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Rafael and Giggs dish out some Red karma

Manchester United's Rafael da Silva celebrates against Queens Park Rangers in the Premier LeagueBob Dylan has probably never heard of Ryan Giggs. In fact,when the folk legend wrote “Forever Young”, the idea of a 39-year-old footballer trotting around the pitch like a teenager was as far away from his mind as anything else, but Dylan’s words are the last resource left to describe a man who keeps defying age with impressive regularity, just 10 months shy of his 40th birthday.

As he has reminded everybody in recent weeks, Sir Alex Ferguson can afford the luxury of picking virtually two teams with similar strengths, something Harry Redknapp can only dream of despite his January spending spree, and it was telling that today’s game was decided by one of United’s most improved players, Rafael, and the evergreen class of Ryan Giggs.

Having scored as many league goals as QPR, Robin Van Persie was partnered up-front by Javier Hernandez, with Wayne Rooney a surprised inclusion on the bench, after his sinus infection. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic started a league game together for only the fifth time this season, with Rafael and Patrice Evra confirmed on the flanks.

Nani was awarded a rare start following his brilliant performance against Reading on Monday, with Giggs a surprise choice ahead of Anderson and Tom Cleverley in midfield.

After a slow start in which both teams failed to control the game, Hernandez tested Julio Cesar after 16 minutes, as his glancing header forced an excellent save from the Brazilian keeper.

Six minutes later United were ahead. Having won the ball in midfield, Ryan Giggs sprayed a lovely pass out to Robin Van Persie who forced a save from a very tight angle, before aggravating his hip injury as momentum carried him onto the cameraman.

Van Persie’s injury went unnoticed though as, after Julio Cesar’s save, the ball dribbled out the box before Rafael struck a ferocious half-volley that travelled into the back of the net at such a speed that the QPR’s Brazilian custodian had no chance.

Rafael was very much the man of the afternoon in the first half, clearing Samba’s header off the line before darting to forward and opening QPR’s defence wide open with a superb pass for Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman’s half volley was parried away by Julio Cesar and was also to be Van Persie’s last contribution to the cause as he was precautionary replaced by Danny Welbeck.

Queens+Park+Rangers+v+Manchester+United+-+Premier+LeagueNemanja Vidic went close to double United’s lead just before halftime but his header fizzled wide of the post. After the restart the Serbian centre-back and Rio Ferdinand produced another excellent defensive performance to repel QPR’s rather flimsy threat. The Londoners, who haven’t scored a league goal at Loftus Road since Boxing Day, went close to an equaliser halfway through the second half but De Gea produced his first and only save of the afternoon to deny substitute Loic Remy.

Rooney and Valencia replaced Hernandez and Young, as United looked to seal the game, propelled forward by the superb away support. If considering the fans as the twelfth man on the pitch is a cliche, then the traveling Red Army do their best to dismiss the notion, as their repertoire of chants quickly annihilated QPR’s response of “We let City win the league”.

Quite why would they gloat about City’s success is anyone’s guess, but to each their own.

imageUnited’s efforts were finally rewarded ten minutes from time as Nani’s pass found Ryan Giggs who calmly controlled the ball, before slotting it past Julio Cesar to secure yet another three points for United.

The fanfare-less celebration, a humble finger pointed to the sky, said it all. It was a very important result, potentially a defining one depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s clash between City and Chelsea, but there is still work to be done to reach number 20.

Dan (@MUFC_dan87)

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Opti

    23 February 2013 at 18:23

    I finally understand why City’s mascots are aliens. THEY ARE OUTTA HERE!!!

    Glory Glory Man United as the Red go marching ON ON ON… #20 in the house!!! Bring on #12 and #4 and then I will name my kid Sir Alex πŸ˜€

  2. TheLegendof7

    23 February 2013 at 19:30

    It was a pass my Nani to Giggs to seal the win, not Welbeck.

  3. Warzycha

    24 February 2013 at 00:01

    What a great goal by Rafael. It looks like it came out of a PES 2013 match.

    Anyway, QPR were never a serious obstacle to MU.

  4. Moscow

    24 February 2013 at 12:35

    β€œOh, oh, oh, it’s Carrick, you know, it’s hard to believe it’s not Scholes”

  5. Dr S

    24 February 2013 at 15:24

    Watching the City-Chelsea game, I can’t help but wonder if Abramovich will soon tire of his hobby, and leave the club to flounder away.

    For unless he has the humility to beg Mourinho to return, which coach out there can take the club to its former heights who isn’t already signed by some good club?

    There could be rich pickings for the savvy manager come Summer from the Chelsea camp…

    • Moscow

      24 February 2013 at 15:50

      @Dr S: Roman should have bought us really. Provided he didn’t interfere with team affairs we would have dominated Europe for at least a decade.

      • Opti

        24 February 2013 at 16:51

        @Moscow: I am happy he didn’t. The reason Chelsea studders is all down to him and his interference. He’s an idiot at Chelsea, but in his business he is doing well… I think that highlights just how he sees Chelsea as a Hobby: Football Manager Platinum or something like that πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

      • The_Philosopher

        25 February 2013 at 07:48

        @Moscow: Far be it from us! Roman Abromvich is a cancer.

        Chelsea isn’t about football anymore its about him. Why should the owner be the focal point of a football club? Thats ridiculous.

        Abromavich would have ruined this club. Sir Alex would have been fired a long time ago.

    • The_Philosopher

      25 February 2013 at 08:02

      @Dr S: Very good angle. What happens to Chelsea if Abromavich gets tired and leaves?

      Would Mata and Hazard stay? Those are the only two players that I would steal from Chelsea. . . And Lampard if he was willing.

  6. The_Philosopher

    25 February 2013 at 08:08

    Rafael has developed well under Sir Alex. And he will only get better.

    Giggs is the gift that keeps on giving. I would have prefered Anderson in midfield against QPR but you can’t agrue about a goal scorer.

    Very good game. 3 points = 12points for us and one less game.

    RVP took a heavy hit. Hopefully he will recover in time for Real. This is when a Lewandowski would be needed. Welbeck Rooney and Chicha against Real Madrid? I’m not sure how much confidence that line up gives me.

    Now we need to make sure we put Norwich away. We can’t afford mistakes. And Norwich are capable of giving us problems. We need to make sure we blow them out the water!

  7. The_Philosopher

    25 February 2013 at 08:32

    Anderson was left out of the squad on Saturday but there is still plenty of football to come so he should get a run soon.

    Norwich on Saturday and thats quickly followed up by Real Madrid on Tuesday.

    Evans didn’t play against QPR but he might not play against Norwich either. Ferguson could be holding him back for the Real Madrid second leg encounter where he will opt for Evan’s energy and youthful vigour over Vidic’s strength and experience.

    Or perhaps Ferguson is comfortable enough play Vidic against Madrid in which case I would expect to see Evans deputising at home versus Norwich City with Vidic kept in reserve for Real.

    Ferdinand is also one who cannot play every single game on the calendar and therefore will have to be given a break as well between now and the Real game. Ferdinand has played more consistently than Vidic, I think, so I would expect him to definately be involved against Real Madrid.

    So who will Ferguson play at centre back in the Norwich game this weekend? I’m not sure. But maybe Ferguson is brave enough to start Smalling. Jones is on the mend so he is a doubt.

    Smalling and Evans then agianst Norwich? Who knows.

    Jones did a great job in midfield shutting Ronaldo down. Who will Ferguson pick to partner Michael Carrick when Real come to Old Trafford if Jones isn’t fit? Thats another tough question.

    Will Nani be in form come the Real game? Will Ferguson play him on Saturday as a final audition for Real?

    I would prefer an inform Nani than an in form Valencia on the right wing.

    Our left wing situation is still a problem even with Young putting in a decent performance at QPR.

    If van Persie doesn’t recover in time who plays in his stead and what does that mean for our champion’s league hopes?

    Tuesday is the biggest game of our season so far. If we don’t win it or come out of it with a goal-less draw (which is HIGHLY unlikely) we’re out of the tournament.

    Its crunch time on Tuesday 5 March.

  8. Vida Dollar

    25 February 2013 at 09:21

    i think the fact that barca are on the brink of elimination will give the team greater impetus.Barca is one team Fergie has no solution for and knowing that going past real does not produce the prospect of another humiliation at the hands of the catalan giants will do wonders to our team’s psyche.I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT rvps injury but have my fingers crossed. hopefully he will come through as our luck has substantially improved in the past few weeks.

  9. Stephen

    25 February 2013 at 10:17

    Good result on Saturday, I was somewhat concerned about how QPR would play against us. I have to say on Saturday proves really why Taarabt will never be a World class player. He is so lazy it is unbelievable, no work ethic, not effort, ability is only half of it.
    The Norwich game will be interesting, what side do we play? The have Real on Tuesday this gives the players very little recovery time. I know 3 points are not essential, but we cannot give City any hope and I cannot handle a repeat of last season!
    Ryan Giggs is the greatest ever Manchester United player.

    • Opti

      25 February 2013 at 15:47

      @Stephen: Norwich beat us 1-0 earlier in season. That’s enough motivation for our 2nd string to destroy them. At Old Trafford, Norwich will bleed Green & Gold at the sword of our 2nd string.

      Rooney + Chicharito will play up front with Smalling + Evans at back.

      RvP + Jones will be officially doubtful, but will make the Madrid game — psychological mind-game by Fergie.

      Madrid’s schedule is brutal in the coming week:
      2/26 Barcelona (A) 3:00 PM ET Esp Cup
      3/2 Barcelona (H) 10:00 AM ET La Liga
      3/5 Man Utd (A) 2:45 PM ET UCL

      Hopefully Barca can inflict some damage and then lose to Milan πŸ˜†

      • Stephen

        25 February 2013 at 19:15

        @Opti: πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I hope so!
        RvP will wrapped up in cotton wool until we play Real. Real have a tough few games, it depends how seriously they take the league game. Do they out of pride try and compete, or look at the bigger picture and field a weakened side?!

        • Opti

          25 February 2013 at 20:35

          @Stephen: Can they afford to lose badly to Barca? Or fall further behind Atletico Madrid? They will field a strong team… as pride is about all they have left to play for after we’re done with them! 😈

  10. Opti

    25 February 2013 at 16:04

    Some big news coming out of AndersRed blog, the ardent and erudite provide of financial critique of Glazer ownership. Based on his analysis, it seems like United are in the clear financially and will/should be able to pay off debt.

    “Many people, including me, have been highly sceptical of the United business model. It appears however that through a combination of luck (the TV boom) and judgement (the commercial strategy), the management have managed to deleverage the balance sheet and keep the club (reasonably) competitive on the pitch. With the net debt down to under Β£300m, FFP coming in and continued strong commercial growth, we are now facing a radically improving financial position.

    None of this make the Glazers good owners for Manchester United. It will take many years before the club makes enough in profits to compensate for the huge costs incurred. If it wasn’t for Fergie’s miracle work United could have followed Liverpool or even Leeds down the slippery financial slope. However, in light of the rapidly improving finances, the terms of the debate on ownership will inevitably change. The costs will have been incurred (I estimate total costs from the Glazer structure will top Β£1bn by 2016) but they will start to become an unpleasant historical footnote

    As the eight year LBO experiment comes to an end and the financial risk to United ebbs away, the club and its supporters surely need to re-connect. On issues like away allocations, ticket prices and engagement with supporters’ groups the club needs climb out of it bunker. For fans, the financial experiment is thankfully coming to an end, but much remains to be done; on supporter ownership and having a voice in our club and in making sure the cash flows into the football club itself and not the pockets of owners who still show no evidence of caring one jot for supporters.”

    — full report: http://www.andersred.blogspot.com/2013/02/500m-of-costs-later-could-we-see-debt.html

    • johnsom33

      28 February 2013 at 18:29

      @Opti: Wow, this is refreshing. a Journalist actuaally does a piece to say he was wrong. It seems like most journalist just try to sweep things like this under the rug.

      * TAKE A LOOK AT THE FORUM, SEE IF IT WORKS PLEASE *

      * ANY FEEDBACK APPRECIATED *

      https://redrants.com/regulars-forum/

  11. Warzycha

    25 February 2013 at 16:57

    If I was the manager of MU I would definetely try a narrow 4-3-3 which becomes 4-5-1 when defending, especially against RM.

    From right to left

    4 DEFENDERS : Rafael, Rio, Vidic, Evra
    3 midfielders : Carrick (first passes+defending) , Jones (defending+smart fouling), Anderson (carrying the ball up front, combining with the forwards, still cautious)
    3 forwards : Rooney, Rvp, Rani (all of them, free roaming)

    this 4-3-3 could also change into a narrow 4-4-2 diamond shaped, with Rooney or Nani being the No.10.
    (Nani, Ando, Rooney, Rvp, Young and Carrick, have all played as no.10 in their careers)

  12. Opti

    25 February 2013 at 20:33

    Fun question: as a fan, would you rather have
    A) Gareth Bale for 50 million or
    B) Ronaldo for 60 million or
    C) Bebe for free (that’s to give Owen the obvious choice) πŸ˜€

    • One United

      25 February 2013 at 22:34

      I’d have Bale for 50 million. He has age on his side and a wand of a left foot. Lets put things into perspective, I dont know if Sir Alex will be prepared to invest 50 mill. I tell u this though, someone is gonna get him.. Man City, Real Madrid, Chelsea ? Whats that, 9 goals in the last 10 games.. for a left winger. Jesus thats Ronaldo, Messi type stats. He crosses like becks, he drives at people like Ronaldo, hes has a phenomenal physique….
      I mean Bale, Rooney and Nani behind RVP would arguably be even better than Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez because we wouodnt have Ronaldos ego to manage.
      I wouldnt worry about the center of midfield. Teams would be too scared to attack.
      Realistically its a pipe dream.. fergie spending 50 million on a player.. ha! I’d eat my hat. Would sell off Valencia or Ashley young to try and fund that transfer. In terms of penetration and drive hes currently in the top 5 in the world and considering Ronaldo and Messi are worth at least 100 million each then I wouldnt feel so bad spenxong 40 to 50 bale. He is yet to peak and he’s this good.
      7 mill on Bebe, 15 mill on Zaha are gambles. 40 mill on Gareth is a expensive but a good deal none the less.

      • Opti

        26 February 2013 at 01:42

        @One United: Exactly my thoughts. Bale is too much like Ronaldo that it was deja vu when I saw him score that screamer today. I just wish he had not messed with his ears… πŸ™‚

      • Warzycha

        26 February 2013 at 03:37

        @One United:

        …never really liked Ronaldo and his demanding the ball attitude on the game…or his diving “talent”.
        I fancy his stats and he is really world-class but I always thought he interrupts the game-flow, especially in RM.
        It’s not just winning for me, really. He would add so much to our team but I’d rather see Bale in MU-shirt.
        Ronaldo ins’t goint to win a CHL title again in his life. He chose his money-making road. He is not a winner, he is a very talented money-maker.

      • The_Philosopher

        26 February 2013 at 07:53

        @One United: I would sell Valencia AND Ashley Young to get Bale.

        And I would prefer Bale to Ronaldo right now because Bale has a left foot. And he knows how to work down the left flank.

        Bale and Nani on the wings with RVP and Rooney in the middle? Thats a killer combination.

    • The_Philosopher

      26 February 2013 at 07:54

      @Opti: Gareth Bale!

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