The Tactics Board – Squeaky Bum Time or Creaky Back Line?

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Manchester United faced an Everton squad hoping to put the disappointing loss against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final behind them. David Moyes’ squad came out and played attacking football, pressing United up high and using the aerial abilities of Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini to boss a lax United defense in the box. United’s attack was great, with excellent pace and movement off the ball, but the defense did not play with the same spirit. Rafael and Nani were caught out several times on defense, and this combined with an aggressive attacking strategy by Everton to possibly spoil United’s plans for a 20th league championship.

Manchester United vs. Everton

Old Trafford – April 22nd 2012

Starting Formations-

Manchester United-
Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad came out in a 4-4-1-1, with only one change on the pitch from the squad that beat Aston Villa 7 days earlier. The back line stayed the same, with De Gea in goal, and Rafael and Patrice Evra at right-back and left-back respectively. The solid center-back pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans got the nod again. In midfield, the right-wing was filled by Antonio Valencia again as he continues the strong form he’s had since returning from an ankle injury. In the middle of the pitch, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes took up their positions deep. On the left wing, after scoring the 4th goal in stoppage time against Aston Villa, Nani got the start ahead of Ashley Young. Up front, Danny Welbeck got the start again while Wayne Rooney started just behind him in a supporting role.

Everton-
Leighton Baines wasn’t available for the game, forcing David Moyes to make some adjustments to replace one of Everton’s more potent attacking threats. Moyes squad came out in a very narrow 4-4-1-1, but when on defense their shape looked more like a 4-1-4-1 with Phil Neville dropping back to fill the gap between the lines.

Tim Howard got the start in goal, while Tony Hibbard got the start again at right-back. Starting at center-back was Johnny Heitinga and Phil Jagielka, while Sylvain Distin moved from center-back to start at left-back. Leon Osman started on the right wing, while Steven Pienaar started on the left wing. In the central midfield, Phil Neville started as the deep holding midfielder, supported by former Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson. Nikica Jelavic started up front, having scored 8 goals in 12 appearances since his arrival in January from Rangers. Supporting Jelavic, Marouane Fellaini started as the attacking midfielder and target man.

Starting Formation

Key Points-

  • Everton plays aggressive from the start, pressing high up the field and bossing United in the midfield.
  • Everton and United both struggle on defense.
  • United’s front 4 played with pace and fluid movement on the attack.
  • Fellaini- Man of the Match as United have no answer for the 6’4” Belgian
  • Both United fullbacks struggle on defense
  • Nani and Rooney exploit gaps between Everton’s lines
  • Toffees dominate the air, winning 18 of 25 aerial duels.

Kick-Off-

Everton’s attacking strategy-

Unlike most clubs who visit Old Trafford, Everton came out intending to attack instead of just sitting back and hoping that their defense could outlast United’s attack. With the ball, Everton played a hybrid 4-4-1-1 with both Darron Gibson and Phil Neville playing as deep lying central midfielders. Neville sat deep all game, never moving up the field to get involved in the attack. With Gibson and Neville both sitting deep, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar both played very narrow on the wings as they spent most of their times attacking in the middle of the field.

Passes to Fellaini

Osman and Pienaar supported Everton’s attacks in the middle, but they didn’t have an effect on the game until later in the second half. The main thrust of Everton’s attacks came through Marouane Fellaini. He played up front, supporting Nikica Jelavic, and acting as a target man for Everton’s vertical attacks. Everton’s attack was very direct, but they weren’t just bombing it up the field for Jelavic and Fellaini to track down. Fellaini was able to use his strength, and aerial abilities, to trouble United all day as he was marked by Michael Carrick in the first half, and Rio Ferdinand in the second half. Both players struggled against him, as he ended the game winning 7 of 8 aerial duels.

United start slow

Everton started the game pressing high up the field on defense. Jelavic and Fellaini were both working hard on defense, pressing United’s back line with the ball to try and force a mistake. To go with the pressure on United’s back line, Everton made a point of shutting down Scholes and Carrick with the ball, not giving them the time to pick out their long passes. Gibson worked hard to shut down Scholes and make sure that he never had space to operate with the ball. Carrick was initially pressured by Neville, and this pressure in the midfield disrupted United’s attack and they were never able to get comfortable with the ball.

 

After 30 minutes, Everton seemed to relax their pressing defense as Fellaini dropped into the midfield on defense instead of pressuring United’s back line. The Toffees seemed to determine that Scholes was the key to United’s attack, and Fellaini worked with Gibson to trap and pressure Scholes. With Everton shutting down Scholes in the midfield, it was left to Carrick to play the longer passes out to the wing to start United’s attacks. In the 38th minute, Carrick played a great long pass over Everton’s defense to Danny Welbeck but Tim Howard broke it up just before Welbeck could get to it.

Carrick lobbed pass

As the game went along, Neville’s defensive efforts in the middle of the pitch became less effective. Phil Neville was marking Michael Carrick, which opened up a gap between Everton’s lines for Wayne Rooney to operate in. Neither Everton center-backs were willing to step out and mark Rooney in the first half, which gave Rooney room to operate at the top of the penalty box. Unfortunately, United’s opportunities were limited in the first half with the Red Devils slow start.

Everton exploit suspect defending

With 30 minutes of the game past, neither side’s attacks looked dangerous, but this changed when Everton were able to seize the first goal of the day. Both United fullbacks made forward runs to support United’s attacks during the entire game, but their forward runs left gaps at the back for Everton to exploit. The Red Devils really struggled on the left side, with Nani starting in place of Ashley Young. Both Nani and Young are dangerous attacking wingers, but Ashley Young works equally hard tracking back on defense to support Patrice Evra while Nani isn’t known for his defensive effort. The French left back missed Young’s work rate, as Osman tended to play narrow on United’s left side which left them vulnerable to overlapping runs by Hibbard. Plays like this lead to 2 Everton goals.

In the 32nd minute, Patrice Evra was dragged out of position marking Leon Osman. With Evra in the middle of the pitch, Pienaar played the ball to Gibson who passed it out wide to Tony Hibbard on the right side. Nani was slow to shut him down, giving Hibbard the time to put a lofted cross towards the far post, where Nikica Jelavic was able to get space from Rafael. Jelavic headed the ball up over De Gea and into the net from a very narrow angle.

United go on the offensive

After Everton took the lead, their defensive pressure seemed to ease with Fellaini dropping into midfield on defense and Carrick getting more space to operate. Carrick was able to control possession for United, and play the ball out wide. Valencia has been the catalyst of most of United’s attacks recently, but Nani was very effective on the attack. Everton struggled to deal with his pace and movement off the ball, as Nani worked between Everton’s lines often popping up on the right side of the field in space. Everton’s right-back, Tony Hibbard, struggled all game to deal with Nani’s pace, so Everton often had 2 players covering Nani on the ball, but instead of trying to pin him in with both players, one would drop behind the other as cover. This worked to prevent Nani from taking on Hibbard, but it left him with room to put crosses into the box.

In the 40th minute, after United were able to control possession they played it out wide left to Nani. Hibbard was hesitant to step out and challenge him, with Pienaar dropping behind the right-back as cover. Nani used the space to get the ball on his right foot, and put an in-curling cross into the box. The cross went just over Phil Neville to a waiting Wayne Rooney inside the 6 yard box. The former Everton player was to nod the ball into the net, and tie the game up.

Manchester United came out for the second half with the same strong attack that they ended the first half with. Nani was very effective, operating out on the left side while also making runs between Everton’s lines to create good opportunities. On the right side, Antonio Valencia didn’t play as far forward as he has lately. Everton played center-back Sylvain Distin out at left-back and he did a good job at keeping the Ecuadorian quiet through most of the game, a feat that not many other left-backs have been able to do lately.

With Everton focusing on shutting down Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney worked with Michael Carrick to move the ball around and control possession. Rooney was able to use the space at the top of the penalty arc to move the ball out wide to Valencia and Nani. In the final third of the pitch, Rooney completed 75% of his passes. His work at spreading the play was important to counter the pressure Everton put on Scholes.

Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck have developed a potent attacking partnership this season, with Rooney sitting deeper and feeding balls into Welbeck as he makes cutting runs through opposing defenses. They link their play together well, and they accounted for 3 of United’s 4 goals.

In the 56th minute, United was able to take the lead. After a long string of passes by the Red Devils, Nani tried to chip a ball into the center of the box for a waiting Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes. Darron Gibson deflected the ball up into the air, and Nani was able to win an aerial duel with Phil Neville. Welbeck collects the knock-down at the top of the penalty arc. He feigns a shot to open up Heitinga, and then he curls a shot into the upper right corner of the net past Tim Howard.

Defensive Failings-

Distin's defensive work upfield on left

Manchester United had a 2-1 lead, with both sides looking shaky on defense but United appearing to be the better attacking side. Everton started to drop back deeper on defense, and United started to press the advantage. 4 minutes after Welbeck’s goal, United went after another. Nani worked between Everton’s lines, popping up on the right-side. Distin was marking Valencia up the pitch, which opened a space on for Nani to play in. Nani passed the ball back to Michael Carrick. Carrick passed the ball into the box for Welbeck, who flicked it into the box for a clean run by Nani. Nani took a first touch then chipped it over an on-rushing Tim Howard to give United a 3-1 lead.

With their second goal in 5 minutes, and their third goal of the game, United’s attack came alive as Everton was put on their back foot. Everton struggled to deal with the movement of United’s front 4, as Nani and Welbeck were consistently getting into dangerous areas behind Everton’s defense. United’s attack looked strong, but the strong attack was masking the problems at the back and soon Everton was able to expose them.

In the 66th minute, Everton got their second goal of the game and it was very similar to their first goal. The chance came from some lax defending by Nani and Patrice Evra on United’s left side. Evra was drawn towards the middle of the pitch again by Everton’s left-winger. The ball was played out wide to Hibbard on an overlapping run. Nani was slow to close him down again, and Hibbard chipped in a lazy cross that met an unmarked Fellaini in the box. Fellaini was able to take a simple volley to get Everton their second goal.

The Red Devils came back within 2 minutes of Everton and were able to get their 4th goal of the game due to the great linking play by Rooney and Welbeck. United went forward on the counter-attack, with Rooney and Welbeck playing two wall passes with each other as they split Everton’s center-backs easily and Rooney got his second goal of the game.

United with a 4-2 lead, what happened?

The Red Devils attack flourished as they carved apart Everton’s defense, but it couldn’t hide United’s own problems at the back.

With a 4-2 lead, and only 10 minutes remaining, United continued to come forward on the attack. They had a chance to put in a fifth goal, when Valencia played a cross into the box that Nani flicked on for Evra. Evra took a diving header, but it bounced off the post.

At this point in the game, would it have better for United to take off a striker and bring on an extra midfielder? Maybe a physical presence in the middle of the pitch who could challenge Fellaini? Unfortunately, the change didn’t come and with less than 10 minutes left in the game, Everton may have changed who wins the league this year.

United struggled with Fellaini’s strength all game. Fellaini was able to physically control and boss around the center on Everton’s attack. Fellaini often operated in the gap between United’s midfielders and the center-backs. He won all but 1 of his aerial duels, which gave plenty of knock-down opportunities for Jelavic.

Everton’s third goal of the came from just one opportunity, using Fellaini’s strength to out muscle United’s defense and opening a chance for Jelavic to finish. Phil Neville chipped a ball forward into the box and Fellaini was able to win the ball in the air versus Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans. Nikica Jelavic recovered the rebound and half-volleyed the ball past United’s Spanish goalkeeper.

As the second half went along, Steven Pienaar started to have more of an effect on Everton’s attack. He supplied the creative force for Everton’s attack, while Fellaini provided the strength to muscle United in the center of the pitch. Rafael was responsible for closing down Pienaar, but he was frequently caught out of position as he pressed too far up the field on the attack, and this open a gap that Everton exploited. Jelavic often operated on the left side of United’s box, taking advantage of some lax defending by the Brazilian.

The fourth goal of the game was a perfect example of all that went wrong at the back for United. Pienaar played the ball into the box for Fellaini, while the player on-loan from Tottenham continued his run into the box. As Pienaar continued his run, Rafael lost track of him and left the South African all alone for Fellaini to pass back to. Pienaar got the ball and knocked it over De Gea.

After Everton tied the game up, Phil Jones was brought on for Paul Scholes. It was a questionable change, as it would have made sense 5 minutes earlier when United were trying to defend their lead and shut down Everton’s Belgian midfielder who demolished United’s defense. With United now chasing a goal, taking off Scholes for Jones didn’t make much sense. With 5 minutes of extra time, United worked hard to try and snatch a last minute goal but Everton was able to hold on and secure the point.

Aftermath-

Everton played a great game, with Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic both having exceptional games. David Moyes came into Old Trafford, and played strong attacking football to challenge a United side that has had weak moments in defense this year. Even without Leighton Baines, Everton was able to mount effective attacks that caused problems for United’s back line all games long. United didn’t have an answer to Fellaini’s strength and power, and both United fullbacks had defensive issues.

United-Left | Everton-Right

On the attack, United looked good. They attacked with great width, and were able to threaten Everton’s defense from all directions. Everton tried to shutdown Paul Scholes, but Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney did a good job at filling in for him. Nani’s movement caused problems for Everton all game. They were never able to shut him down, and he popped up all over the pitch on the attack and wreaked havoc with Everton’s defense.

The defensive failures ended up costing Manchester United 2 valuable points, and possibly the title. Manchester United’s attack looked as potent as it has all season. This performance on offense was reminiscent of the United attack that took apart Arsenal at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, the defense was also reminiscent of the United defense early in the season that was beat 6-1 by City. Can Sir Alex Ferguson get the squad sorted in 7 days to ensure that United’s defense will be able to deal with a potent City attack?

By RangeRooney


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135 Comments

  1. Barca starting with only two defenders, and 5 strikers/wingers….. That’s probably the most attacking line-up that has ever started a CL semi-final.

    I’m perfectly neutral today, just hope we’re not talking about the referee afterwards. Whoever goes through should be the team that actually deserves it on the night, at least that’s what I hope. Just make it a good game lads!!

    • @RedDevilEddy: Agreed, I am no fan of either side but I hope the referee plays it straight and we are not talking about another farce. It does supriseme that a Turk is in charge, surley they would have gone with an Italain who has officated in one of Europes top leagues.

  2. UEFAlona.

    LET’S GO CHELSEA. WHAT A GOAL FROM RAMIRES. Let’s dance to the samba beat! 😈

  3. Since Terry wont be in a possible Final, I am now hoping that Chelsea survive next 45 minute’s of pure attacking madness from Barca…

    Massacre???

    Hate Terry, Love United 😀

  4. I can’t believe they got to the Final. Mourinho’s inter tactics with Mourinho’s Chelsea squad… love Football!!

    Now Chelsea will surely get creamed by Munich or Ronaldo…

    United or not, this was amazingly lucky from Chelsea… and Terry will miss it 🙂 So will Ivanovic and Ramires… Definitely deserved to go through.

    From 3-1 at Napoli to 2-2 at Nou Camp and in the final…

    • @Opti: I don’t think this has anything to do with Chelsea luck. Barca have only themselves to blame for all their missed chances. These recent games against Chelsea and RM have exposed some dents in the Barca’s shiny armor. They lack clinical finisher (despite all the goals that Messi scored) and they don’t have Plan B like parking the bus and playing on fast counters.

        • @Opti: Another observation is how disappointing Fabregas was this season. He seems to have regressed since joining Barcelona. At times he looked completely lost trying to fit into Xavi-Iniesta-Messi triangle. This is another indication of how rigid and inflexible their system is.

  5. That was possibly the bravest (and perhaps luckiest) I have ever seen from a football team. Chelsea have earned my lifelong respect tonight.

    • @Moscow: I agree. That was massive team performance. From Drogba defending for 60 minutes to Torres scoring… quite amazing. Now, I hope they lose to Bayern.

    • @Moscow: Well after certain John Terry was removed what was left on the field was fairly decent and likable team 🙂

      • @Andrei: Really? 😯 Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Drogba, Ivanovic, Mikel and Torres likeable? 😈 👿
        Funny how short peoples memories are…..

  6. Raul Meireles, Jon Obi Mikel, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires will miss the Final in Munich… pretty much the most annoying players Chelsea have (Meireles, Mikel, and Terry)… Laughing laughing laughing…

    If Chelsea win the Champions League, only top 3 in PL will quality for CL…

  7. Chelsea’s best defensive performance EVER coming in the same game as John Terry getting sent off for being a dumb fuck, when they are 1-0 down.

    Amazing

  8. Well, after the past 4 days I can finally lay my Barca hatred to a rest. I was obsessed with the idea of their destruction but the past 4 days have done just fine, now please return to the days of Rijkaard when I actually kinda liked you! 🙂

    I think Barcelona really need to return to their tried and trusted 4-3-3. The holy triumvirate of Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets in midfield with Pedro and Villa playing off Messi in a 3 pronged attack was the best functioning team I’ve seen for a while. Sanchez is great but lacks the effectiveness of Pedro who is very underrated in my opinion, they have really missed his consistency and ice-cold finishing. Fabregas is a great individual player but he is not somehow suited to Barca in my opinion despite everyone saying how he was born to play for them when he transferred from Arsenal. He would be absolutely brilliant for us, but no he’s disrupted the Barca line-up by shunting Iniesta out wide to the left. Iniesta should be playing centrally right next to Xavi, he’s the best attacking midfielder on the planet but relatively useless out wide.

    • @Moscow: That is an interesting statement and I kinda agree. Feels like “Justice” has come and the world is Righteous again. Screw Chelsea as a club, but today it felt right. Finally, “The Best Team in the World”™ was brought down to Earth and now realizes that their behind Real Madrid in La Liga and out of ECL.

      Incident worth noting: Upon arrival to Nou Camp, Chelsea players wore suits and Barca players came in jogging pants #class

  9. I am absolutely ecstatic. This was a real testimony to the value of dogged defending and I hope that our players were taking notes.

    You can criticize Chelses for parking the bus. But against a team like Barcelona that is the only way you beat them. Really last summer we were suicidal playing an attacking minded 4-4-2.

    I am so proud of them.

  10. I don’t really want to talk about Barca, but today just proved what I’ve said for months. They have no fucking width, they have no reason to cross the ball, and they don’t get any results from it. They dived their way to a penalty and had a long-shot that hit the post, and scored 2 really soft goals. Let’s not forget that they were playing the 6th best side in England, Arsenal tore them open this weekend and they should have lost at home to Wigan 1 week before that. Barca may be the best footballing team in the world, but when it comes to diverstity they are very ordinary. They can’t change their game, this is the third time in just over a week they’ve been found out, Inter did it in the past and even Arsenal was just a wrong-sending off from completing the job last season. Let’s not forget United in 2008, when a United team led by man of the match Wes Brown stopped Barcelona from scoring in 180 minutes. We countered them to death, defended like beavers, and let them come to countless crosses. They suffered, got to a few long-shots and some headers but other than that it was nothing. And that’s how you stop Barca, it takes dedication and having to give up your pride, but it will give you the result you need.

    One thing I love about United this season is it’s diversity in attack, which is very much because of Danny Welbeck. We score goals playing through the middle, from wide areas, combination play, long shots and practically every type of goal you would want to see. It’s just our defence that is faltering, we’ve let in cheap goals throughout the season and it may cost us dearly. Up until March I had a big problem with defensive set-plays, we let in countless goals from corners/indirect free-kicks and the physical presence provided by other teams cost us dearly. Just look at the names of players that have cost us goals this season, we are talking Ba’s, Fellaini’s, Jelavic’, Crouch’s, Streller’s, Holt’s, Yakubu’s, Llorente’s, even Dzeko has 3 goals against us. We’ve got a defensive approach that lets other team come to crosses against us, but with Evans and Rio that’s not really worked. Both are brilliant at reading the game, but when it comes to winning a 50/50 ball they come out on the losing end too often from a United-defenders point of view. I’m really looking forward to getting Vidic back, with him in the team again I’m confident about our chances, both in the Premier League and in Europe!

    • @RedDevilEddy: We are going absolutely nowhere in Europe with the current 4-4-2 and Welbeck up top. We also struggle to create anything when teams deny us space and double up on our wingers. No Nemanja Vidic is going to change that until we change formation and sign 2-3 world class midfielders.

    • @RedDevilEddy: Barca are a wide-playing team. Constantly seeking Alves, Kwanker, Pedro, Villa, Sanchez as an outlet for the attack and then squaring the ball into center for Messi goals/chance/shot.

      Nou Camp’s pitch is built for this wide play and they were constantly utilizing it against Chelsea (with 83% possession!!! 😯 )

  11. @Moscow: I see your point, and I’ll raise you a “we’ll see what the future brings”! 😀

    Only God knows eh!? 😉

    By the way if you’ve paid attention to anything RangeRooney has written these past few months is that we’ve basically never played a 4-4-2. It’s more of a 4-2-3-1, or a 4-2-4, 4-5-1 call it whatever you want it! Positions don’t exist as much as before in modern football, roles have taken over and we see that with each day passing.

    • @RedDevilEddy: If we are playing with a 3 man midfield (which we are not), I don’t want Rooney to be a part of it. I refuse to accept him as a playmaker.

  12. Eddie not many teams are capable of defending like Chelsea (and before them Inter) did against Barcelona. We certainly are not!

    We beat them in 2008 because our defense at that time was at its peak and we had fullbacks who actually defended (Brown, Hargreaves and even Evra)even Evra back then). Plus Park was doing a good impression of a central midfielder in those days and Scholes was also very good in those games. We had a solid gameplan (I suspect Quieroz’s doing) and knew it was a marathon not a sprint and waited patiently.

    2009 we went into the game far too confident and tried to blitz them and when that didn’t work out and Et’oo scored we just rolled over. You know you sucked when Messi scores a header against you. But a midfield of Anderson and Carrick didn’t help our chances either.

    2011 we were woeful. Midfield incapable of keeping possession. Defenders getting pulled out of position. Fullbacks giving Villa and Pedro acres of space. Far too attacking formation with Hernandez and Giggs waste of space, Rooney in no-mans land and Carrick getting swamped at having to stop the deluge all by himself.

    In Europe you need a solid defence, abundant experience and mental strength, and workhorse midfielders. We lack all of those things at the moment and a few signings won’t really make a huge difference.

    We can beat Chelsea because we’ve got great pace in our team. But our pace is useless against Barcelona as we never get enough of the ball to get into full flow and with Barcelona bound to get lion’s share of possession being able to defend with discipline is way more important.

    Pace wins us the Premiership every time (almost). But if we want to win in Europe we need to add to that stamina, workrate, defensive discipline, conservative tactics, and mental strength.

  13. It does not feel right for me to say this but well done Chelsea.

    Superb performance for 10 men, not their er inspirational leader who was one of the biggest idiots in football.

    Great dogged determined defending from the underrated Ivanovic, Bosingwa and especially Ashley Cole who even at 2-1 down wasn’t giving up.

    Look they were lucky no doubt, but in football to win big trophies you need an element of luck. Drogba who I hate almost as much as Terry was immense, I will say when we did the same people were not eulogising our performance and one commenter actually sad he was cheering on Barca at the time.

    I said to my wife once Barca missed the penalty they simply ran out of ideas, this from the “greatest side ever” This tiki taka bullshit with no plan B is at best naive. There are times when you need a goal to need to sling in a cross looking for a big number 9. Yes it is basic but Chelsea were playing with 2 banks of 4 and that is very difficult to break down. Also is their squad that good? Not for me and thinking you can get away with Mascherano at centre half at this level is absurd.

    Well done Chelsea, but you were lucky.
    In the immortal words of the great philosopher Domonic Toretto:

    “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile; winning’s winning” 😉

    Now come on loose in the final!! 😆

    • @Stephen: I do not understand one thing. While JT’s red card was totally right (how stupid he is!!!) why wasnt Messi given a red himself for shoving a Chelsea player (or should I say hand-butting!).

      • @jos: Lampard and Fabregas both squared up to each other and could have been in trouble. Truthfully Terry should have seen red, Messi being sent off really? If so it would have been very soft in my opinion.

      • @jos: Couldnt have happened to a nicer guy. Hope the tosser is trudging up the steps in munich picking up another losers medal :mrgreen:
        I do think though, this rule of being suspended for a final when youve picked up a certain number of yellows is pathetic though. If you act the **** like terry then fair enough, but really is stupid when players like ramiers and meireles (bit of a **** too so maybe not so bad) miss out on one of the biggest games of their lives because they got booked for a little challenge.
        Those mugs at UEFA/FIFA should have got rid of that years ago, particularly after what happened to fletcher (albeit that was a red, but still pathetic).
        Just seems stupid that the best players will not be on show, potentially for real too if they make it as i think theres 3/4 of their players on yellows, because of getting a yellow card.

        • @tonymontanna4united: agree! Yellow card bans should not take effect in the final (move them to next year); however, red cards should ban someone for the final, UNLESS an independent commission finds the card invalid (read: Fletcher should have been in 2009 final).

    • @Stephen: I honestly didnt think chelski were lucky. I thought they looked solid and at were relatively untested first half except the goals, and 2nd half, well save for the penalty, really barca looked very one dimensional and out of ideas for the last 40 minutes when they realised tippy tappy wasnt working.
      So far from chelski being lucky or just about holding on, id say that was one of the most comfortable games anyone will ever have against barca. Because i honestly thought barca really didnt create all that much chance wise.

      • @tonymontanna4united: They were lucky simply becuase Messi missed a penalty which would have been game over.
        I know where you are coming from with regards to lots of possesion not enough cutting edge. But Xavi had a goal disallowed and Cech made a great save from Messi.
        Barca are the poor mans Arsenal! 😀 😆

        • @Stephen: I think Messi’s penalty would have been considered unlucky if Cech had saved that attempt but Messi actually totally missed that shot and hit the crossbar. I am sorry that is poor play than luck.

        • @RMJ: “totally missed that shot” and “hit the cross-bar” don’t really go together. Totally missing a penalty is Roberto Baggio’s domain of expertise 😀 😆

  14. I’ve said all season long: with Evans, Evra, Rafael et el at the back, Utd has virtually no chance. Proved right in Europe ( even in 2nd tier! ), FA Cup, Mickey Mouse Cup ( Scousers’ pride ), and now in the league. How can Utd concede 4 goals against a distinctly average and pedestrian Everton? As I said, with these players, everything is possible. And good old SAF: why didn’t he sub Welbeck, Nani and Scholes as soon as scored 4th goal? These 3 players have no defensive quality at all…Man City gave Utd a huge chance but the old man even can’t take that chance. Saw elsewhere Guardiola at OT next season? Hope Utd can strike gold at last.,.,

  15. I think the game yesterday proved two things to me.
    That a) barca are far from the “greatest team ever” that virtually everyone seems to bill them as (no plan b alternative for when tippy tappy doesnt work, especially against english sides, and a lack of class players on the bench).

    and that b) You need to get your tactics 1000% dead on if you want to beat such a side (and a degree of luck is needed too it has to be said). If you do that, even with a 6th placed, mediocre side at best, you can punch above your weight.
    Just again shows what an absolute joke it was the way we approached the game last may tactically and how weve ignored our lessons again going into this season.
    Really pissed me off actually the way so many people in the summer were saying there was no point trying as barca were just unbeatable. Bull shit, typical modern day thinking. Nobody is unbeatable, its just a case of getting your team well drilled on how the opposition works, defending as a unit, and breaking quickly when the opportunity presents itself. Yes you need a bit of luck too, but some will say you make your own luck at times like that.

    Anyway have to say, and i honestly never thought id say this, but chelski really were fantastic last night and quite rightly got what they deserved in the end. Barca got a footballing lesson really, that being that tippy tappy might look nice an all, but all the possession in the world means nothing when you cant put the ball in the back of the net.
    People can go on about anti football all they like, but to be fair to chelski, they had a game plan in mind from the start, stuck to it, remained patient, and always had ramires, cole (really was fantastic has to be said), drogba and mata getting forward adding width and counter attacking at speed, when the opportunities came up.
    (Against a side like barcelona, thats the only way you can approach them anyway).

    At the end of the day, their backline stood firm, and truthfully, i felt were relatively untroubled for much of the game save the goals.
    Barca looked confused, out of ideas and desperate 2nd half when they realised chelski werent just going there to be their bitches, but that they were going to stand firm and barca were going to have to do something special to get past them.
    The togetherness of chelski really was admirable, hell even drogba was dropping back to LB and doing his bit 😯
    They (again cant believe im saying this) looked like a really together side who, after ramires’ goal, looked like they believed they were gonna do it, even though there was still 40+ minutes to go.
    I never thought id have a chelski love in, and tbh all the praise is making me a bit sick now 😀 but again fair play to them, they were terrific.

    What this means for barca and their future, well i think im going to go short of claiming its an end of an era for them. They are still a terrific (if annoying) side full of great players.
    However, it does just reinforce my belief that barca, whilst a great side, are certainly not the “greatest ever” as others have claimed.
    They lack the plan b alternative needed against certain sides to break through. Especially sides who dont just come with their cameras round their sodding necks, like lost tourists, giving them time and space, admiring the view.
    Defending very narrow, giving the likes of alves and whoever their left sided player was, time and space on the wings, and defending as a unit, tight and compact, makes it very difficult for tippy tappy to work. Barca very rarely cross, or shoot from range, it all got a bit predictable really when they couldnt pass through them.
    In my mind they definitely need a proper striker. Someone who can be a focus, make life difficult for the opposition defenders, meaning more time and space for the likes of messi and sanchez.
    They also need to ditch this complicated shit of playing 3 at the back, and go back to a normal simple 4-3-3. Push iniesta back into midfield, get rid of alves (again another modern phenomenon, just because he spends most of his time in the opposition half hes supposedly world class) and teach the players who important it is to sometimes stay back, keep things simple and see out games, because barca really cant defend for shit (albeit most of the time its because they dont have to).

    But anyway enough of barca. Really cant stand the buggers. Just wanted to say fair play chelski, and far from getting carried away proclaiming barca are now shit, atleast last night did show the world that barca are beatable which can only be a good thing.
    (So long as you dont play 4-4-2 and giggs starts) 😆 😉

    • @tonymontanna4united: This Barca is not as good as the Milan side of the late 80’s.

      Galli
      Tassotti
      Baresi
      Costacurta
      Maldini

      Rijaard
      Ancelotti
      Donadoni
      Colombo

      Guilit
      Van Basten

      This is the greatest side ever.

      • @Stephen: Never got the chance to watch that team live, but from the bits ive seen that was some team.
        Im sure cryuff’s ajax “total football” side of the 70s would also have a case, aswell as the brazil 74 team (i think it was 74), the madrid team of the 60s (5 CL’s in about 6 years or something ridiculous like that), and whilst we’ll never know, potentially the busbys babes too.
        It just seems a typical modern day school of thought that football didnt exist before the 90s, and that football before then was all bad pitches and beer guzzling players who wouldnt have come close to todays teams/players.
        While there may be some truth in parts of that, id still say this barca side, whilst definitely in the top 6/7, are not anywhere near the greatest ever despite what every man and his dog in the world of football seem to think.

        • @tonymontanna4united: The squad is very thin for a start. Iniesta, Xavi and Messi are obviously incredible players and would grace any side. But Puyol, Keita, Cuenca, Busquets ( who is my pet hate) would barely get into our side. Our side side of 2008 was very underrated and the Liverpool side of 80’s (I hate to say this) were also incredible. There is a good argument that Messi is the greatest ever, for me Maradona still holds that mantel but he could get there. People always deal in the now, that Milan side had it all, steal goals and creativity.
          Barca ave no plan B, if you have a solid organised defence then last night that showed the weakness.

        • @Stephen: Barca do have plan B. They play Pique as striker when things are not going their way.

          In fact they have plan C (dive dive dive) too. 😛

      • @Stephen: I agree, that Milan team was the greatest side ever, rivalled only by Ajax in the 70s as Tony mentioned.

  16. Well thank the good Lord, because the fear of Chelsea winning the CL and PL only getting 3 other places in CL next year, will give the Geordie Newcastle team the kick up the arse to try and get the points they will need for top 3 finish when they take on the wastelanders. Because Sunderland will likely emulate Everton and give all out effort against us.

  17. With Barca’s fall from Graca what does it say about fan-darling Guardiola???

    Is he really a genius? Or did he just inherit a side of abundant quality and matching tactics??
    Was Ibrahimovic the puzzle-piece they were missing last night?

    Is Guardiola + OGS still a mouth-drooling as it was one month ago??

    • @Opti: No they missed David Villa – with him on the pitch the tie would have been over after the first leg at Stamford Bridge. Though when Villa was fit Guardiolla in his tactical ineptitude played Villa as a winger to give more scoring opportunities to Messi.

    • @Opti: Iniesta is for me their most important player. The one time he was injured at this stage of the Champions League for Guardiola’s team they were knocked out by Inter. The inclusion of Fabregas means Iniesta is shifted to the left, still a formidable player but never the game changer that he is in the middle of the park. Nothing on this planet beats his killer pass.

      • @Moscow: On the top of that he is a clinical finisher unlike Messi or Xavi. He scored yesterday and he buried Chelsea in 2009. But they still missed a target man like Villa. Xavi/Iniesta-Villa is a killer combination as Spanish national team demonstrated on countless occasions.

        • @Andrei: I hate how every time we were linked with signing him Valencia wanted £50 million, yet Barca come knocking and get him for a cut price. Do teams charge a United premium when they sell to us? The question is now defunct anyway because we are too cowardly to sign world class players anymore.

    • @Opti: Is Mourinho? Is he still so special?
      I would love the Ole Guardiola combo, but truthfully I really don’t want the Fergie legacy to end. But it will one day, I hope it is on a high and not like Clough.

      • @Stephen: Mourinho has now won league titles in England, Spain, Italy and Portugal, doing the treble twice with Porto and Inter. He has equalled Fergie’s European trophy haul in less than half the time despite not enjoying the stability that a long reign brings.

        Please excuse him for being unable to knock out Bayern on penalties, Jose didn’t miss Ramos’ penalty and last time I don’t think Fergie did a great job against them either. I guess success and charisma bring both admirers and resenters…

        • @Moscow: We all know you are his biggest fan mate, I will feel for you if and when he takes over at City.

        • @Stephen: I couldn’t care less if he joined City. The question is, would you support Mourinho if he succeeded Ferguson?

        • @Moscow: No I despise the little twerp. You can’t change my views of hoe I feel about the man and you totally hero worship him. That is up to you, but you almost post daily about him, which is getting very tedious, sorry.

  18. So far Real vs Bayern game looks a lot like United vs Bayern at OT in 2010. Real dominated in the early stages and went ahead. After that Bayern worked they way back into the game and pulled one back. If everything goes according to the script Pepe will get sent off in the second half and Robben will score the second goal that sends Bayern into the CL final.

  19. is higuain going to be a red next summer? why isnt he playing in this game

      • @Opti: You would prefer Demba Ba to Gonzalo Higuain? 😯

        Higuain is only 24, that’s at least 6 years of quality strike force. Thankfully for Welbeck, our cowardly transfer policy does not sign players of that calibre, so his mediocrity can be tolerated for as long as the Glazer regime lasts.

      • @Opti: @Opti: Too old? You are joking ya? Demba ba- no way! We are man united not newcastle united and higuain is the quality we are looking for not ba!

        • @ash is the man:

          Reason against Higuain:
          he is short, like Rooney and Chicharito

          Reason for Dembda:
          he is tall and strong: like no one we have.

          Adding dimensions, I cannot see what Higuain can offer, except for a player who is 90% as good and similar as Rooney and possible costs less than 35 million.

  20. I see Mancini is at it again, After firing up Everton by saying they will lie down at OT, he is now on about Swansea being a very easy game for United – he is so obvious isn’t he, yet it seems to be working. Swansea manager saying he is going to come up here all guns blazing. Fergie is extremely quiet these days – don’t know what his absence of mind games are saying about Sir Ferg!

    • @Craig Mc: Fergie is roaming RedRants and RoM for ideas on tactics and transfers…

      If we manage to stay 3+ pts ahead of City after Monday, I want to pillage and plunder our way to #20 with convincing wins against Swansea and Sunderland — when the end is good…

  21. I want us to tear City a new one, yet I’ve kinda still wanted this opportunity to win it at their place…

    So lads, what would you prefer? A convincing win, totally dominating City with goals flying past them, or a last-minute winner? I’ll go for the latter one, it’s more “Typical United” fashion.

    • @RedDevilEddy: We should play 4-5-1 and flood the midfield, defend deep and compact (I’m looking at you Evra). Spring counter-attacks where we switch to 4-3-3, Nani, Rooney and Valencia absolutely tearing it up the pitch.

      The thing is we don’t have a midfield 😯 The only idea I have is play Cleverley in midfield to create space for Carrick and Scholes rhythm passing. I actually think we’re going to lose quite badly simply because Yaya Toure and David Silva are starting together.

      There’s always Newcastle 8)

      • @Moscow: No not for me mate.
        We all know the shortfalls of the good old 4-4-2, but really i think its the basic fundementals we get wrong (ie being able to keep and pass the ball, positioning etc) so really i dont think it matters whether we go with the standard 2 man, or swamp the midfield with 3, 5, or bloody 7 men, its still going to be the same end result (ie sloppy in possession, unable to get a hold of the game).
        We know that everything comes from the wings, and that rooney prefers playing off someone, and has become unable to play up on his own anymore.
        So i say we go as we went vs everton. Let welbeck and rooney start together again after their impressive performance last week, same midfield with tony and nani on the wings, and get mike phelan to get his kit on and fill in at LB (im really not kidding).
        Then we’ll see how it goes. But i wouldnt like to see us changing it tbh. We all know 4-4-2 doesnt work and needs to be changed, but thats something that needs to happen only when weve brought in another midfielder or 2.
        If the current situation is just going to be giggs added to a midfield 3, then tbh id rather just go with a 4-4-2.
        Least that way we’ll stand a chance of scoring.
        We do only need a draw at the end of the day, but honestly i dont see this defence holding out for a clean sheet, which means we have to score. And the only system that we seem to be able to play well and thus score from, is the 4-4-2.

        • @tonymontanna4united: United’s tradition has always been with to play with wingers. I can understand where Moscow is coming from, a 3 man midfield would be more European.
          The issue with us is that we are not a tactical side, we don’t tippy tap, we are more of a force of nature. I see our shortfalls, but also have a romantic view that it is just United. 😀

  22. Personally I think in Europe (keeping in mind our desire to be a strong contender for the Premier League each season) our best approach is this:

    Approach A: A 4-4-2 with two mobile defensively strong central midfielders whose job is to shield the defence and then shift things out wide. Basically the modern day reincarnation of Keane and Ince. Carrick sits out because for all his class he tends to sit back too much which gives continental teams the time and space to cause problems.

    Problem with this approach is that we’d basically need to sign two players or alternatively fast track Pogba (but the guy doesn’t seem especially mature and experience is key in Europe). Javi Martinez and Chiek Tiote would do nicely

    This approach would allow us to play two strikers (and that is the area of the team where we have most quality). You sacrifice some creativity in the middle of the park but with Welbeck and Rooney upfront you have your creativity there.

    The other approach is to sign someone like Modric and load the midfield with Carrick Modric and Pogba. It is probably the simplest approach and might even be the most effective approach. These guys would keep possession well and find our other attacking players. Only risk is that we’d probably still have the same problem of getting pressed to death by energetic teams like Barca or Bilbao and with only a lone striker goals may be hard to come by

    • @colver: I watched Bilbao yesterday playing a 4-3-3 and they were absolutely rampant, moving and interchanging passing quickly and accurately, playing directly towards one dominant target man. It was quite simply orgasmic, no wonder they blew us away. With the right players, the 4-3-3 rules all.

      A 4-4-2 is now extinct in Europe, and I will go as far to say no team will ever win another European Cup (including Euros) playing it. We will be humiliated in Europe unless we change formation and sign 2-3 world class midfielders. If Rooney can’t be returned to his lone striker role of 09/10. then sell him and buy a target man.

  23. I want Guardiola as Fergie’s assistant. He’s a tactical genious, reminds me very much of Queiroz, only that this guy has got a special relationship with players. He wants them to be nice, dedicated, not too big-headed, and looking at the current United squad I think he would settle in nicely. We don’t have a Ronaldo/Zlatan-esque personality in the dressing room these days and I think he’d settle well with that. United philosophy of playing could teach him a few things as well, so give him two or three years under Fergie then let him take over if he likes what he sees.

    • @RedDevilEddy: Guardiola would take one look at this side and say, ‘No thanks’. Our philosophy hasn’t exactly worked wonders this season or the last. It is also worth noting that Guardiola also likes to spend some money, and that’s not going to happen here. Switching from Iniesta to Anderson, Messi to Rooney, David Villa to Welbeck won’t exactly be his cup of tea either.

      I’d go with either Moyes if the Glazers are planning on staying past Fergie’s reign, or Mourinho if they’re not. Either way, only Fergie can work miracles with this squad of players and even he is running out of new tricks.

    • @RedDevilEddy: I am a big fan of Guardiola but my only concern about him is if he struggles under pressure and stress, how is he going to cope succeeding Fergie? They are very big shoes to fill and he also would not have Xavi, Iniesta and Messi to call upon.

      • @Stephen: Yeah, tbh ive found his decision to step down a bit cowardly. Its been a tough season for barca, they may well end up trophyless, alot of people questioning them and their direction long term, and guardiolas answer is to step down and walk away.
        Surely he should be looking at this as a challenge and relishing it, like fergie or wenger do (or used to do in wengers case).
        I dont know. I dont think i ever really considered him for the united job as i think hes always looked like he wouldnt fit at this club, but tbh it just enforces my view that pep would be a bad choice here, as a manager anyway.
        Anyone whose gonna take over from fergie is going to need that mental toughness. The pressure is going to be huge, theres always going to be people questioning whether hes up to it, whether he can do this or that, the ability to rebuild teams etc.
        So peps decision to walk away the minute things got a bit tough at barca, really does make me question him. Not denying hes a great great coach, his record speaks for itself, but why do i get the feeling he’s only ever gonna be able to work his magic at barca, unable to do the business anywhere else.
        Maybe im talking shite, but thats the opinion i get of him.
        As a manager anyway, id take him as a coach/assistant any day of the week.
        Maybe if that was to happen and he got to work under fergie for a few years that situation might well change.
        But as i say hes never really featured very high on my list of possible successors.
        Only one man in my opinion would not let the job faze him and i think we all know who that is, controversial as he is as. Only others who come close in my mind are blanc and the german manager, maybe ole too (although that might be my heart ruling my head as right now hes done very little to deserve to be in the running managerial wise).

        • @tonymontanna4united: It would be interesting to see how Guardiola does at another club, with a different set of players. Rijkaard struggled at every other club he managed, would he do the same? I think he is an exceptional coach, who gets the best out of very talented players but could he do the same with someone like Darren Fletcher?
          For me the real test for managers is rebuilding sides, Fergie has consistently re-build numerous championship winning teams. Managers these days seem to either get the sack, or move on to other clubs. This does bring me back to the simple fact there is no loyalty in football.

        • @Stephen: great comment!!! 😀 Agree 100%. Cannot claim to be the best if you just inherit a great side.

          Seriously, if I became manager of Barca tomorrow, I am pretty sure I could get one trophy in the first year. 5 years down the line, probably destroy the club with my lack of managerial skills 8) But lesson remains: leaving the job after being successful leaves all the cleaning and mopping to the next manager. Blau/Grana moon is setting, methinks.

  24. Shinji Kagawa being reported as a done deal for £12mil. Add that to Nicolás Gaitán at £25mil + Macheda + Fabio loan and Hazard £28mil and we’re due for either quite the summer, or quite the disappointment!

    Is this finally the year we’ll get a complete midfield overhaul we’ve needed since that first Barcelona Champions League loss?

    • @Traverse: I hope not. Kagawa i wouldnt mind, but the other 2 just dont do it for me. In any case its bloody CM’s we should be looking at and splashing £25/30m on first and foremost not bloody wingers.
      The likes of sahin, martinez (and indeed half the bilbao team), khediera etc should be first on our lists aswell as a LB.
      Then if were gonna go for a more attacking/creative midfielder then so be it, but the money well is rather dry so prioritising what goes on who is a must and i dont think anyone can deny its CM and LB we are so desperately in need of filling first.

    • @Traverse: 12 million seems cheap. Is Park then leaving???

      Eden Hazard is interesting, but not a big fan of Gaitan. Also, don’t see how United will improve without proper reinforcements in CENTER midfield.

      United are building a vast attacking team with a strong defensive shield; however, we still lack a couple players who can link the two… that is, we need midfielders with vision, passing range, and composure…

      I don’t get it. Sahin should be easy target. Khedira too.

      • @Opti: I think Gaitan/Hazard are being looked at as central players. Maybe in a 3. We still don’t know if Scholes is playing on next season. My bet is he wont be. Maybe we’ll shift to a 3 in midfield and 3 up top, and thats why we’re letting Berbatov, Owen and Macheda go without talk of replacements. 3 strikers for 1 position is enough. I still think we’ll pick up Raul or Del Piero on a free cause Fergie loves them. Hell, if we aren’t going 433 and play 2 strikers constantly I wouldn’t rule them both out.

  25. I’d personally be everyone’s sex-slave for 5 minutes if we sign Götze this summer, I love him and his football is art. Potential to be the best in the World, and although I can’t see him leaving Dortmund he simply is marvellous. PleasePleasePrettyFuckingPlease!

    😳

  26. Hazard and Kagawa would be great, but let’s please stay away from Gaitan. He is overrated and expensive to boot, I would honestly prefer Ashley Young to him.

    We need a midfield maestro 👿

  27. Dream signing: Götze

    These would be absolutely awesome to aquire as well: Llorente, Javi Martinez, and some random, yet amazing left-back. Sign me up if needed, I’m cheap! 😆

    • @RedDevilEddy: Guardiola inherits Messi, Xavi and Iniesta. Wins trophies until the philosophy he copied from Cruyff is found out. Then he has a hissy fit at the press and resigns, refusing to deal with the new challenges at the club. Awwww too much pressure getting to Guardiola, I mean he must be the only person in football having to deal with pressure right? All Hail Pep.

      Mourinho wins league titles in England, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Does the treble twice. The only manager other than Fergie to win back to back Premier League titles. His Real Madrid side break scoring records. Big bad Mourinho, pioneer of negative football and sore loser rants. Like Fergie never has a word to say about officials eh?

      Mourinho is on course to be the most successful manager ever, he deserves more respect than is being afforded here. What is worse is that some people even seem to actually hate him. I wonder if their unwavering United support would continue if Fergie announces him as his successor?

      • @Moscow: Hey, I’ve got nothing against your wife maaan! It’s just that Jose were with Chelsea before, made them the ultimate “hated” team for me, and I hated him for his success back then. Now, I’ve not got much against him. From what I understood both JT and Drogba were massive dickheads before they even met Jose, and up until recently I gave him some of the blame for them being so bad. Now? He’s just Jose to me. If he takes over, fine, if he goes to City, fine. At least his press conferences will be worth watching, Mancini bores the fuck out of me.

        • @RedDevilEddy: Fair game, I don’t expect anyone on here to worship him. I won’t mention his name again until he signs for us.

      • @Moscow: Mourinho has GREAT stats as a manager, BUT has Mourinho EVER built up a team after winning every/any-thing???? He is just a buy-buy-buy kinda manager.

        Porto in Portugal — easy.
        Chelsea+300 million — easy
        title-winning Inter + decimated Serie A — easy
        Real Madrid + Kaka + Ronaldo+unlimited money + 2-team la liga — easy.

        How will Mourinho act under adversity.. no one knows.

        THAT is why I do not want him (without Ole Gunnar Solkjær)…

  28. Just some stats about Danny Welbeck so far this season.

    He’s got 13 goals in 39 appearences, making it exactly a goal every third game.

    Of those 39 appearences, he’s got 27 starts. 12 have come from the bench.

    Only 1 of his 13 goals has come as a substitute.

    He has started 5 of his games as a winger, along with 4 as the lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation. United have won none of the games he’s lined up like that, with 3 draws and 1 loss.

    As well as having 13 goals, he has 6 assists to his name, as well as having won United 3 penalties this season.

    • @RedDevilEddy: I wouldn’t say those stats are that impressive mate. I will say in the last 2 games he has been very good. He needs to take more of the chances he gets and work on his balance as he does look like Bambi on iceskates.

      • @Stephen: I don’t think they’re impressive either. Comparing them to other strikers at United, in the past, they are pretty weak. But he’s young, very young, it’s amazing really. When the likes of Shearer, Cole, even Rooney were 21, they struggled to get past 15 goals! I’ve always said striker is a position were you need to have gotten some experience before you truly revel, because finishing is more about composure than talent when you’re playing at the highest level. You see how Torres, Villa, Gomez, Ruud, even Messi were at 21 and it’s a really big difference. Some, like Messi, had played an awful lot of games when they reached that age and have the experience to be a composed finisher. Others, like Villa, Torres, and Shearer, didn’t get 40-odd games a season until they were 19-20, and struggled to score regularely when they were 22-23. I think Welbeck’s the same, at least I hope so, I’ve got no issues with the lad except for his finishing(unfortunately as he’s a striker 😆 😆 ). But I think it’ll come, I’m sure it will, he’s gotten an awful lot of chances this season and with a little bit more composure he would have had maybe 10-15 more goals. I remember the games against Norwich, Aston Villa and QPR, if he’d scored on 60% of his chances in those games he would have had 7 from 3 rather than just 1.

  29. ReddevilEddi – Mi man Eddi – please note lil man Nani has played 2 games and scored 2. Just saying like 😆 . If Fergie thinks Welbeck and Roon are the present day Cole and Yorkie – well my response is 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 ➡ ➡ ➡ ➡ ➡ ➡ ➡
    Jelavic or the geordie hero Cisse are scoring for fun, and I like both of them, and they would do so good with the Roon. I truly want Fellaini though, but while Sir Ferg waited, Chelsea have stepped in and got Fellaini for 20 million and Barkley for 10 million 🙁

    • @Craig Mc: Theres really not that much in terms of quality midfielders in the PL at the minute is there.
      Fellaini is one of them though, however whilst i wouldnt be against him arriving, i still think he can be moody and hit and miss alot of the time, so maybe not worth £20m when there are other cheaper options around elsewhere (abroad).
      The only other top class midfielder out there is modric, and while i can see what he brings to the table, no way would i spend £35-40m+ on him. Hes good, but not that good.
      For cheapish players within the PL, i have to say i like the look of both joe allen and sigurdsson at swansea. Both good in possession (as is to be expected) keep things ticking over and are young and will improve.
      Other than that though, theres not much out there (cabaye and tiote too).

      Kagawa at dortmund it sounds, is a go for a rather reaonable £12m. Good little player and would add that creativity we lack at times, but we really need to be looking at bringing in a top top class central midfielder and left back first and foremost.
      Martinez of bilbao and baines are my first choice to fill those positions but players like sahin and khediera, and cissoko (lyon), and fuchs (schalke) should also be on our lists if those 2 arent obtainable.
      I have to say, im also rather interested by the thought of bringing raul here. Ok i know hes 34 now and it hardly sends out a statement of intent to the rest of the world, but his stats prove hes still a goalscoring threat, and on a free transfer as 4th choice i say he’d be worth a punt.
      But thats the best part of £50/60m there, and as you know i dont have a lot of faith in the glazers and their willingess to make money available for the team (last year was the exception). So just as likely we hear calls of no value again and see scholes given a new contract and fletcher hurried back 🙁

      • @tonymontanna4united: I really good youngster (sub-23) would be prefered by me than a world-class 26/27 year old.

        United can turn a youngster into Zidane, but we do not have good luck making use of world class players (i.e. Veron)…

        Either way I WOULD BE HAPPY 😆 😆

      • @tonymontanna4united: Very good points there mate, but I still think Fellaini is very good player, and Di Matteo down at the Chelsea Kremlin will have him playing like a world class out of this world player you just watch 😆 😆 😆 . We need another top class striker if Fergie doesn’t trust pea enough to play the lad more often, and Welbeck is still far too hit and miss. His and Jonesy ba;ance are like fookin jelly on a plate a good amount of the time. 😉 😆

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