Hail Giggsy!

  19. Matt

    23 April 2009 at 18:37

    Can anyone tell me why giggs never won the PFA award ever in his career. Im a bit young to remember the early to mid 90s but surely he should have won an award when he was still a youngster. Looking back at his stats he was getting 10 odd goals a season with many assists, how come he never won the award. I know cantona won it a few times and i think shearer did but i dont know why giggs never won the award. I watch clips of him in his prime in the 90s and i just wish i was born 10 years earlier so i could have appreciated him a bit more and remembered him in his prime. I never actually saw the goal against arsenal live but yeah its a pretty amazing goal and when you were first watching it live it must have been amazing to see it go in. His best goal i remember would have to be the goal against juve in turin in 2003. I remember we were struggling and some1 got injured and i think it was him who came on. The game changed immediately and giggsy scored an amazing goal from just past the half way line. Such an amazing goal and i was happy for him cos he was getting alot of criticism at that time and was linked away apparently. I heard certain united fans even booed him, i mean what the hell is up with tht. Words just cannot describe how good a player he has been for us, and when it comes to the day he retires it will be one of the saddest days the club has ever had. Legend giggsy.

  20. NicoQB

    23 April 2009 at 19:33

    From wikipedia

    1990–91 WAL Hughes, MarkMark Hughes Manchester United [17]
    1991–92 ENG Pallister, GaryGary Pallister Manchester United
    1992–93 IRE McGrath, PaulPaul McGrath Aston Villa
    1993–94 FRA Cantona, EricEric Cantona Manchester United [18]
    1994–95 ENG Shearer, AlanAlan Shearer Blackburn Rovers
    1995–96 ENG Ferdinand, LesLes Ferdinand Newcastle United
    1996–97 ENG Shearer, AlanAlan Shearer Newcastle United [19]
    1997–98 NED Bergkamp, DennisDennis Bergkamp Arsenal FWA
    1998–99 FRA Ginola, DavidDavid Ginola Tottenham Hotspur FWA
    1999–00 IRE Keane, RoyRoy Keane Manchester United FWA
    2000–01 ENG Sheringham, TeddyTeddy Sheringham Manchester United FWA
    2001–02 NED van Nistelrooy, RuudRuud van Nistelrooy Manchester United FPY
    2002–03 FRA Henry, ThierryThierry Henry Arsenal FWA, FPY [20]
    2003–04 FRA Henry, ThierryThierry Henry Arsenal FWA, FPY [21]
    2004–05 ENG Terry, JohnJohn Terry Chelsea
    2005–06 ENG Gerrard, StevenSteven Gerrard Liverpool
    2006–07 POR Ronaldo, CristianoCristiano Ronaldo Manchester United FWA, FPY, YPY [22]
    2007–08 POR Ronaldo, CristianoCristiano Ronaldo Manchester United FWA, FPY

    Interesting bits: Ginola I can understand, but Les Ferdinand! 😯
    One of the years Shearer won it maybe Giggs should have won…

    Most surprising was Gary Pallister winnning it once! Not that he didn’t deserve it, but its the first time I hear about that!

  21. NicoQB

    23 April 2009 at 19:40

    Interesting also that one year, Beckham was second in the ballon d’or only to Rivaldo (who didn’t deserve it anyway) and didn’t win the POTY himself – I guess players didn’t like his flashy lifestyle…

    No Paul Gascoigne!

    Scholes at his peak was also deserving of some sort of award, methinks.

    I said it once, but I think its high time that the league creates some sort of Lifetime recognition award – -just like they do at the academy awards, oscars for movies – so that people like Scholes, Giggs, Schmeichel and Le Tissier get their due recognition.

  22. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 19:57

    @Matt: Basically it has always been a case of one player being as good or better than him every year. Pro sports are littered with players of this nature who were constantly great and very consistent but there would be a Gretzky, an Orr, Ruth a Clemens, a Bird a Jordan, a Cantona, a Henry etc who would pop up and have great seasons. As great as Giggs has been, it’s more his consistency as opposed to a single breathtaking season that elevates him into legend status. Although Cal Ripken Jr won two MVP’s in baseball, his stats were always great but rarely were they great enough to warrant MVP awards. But what won him the MVP awards was that he was a good hitter playing a position historically known as a weak hitting position. Otherwise he would be known only for his iron man longevity and not for his bat and glove play. Giggs does so many things well but not one thing so much better than anybody else. I think his consistency and his willingness to hide in the background and be quiet and respectful of the game and his team has left him forgotten at times. For me he has been a quiet assassin that has murdered many a team with his timely goals, excellent passes, dribbling runs and free kicks. The man is a God, but back in the shadows a bit. 😀

  23. Redrich

    23 April 2009 at 19:58

    @NicoQB: How about a “Hall of Fame” that would honor the legends of the game?? Would be a lifetime induction and would mean so much more than the POY award.

  24. Stephen

    23 April 2009 at 20:12

    @Grognard: Arise Sir Giggsy 😆 😆

  25. NicoQB

    23 April 2009 at 20:16

    @Redrich: The player of the year awards are necessary to reward the best player over the course of the season. I look forward to it. I was thinking about a kind of lifetime recognition award or a “Hall of Fame” if you like to honor those legends that, as Grognard rightly put it, had great careers but never shone spectacularly for any one season in particular.

  26. Red Ranter

    23 April 2009 at 20:50

    Speaking of United legends, a new post is up on one of them. Who, you ask? You’ll just have to go to the front page to see. 🙂

  27. Grognard

    23 April 2009 at 22:35

    @NicoQB: The sad thing is I can think of three or four seasons where Giggs shine greatly but it just happened to be years when Alan Shearer, Eric Cantona and Thierry Henry were just a bid better. So he did have spectacular seasons, but there was always just one name that was a little better or that the London media preferred and campaigned for.

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