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Ronaldo to the Rescue… Again

That boy Ronaldo showed nerves of steel to send United up, and within a point of leaders Arsenal. For our most fortuitous of wins, we have to thank the Portuguese lad – and Steven Pienaar’s moment of indiscretion – as a resolute Everton team made a result look highly unlikely, till that point.

We dominated possession and had loads of chances, but it looked like one of those days, where even if one were to be presented with a mile wide goal one would miss. For all the possession, we never really looked like scoring.

Fergie decided to start tinkering with the squad keeping the festive fixture list in mind. So he dropped Hargreaves and Rio from the line-up. It was later made known that they hadn’t quite recovered from the knocks picked up from the Liverpool game.

Whatever be the reason, it was clear from yesterday how much we actually missed the pair. Rio’s reassuring presence would not have allowed a midget like Cahill rise so high to head home the equaliser. Granted, Simpson was partly responsible for allowing Pienaar to get the cross in, in the first place.

I was really excited to see how Simmo would do in his first league start of the season. Pity he couldn’t further his reputation on this evidence. Nonetheless, I do hope Fergie keeps faith in the full back and lets him develop. He does have the ability to bomb forward, but his inexperience puts undue pressure on the other defenders as he gets caught out up the field.

Today we certainly missed the bite of Hargreaves in midfield. Carrick was not very assuring, while Anderson seemed over anxious to impress, at times. However, he is starting to make more runs forward with the ball, and that is a good sign of his confidence.

Props should be given to Everton’s midfield, which, despite being depleted, had enough in its reserves to make a match of it.

I thought, Giggs had a good game. He made a few very good runs, and some excellent passes. There was one instance where he hit a perfect long ball to Rooney, over the defence, and Everton had Lescott to thank as Rooney’s chip was cleared off the line.

For all Tomasz Kuszczak’s qualities — he is agile and is a good shot stopper — he still appears extremely dodgy. I had mentioned this several times earlier, but his deficiencies were there for all to see yesterday. He doesn’t command the area enough and his kicking was shocking. With Rio returning, one wouldn’t expect him to be doing too much work against the likes of Sunderland and Birmingham. Ben Foster’s return would make the goalkeeping situation rather interesting next season.

At the end of the day though, it had to be Ronaldo, our saviour. His first goal was superb, making room for himself before hitting a curling ball with his left foot. Howard could do nothing. And in the dying minutes, we know how difficult such situations can be for anyone — as Robbie Keane so expertly demonstrated it the other day against the Arse — he showed superb composure to tuck the ball away from the spot to take his tally to 16 from 16 games. Now isn’t that some tally! At this rate he could dare to take a punt of scoring even 50 goals this season with Fergie! And the gaffer would be well advised to stay away from it.

SAF had only glowing words for the boy, in his post match comments:

The boy [Ronaldo] really has got everything and we’re expecting goals from him all the time. I don’t think he ever made a mistake – he was absolutely perfect, it was a marvellous performance from him.

And you can read more of his post match comments here.

With this win, it must be said that our toughest fixture of the busy Christmas schedule is out of the way and we must ideally pick maximum points from the rest and hope for a slip up from the Gooners.

I may or may not blog tomorrow. I also expect it to be a rather slow news day. So, in any case, here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. k9

    24 December 2007 at 13:05

    Happy holidays Ranypants. πŸ™‚

  2. Primachenko

    24 December 2007 at 15:39

    we need a new backup keeper. tommy is nowhere near a good cover for van der sar.

  3. Conor

    24 December 2007 at 16:47

    Primachenko read the blog, we have Ben Foster as back up.

  4. dan(U-O.L)

    24 December 2007 at 18:00

    ochea anyone? dunno if thats spell right.

  5. Abu

    24 December 2007 at 18:15

    Why is Tomasz tagged PIG, some British reference I don’t know about?

  6. man utd fan

    24 December 2007 at 18:21

    Tomasz is called PIG b’cauz he’s polish in goal

  7. JK

    24 December 2007 at 18:25

    Merry Christmas Ranter! Merry Christmas to everybody!

  8. dan(U-O.L)

    24 December 2007 at 19:14

    yea, marry xmas lads, you probably wont see me until new years, im off to church for a midnight service in a few hours so goodnight, god bless, merry christmas and a happy new year. BRING ON IRELAND FC.

  9. primachenko

    24 December 2007 at 19:59

    conor,

    i do read the blog. do you see foster backing up van der sar now? we need decent cover now, not in some maybe distant future.

  10. JB

    24 December 2007 at 21:51

    Primachenko: You have to ask if itÒ€ℒs an effective use of our resources. A decent back up keeper would probably cost a few million quid and there are the added issues of CL eligibility and the difficulty of finding the right player in the January transfer window. Add the fact that we would also need to find a club for PIG if we got another keeper and that Foster is scheduled to return in March (hopefully). Taking all this into account it hardly seems worth all the bother and effort to find another back-up keeper for what is effectively a 3 month period.

    Dan: I think ex-Man Utd retirement home FC might be a better name for Sunderland πŸ™‚

    On a final note, Merry Christmas everyone!

  11. Taehr

    24 December 2007 at 22:26

    Merry christmas to all you reds!

  12. Taron

    24 December 2007 at 22:35

    Marry Christmas and happy New year to all of you.
    Can you please tell me where else I can find a really good posts about ManUtd. I use “soccerlens”, RedRants and the republic on Mancunia. Please tell me other websites. Thanks.

  13. Conor

    24 December 2007 at 23:20

    Merrrrrrrrrry Christmas πŸ˜€ And Dan his names Ochoa, he’s a good keeper, not a bad idea Dan but I don’t think we’ll buy him until VDS retires.

  14. Mack

    25 December 2007 at 01:12

    Guys just so you know it was actually Wes Brown that let that cross in, not Simpson. That said, Simpson still didn’t play very well and Rio was definitely missed.

  15. rick

    25 December 2007 at 05:51

    Well PIG did not have a good game with his goal kicks , however he made a couple of good saves ..I surely do rate him very high , it is just a matter of time he shows his class !

    By the way when compared to blunders of big guns keepers like Alumina,VDS,Cech and Reina , did u people see Casilla`s performance against Barca ? Outstanding .. The way he commanded his box and timing the run perfectly , i would say that his performance this season has been the best for a goal keeper across Europe !

  16. goalcentre.com

    25 December 2007 at 07:42

    PIG only can kick with his right foot. No matter what, Ronaldo was the difference on the day most players did not perform up to expectations. Long live Ronaldo! πŸ™‚ And oh yeah, Merry Christmas to everybody!

  17. James_Greece

    25 December 2007 at 09:03

    Merry Christmas to everyone! May 2008 be the year of our second Treble!

  18. Conor

    25 December 2007 at 10:14

    Goalcentre PIG can barely even kick with his right foot, I’ve known that for a while now but to tell you the truth its not that big a problem, just frustrating. He can still make brilliant saves when needed to.

  19. Conor

    25 December 2007 at 10:38

    Just on the topic of Ronaldo; I was reading this and thought about one more advantage Ronaldo has over Messi: Ronaldo rarely gets injured for more than 1 or 2 matches, whis is very impressive considering the amount of times he is tackled in a match.

  20. Chris H

    25 December 2007 at 11:21

    Simpson is a defender who has thus far shown absolutely no ability to defend at this level. So he can get forward, super. But when he does get forward, there’s a gaping hole on the right side of the defense that everyone else is constantly having to fill. And even when he gets back, he’s not particularly effective. Yes, he should be allowed to develop. No, it shouldn’t be here. I know he’s a local lad, who came up through the youth team, he’s a decent young chap, etc. But I don’t care if he’s Matt Busby’s grandson – playing right back for Manchester United is no place to learn the basics of your craft.

    Sunderland, now there’s a place for a young player to find his way. And boy will they appreciate him there, because the players Roy signed over the summer are crap. Expensive. But crap.

  21. Tomas

    25 December 2007 at 11:34

    Conor – that actually is a very good reason (besides Ronaldo’s unbelievable ability) that Ronaldo is better than Messi – his overall physique is simply better.

    And if Ronaldo in 2008 plays like he’s done this season so far, it would be a bit concerning, if he isn’t crowned played of the year next time. Queiroz has said it: He’s worked with players like Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo (Brazil) and many more super stars, but none of them have had the potential that Ronaldo has.

    Oh, and I think Arsenal will have their problems over the next 2 matches away at Portsmouth and away at Everton. We’ll be at top spot at January 2nd.

  22. goalcentre.com

    25 December 2007 at 11:34

    Is it true Conor? But is can be clearly seen that he cant kick with his left! πŸ™‚ Ronaldo reminds me of Ryan Giggs when he was young but the diff is that Ronaldo has a better all round game compared to Giggs when he was young.

  23. Faizan

    25 December 2007 at 11:50

    PIG can’t kick with BOTH his feet. I have never seen a keeper with such awful ball skills.

  24. JB

    25 December 2007 at 13:45

    Faizan: I’ll see you PIG and raise you a Bosnich πŸ™‚

  25. Conor

    25 December 2007 at 14:07

    Haha well said JB.
    Yeah he really just can’t kick, even his goal kicks are pretty awful, but luckily since we don’t have a target man to aim our goal kicks to anyways it isn’t as big a problem to us as it would be to other teams like Chelsea with Drogba. VDS doesn’t get praised enough about his ability on the ball when under pressure, definitely the most composed keeper in the league when being pressurized. And I agree Tomas, if Arsenal beat both Everton and Portsmouth away then I will start to believe they can actually win the league, although to tell yu the truth Portsmouth have a bad record against Arsenal(compared to their very good record against us) and they’re on a bad run of form, especially at home, so I’m really just hoping Everton take at least a point of Arsenal.

  26. James_Greece

    25 December 2007 at 16:26

    First of all we must ensure that we win our two games, away at Sunderland and West Ham. It won’t be long before Arsenal start dropping points. It’s just a matter of them losing one match. The important thing for us is to keep winning ours.

  27. goalcentre.com

    25 December 2007 at 17:56

    Yeah our next two games is very very important. If we can get 6 points from that 2 games, we will be in the driving seat. Keep our fingers crossed that Arsenal will drop some points again like their pass few matches. We still have Arsenal and Liverpool at Old Trafford and Chelsea Away. If i am not mistaken, Arsenal only have Liverpool at home. So from that, i see we have a slight advantage over Arsenal but many things can happen in 18 games! Glory Glory Man Utd! Yeah, dont forget the Turkey on Christmas day. Ho Ho Ho…

  28. Abu

    26 December 2007 at 01:03

    Yeah if we preform well the rest of the season, it shouldn’t matter how the rest perform AND as always this is our time. The second half of the season has always been ours best time in the league.

  29. goalcentre.com

    26 December 2007 at 03:36

    Last season we started better. Did not loose a match in the first 13 matches. Our start this year was somewhat poor. Drew with Portsmouth and lost to Manchester City. So hope our early jitters is a good omen for this season. πŸ™‚

  30. Conor

    26 December 2007 at 12:42

    goalcentre if you think about it, losing against Man City at the city of Manchester will be a fate most of the top teams will suffer, coupled with the fact that it’s a derby, the loss to Man City wasn’t a particularly poor result.Also since Portsmouth improved greatly this season, and they’re always hard to beat at home, and they have the indian sign over us, I don’t look at that as a poor result. Never minding the injuries we had. And to tell you the truth Abu quite alot of the top teams normally have a good finish to their season, Arsenal do, chelsea also do to a lesser extent, and Liverpool finish the best, in the last few seasons under Benitez, due to his rotation policy.

  31. JB

    26 December 2007 at 15:15

    Team News:

    GK: PIG

    RB: Brown
    CB: Ferdinand
    CB: Vidic
    LB: O’Shea

    RM: Ronaldo
    CM: Fletcher
    CM: Carrick
    LM: Nani

    CF: Rooney
    CF: Saha

    Subs: Heaton, Evra, Park, Pique, Tevez

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