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A rough tackling midfielder is what we need the most

Rooney's brace took Man Utd. to the top of premier league table ....

Manchester United go top after defeating West Bromwich Albion

Rooney's brace took Man Utd. to the top of premier league table ....

Match Report: Manchester United 2 Athletic Bilbao 3

United had a really tough time at Old Trafford as they were largely outplayed for most of the time despite taking the lead through Wayne Rooney. ...

Europa League Match Preview: Manchester United vs Athletic Bilbao

Manchester United face Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of Round of 16 at Old Trafford...

Paul Pogba signs £20k four year deal with Juventus

Paul Pogba has signed a £20k four year deal with Juventus.........

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A rough tackling midfielder is what we need the most

  
Lucas Moura is a rumored Man. Utd. target, but he isn't
the answer to United's midfield woes
  With the end of season, commences the transfer rumors. This is that time of season where crazy rumors fly around. And being a Manchester United fan, you will most likely hear lots of player linked to the club. From Modric to Baines, this summer has already tossed up interesting rumors. Many top class players have been linked with the Old Trafford club, but the only deals finalized yet are that of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell.

Sir Alex in his latest press conference stated that United will probably sign one player and maybe two. The top priority transfer is rumored to be Lucas Moura and if the reports are to be believed even Baines could be joining United. There are also rumors that an enquiry has been made about availability of Eriksen. The focus looks more on an attacking midfielder, but we already have that area covered. We have Kagawa, Clelverly and Anderson, but the holding midfielder role is still not filled.

A midfielder who excels both at defending and attacking is absent at United. With the departure of Park Ji Sung, the need of a hard working midfielder who can create goals is quite clear. Witsel, Strootman etc. are the few names that have also been linked with Manchester United, but SAF hardly seems to sign a holding midfielder. But, now is the team he needs to really put impetus on signing such a midfielder. The lack of this type of midfielder can be clearly seen when United play against a good midfield.

Last season, we were humbled by the likes of Ajax, Athletic Bilbao as well. We were outrun in the midfield. The thought of us playing Barca with that kind of performance is very terrifying. The thing we require most is a holding midfielder not an attacking. SAF should address this position sooner rather than later so as to ensure a good season. Champions League will be the biggest test undoubtedly. We can't afford to be overrun in the midfield every-time we are playing in Europe.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Manchester United go top after defeating West Bromwich Albion

Rooney's brace took Man Utd. to the top of premier league table
Rooney celebrating after scoring a penalty against West Brom

Manchester United reached the summit after defeating West Bromwich Albion. Another reason for Man Utd. reaching top was Manchester City getting defeated by Swansea.


This match started with WBA on the front foot. They looked quite comfortable in possession. But after the game settled in it was all Manchester United. Ashley Young was the main source of attack for quite sometime. United missed quite some chances.


But Rooney finally got United a deserved goal as he touched a shot from Hernandez in the 35th minute.


The second half begun pretty much like the first. West Brom started on the front foot. They had a penalty appealed turned down when Patrice Evra got Peter Odemwingie down. It seemed to be a clear penalty shout but Evra was lucky that West Brom weren't awarded a penalty.


Then on 66th minute Jonas Olsson picked up his second booking of the game and thus got sent off. This was for taking Chicharito down.


After this, it was an uphill battle for the visitors. United kept going forward, having a man advantage and created chance after chance for quite some time.


They finally got rewarded when Ashley Young got fouled in West Brom's penalty area. The penalty was coolly taken by Rooney. That goal was 26th goal of Rooney's season.


The goal meant United could afford to sub-off Scholes and so they did. He was replaced by Paul Pogba who was rumored to be heading to Juventus. But this appearance could mean that it was just a rumor. Moreover, this game also saw Tom Cleverly's return from injury which could be a huge boost for the title run in.


Chicharito set up a great cross in 82nd minute only to see Ashley Young not head the ball properly. After the sending off, the game apparently looked over, therefore this miss didn't prove too costly to United.


Just as this games end was approaching, Man City conceded a goal against Manchester City. Thus after the blow of the whistle, the fans went mad. They were all too pretty excited after knowing that this result would mean United would go top of EPL and so they did.


This could proved to be a vital twist in the EPL. But it's not all over yet. Manchester United will have to carry on their good form in EPL if they're to retain EPL this season.


Let's hope they do.

Premier League Match Preview: Manchester United vs West Bromwich Albion

Manchester United face West Brom today in a very crucial match.




Date, Venue: Sunday 11 March 2012, 14:00 GMT (NEPAL Standard Time: 19:45) at Old Trafford.


Manchester United are to face West Bromwich Albion in the upcoming fixture of Premier League. Manchester United have been in good form recently in Premier League but defeat against Athletic Bilbao would have raised concerns of most of the Red Devil's fans.


Man Utd. will be hoping to regain their own confidence and the fan's as well ahead of the second leg of Europa league tie vs Bilbao in which united need to win at least  by 2 goals go get through the  next round.


Similarly, the importance of this match can't be discounted. United are just two points behind the league leader Man City and will be hoping to heap further pressure on the by winning this match.


Manchester United have relatively easier run in compared to City so they will look to make full use of it and mount as much pressure as possible upon Man City.




Team News
Sir Alex said that Antonio Valencia should be back for this game. Thus he could be returning to the squad and so could Tom Cleverly.


Steven Reid of West Brom is injured so will miss the match and so could Jerome Thomas following his hamstring injury.


Predictions
West Brom last week defeated Chelsea so will be looking for another upset as far as possible. But after the  bad performance against Bilbao united will be looking to regain their confidence for the title run in and also for the upcoming Europa League tie. 


Manchester United should comfortably win this game none the less. I will go for 3-1 victory to Manchester  United.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Match Report: Manchester United 2 Athletic Bilbao 3



United had a really tough time at Old Trafford as they were largely outplayed for most of the time despite taking the lead through Wayne Rooney. He also got a late second which was not enough for the win but just to minimize the deficit. The visitors maintained their positive and attacking approach after going behind and were ruling side on the pitch and they eventually  got the goals from Fernando Llorente, Oscar de Marcos and Iker Muniain. Now United have it all to do at the Estadio San Mames next Thursday to proceed further into the Europa League, they atleast need a 2-0 win away from home.

Earlier than game it was all expected that a much stronger team will be landed as Sir Alex promised to field a strong team and he stuck to his word, although a handful of recent key performers, namely Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Nani and Danny Welbeck, were kept on the bench. In their place came Chris Smalling, wearing a protective hat after his head injury for England last week, Phil Jones, Ji-sung Park and Javier Hernandez.

The Spanish side were never going to come to Old Trafford just to make up the numbers – they had made that pretty clear in the build-up to the game – and they showed in the opening five minutes that, despite never having won on English soil, a visit to Old Trafford held no fears. Not only were the visitors extremely organised, they were highly motivated from the off and flooded forward at every opportunity.


Fernando Llorente was the Spaniard who had the visitors’ first sight of goal on four minutes when the skilful front man twisted and turned on the edge of the box to create space before curling an effort just wide of David De Gea’s left-hand post. In an another moment Iker Muniain found himself within a whisker of latching onto a lovely ball over the top from Javi Martinez soon after, but thankfully the pass ran through to De Gea.

United took time to get going on the attacking part – a tame low drive from Hernandez, straight at goalkeeper was all the Reds could get in the opening 20 minutes.

But after surviving a couple of scares – the referee waved away Llorente’s penalty appeals after tangling with Smalling and Markel Susaeta shot straight at De Gea, the outplayed home side took a somewhat surprise lead on 22 minutes. Hernandez played a neat one-two with Ryan Giggs before the Mexican fired low at Iraizoz who could only parry the ball into the path of the onrushing Rooney to blast home his 23rd goal of the campaign from six yards.

The goal did little to dent Athletic Club’s spirit and endeavour; in fact, the visitors appeared to grow in confidence as the openings in United’s half kept coming. Llorente headed over after a whipped cross from Oscar de Marcos down the right, before Susaeta was presented with a glorious chance just after the half-hour. Ander Herrera dinked a pass forward to Susaeta who burst clear of Jonny Evans but rather than take the ball on towards goal, he opted to lob De Gea and saw his effort drop wide. Soon after, right-back Andoni Iraola did manage to test the Spanish keeper after a burst forward, but De Gea was equal to it and turned it round the post.

After countless warnings the visitors gave it was no surprise to see Llorente get it finally just before going on the break on the 44th minute. He played his part in some neat build-up before ghosting in unmarked to powerfully head Susaeta’s right-wing cross past De Gea.

The Reds had De Gea to thank thereafter, not just for keeping them in this game, but arguably in the tie. First, the Spanish stopper, at full stretch, brilliantly tipped away Muniain’s 25-yard drive, before palming Llorente’s curling effort over the bar. Looking at the possession things were a little more even than the first period, and United had the fresh legs of Michael Carrick and Anderson who replaced Smalling and Park respectively, but it was visitors rather than hosts who still looked the most likely to score more. It did almost happen on 68 minutes when the impressive Muniain played a neat one-two with Herrera and found himself clean through - Thanks to De Gea who rescued The Reds with a smart save with his feet.

Unfortunately he again was powerless to stop de Marcos giving Athletic Club the lead on 72 minutes. After an exchange of passes on the edge of United’s box, the ball came to Herrera who scooped the ball up for de Marcos to volley home left-footed into the far corner, although replays showed the midfielder was in an offside position.

De Gea saved again from substitute Gaizka Toquero, but after parrying de Marcos’ speculative effort on 90 minutes, he was unable to prevent Muniain, who had run in unmarked, blasting the rebound into the roof of the net for Athletic's third.

The tie looked to be all over but Rooney gave United a lifeline deep into injury-time from the penalty spot after de Marcos had handled Hernandez’s shot in the box.

United still have it all to do, but there is at least some hope with just 1 goal less, they need to come up with atleast a 2-0 win to keep going on the Europa. Hope they land on much more better side with the likes of Cleverly, Valencia coming back after staying away from Injury.

Lineup
Man Utd - De Gea, Evra, Rafael, Evans, Smalling, Jones, Giggs, Ji-Sung, Young, Rooney and Hernández 
Subs - Amos, Ferdinand, Anderson, Carrick, Fabio Nani, Welbeck

Athletic Bilbao - Iraizoz, Iraola, San Jose, Aurtenetxe, Martínez, Susaeta, Iturraspe, Herrera, Llorente, Oscar and Muniaín.
Subs - Raul, Toquero, Lopez, Koikili, Perez, Ekiza, Gomes
Scorers
Man Utd - Rooney (22', pen 90')
Athletic Bilbao - Llorente (44'), Oscar (72') and Muniaín (90').

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Europa League Match Preview: Manchester United vs Athletic Bilbao

Manchester United face Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of Round of 16 at Old Trafford.
Man. Utd. vs Athletic Bilbao
Date, Venue: Thursday 8 March 2012, 20:05 GMT (NEPAL Standard Time: Friday, March 09, 2012 1:50:00 AM) at Old Trafford
Having defeated Tottenham without dominate the game, Manchester United have another tough game in their hands. Athletic Bilbao can't be discounted as an easy opponent as they have a very decent squad.

But United will be pretty confident as they have been able to salvage a possible of 10 points out of 12 against the opponents of likes of: Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Though, United aren't playing Europa League out of choice, rather compulsion, there is an incentive of adding Europa League to the Trophy Cabinet of Manchester United which doesn't include this trophy. Therefore, Manchester United might look up to Europa League more seriously than they would otherwise.

Team News
There are some good news on the injury front for Manchester United as well. Chris Smalling will most probably be back for this game. Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverly are getting better with their fitness but this game might come a little bit too soon for the. Whereas, Athletic Bilbao are expected to travel with a full squad, with long-term absentees  Carlos Gurpegui, Aitor Ocio, and Xabier Castillo all missing due to long-term injuries.

Prediction
On paper, Manchester United are undoubtedly the better team, but matches are won on field and not paper. Thus, United will have to play with full concentration in order to register a victory against Bilbao. The defense needs to function well as the downfall of English clubs in Europe this year has been caused due to lackluster defending. Man. Utd. certainly have the home advantage in the first leg which they will try to use in their advantage as much as possible. 

That said, I still fancy Manchester United to win by 2-0 if they keep their concentration levels high.

And don't forget to post your predictions below. You don't even need to have a google account. But please do leave your Name with your comments as well.

 
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