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 News: Aaron Ramsey Set to be Manchester United’s New Summer Signing

June 3, 2008

It seems as though this kid has been garnering praise and adulation for most of the season as England’s new stand-out youth player set to launch himself onto the world stage. As soon as the season ended the countdown was on and as you can see, Fergie & Co. have already jumped on the Cardiff teenager. There are rumors swirling that Arsenal have also had a bid accepted, but if Ramsey has any hopes of playing for the English national team, he knows that Old Trafford is the only real destination.

Since he’s being loaned back to Cardiff for next season, he will likely make his united debut in the 09/10 season (jesus that sounds futuristic). He’ll be taking to the field with Rooney, Ferdinand, Carrick and Hargreaves and this exposure to the upper echelons of English footballers will do wonders for the boys confidence and technical ability. Fergie’s system has churned out so many excellent young players, that a well-developed lad like Ramsey could very well be the jewel in Sir Alex’s cap upon retirement. I also think that Fergie’s trump card will be playing the Welsh card. Giggsy will likely be dispatched to convince the kid to sign on the dotted line. Ramsey is a Welshman and there aren’t many held in higher esteem that Welsh Wizard they call Giggsy.

There is a faint scent of Michael Owen about the place. I hope that we can wrap up the deal shortly. The kid would be retarded to go to Arsenal.


Cristiano Ronaldo Leaving Manchester United? Don’t Bet on It

June 2, 2008

The whole Ronaldo thing is really quite simple and there’s three different ways it’s going to get resolved. All of them depend on the motivation of why, exactly, Ronaldo is saying one thing to the English press and another to the Spanish. What this does demonstrate, just from the outset, is the fact that Ronaldo is a shrewd media operator. Not made in the affable “aw, shucks” mold of David Beckham, he is as calculating as any girl you’d see on the Hills.

A) He really does want to leave. If Ronaldo really does want to go, it’s because he thinks he’s accomplished all he can at Manchester United (prem title, league’s best player, Champs league). I think this is bogus because he’s really only had one truly outstanding season and we will find out next year whether this was a one-off or not. He may also want to leave because he thinks he’ s bigger than the club… And I personally don’t think even Cristiano’s narcissism is at that level… Yet.

B) He wants to stay, he just enjoys the attention. This is the one I’m hoping for. I have a feeling that a lot of the media coverage happens to be due to Euro 2008 starting this week and the Spanish and Portuguese press needing something exciting to talk about. He keeps them guessing by playing coy about everything and this may be a subtle way to segue into option C.

C) He wants more money. This is the most likely reason why he’s doing what he’s doing. Abd I can kind of see where he’s coming from with this one as, in his mind, he was being paid the same amount when he was a 15 goals a season man with a few assist here and there. Now he’s racked up almost 50 goals and become the league’s best player. While he is being handsomely rewarded as it is, he is likely looking to become the league’s highest paid player. And there is a legitimate argument for that.

I believe that Fergie is right to come out guns-blazing (or Glazing) when he insists that the team’s owners would happily sit Ronaldo in the stands rather than sell him to Real Madrid just because he wants to spend more time on the beach and become the Spanish Press’ favorite person for the next few months until some Spanish soap star falls off a balcony or gets addicted to coke and everybody forgets about C. Ronaldo and the unimpressive year he’s having adjusting to the monotony and crap that goes on in the Spanish league. I don’t think Real should be reported to UEFA, but I do think they are crossing the line a bit by using their proxies at the Marca to unsettle Cristiano and keep the media attention on him. If he wants to leave, I think it will take a cool 150 million pounds to force the move. I think the Glaziers are that stubborn. And good on them for that. A PLC would jump at the chance to sell Ronaldo for 70 million. The Glaziers simply don’t have to think that way, luckily enough for us United fans.


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.