English Premier League 08-09 Season So Far

September 4, 2008

Hey guys,

Been a busy few months for me and now with the transfer window fully shut we can actually get onto the proper season. United finally got their man in Berbatov and Ronaldo turned out to stay at Old Trafford just as I suspected he would. The Red devils are more or less where I figured they would be at this point in the season although I wish a UEFA Super Cup would have been added to our trophy room. Since we’ve got a bit of a Premier League break for the next while, thanks to the International Call-Ups this weekend, it offers up a pretty good chance to review the season so far.

Manchester City

This is the topic on pretty much everybody’s mind right now. The Abu Dhabi consortium definitely took out their wang and attempted to flash it to everybody in the footballing world- the equivalent to being at a bar with your mates and whipping out your unit going “Look at this one fuckers, top this!” While your thing may be bigger than others you’re still acting like a giant cock. If you catch my drift.

Sure they managed to land Robinho, a player with an accomplished step-over, but not much else aside from a burgeoning bank balance. Even Pele criticized this kid for moving and just yesterday he seemed to be confused as to which team he actually plays for. 

I’m not afraid of Manchester City as they literally have to finish in the top 4 this season to have any shot at attracting the high caliber of player they can afford. It reminds me of when you use the editor on Football Manager and give your favourite team an unlimited budget, but you still can’t make top players sign for you because you’re not offering European football. Simple math and the Arabs have a tougher run-in than they are acknowledging. 

Keegan and Curbs

Keegan’s news just came through the wires and it is hardly surprising. In this modern world of high-stakes football transfers it is becoming increasingly apparent that both budgets and control are walking factors for football managers. I knew Keegan wouldn’t last long once I heard Denis Wise (Denis Wise for christ’s sake) had veto power over literaly everything the man did. I like King Kev, but he is a mediocre manager.

Curbishly hasn’t been able to do anything right since Charlton and that is becoming an increasingly long time ago. Drop the “C” and the “ly” and swicth that “r” and the “u” around and you get Curbishly’s true value, more or less. Paolo Di Canio has expressed interest in taking the job, but he’s still working on his coaching badges. Bring on Slaven Bilic. 

Manchester United

Our start hasn’t been as slow as last season and I’m confident that we will finish on the top again this year provided our big players start showing up on a regular occasion and that Berbatov does the business. I think that he will be an excellent foil to the rest of the team and that he will also free up Wayne Rooney to do what he does best. I think that is probably the most understated part of this excellent deal. Yes, we paid too much for him, but we almost missed out and it could very well have been a case of “what if….” at the end of the season if Berbatov remained a Spurs player. 

I predict big things for Anderson this year. Big big things and I’m also looking forward to finally seeing Manucho in action. 

This year is shaping up to be an exciting one. I’m glad that the sissy game is over and that the race is truly on for the next 8 months.


Transfer Rumor: Who Will Manchester United Sign In the Summer of 08? Robinho, Luis Fabiano or Klaas Jan Huntelaar?

May 29, 2008

Every summer that there’s a major international tournament, a large volume of transfer that normally wouldn’t go through turn into done deals quite quickly. This is compounded by the nearly 50 million pounds shelled out just in the past week or two on just three players- Jose Boswinga for Chelsea, Luka Modric at Spurs and Arsenal’s soon-to-sign Samir Nasri (who is supposed to be the business, but a bit of a diver).

For me, Man United should really be doing better to put Chelsea off from Robinho. I think he’d be a good addition to the side and he would give us that out and out finisher that we currently lack, along with the ability to fit into our fast-paced style of play. He also fits in with this Portuguese contingent that is being instilled in our squad. Robinho hasn’t really developed as an outstanding finisher in Spain, but I think he would be well-suited to the Premier League. Pace and tricks in abundance, I think he would be able to link up much better with our crew than the crap they’ve got going on down at Chelsea.

A lot of people are floating the idea of Luis Fabiano of Sevilla. While there is no doubting the Brazilian’s ability, he doesn’t have a demonstrated track record of success. His stays in French and Portuguese football were both nothing to write home about. However, when he was at Sao Paolo a few years ago he had a real tendency to get involved in scraps and brawls as he really seemed to enjoy winding up opponents. Might fit in well at Chelsea, but I think that he may detract from our style of play a bit. Either way, I’d like to see more of the guy. I would take Robinho over Fabiano though, at this point in time.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar remains a name perpetually linked with United. What else can you say about the Dutchmaster? A slick finisher and a real poacher of goals. He can run at a defense as well, but I can see Fergie wanting to start him off as an impact substitute and then somehow embedding him into the Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez consortium. With three or four different contrasting styles of football running at a defense all at the same time I think we may very well have teams from up and down the English countryside cleaning Hershey-squirts out of their Nike shorts.

Either way, I expect only two signings this summer. One high-profile and the other an emerging player.
Euro 2008 could always offer up another heroic set of performances from players you’ve never heard of before.


Manchester United’s Champions League Win Over Chelsea: Analysis On Nani, Anderson and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Penalty Miss

May 22, 2008

Seeing as though I’m significantly more sober than I was the last time I posted about our epic Champions League win, I guess now I can actually offer some insight on the story-lines that unfolded last evening in the Russian rain.

RONALDO

Who doesn’t show up in the big games? Well, he kinda shows up. Ronaldo scoring the opener was massive and he was the architect of the Tevez/Carrick attempt that should have put us 2-0 up and pretty much sealed the deal. While we could go on and on about his penalty miss, I won’t because it’s already been done. I personally think it was just a lousy shot, and if you bang in as many as he does you’re bound to miss a few. I don’t have a problem with the stutter step, I just don’t think he got ahold of the ball the way he wanted to. Either way, the most telling plotline of the evening was Ronaldo’s reaction after Van Der Sar made that save (simultaneously solidifying his place as this game’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer).

You’ll notice that when the save was made, the team all start yelling and running forward, Ronaldo takes two steps and then collapses in a sobbing, predictable heap around the 30 yard line. Tears of joy and vindication with a realization that he can’t really leave now and that’s what I think he was sobbing about. Think about it, why would he leave United? Because he would feel as though he became bigger than the team this year and required a new challenge. If he had of hit his penalty, that may very well have been the case… But he missed it, and he dropped the ball- big time. A ball drop so big that many players careers simply wouldn’t recover from an epic miss like that (Mr. Terry, looking in your direction) but what happened instead was a little piece of Manchester United voodoo. Ronaldo screwed up, but his team picked up the slack and spared him the blame we all knew would be coming. He came through for us all season and when he couldn’t perform last night, we stepped up for him. You can tell from his body language during the shoot-out that he realized that maybe he doesn’t have it all figured out and he’s still a young guy in his early 20s playing under one of the greatest managers in the game for one of the most storied sports clubs in the history of the human race. He will stay. Mark my words.

Anderson & Nani

These two played a much bigger role during the shootout than anybody thought they would. They were brought on in the late stages of extra time with seemingly one thing in mind- penalties. These two youngsters, the highest profile young signings to arrive at the club since Rooney & Ronaldo, proved their worth and class on the biggest stage in football. First off, regular readers will know my thoughts on Nani, in the closing games of the season I thought we got a glimpse of Nani’s darker side. Petulance, showboating and ball-hogging were his defining traits during the season’s denouement but when he hammered home the fifth penalty (the one that Terry couldn’t take) he proved his mettle and showed guile that I haven’t seen from the kid yet. He stepped up and took his chance better than his Sporting compatriot. Next year is his breakout year.

Anderson scored his first “goal” for United by converting that oh-so-necessary penalty that swung momentum back in our favor and put the Chavs back under the gun. He powered it almost straight at the keeper and showed such verve that he sprinted after the ball and fired it back in for good measure. His war cry galvanized the crowd and the players. This kid and his ridiculous dancing are hallmarks of the future of this United team. This kid is the total package at such a young age and he adds such an interesting element to the side whenever he plays. I truly think he’s a joy to watch.

These kids took penalties that millions of us can only dream about taking and they converted. The biggest stage saw their best performance and that’s the calling card of a world-class footballer.

Chelsea are the masters of winning ugly (and petulantly) but we proved last night that you can buy pretty much anything in football, but the cruel mistress that our sport calls penalties knows the value of no currency. Abramovich is figuring that out finally.

By the way, nobody else seems to have mentioned it yet, but somewhere a man named Jose Mourinho can’t stop smiling.


Manchester United Win the 07/08 Champions League Over Chelsea On Penalties

May 22, 2008

I really can’t do much to describe the absolute immense achievement that the guys achieved today. For the 3rd time in the 100+ years history of our club, we lifted the trophy proclaiming us champions of Europe. I really can’t believe it. I’m not going to go into too much about it now, I’ve been drinking for hours… Half cut… Toasting in the eastward direction all night. Even as a professional writer, I cannot put into words how important and incredible this triumph tonight was.

I couldn’t have written a better script. Every one of you who supports United, every one of you who knows that this worldwide club is not just an example of sports excellence, but an example of Humankind at its finest- this one is for us. Imagine, a team of young men playing in a random city in northern England, hailing from all four corners of the world. From Nani in Cape Verde to Owen Hargreaves growing up in Calgary, to Park Ji-Sung from South Korea all the way to Wes Brown who grew up around the corner from Old Trafford… They all took to the field and played together, as one. They were…. (Hu)Man(kind) United.

And just as a drunken aside…. FUCK YOU CHAVS! YOUR SHITTY DIVING GIRL FOOTBALL MIGHT CUT IT AGAINST THE LIKES OF LIVERPOOL AND FEHNERBAHCE, BUT WHEN IT ALL COMES DOWN TO IT- MR. CHELSEA COULDN’T CLOSE THE DEAL. YOU GOT YOUR JUST DESSERTS YOU LOSERS! YOU CAN’T CHEAT YOUR WAY TO THE EUROPEAN TITLE NO MATTER HOW FUCKING HARD YOU TRY! SAY GOODBYE TO DROGBA, GOODBYE TO LAMPARD, AND LIKELY HALF YOUR TEAM. YOU CAN’T BUY SUCCESS. YOU BUILD IT, STEP BY STEP.

Learn a thing or two about football and then try to win the Champions League. If you ask me, the winner today is pure football. The only thing I’ll leave you with is the penalty shoot out. I will never forget this as long as I live.

Cheers.


Video Highlights: The 07/08 Manchester United Goals of the Year Featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Nani, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes

May 13, 2008

The end of the season always means a flurry of new lists and commentary where people try to talk up their choices for the best goal of the season. It seems like this year, there hasn’t been much debate about it. Ronaldo’s incredible freekick against Portsmouth encapsulates the brilliance that CR7 has banged out consistently this season. Observe.

#1


You listen to the announcers chuckling and that’s when you realize… that’s all you can really do. Better than Beckham. Here’s what he had to say about it.

#2

While some may not agree, I think that this next one here was the definition of why United won the title: free-flowing football and lethal finishing. Watch this combination from Rooney and Tevez. I would say that their partnership is one of the most interesting and dynamic in the world. After this one, there was no doubt that these two would thrive alongside each other.

#3

Speaking of Tevez, here’s another gem from his performance against Birmingham. The pass from Cristiano Ronaldo is testament to how every attacking player on our team can score and pass at a world-class level.

#4

No goals of the season list would be complete without Wayne Rooney. In off the post for his first of the season.

#5

So now we’ve got Hargreaves against Arsenal. Everybody thought this was coming from Ronaldo, but Hargreaves pops up to score one of the most important goals of the season.

#6

Here’s another Ronaldo free-kick and this one comes against his boyhood club, Sporting Lisbon. Notice how he doesn’t celebrate, a true professional, he doesn’t forget his roots.

#7

Here we’ve got Scholesy’s magic strike to make the difference in the Barcelona tie. We did what needed to be done and ground out a tough, Chelsea-like victory over three hours of high-energy football. Magic stuff.

#8

Nani’s first wonderstrike. A sign of things to come once he sorts out his temperment.

#9

Nani’s second wonderstrike.

#10

Ronaldo knocks the wind out of himself with this one, but this was definitely the header of the season. Incredible stuff.


Manchester United 07/08 Season In Review With Video Highlights

May 11, 2008

The buzz from my Boddington’s is building to a crescendo, whilst the sun shines brightly on a beautiful Pacific afternoon, and this translates into the best time to write up my full Manchester United Season In Review. Let me just crack open another one here.

I am adamant that if last year’s Manchester United would have remained unchanged, we would likely have finished 2nd or even 3rd. The real shining success from this season is a tough thing to pinpoint precisely, but I think Fergie’s astute signings are the main talking point of the season, despite the incredible emergence of Cristiano Ronaldo as a genuine contender for best player in the world. More on him later, but first, let me explain my hypothesis.

Our early 2000’s team blew pretty hard despite the presence of some bigger names and some success on and off the field. The Van Nistelrooy years stand out to me as an era of poor signings that, while they may have been skilled players, didn’t fit into the United system and the likes of Seba Veron, Kleberson, Djemba X 2, Diego Forlan and Liam Miller all proved to be floppish. While I’m not doubting the ability of some of them (namely Forlan and Veron, Miller is still shite though, Djemba has dropped off the face of the earth) these were the wrong types of signings.

The players that Fergie picked up this year all added a different element to the team, without detracting from our overall style of play. Each of the players are extremely dynamic and while regular readers will know my thoughts on Nani (who I think needs more composure to compete at the highest level) each of these four have played a key part in United’s campaign, thus far. While I’m on the topic of Nani, he did singlehandedly deliver three points early on in the season for us in the match against Middlesbrough. While his actions the other week against West Ham were not the type of football I like to see played at United, the lad obviously has the skills to pay the bills. He needs to spend more time soaking up advice from top pro’s like Giggs, Scholesy and Ronaldo in order to reach that level of maturity and composure necessary to compete in the big games. Look at what happened to Rooney this year, Nani needs a dose of that. But watch this video as testament to Nani’s gamebreaking ability.

Oliveira Anderson has provided something unique for United this year- an element of the unexpected. In retrospect, he was our mystery player this year- nobody knew much about him coming in. People had seen a bit of Nani and people more or less knew what to expect from him. Anderson was a different deal altogether. I expected the young Brazilian to come in and act like, as one of my readers predicted, “THE creative midfielder.” Anderson adapted quickly to the pace and hard-hitting nature of the EPL and he shined as a box-to-box midfielder with vision and guile. Like Tevez, he possesses a low center of gravity and this makes him hard to knock off the ball and also gives him the ability to creep up on opposing players and quickly snake the ball from him. He was much more defensive and mentally aware than any of us predicted at the start of the season. While he finished goalless, his contribution was telling in that other teams still haven’t quite figured out how to deal with Anderson. He will wear a United shirt for many many years.

Somebody’s put together a little Anderson tribute here. I think it’s fitting. Give it a look.

As a Canadian, seeing Owen Hargreaves take to the pitch in a United uniform always fills me with pride. Watching this good old boy from Calgary AB out there kicking ass in the name of Man United is one of the greatest pleasures I have. I admire the man’s commitment and professionalism and while he grew up playing for Bayern, he brings the grit and get’er-done mentality that Canadians bring to everything they do. He is our ambassador to England and the Premier League and I think he is an excellent example of the type of versatility Man U have lacked in previous seasons. He is Phil Neville times three. All the versatility and ability to slot in basically anywhere, but he brings free-kicks and hard, lazer-guided tackles to the fore whenever he steps over the white lines. Hargreaves delivered the points at Arsenal and while he was hampered by injury all year, Hargreaves stepped up when he was called upon. Something that can do every Canadian proud.

This will go down as one of the greatest United freekicks of all time. I was shitting myself when he scored this one. These three points made the difference and Hargreaves fucking delivers.

And now, we’ve got Tevez. What more can you ask for from a player? While he isn’t a 30 goal a season man in the vein of Torres, old Michael Owen or Ronaldo, him and Man United formed a symbiotic relationship this year. Manchester United has brought out the best in Carlos Tevez and Carlos Tevez has helped Manchester United get better. Everybody said that him and Rooney were too similar to succeed and that turned out to be one of the talking points of the season. Him and Rooney are similar, and contrary to predictions, it made them a better strike force. They can track each others runs expertly and both can drop deep, while both can play as out and out strikers. Tevez’s versatility is one of the things that allows Man United to play the free-flowing attacking game that we all know and love. He is short, stout, and has the heart of a lion. It’s an honor to watch this man go to work in the service of our team. He is on course to be a Man United legend and I have a feeling that he’s a favourite in the dressing room.

He has a habit of scoring important goals. Case in point:

Now that I’ve addressed my four reasons why we won the title, let’s get to the season’s other main talking point- THE EMERGENCE OF CRISTIANO RONALDO AS THE BEST FOOTBALLER IN THE WORLD. I will argue it with anybody. Nobody plays the game like this guy and what he accomplished this season helped him break the bank, win the the title and shock the world. Over 40 goals from a right-winger is absolutely unprecedented in English football and I will also defend my theory that Ronaldo is blurring the lines between midfielder and striker. He alternates a Jeckyll and Hyde-style double-bill as a winger and old-fashioned center forward, scoring goals for fun and making opponents trip all over themselves. Always labeled as a one-trick pony thirty seconds away from a shampoo commercial, Ronaldo grabbed the team by the scruff of the neck and delivered the goods. This guy is the one who will sell “soccer” to America, not David Beckham. People in North America want to see goals and they want to see exciting stuff. Ronaldo plays football from another planet and the Glazier’s know that he is their best chance at selling the game to the North American audience once and for all. That is why this guy is going nowhere.

Here’s a few highlights from this season to whet your whistle. I’ll have a full bio and review on him coming up in a few days.

The other main point worth mentioning is our defense. The central partnership of Rio and Vidic has been absolutely unparalleled in recent memory and the two will be operating in tandem for almost a decade, they’re flanked by Wes Brown, who finally emerged as the top player we all knew he was (particularly in the second leg against Barca), and Patrice Evra- a more complete version of Roberto Carlos. These guys and Van Der Sar are the unsung heroes of the season. Like they always say- offense wins games, defense wins championships.

And that’s exactly what our boys did today. Ryan Giggs scoring to put the icing on the cake as he matched the all-time appearance record for the team is a story that you just can’t make up. I think you can’t forget how important it was that Chelsea slipped up against Bolton when it mattered most. That gives us the big mo’ going into the Champions League Final.

Drink up United fans- it’s been a long season and we’ve delivered the goods.

Bring on Moscow.


Video Highlights: Manchester United Secure the 07/08 English Premier League Title!

May 11, 2008

Well, it’s done and dusted. I hereby declare this the greatest season in the history of the English Premier League. And appropriately enough, United have come out on top. Excuse me for a second here….

FOR BEST RESULTS, START THE FIRST VIDEO AND THEN FIRE UP THE SECOND.

EVERYONE AROUND THE WORLD- COME ON!
*shaky dance*

I really can’t express my pleasure at knowing Chelsea couldn’t finish the job at Bolton. How many times have the chavs allowed last second goals to demote wins to draws? I would say at least five times this season and that, my friends, is why Ronaldo & Co. hoisted the trophy and wore ridiculous chapeau’s.

I’m gonna be back later on to write up a full season in review and then in the build up to the Champions League Final I’m going to be putting together some lengthy run downs on individual players.

We did it. We are the best. Not on goal difference, but points.

Moscow. Looms. Large.

And if the vids go down, check out 1000 goals.com.