Why Cristiano Ronaldo’s Transfer Could Mean Schweinsteiger and Podolski are Manchester United Bound

June 25, 2008

I haven’t been able to post in a while as I’ve been busy working on an exciting new football blog project that will be launching in the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to bring you more details about that once the time is right. However, I figured I had to weigh in on the status of Cristiano Ronaldo’s seemingly unstoppable transfer to Real Madrid.

I’m not gonna shit on the guy as a player, I can’t belittle his contribution from last year and he is truly one of the world’s greatest players, if not the most exciting. However, if he really wants to alienate the fans, insult our manager and basically turn himself into a pariah during his exit; then he is more than entitled to do so. If we get a fair price for him (the 70 million pound vicinity sounds about right) then I’m more than happy to let him go. If he is willing to piss everybody off in this manner, then the guy must really want it. He could have stayed and become a United legend and truly one of the all-time greats, but it appears as though that doesn’t interest him. I am confident that I know the answer as to why.

He is supposedly now engaged to Nereida Gallardo and I am positive that she has her heart set on becoming one of Spain’s biggest celebrities and that will require Cristiano signing up as the newest, greatest Galactico. Face it, once he shacked up with her, his whole tone changed. Guys will do weird things if it means that they can bang a model on the regular.

If he stays he stays, if he goes he goes, but I would much rather see him leave than stick around and stink up the place or unsettle other members of the team. I am pretty sure that Fergie and the Glaziers have enough pride to not let Madrid get away with what they have been obviously trying to do. We don’t have to sell, Manchester United aren’t a selling club. But I say if he’s going to be a dick about it, then sell him and cash the hell in.

Lukas Podolski is being linked heavily with Tottenham. I think he is exactly the type of striker we’re looking to bring into the side and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fergie was busy in the background trying to make something happen. There hasn’t been a great deal of United transfer news since we missed out on Aaron ‘retard’ Ramsey and I think that may have something to do with Carlos Quieroz’s potential ascension to the Portugal job. I don’t think he will leave, but if he does I would immediately put a bet on Keano as next Man United manager.

Shweinsteiger is a football manager favourite and he will fill Ronaldo’s shoes ably. He is more of a traditional winger but possesses the eye for goal that our style of play requires. Him and Podolski would add some continental class to the United side and it is pretty obvious that they are both looking to GTFO of the Bundesliga ASAP.

If Ronaldo goes, we can fill his shoes with these two and be better off because of it. And I imagine we’ll likely have another 25 million or so kicking around in change. Maybe we could put that towards lowering ticket prices.


Manchester United’s 07/08 Season in Review (Up ’til this point)

March 25, 2008


It’s been a while, a long while, but due to work hecticness and assorted insanity, I was out of blogging commission for the better part of the season. Truth be told, I find that during the middle of the English Premier League season, there is such a saturation of coverage that it almost isn’t worth it to blog about all the highlights and details. However, after this past weekend, the horse race is definitely on- this could be the most exciting three months that United, the Premier League and quite possibly the Champions League have seen in ages.

Anyways, things are starting to heat up, since the last post (which was early September, I believe) United have come a long way, to say the least. In my opinion, the two key factors that have thus far defined United’s season are a) the early season injuries to Giggs, Scholes and Neville, b) Ronaldo and Rooney redefining their positions.

Early on, none of us expected Anderson and Nani to have much to do this season except possibly a loan deal to a continental side or a few substitution appearances interspersed with reserve team duty. Speaking from late March you can only say two words: fuck that. Giggsy and Scholesy have seen themselves upstaged and replaced by the pace, vision and trickery of Nani combined with the raw talent and guile exhibited by Olivera Anderson. While both youngsters are far from the finished product, they have shown themselves able deputies for the two aging superstars, who are enduring the final few days of their playing careers. While both Giggs and Scholes have contributed much to United’s success this season, the torch was passed earlier than expected with the two Portuguese speaking players coping much better than we all expected.

Anderson specifically should be singled out for praise, and while I admit he can sometimes be wasteful, he shows a steely resolve and an ability to read the game that you’d normally see in a player more than a decade his senior. I expected Anderson to be a creative attacking player, but perhaps that particular part of his game only worked in Portugal. His approach to the Premier League has been that of a box-to-box midfielder- able to break down opposing attacks (Anderson is so adept at harassing the other team’s central midfielders)  and then play wicked through balls to release Rooney, Ronaldo, or Tevez in the blink of an eye. Anderson needs to stop shooting on the volley and start keeping the ball on the ground, I would personally like to see him run at players more, but if he seems himself developing in the mode of a Keane or a Gattuso- I say good on him.

Nani as a much more attack-minded player and the old adage definitely applies that while he isn’t necessarily a great goal-scorer, he is a scorer of great goals. Witness the one he banged in against Liverpool over the weekend and you’ll know what I mean. He’s only gotten four on the season, but they’ve all been hum-fucking-dingers.

The absence of Gary Neville has also been telling, as Wesley Brown finally came into his own and proved that he was a quality player able to run with the big dogs. Now he just needs to sign his goddamn contract and we’ll be good.

The second part of my season in review is to address the explosive play of Cristiano Ronaldo.  Everybody agrees that Ronaldo is redefining the role of a winger and I personally think its short-sighted to mention that and not mention Rooney in the same sentence. A lot of people have said Rooney’s lack of goals this year prove that he is an average player similar to somebody like Dirk Kuyt. Nothing could be further from the truth.  What is happening here is something that would only come out of a system run by Alex Ferguson. Ronaldo is doing so well because he is a midfielder in the process of becoming a forward, while Rooney is playing well because he is a forward in the process of becoming a midfielder.

Look at Rooney’s performance in the match up against Liverpool this weekend, he set up both goals that weren’t from a corner with excellent off-the ball running and a creative range of passing. These are the characteristics of a world class midfielder. Rooney has always been a short battering-ram of a striker, and it worked very well for him in his early days because players simply didn’t know how to play against him. As opposition defences figured out Rooney’s style and learned how to stifle him, Rooney has upped the ante. This is how he differs from a player like Kuyt. Kuyt has gone from being mediocre up front to being mediocre on the left wing. Rooney has adapted to dropping deeper or leading the line and playing the role of provider instead of the finisher of attacking moves.

There have been many cases this season when Rooney would, in previous years, have fired a hopeful long shot at the keeper but instead he is now opting to play incredible passes into the direction of Tevez or Ronaldo and allow them to share in the spoils. Ronaldo would not have 34 goals this season if Rooney weren’t playing Cash to Ronaldo’s Tango.

And let’s face it, Ronaldo is a one-man gang sometimes. He is a proven match-winner and I can’t believe some people still slate him as over-rated. For my money, Ronaldo is the most exciting footballer in world and is the best attacking player in the Premier League. He will not be leaving United for some time as he is realizing that he won’t get more play or promotion anywhere else in the world. He is simply that good.

I also have to give hats off to the defensive duo of Ferdinand and Vidic, who have both remained healthy all year and I would genuinely put them up as the best central defensive pairing in the world. I firmly believe that the understanding between the two is something special with both players possessing power, pace and precision in abundance. Evra has been his fleet-footed self all season and he adds so much to our attack on the overlap. I think that over the course of his career, many people will see Evra as the natural successor to Roberto Carlos, except for one thing- Evra can actually defend.

If you were to ask me who should be sold this summer, I would have to give you two or three candidates right off the bat. While there is still time in the season and I could very well be eating my words later, I would say that Louis Saha and Michael Carrick should probably be off-loaded while we can still get a decent price for them. Saha is too injury prone and just looks off the pace right now. His first touch is gone and the runs he used to make are now easily picked off by opposing defenders or the keeper. He can’t cut it at this level and he has to go. Carrick on the other hand hasn’t played particularly terribly, he just doesn’t really get the job done for me. He really has only had one outstanding game for us (second game against Roma) and his range of passing just doesn’t hold up when you compare him to the quality of Nani, Anderson and Hargreaves. I think Fergie has given Carrick too much of a chance at Hargreaves expense, but I think that Fergie is trying to keep Owen fresh for a long Champions League campaign.

That is definitely one thing that we owe Fergie for. Our team has probably been the luckiest big four club thus far in terms of injuries. Whereas in other seasons long term injuries to Neville, Giggs and Scholes would have proved disastrous, Fergie’s summer spending spree has proved fruitful. I think Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea have long term futures at the club. I am on the fence about Park Ji-Sung, but at the end of the day, he’s a solid guy and always gives 110%. He looks really stoked when he scores too. I say keep him.

From now on, I’ll be blogging the England and Man U games for the rest of the season. I’ll be back with a new video format and who knows, you might even see some of my other projects starting to show up around here. Rumor has it that there is an andrewisahater English cricket blog coming up.

Until then, it’s good to be back. Make sure to check back on the regular as I’m going balls out on the blogging again.  Congratulations go out to Rio Ferdinand for being awarded the England captaincy. Should be worth watching. What happens if we hammer France? Something to chew on.

English Premier League Matchday 1 Commentary

August 11, 2007

What a great opening day. Honestly, while my beloved Man United are still yet to play (twenty hours away and counting) I was really encouraged by today’s results, not necessarily today’s performances, but the results have been very impressive. I only managed to catch the West Ham- City match live, but I followed the other ones as they happened and I’ll be including some video highlights as they become available.

Manchester City- West Ham
Anybody who’s read this site for longer than six seconds will know that I’m definitely not going to be the first person in the room to big-up Man City, but I’ve always been a firm believer in credit where credit is due. This is a completely different Manchester City team that I have seen in well… ever. Not many of the names were particularly recognizable and knowing that Svenski signed them all by looking at DVD’s makes it all the more impressive. Ironic really, considering that Sven’s men (god that rolls right off your tongue) were reliant on goalscorers coming off the bench. This was pretty much my (and everybody’s) biggest gripe about Mr. Eriksson, that he couldn’t make effective substitutions that would effectively change a game. Well, this time, Sven did it and he did it in style. This Man City team looks like a good Premier League side that doesn’t even closely resemble the confused shit-show of the Stuart Pearce era.

West Ham do not look solid going forward. Bobby Zamora played like a Special Olympics player and seemed to dismantle many of West Ham’s promising moves. Dean Ashton was handed a gilt-edged chance to even the score with that volley in the latter part of the second half. Those are the type of chances you need to finish in order to win Premier League Matches. Freddie Ljungberg was also awful.

A year ago, Manchester City against West Ham would have sounded absolutely dour. But this game was much better than I expected and I think Manchester City have a really exciting squad to look forward to all year. This could really benefit them, because they are an unknown quantity. Almost like when a promoted side comes up full of players that many managers know nothing about. Nobody knew what to expect from Sven’s men, and I was completely impressed. We will not roll over them in the derby (but I’m hoping we beat the shit out of them).

Sunderland vs Spurs
Roy Keane could not have asked for a better result and I could ditto Niall Quinn on that one as well.  From what I could tell it seemed like a relatively quiet contest until Chopra fired the Black Cats ahead in the 93rd minute with literally the last touch of the match. Incredible. This is the win that Wigan deserved two years ago against Chelsea. It would be one thing to say that a promoted side that pushed a solid Premier League team all the way and emerged with a draw were “punching above their weight.” But that type of thing isn’t what wins you your Premier League status back at the end of the season, punching above your weight only takes you so far and to really make your mark you need to win matches and that’s exactly what Keane’s boys did.

Spurs should be worried. Dropping points against promoted sides is not acceptable for a team that is trying to pip Arsenal for fourth. With Liverpool winning today, Spurs will be hoping that either Arsenal, Chelsea or Man U slip up tomorrow, if they don’t- Spurs have already dropped three points you know they expected to pick up. Berbatov was rendered ineffective and the attacking prowess of Aaron Lennon seemed to be sorely missed. Spurs must win next week or a general malaise could set in and see them finish mid-table- which would be an absolute disaster.

Derby against Pompey

The Rams have been widely tipped to go down and they can draw an incredible amount of positives from this match. While they didn’t win, this was not their match to win- it was Portsmouth’s to lose. If you ask me, Derby showed that they will pose a lot more problems than some sides would have thought. The #1 reason why promoted teams get relegated is because they can’t score goals and seeing Derby knock two against a solid Premier League defense will be very reassuring to Rams fans. Andy Todd must be in dreamland, because he is a Championship-level player, but has managed to make a big splash today. Good on him.

Portsmouth need David James, Linvoy Primus and Sol Campbell to rescue this season for them. They will need better performances from these three if they are going to qualify for Europe.

Liverpool against Villa
Stephen Gerrard was up to his usual tricks as he rescued Liverpool from a disappointing draw. Torres was a handful up front, but did not contribute the expected goal on his debut. He looked good linking up with Kuyt and I am interested to see how he plays off of Crouch. Villa were unfortunate to concede the own goal and Liverpool will need to rely less on their inspirational talisman if they are going to push Man U and Chelsea all the way.

Villa show definite signs that their manager did not make the right purchases in the off-season. They will need bigger performances if they are going to fulfill their expectations of a better-than-mid-table finish.

Middlesbrough vs Blackburn
Southgate has got to be kicking himself as his boys blew a comfortable half-time lead against Mark Hughes team and their typically thuggish (albeit effective) tactics. Benni McCarthy being stretchered off is going to be a big problem for Rovers, but they got the three points on the day and I guess that’s what matters. I didn’t see any of this match so I don’t really have too much to say. That and I’m starting to feel the malt liquor I’ve been drinking while I’m writing this. God, it’s 1:30 here…

Everton versus Wigan
A huge performance from Arteta and a late Victor Anichebe goal saw Wigan drop the points (as expected) against Everton- a solid and competitive Premier league outfit. It will be reassuring to see goals come from somewhere other than Andy Johnson while Wigan have not done themselves many favors and remain a good bet for the drop.

Newcastle against Bolton
Big Sam smoked little Sam as the Magpies came out flying. 3-1 was the final score after two clinical strikes from Obafemi Martins and a tight goal from Charles N’Zogbia. This is exactly how Newcastle need to play every game if Sam Allardyce’s charges are going to elevate Newcastle away from being an upper-mid table side.

A typical goal from Anelka was not enough against this Newcastle side and while Bolton shouldn’t be in any relegation danger, you wonder whether the inability to beat a side like Newcastle means that things could be tougher than originally thought for Sammy Lee.

Either way, it was an epic way to start the season and I’ll be posting videos as soon as they hit youtube.

Nani and Anderson- 25 minutes worth of video highlights

June 4, 2007

So, my recent posts about Anderson and Nani’s transfer (or should I say, shock transfer) to Manchester United have been the most widely read and forwarded posts in andrewisahater’s short history. Sooooooooooo, in the spirit of giving people what they want, I’ve rounded up the cream of the crop of footage from Anderson and Nani.

I can completely understand why people want to see this stuff, unless you’ve been actively following the Portuguese League (yes, both of you outside of Portugal) you haven’t had a chance to see these kids play. Here we go.

This one is 90% video with a few still shots in there. Sounds like a Sean Paul song on the sountrack. Nani’s got a nice backflip celebration when he scores. I think the Prem could use more tumbling.

This video is gold. Shout out to whoever put this one together. 10 minutes of Nani and Anderson madness! This video proved to me that Anderson’s main asset is that scintellating pace. It’s absolutely incredible, watch him as he pokes the ball away from the other team in their areas over and over again. Having Anderson close down defenders in their own areas and then play the ball to Rooney, Ronaldo, or Nani sounds like a good tactic to me.

Nice vid with some samba tune on there. A lot of it looks like grainy footage of Anderson in Brazil. Still, some incredible stuff on here. These guys are a lot better than I thought they’d be. If they can adapt to the Premiership’s style of play quickly and stay relatively free of injuries I will bet money that these two will help deliver the Prem for us again next year.

Another great compilation with some Fort Minor on the soundtrack.

Roy Keane to sign Paul Scholes? Check this Scholesy highlight video

June 2, 2007

So, I woke up to the BBC’s Gossip column this morning and the very first rumor is “Sunderland boss Roy keane is poised to make a two million pound bid for former team-mate Paul Scholes”

Yeah right!

There is absolutely no way in hell that Alex Ferguson would let Scholesy leave and definitely no way that he would go for such a paltry figure. You simply don’t see these types of players anymore. They aren’t so much a player or a footballer as a club servant, I mean, Scholesy’s whole career was spent at Man U and look at the genial and humble individual that it produced.  I heard somewhere that he doesn’t even have an agent and I guess that makes sense because if you never have a transfer and know how to add up more than 6 digits, you can probably handle your own contract renewals- especially if you’re the most complete English midfielder of your generation.

He’s spent his whole footballing life at Man U and I see no reason why he should not (and would not) spend the rest of his career there and then hopefully move into coaching in our youth academy or something, hell he could probably keep going with the senior team until he’s a Sheringham-like 41 thanks to the fact that his eye problem seems to have vanished.

Back to the Keano thing though, I think there is serious potential for Scholesy to make a LOAN move to Sunderland under specific circumstances. Let me tell you a wee bit about those circumstances.  Hypothetically, I could see it happening if the following things occur:

– Sunderland enter the January transfer window in the relegation mire, not there but close. Fulham close.

– Anderson and Nani are on fucking fire. With Carrick and Hargreaves battling it out for one half of central midfield, Anderson and Scholes would be contesting the other. If Scholes is not starting many games, Fergie may opt to keep him sharp by sending him on loan to Sunderland.

– If that does indeed happen, you can get that Fergie will include some kind of weird clause where Scholes actually comes back to Man U three games early so that he’ll be around in case of an injury crisis or something.

So yeah, that’s Andrew Rideout’s Scholes Hypothesis. You heard it here first. To the videos!

How awesome is that when the announcer just goes “SCHOOOOOOOLES!!!!!!” What a volley!

Sounds like the announcer literally shits his pants as he sees the ball hit the back of the net. “And Paul Scholes with the most brilliant goal!”

That was my vote for goal of the season.

Here’s a highlight reel of lots of his older goals. I actually like the music in a video for once.

How sweet it is. You won’t find a more well-respected ginger anywhere in the world aside from Carrot Top’s Las Vegas show.