Tag Archives: man united

New Man United First 11

With the early season transfer window officially closed last weekend, we Man Utd fans are now faced with one seriously complex question:

“What would the Best Man Utd Starting 11 look like?”

One of the premium strikers joining Man Utd on loan at the tail end of the transfer window deadline was Rademel Falcao. With the Colombian on board, how would LVG manage his side on his preferred 3-5-2 formation? Would one of Rooney or RVP have to be sacrificed to accommodate Falcao? Or would Rooney play in a slightly more deeper role now? Or does LVG just abandon the 3-5-2 and slot in a 4-3-3 to allow his trident of star strikers to wreak havoc week in week out in the BPL?

I’m sure many Man Uts fans would have their own preferred first 11. Here is my ideal first 11 for Man Utd this season:

football formations

 

I stuck with a 3-4-1-2, slotting in Rooney in the ‘hole’ behind RVP and Falcao. Mata would provide the creativity as the attacking MF whilst Hererra would be the holding MF. History shows Man Utd also does well with wide-men and I would pick Di Maria and Valencia to light up both left and right sidelines respectively. In defence, I picked Blind to cover the central defender’s role. whilst many people may have only seen him as a left-back in the World Cup, his profile actually shows he is equally adept in covering the middle. His lack of pace also seems to concur with my pick to slot him in the heart of our defence. Both LB and RB, Rojo and Jones are perfect fits in those areas and their speed and courage to push forward makes this line-up a very offensive-minded one.

But of course, in the CURRENT scenario where Man Utd is beset with numerous injuries, I thought I should come up with a short-term first 11 based on the available players, so here it is:

football formations

Formation is still a 3-4-1-2. Only difference here is Blind slotted into the defensive midfielder role behind Mata. In defense, Evans would have to stay more consistent as he is given the CB role.

Many people may be talking about big signings like Di Maria and Falcao but personally, I felt that Daley Blind would be one of the best buys of Man Utd this season. A bit of an unknown (until the World Cup commenced), Blind is one of those versatile players who can play in numerous positions which would prove very useful in the current scenario where there are many injuries. His style of play is even a fit for the holding midfielder role!

 

I also tinkered about the possibility of a What-If scenario for LVG should he decide to stick with his 3-5-2 formation. In this formation, my favoured first 11 would look like this:

football formations
I would pick both RVP and Falcao up front because they are technically better finishers compared with Rooney. The important man in the ‘hole’ behind the strikers is a toss up between Rooney and Mata. In this formation, one of these two would have to be sacrificed. Valencia and Di Maria are the natural wingers whilst LVG could then utilise the speeds of both Rojo and Jones as wing backs! The back-3 would have to be players who don’t usually forage up front too often, so I would pick Shaw, Smalling and Evans here. Not sure how Hererra might fit into a 3-5-2 this way though. Hmmmm.

…which led me to another alternative formation, a 4-4-2 as follows:

football formations

 

Under this formation, Hererra would be able to support Mata in their favoured positions in the middle. Rooney would get to play his favoured role in the hole. Only problem Ā here is either RVP or Falcao needs to be sacrificed up front. Another change here is the back four where Rojo and Blind have been slotted in CB roles, which both have played before. Shaw and Jones make up the defensive backs.

With all being said, I’m just excited to see how LVG rolls out the brand-new look of Man Utd next wekeend! šŸ˜€

City Uprising

Image Credits

23 October 2011 will forever be remembered by the world. And more so in both the Red and Blue sections of Manchester, England.

It will be remembered as the day Manchester City made a bold (and loud) statement that they have arrived; that they are for real this time; that they are the TEAM to beat.

My poor Manchester United were clinically picked apart by a very organised City side; theĀ dismissal of Evans notwithstanding. I was particularly impressedĀ Ā with Silva who was truly mesmerising whenever he had the ball as he pull the strings creatively in midfield. That sadly, is one position Man United is sorely lacking – our closest player with a similar touch is Anderson, and he’s still pretty far behind what Silva is capable off. Probably only Mata or Modric plays quite close to Silva’s form at the moment.

I was extremely shocked at the lazy displays of our back four – main culprits being Rio Ferdinand, who seemed totally dis-interested in continuing on with the game; Evans, who played the entire match 2 paces slower than the City strikers; and Evra, who was regularly missing from his core task of defending the left flank. I lost count of the number of times Micah Richards was allowed to blaze down the left without contest.

It was also SAD to see our strikers Rooney and Welbeck doubling up to do defensive duties on so many occasions! Nani and Young were surprisingly stifled out the flanks which resulted in their near ineffectivness. If this was the wake up call Sir Alex Ferguson needed, it certainly was a noisy one.

Our neighbours have proven last night that they are not only noisy this season – they seem to have the goods to back it up…

It will be interesting to see how Man Utd will respond to this white (or blue, rather) wash…Come on you REDS!

Welcoming Noisy Neighbours

It’s Derby day again when our noisy neighbours come visiting Old Trafford tomorrow.

With both teams breathing a huge sigh of relief after coming through mid-week Champions League action with a win and no injuries, the stage is set for early bragging rights on who would be installed as favourites for the BPL title this season.

City have so far lived up to their pre-season hype – they have a solid defence that isn’t afraid to join in the attack, incredible depth in midfield that could light up the scoreboard on any given day, and an Argentinian scoring machine (yup, the non-whining one) leading an impressive strikeforce.

They also have stats to back up their strut. City currently top the league with 22 points (out of a possible 24). They have scored 27 goals in the BPL (rank 1st) and only leaked in 6 goals to-date. Their only blip was the choking performance vs a determined Fulham side who fought back to draw 2-2.

In comparison, Man United sit second in the table, just 2 points behind City. They have poured in 25 goals (rank 2nd) and also allowed 6 goals to-date. The two draws that cost us 4 points were an 1-1 away battle vs Stoke and last weekend’s strategic (ahem) 1-1 result vs Liverpool.

Both Man United and City are undefeated after 8 games into the season and Man United is still on a 4-game winning streak at Old Trafford. If we track Man Utd’s performance at home from last season, their impressive OT record currently stands atĀ 33-5-0 in all competitions since a loss to Chelsea on 3 April 2010!

So, what sort of line up would SAF pick to unleash on the Citizens tomorrow? After a defensive looking line-up against Liverpool, which I sincerely believe had to be set up to prepare for the crucial mid-week UCL tie, we would revert back to the familiar young and exciting line-up vs City.

Although Vidic got a red card in Europe, SAF would go for experience to shore up the back line and pair up his trusted dynamic defensive duo of Vidic and Ferdinand. Evra would still be the obvious choice on the left whilst the speed of Jones would surely be needed on the right to handle Silva/Nasri/Milner or whoever comes down from that flank.

In midfield, Young should return to the left after getting a rest from midweek UCL action, as with Fletcher, whose dogged and relentless talent for chasing down balls is needed to contain the skillful City midfield. His tussles with Yaya Toure would be quite a battle. I would expect and Anderson to be used more offensively here, compared to a more defensive option of Carrick or Park in midfield. Nani would be a better bet on the right, after seeing the ‘form’ of Valencia for the past few matches.

As for strikers, Rooney is a shoo-in to start. Who would be picked as his strike partner is a good question. With Welback rested in mid-week, there’s a possiblity he could start although I feel SAF would want the ‘default’ pairing of Rooney-Chicarito to get more playing time together.

That’s my line-up pick to fight City tomorrow. My predictions? Man Utd 2 Man City 1, 2 reds, 8 yellows…

8 Things to Look Forward To…

Image Credits

Since the BPL is taking a break this weekend for Euro 2012 qualifiers and also after the conclusion and closing of the exciting transfer window, I thought it would be a good time to sit back, relax and reflect on last weekend’s thrilling 8-2 annihilation of Arsenal at Old Trafford.

These are my 8 things to look forward to with regards to Man United for the rest of the season..

1. These Kids are better than alright! This new generation of Man U youngsters are simply a delight to watch in the first 3 games into the season! They are fast, hungry, spirited, and best of all – matured for all their age! They seem to have more poise and confidence compared to the earlier generation of Ā Man U kids of Becks, Scholes, Neville bros, Butt, etc. šŸ˜€

2. Cleverly done! I’m quite glad Fergie stuck with his decision NOT to buy Sneijder this season. That would have meant more bench time for Tom Cleverly and he may not have matured so fast like what he has done so far. His chemistry with Anderson has been spot on, his passes are clever (for lack of a better word!)…now only if he can develop a commanding reputation to boss around the midfield…

3. Dangerous wings! It has been some time since Man U had speedy wings on both flanks, but this season, with the inclusion of Young, our forwards can look forward to heaps of crosses from both sides, courtesy of Young , Nani and Valencia. Whilst Valencia may not as quick, both Young and Nani has the ability to blaze up and down the sides with exhilarating speeds – another pure delight to watch this season!

4. Little Pea is returning to action! Welbeck’s unfortunate hamstring in the last game has nicely paved the way for the revelation of last season – Chicarito to return to Man U action! I for one can’t wait to see his predatory scoring positionings helped with the many assists coming in from Young this season…

5. De Gea get it? Whilst he has given the entire BPL an open invitation to score past him from 30 yards out with his numerous blunders in the opening few matches, his penalty save against Arsenal reminded everyone why Fergie identified him to replace Van Der Sar – for his shot stopping abilities and most notably, penalty saving exploits. Whilst I foresee more shaky performances before the season is over, I also look forward in confidence to his abilities to win matches for Man U in crucial domestic and European Cup ties when the match may go to penalties…

6. Rooney’s in fine form! He’s BACK! Whether it’s the new haircut, or the good summer break, Wayne Rooney is definitely looking the form this season. Hope he links up well again when Hernandez comes back to pair up with him soon. 30 goals this season…definitely a possibility. šŸ˜€

7. Defence set for the future! With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, I believe I am watching the future backbone of Man U’s defence…strong on the ground and air, not afraid to venture forward. Looks pretty solid! Am not too worried when injury prone Rio goes off for a layoff anytime in the season!

8. Exciting Championship! Above all, I believe this season is gonna be one heck of a ride! With our noisy neighbours going on a buying spree, and other teams loading their teams with enough talent to mount a challenge, it’s gonna be pretty close this year. My bets are on City and Liverpool to push us the hardest, with Chelsea still in an adapting season with their new coach. Ha. Can’t wait to see how it all folds out.

The Mathematics of the Champions League Final 2011

3 > 1

Barcelona = 3, Man United = 1

Therefore….Barcelona = Champions

Spain = World Champions

Barcelona = Spain

Therefore….Barcelona = World Champions

Messi = World’s Best Player

So, Barcelona + Messi = World Champions + World’s Best Player

= Little Hope for Man U…

If Offensive Efficiency can be calculated using the formula:

{[(No. of freekicks in final 1/3) X (No. of corner kicks) X (No. of shots on target)/(No. of shots at goal) X (No. of offsides X 0.5) X (Number of saves by opposing keeper X 0.3)]/OE of winning side} X 100%

Then the Offensive Efficiency for Man United in the Final would be 0, because they had no corner kicks at all….

Definitions:

Trouble = Abidal (defender) having more complete passes than Man U’s Michael Carrick (central midfield)

Joke = Iniesta having the same number of shots at goal (possibly more pon target too) than the entire Man U team

Passing = What Barcelona players do best, even in their sleep

Toy = What Man U defence must have felt like

Valdes = Most underused player on the field

Humbled = Man United (see also Bruised, Battered, Embarassed, Shooting target, etc.)

Dominant = Barcelona (see also Messi, Spectacular, Special, Out-of-this-World, etc.)

Alrighty! Now, time for the Copa America!

Image Credits

Congrats Barcelona! Thank you for showing the world how to play football and leaving a benchmark for a level of football of what future champions of Europe need to be at. Hopefully, Man U can take this (second) lesson and come back stronger next year!

Celebrating 19 (Again!)

There was an interesting article that was circulating in Man U fan-verse about a song aptly titled 19 by Paul Harcastle that sat on top of the charts at one time in the 80s and is now making a comeback.

 

Here is an extract from the article I found on Daily Mail:

There’s one number on the mind of Manchester United supporters everywhere at the moment. And they’re not going to let anybody forget it.

When the final whistle was blown at Ewood Park last Saturday, it signalled that United had secured a memorable 19th league title, putting them one clear of their great rivals Liverpool.

And following the memorable success, United supporters have succeeded, partially at least, in a campaign to get the Paul Hardcastle hit 19 riding high in the music charts again.

The song, first released in 1985, spent five weeks at the top of the charts. It highlights the average age of soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war.

And the song re-entered the charts at No 40 last Sunday, following a campaign from United supporters on fans’ forums, and the microblogging site Twitter.

TRIVIA: Hardcastle’sĀ famous hit was knocked off the top of the charts in 1985 by The Crowd’s version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, which has become a terrace anthem of Liverpool over the decades.

Read the full article HERE

And since I’m still in the celebration mood, here is the song and lyrics, 19 by Paul Hardcastle. Enjoy!

19 (Paul Hardcastle)

Perhaps, I should start writing a song titled 20 now…a chance for instant success sometime in May next year? šŸ˜€

19 Reasons to Celebrate!

Man United had already sewn up the 19th Premiership last weekend but I am still beaming with pride and joy over what they have achieved. And since today is the 19th day of this beautiful month of May, I thought it would be great to list down 19 reasons (in no particular order nor importance) to celebrate Man United’s 19th league title victory…

1. Sole claimant as the BEST team in English football

2. Knocking Liverpool off the perch….finally!

3. Emergence of Javier Hernandez as the best signing of the season promises better things to come!

4. Impressive near-perfect home-form was key in title drive. Home support RULES!

5. Unexpected contribution of 21 goals from Dimitar Berbatov! Shocking!

6. Vintage Gigg’s leadership, performance and role-model to team-mates!

7. Getting the title in a year where there were more threats than just Chelsea and Arsenal, with so many teams being able to beat one another, proves that triumph in the world’s toughest league is most satisfying indeed

8. Van de Sar’s final season with Man United – another solid performance all-year long. I wonder who’s hands can his gloves fit?

9. Consistency at its highest level week in, week out, as our challengers faltered every now and then

10. Spot-on tactics, team changes and strategies as we were fighting on all fronts of the league, FA Cup and Champions League too.

11. Maturing of Chris Smalling as he took on leadership in defence for long periods when Ferdinand and/or Vidic would be missing on injuries

12. Not too many lengthy or critical injuries during the season. And when there were any, available players were able to step up and perform. Eg. Nani, Anderson, Park, etc.

13. Spectacular wins over Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and City

14. Ever-solid and reliable Vidic holding fort in our defense.

15. Passionate, never-say-die attitude which was evident in numerous matches where we fought back to win or level the score in the final 15 minutes. Simply exemplary!

16. Wayne Rooney’s spectacular overhead winner vs City. Remarkable one-off wonder goal.

17. Fixture changes and revisions and reschedulings due to snow storms and what nots somehow helped us through the usually horrendous New Year congestion. The change of our earlier date with Chelsea looks like a blessing in disguise too!

18. Yay for Michael Owen…who will finally get his winners medal….:-P

19. Sir Alex Ferguson, our magnificent gaffer who has shown time and time again that he’s the best in the business with his intense desire to win, win and win some more. Here’s 19 cheers to you and hoping for many more to come before you retire!