Video Highlights: Manchester United Expose Arsenal As The Frauds That They Are Plus a Special Thanks to TheScore.ca

April 13, 2008

I just finished watching what was arguably our most gutsy performance of the year. I’ve been in Whistler at the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival this week and for some reason, I was having a bitch of a time getting the game over Sopcast or TVUPlayer… None of the hotels digital cable channels seemed to be showing it, until I found the live broadcast from The Score HD… You guys saved me this week and I really do have to give respect to all the people behind the scenes at Canada’s best sports network. Thanks for having the foresight to show a good game (I’m talking to you Sportsnet, Fulham-Reading…. captivating…)

Anyways, I have to be honest, I thought for some time that Arsenal are an embarrassment to our league and it was effectively validated today. The amount of diving, gamesmanship, shirt-pulling and out-and-out cheating was so obvious that I think any Arsenal fan needs to have a long look in the mirror and ask themselves why, or even how, they could support such a petulant team. Your goal shouldn’t have counted, Adebayor was cheating and he knew it. Luckily for them, Arsenal had a 12th man today in the referee who was giving every single borderline call Arsenal’s way and in many cases allowed Arsenal to basically dictate the call. My example was the corner that was given midway through the second half. The referee had effectively ruled a goal kick and then every Arsenal player threw up their arms and shouted and the referee REVERSED HIS CALL. That is unacceptable. I don’t care if the referee was wrong, if they made the call, they shouldn’t be allowed to reverse it. When a team can plead with the referee and get the calls they want, it throws the credibility of the game into question. Adebayor should also have been given a straight red for his dangerous and cynical tackle on Anderson. It was from behind, it was late, it was two footed and studs were showing. He hooked his feet around Anderson and put both boots directly into Anderson’s right ankle. That was a deliberate attempt to injure a fellow professional and the referee only gave a yellow, no wonder Hargreaves was furious. How can Arsenal fans continue to support this? They are a truly pathetic bunch and deserved exactly what their mark asses got today.

However, even with all the cheating and soft calls, Arsenal were beaten by a much better team. I will acknowledge that Arsenal have skill and they have some quality players, they have their own attacking style but their accomplishments there are undermined by their cynicism and petulance. They are an embarrassment to football and a stain on the credibility of the English Premier League. Wow they beat a Milan side with an average age of 65. Good for them. They couldn’t even beat Liverpool.

And what of Hargreaves? Absolutely unfucking believable what he pulled today. I think that was a vintage Manchester United goal and Hargreaves took the shot so well. We were all waiting for a shot from Ronaldo (doubtlessly, Jens Lehmann was) and Hargreaves just hooked it over the wall and into the left side of the goal. His celebration capped his greatest week in his career. While he always possessed defensive solidity, his attacking prowess and sheer technical ability are above and beyond most of the players in England. He is the definition of a complete player and he is a better player than David Beckham ever was (except for England against Greece) and I will argue that with anybody. If a team is going to win the title these days, in the climactic stage of the season, they need their middling players to step up and become outstanding players. Hargreaves is a future United legend. Observe.

Van Der Sar was the man of the match. Our defense looked shaky and I don’t think Pique is ready yet after watching him today. I think Silvestre is a better, more experienced option at this vital stage of the season.
VDS came up with some huge saves (some of which were from our own team) and he showed safe hands all the way. He deserves a Champions League and Premier League double and he is an absolute rock for us. Why oh why did Fergie sign Barthez over Van Der Sar back around the turn of the century?

And Ronaldo. What to say of him? His penalty was so cheeky and full of confidence that you know Jens Lehmann will never forget the look on Ronaldo’s face. That stutter step and complete stop… A penalty so nice, he took it twice. Lehmann even guessed right both times and couldn’t keep the ball out of the net. I will acknowledge that Lehmann is better than Almunia… Kind of, anyway.

Chelsea will beat Wigan tomorrow and it all comes down to April 26 now. If we win all of our games from here on out, we’re set. If we beat Chelsea, it’s over. Even if we lose or draw, we are still ahead on goal difference. How cool would it be for us to meet them in the Champions League Final as well?

United ensured that we remained in the drivers seat today with a performance that wasn’t perfect, but was effective. Arsenal got their just desserts.

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Manchester United Beat Roma to Secure a Champions League Semi Final With Barcelona

April 9, 2008

Well, my predictions may have been a bit off, but that’s why I’m doing this for free and not doing it professionally. I did predict a shut out, and although Pique didn’t play as well as I thought he would, it was still a decent performance. Ferdinand really stepped up today and I was worried he was injured towards the end of the first half, turns out he was fine. No Ronaldo or Rooney was a big surprise initially, but then I realized that what Fergie pulled today was just another example of Sir’s subtle genius.

Think about it from Roma’s managers perspective. His strategy was likely based around containing Ronaldo while still making sure that the other players were picked up. They needed to be very quick in transition and to take advantage of every opportunity. They failed. The one thing I noticed throughout the match was that although Roma didn’t play particularly badly (they did, however, play their usual filthy Italian game of divers football) they had no chance of winning because the players were tactically confused. There was no real scope or vision to what Roma was doing, they were just trying to beat United at their own game, which is never going to work. How could Roma’s manager have been able tell his players before the game “Okay guys, no Rooney or Ronaldo today, they’re gonna have Tevez dropping to the left, Carrick as a holding midfielder, Hargreaves coming at us from all angles, and Park driving up the middle the whole game.”

Today was a textbook example of Plan B at work.

Now, as for the penalty, I don’t know what type of glue the ref is sniffing, but that dive was pure sniveling gamesmanship at its finest. I’ll try to grab highlights, but the delayed response was just sad. As I said previously, Roma set a poor example for young players and are an embarrassment to football. In this circumstance, firing a penalty over the bar is footballing poetic justice.

Player of the game was a toss up between Hargreaves and Van Der Sar. Silvestre also did well. Evra’s presence was missed. Ferdinand put in a workmanlike performance and he continues to put on an absolute clinic in central defense.

Bring on Arsenal.


Predictions for the March 29-30 English Premiership Matches

March 27, 2008

More excitement to come this weekend as United are facing off against Villa and the Arse go up against their perennial difficult game against Bolton. Arsenal have a habit of losing to Bolton and they haven’t won a game in some time now… If they fall further off the pace, could another team be competing for a Champions League spot? Wishful thinking I know, but it could happen. Fabregas is over-rated. Ronaldo is the best player in the Premier League.

I have a feeling that Rooney is going to be out for blood this Saturday. Watch for him and Tevez to start, I think Fergie’s gonna want to end this one early. Villa are a dangerous team, with Gaby Agbo his usual pacey presence, still I think he isn’t anything that Vidic and Ferdinand can’t handle. Martin O’Neal hasn’t been rotating his squad as much as many of the other teams- possibly an indication of the Birmingham side’s lack of depth. They should be tired with many first-choice players having played in midweek Internationals or under 21 games. Another goal from Ronaldo is a solid bet, and if you’re looking to call correct score, I would say 2-0 United or 3-1 United with Villa scoring first. Goals from Ronaldo, Rooney and why not have a punt on Anderson breaking his duck? It has to happen eventually.

Arsenal-Bolton has always been a tricky match-up with two textbook examples of contrasting styles on the pitch. Arsenal really really need a win to snap this drawing streak, and in previous years I think that Big Sam would have had Arsene’s number. But this is 2008 Bolton- who basically blow ass. I think if Bolton put up one of their best performances of the season, they can eke out a draw, if not, I suspect 2-0 Arsenal with a penalty happening in the first half. Watch for Adebayor to convert. The other goal will come from midfield. Walcott is good value for money.

Chelsea-Middlesbrough…. Tough one, because I think Middlesbrough have had their Alamo moment with Southgate and that they are very much back to winning games again. But at the end of the day, they will always be Middlesbrough and it could basically all fall apart at a moment’s notice. I think they will give Chelsea a tougher time than you would think, but if Avram Grant’s good players show up, I would take Chelsea to win 2-1 with goals from Drogba, Malouda and Aliardiere

Bet on Freddie Sears to score for West Ham at Sunderland, bet on City and Birmingham to be a goal-fest.


Ronaldo Rounds the Keeper on His 100th Premier League Start… Manchester United over Birmingham 1-0!

September 29, 2007

Highlights are right here.
What a tense match… I seriously don’t know how we keep grinding out these victories and I might very well have a heart attack before season’s end. Still though, I’ll take the 3 points any day, any time. It was really open, even stuff. We seemed to get caught up in midfield and we played narrower than I have ever seen before, especially in the first half. Narrow, direct stuff like Sam Allardyce’s Bolton, back when they were a force to be reckoned with, anyhow.

Ronaldo’s finish was first class, capitalizing on Quedrue’s mistake and rounding the keeper. It was the definition of composure and a great way to mark his 100th Premier League start for United.

This is what, our fifth straight clean sheet in the premier league? Our 2-0 win over the chavs was a bit of an anomaly- our only game this season when we scored more than 1 goal. Thing is, what we’re seeing is an improved version of our usual shaky start to the season and I think this is what’s going to give us the edge this year over the rest of the big four.  Here’s why.

United aren’t playing well

This is the truth- we are playing relatively mediocre attacking football. Our hope that Tevez and Rooney could form a strike partnership seems like it may be a long way off. It’s true, both of the players are similar, somewhat negating each other in a Lampard/Gerrard for England type scenario. They move into similar spaces on the pitch and seemed to get in each others way a lot in the first half. Rooney looked particularly frustrated.

But this is exactly my point, we aren’t playing well, yet we continue to win games. In years past, we probably would have lost more than we did given the strength of our performances, but what we’ve really seen has been the emergence of Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as the league’s best central defensive partnership, but also as the league’s most entertaining defense to watch.  We’ve cleared how many balls off the line this year, and despite many defensive lapses, we have more clean sheets than any other premier league team.

Once our team clicks and finds a rhythm (my guess is mid November) we will be a true force to be reckoned with.

Arsenal can’t keep it up

Despite a residual pounding of Derby, Arsenal haven’t looked that impressive so far. Granted they top the league, and their form has been good… But I don’t think the likes of Adebayor and Fabregas can carry that team, that far. They cannot compete on all four fronts with a squad that thin. A few key injuries around Christmas time could see the Arse drop a lot of points quickly. They could have a good champions league run this year and find that their league form suffers considerably. At this point, the premier league is Arsenal’s to win. The only question is, for how long?

Rafa Benitez can’t manage in the Premier League

The Liverpool Reds can’t string runs of victories together. I think its due to Rafa’s inability to adapt to premier league tactics, although granted, he did seem to have Jose Mourinho’s number. The squad rotation policy benefits nobody. Liverpool also have a bad habit of losing or drawing against mediocre teams. We’ve seen that more than once this year.

Chelsea’s implosion

Was there ever a time under Mourinho where the chavs dropped points on three straight weekends? Nuff said.


It’s official! Thierry Henry has left Arsenal! Barca completes Henry signing

June 22, 2007

WOW!

It’s done, it’s over, cut-wrap-print it! Theirry Henry has left Arsenal and the seemingly endless transfer saga is officially over. The story has been confirmed by the BBC.

And Soccernet.

Well, as a Man Utd fan, I have to say I’m glad that the Arsenal are now without their talisman, but I feel that English football will miss his exploits even though he hasn’t looked like the same player lately.

Theirry Henry helped change the way that football in the Premier League is played. He was the attacking head of a team that went undefeated… The Premiership will never see his likes again.

16 million pounds was the total fee.

Can you believe that Manchester United paid 16 million for Nani and apparently 20 for Anderson. And Henry for 16 million? That’s a high price for a 30 year old, but man… Can you imagine how Henry will link up with messi and ronaldinho (eto’o will be gone by next season- it is now pretty much official).

So, farewell king Henry.

Cristiano Ronaldo is now officially the best player in the Premier League.