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Friday, 16 March 2012

Manchester United drop out of Europe. Images #mufc

Manchester United are out of the UEFA Europa League now and so are City,  I can't help but be impressed by the performances of Bieslas Athletic Bilbao.  They really showed what a group of technical players can do.  Manchester United looked very average on Thursday night and a lot of the players had a very tough night. 
United just couldn't deal with the pressing game of Bilbao, they chased the ball and closed United down high up the pitch and our passing game just wasn't up to par.  I saw far too many long balls played from the back a lack of mobility from team mates meant that there were not enough options for our players when put under pressure.   This resulted in Man United giving posession up time and again.  Bilbao basically hammered United and it was depressing to watch.

Manchester United  I feel, need to increase the accuracy of passing and to show more positivity when in posession, too many times on Thursday Man United seemed to be uncomfortable on the ball and not able to retain the ball when pressed.  Newcastle, Tottenham Barcelona and Man City have all used this high pressing tactic against Unted to good effect and I wonder what needs to change to nullify this this tactic.

I think that losing Anderson in midfield to injury is a loss because he is confident on the ball and was part of the team that early on this season showed crisp sharp passing and very good retention in the midle of the park.  Early on there seemed to be more movement off the ball from Cleverley and his other midfield counterparts, it allowed for a fluid style and some very nice one touch passing moves which sreated goals galore against Arsenal and Tottenham at Old Trafford.

Unfortunately Anderson has spent most of the season injured again and I wonder if he will ever become a regular starter for Manchester United.  He now has a hamstring injury that will keep him out for 5-6 weeks.  Maybe it is true that United need to sign a midfielder or two, maybe I wouldn't be saying this if Man United had not suffered record numbers of injuries this year weakening the side undoubtedly.  Maybe some teams have just been using this tactic against Manchester United and we only need to adjust slightly but for me it's a bit of a worry.

For me, the problem I describe is a common one for English Premier League teams who emphasise physicality and strenghth over pure technical ability.  The evolution of Spanish footbal is no coincidence and throughout La Liga teams can be seen to show the tika-taka style that has dominated the highest level of football in recent years.  The players are smaller and I would suggest aerobically fitter and more capable of covering ever greater distances on the pitch.  When coupled with unity and desire as shown by Athletic Bilbao it provides a beautiful display of attacking football that is of a higher intensity than ever seen before in football.

These little technicians are obviously better at running than your Andy Carrols of this world and seem to be able to do it for the full 90 minutes.  The reduction in hard tackling and physical contact on the pitch lends itself even further to the dominance of these types of players.  I must add that these smaller footballers are very tough and recieve knocks from much bigger guys but it seems that they aren't really at any disadvantage due to better protection from referees.

So as it stands only Chelsea managed to remain in a European competition to this point, having seen all the English teams fall by the wayside.  I must now look to the Premier League for my kicks,  I have my ticket for Wolves away trip on Sunday and I can't wait!

Manchester United are now top of the league and have the chance to make the gap 4 points to 2nd placed Man City before they play on Monday night.  C'mon the reds!

Images from

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Manchester United vs Norwich images and training pics #mufc

The bookies have slashed the odds again after this weekends game even though it was kinda lucky to beat Tottenham Hotspurs 3-1 as they had played so well throughout the match.  Sandro is a really good defensive midfielder and worked extremely hard to stop us from having the centre of the park.  As the first half drew on I started to wonder if Tottenham would ever score, although it was pretty uncomfortable for me to watch because we just seemed to sit back and invite them onto us time and again.

Anyway, the result was enough to convince one local United follower as he decided to put 5 grand on Manchester United to win the league.  I hope he is rewarded for his faith in the boys!  The odds he got were 11/10 so he's not being overly optimistic as far as the bookies are concerned.

This is probably the wierdest Manchester United related news story I have ever happened upon:

(Reuters) - A South Korean environmental group is appealing to Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung, who said he used to drink juice made from boiled frogs to build his physique, to help it protect the amphibians from a surge in consumption.
Lobby group "Frogs Friends" said that consumption of frog juice had surged since Park's 2006 autobiography in which he said he had drunk it as a tonic, and said they would lobby the international and Premier League star to join their campaign.

"I do not know if it is just coincidence but after it was revealed... that Park eats frogs as a means to boost his strength, the number of cases of illegal poaching of frogs and toads residing in mountains has increased," campaign organiser Park Wan-hee was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency on Monday.
Since its establishment in 2007, Frog's Friends has been campaigning to stop Koreans killing amphibians for perceived health properties.

Park is South Korea's best known soccer player and said that his father had fed him frog juice to boost his stamina.
"If Park joins our campaign to stop the practice, it would correct people's misperceptions about eating frogs, believing it will raise their stamina," said the lobby group.

Unfortunately Manchester United still have an enormous injury list and I wonder what Man United medical staff think is going on.  Chris Smalling has a head injury that he picked up playing for England against Holland in their 3-2 defeat.

Manchester United injury list march 2012

Antonio Valencia is still out with his hamstring, Tom Cleverley has a ankle injury that has kept him out for months now.  He has made two returns since he initially got injured in a tackle by Kevin Davies at Bolton early in the season.  Anders Lindegaard too has an ankle injury whilst young Ritchie De Laet has a calf injury.
Nemanja Vidic and Bebe are out long term with cruciate ligament injuries as is Darren Fletcher with a bowel condition.  Lastly Michael Owen is still trying to recover from the thigh strain he suffered before christmas.

This story states that Manchester United are earning more profit and reducing the clubs debt, however it is still quite clear that the Glazers are no angels.  The way they bought the club and saddled it with debt, to then pay huge interest on makes it hard to like them at all.

(Reuters) - English Premier League soccer champions Manchester United reported an increase of almost eight percent in first half earnings on Tuesday, boosted by strong increases in commercial and media revenues.
United, the most successful club in the English game, said EBITDA (earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation) increased by 7.7 percent to 64.2 million pounds ($101.9 million) in the six months to the end of December.

United put plans for a $1 billion flotation in Singapore on hold last September because of volatility in global markets.

The American Glazer family, who bought the club in 2005, had been expected to use some of the proceeds from the listing to bring down debt that supporters believe has held back United.
Gross debt was 439 million pounds as of the end-December, down from 508 million pounds a year earlier.
United are currently second in the English Premier League, behind local rivals Manchester City who have spent heavily on players thanks to the backing of their owners from Abu Dhabi.

Total revenue grew to 175 million pounds in the period, up by 11.8 percent. Media revenues contributed 60.9 million pounds, up 13 percent, while commercial revenues rose 16 percent to 58.6 million pounds, both totals exceeding matchday revenues.
United's second half performance is certain to be hit by their early exit from the Champions League this season after they reached the final last May.
They have also been eliminated from the FA Cup, the main domestic knockout competition.

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