Category Archives: Manchester United

Barcelona – Champions of Europe

Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the finals of Champions League in Rome…Iniesta masterminded the midfiled with excellent support from Xavi and played rings around the United players. Messi played in the centre of attack flanked by Henry on the left and Eto on the right. 

Messi was tackled by two players everytime he got the ball and this strategy seemed to be working for sometime till Eto scored the goal. After that it was Barca all over the football field. In the end it was justice to Barca for a wonderful season, where they dominated Spain and Europe with their attacking brand of football. 

Final_Liga_Campeones_2009_Barcelona 1Messi boots out Utd with a rare header

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The “peppy” Guardiola

Final_Liga_Campeones_2009_Barcelona3

The Champions of Europe

Final_Liga_Campeones_2009_Barcelona

The grand welcome back in Barcelona

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Filed under 2008-09 season, Barcelona, Champions League, Iniesta, Manchester United, Messi, Pep Guardiola, Xavi Hernandez

Manchester United vs Arsenal: Stats before the match

Some pre-match stats from Opta

Manchester United have won their last seven league games, scoring at least twice in each match.

The last 15 Premier League games between United and Arsenal have seen five wins each and five draws.

 Arsenal have never scored more than one goal in a Premier League game at Old Trafford.

The Gunners have scored a total of only seven goals in 16 Premier League matches at the Theatre of Dreams.

United have scored either no goals or two goals in their last seven Premier League home games against Arsenal.

Arsenal have conceded eight goals in their last two league games against Big Four sides.

Manchester United have won only one of their five games against Big Four rivals this season.

Nicklas Bendtner has scored three goals in Arsenal’s last two league games.

Andrey Arshavin has six goals and seven assists for Arsenal in 12 starts for the club (all comps).

Wayne Rooney has scored five goals against Arsenal, only against four clubs has he been more prolific.

Only in two previous Premier League seasons have Arsenal conceded more goals after 36 games than this campaign. (1994-95 & 2002-03).

The last stat tells us pretty much about why we are where we are…Hopefully a victory or a draw should be commendable.

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Filed under 2008-09 season, Arsenal, Manchester United, Opta Stats

Barca lucky to go through

In a match which Barca would quickly like to forget, they beat Chelsea by the away goal rule and qualified for the finals in Rome against Manchester United. Chelsea dominated the match after taking lead in the 9th minute through a wonderful goal from Essien. And till the last minute of the match Chelsea despite all their defensive capabilities looked like the only side which created chances and had shote on goal. It would be fair to say that the key refereeing decisions went against them throughout the match. There were couple of good shouts for handball and also a few tackles inside the box.

Barca was not given any space, which they are given in plenty in La Liga and found themselves suffocated in the midfield and in the final quarter of the field. Messi whose only weakness seem to be playing against an English opposition, was kept quiet for most of the match. He was the provider for the clinching goal which came in the 3rd minute of added time through Iniesta. He was floating around with the ball stuck to his feet, avoiding tackles from the Chelsea players. I hope he proves his deteractors wrong in the final against United.

The media will surely hype up the Ronaldo vs Messi story come the finals. But in the semifinals Ronaldo has had the upper hand. Lets see if Ferguson has the guts to attack Barcelona in the finals.

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Filed under Barcelona, Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo, Europe, Iniesta, Manchester United, Messi

Arsenal vs Manchester United preview

As Manchester United visit Emirates Stadium, the team sheets and confidence levels of both teams can never be so contrasting. Manchester United have more or less a full strength squad to choose from and coming on the back of a victory over Hull City in the premier league (nevertheless a fighting comeback from the opposition) and a draw against Celtics away from home in the Champions League, they will be primed to give the Gunners one more blow to their Premier league hopes. Arsenal on the other hand face a host of injury problems and the draw against Fenerbache will not be encouraging coming on the back of a Stoke City defeat.

On the injury front, all parts of the field except the central midfield looks rosy for Arsenal. Starting from the back, Sagna’s injury means that Toure would play on that role on Saturday. Gallas and Silvestre are both injured and Wenger will take a call on matchday to keep one of them and maybe start with Djourou, who is a good bet to start. I hope he does that because Djorou would be capable of handling the aerial balls better than any of the other central defenders that we have. Clichy is fit and hence that position will be secure.

Coming to the midfield, injuries to both Walcott and Eboue means he will have to again look at Denilson/Diaby/Ramsey in that order to start on the right of midfield. I would prefer him to start with Ramsey but it might be too much for the youngster to start on a unfamiliar role in a high tempo match like this. Central midfield has been the debating point for the last few weeks now. I would like to see how Fabregas and Ramsey can play together in that role and if we can mould Ramsey into a defensive midfield role. Alex Song will also be in the picture when it comes to this match. Nasri retains his position on the left side of midfield, though he was very patchy in the last couple of matches.

Forwards are short in the current team and the only available two forwards are Bendtner and Vela and it looks like we will start with both or if Wenger goes for a 5 midfield we might start only with Bendtner. I would like to see Wilshere also coming through in this position, but maybe in the next match as Van Persie will and Adebayor might miss 2 more matches. But this is one of those moments in a footballer’s career where destiny is giving them a chance to prove a point to the coach and supporters and if Bendtner can make use of this opportunity he will endear himself to the entire Gooner community.

The team is definetely going through a bad patch and this is when they require us to support them and encourage them, whatever be the result. Lets hope Wenger does some magic with this set of players and we do not go down that soon this season.

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Filed under Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Bendtner, EPL, Manchester United

Berba to Utd, Binho to ManC and none to Ashburton Grove

In a midnight of pounds and faxes, transfer deadlines were met and unmet with a host of transfer deals across Europe and England as some of the top Premier league clubs made last minute additions to their squad. Of the notable ones were the long pending transfer of Berbatov to United. It seems the new super rick Sheikhs of Man City wanted to hijack the bid but Berbatov stood firm to commit himself to Man Utd.

But the most interesting bit of transfer happened in the Blue Half of Manchester as City swooped on Chelsea target Robinho from Real. Now that was something that must have irked off Abrahmovic…and I like that 🙂

Here are the list of transfer dealings from the top 4 clubs of EPL…courtesy Telegraph UK

Deadline Day deals:

Player From To Fee
Roman Pavlyuchenko Spartak Moscow Tottenham £14m
Vedran Corluka Manchester City Tottenham £8.5m
Jonas Olsson NEC Nijmegan WBA £800,000 rising to £1.6m
Omar Garcia Athletic Bilbao Rotherham Free
Vitor Flora Botafogo Liverpool Free
Ryan Gallagher Blackburn Plymouth Season Loan
Ryan Donk AZ Alkmaar WBA Season Loan
Kamil Zayatte Young Boys Berne Hull Season Loan
Blerim Dzemaili Bolton Torino Season Loan
Nadim Belhadj Lens Portsmouth Season Loan
Ignacio Gonzalez Valencia Newcastle Season Loan
Mark Bunn Northampton Blackburn Rovers Undisclosed
Louis Saha Manchester United Everton Undisclosed
Steve Finnan Liverpool Espanyol Undisclosed
Peter Guloisi MTK Hungaria Liverpool Undisclosed
Sean Evans Manchester United Aberystwyth Free
Collins John Fulham Nijmegen Free
Rachid Bouaouzan Wigan Nijmegen Season loan
Andriy Voronin Liverpool Hertha Berlin Season loan
Jonathan Grounds Middlesbrough Norwich City Three-month loan
Jean-Francois Christophe Portsmouth Southend United One-month loan
Gabriel Zakuani Fulham Peterborough One-month loan
Javan Vidal Manchester City Grimsby One-month loan
Danny Higginbotham Sunderland Stoke City Undisclosed
Carlo Nash Everton Wigan Athletic Undisclosed
Daniel Cousin Hull City Rangers £4m
Antonie Sibierski Norwich City Wigan Athletic 5 month loan
Martin Cranie Charlton Athletic Portsmouth Season loan
Xisco Newcastle United Deportivo La Coruna £8.2m
Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur £30.75m
Fraizer Campbell Tottenham Hotspur Manchester United Season loan
Michael Tonge Stoke City Sheffield United £1.5m
Tom Soares Stoke City Crystal Palace £1.5m
Julian Gray Fulham Coventry City Season loan

The top 4 clubs’ tranfer activities this year –

Arsenal

IN

Samir Nasri Marseille £12.8m

Aaron Ramsey Cardiff £5m

Mikael Silvestre Manchester U £750,000

Amaury Bischoff Werder Bremen Undisclosed

Francis Coquelin Stade Lavallois Free

OUT

Alexander Hleb Barcelona £11.8m rising to £13.5m

Justin Hoyte Middlesbrough £3m

Gilberto Silva Panathinaikos £1m

Mathieu Flamini AC Milan Free

Jens Lehmann Stuttgart Free

Kerrea Gilbert Leicester Season Loan

Havard Nordtveit Salamanca Season Loan

Nacer Barazite Derby 5 Month Loan

Armand Traore Portsmouth Season Loan

Chelsea

IN

Jose Bosingwa Porto £16.2m

Deco Barcelona £7.9m

Fabio Paim Sporting Lisbon Season Loan

OUT

Steve Sidwell Aston Villa £5m

Khalid Boulahrouz Stuttgart £4m

Tal Ben Haim Manchester C £3m

Claude Makelele Paris St-Germain Free

Harry Worley Leicester Free

Anthony Grant Southend Free

Andriy Shevchenko AC Milan Undisclosed

Ryan Bertrand Norwich Season Loan

Shaun Cummings MK Dons 1 Month Loan

Slobodan Rajkovic FC Twente Season Loan

Ben Sahar Portsmouth Season Loan

Michael Modubi Westerloo Season Loan

Jeffrey Ntuka Westerloo Season Loan

Emmanuel Sarki Westerloo Season Loan

Jimmy Smith Sheffield Wed Season Loan

Hernan Crespo Inter Milan Season Loan

Claudio Pizarro Werder Bremen Season Loan

Lee Sawyer Southend 3 Month Loan

Jack Cork Southampton 6 Month Loan

Adrian Pettigrew Released

James Simmonds Released

Phil Younghusband Released

Liverpool

IN

Albert Riera Espanyol Undisclosed

Peter Gulacsi MTK Hungaria Undisclosed

Vito Flora Botafogo Free

Robbie Keane Tottenham £19m rising to £20.3m

Andrea Dossena Udinese £7m

Diego Cavalieri Palmeiras £3m

David Ngog Paris St-Germain £1.5m

Nikola Saric Herfolge £600,000

Vincent Weijl AZ Alkmaar Nominal

Christopher Buchtmann Borussia Dortmund Undisclosed

Philipp Degen Borussia Dortmund Free

Emmanuel Mendy Murcia Deportivo Free

Zsolt Poloskei MTK Hungaria Season Loan

OUT

Steve Finnan Espanyol Undisclosed

Andriy Voronin Hertha Berlin Season loan

John Arne Riise Roma £4m

Scott Carson WBA £3.25m

Peter Crouch Portsmouth £9m rising to £11m

Danny Guthrie Newcastle £2.5m

Anthony Le Tallec Le Mans £1.1m

Charlie Barnett Tranmere Free

Besian Idrizaj Wacker Innsbruck Free

Harry Kewell Galatasaray Free

Godwin Antwi Tranmere 6 Month Loan

Adam Hammill Blackpool 6 Month Loan

Jack Hobbs Leicester Season Loan

Robbie Threlfall Hereford Season Loan

David Martin Leicester6 Month Loan

Sebastien Leto Olympiakos 2 Year Loan

Craig Lindfield Bournemouth 4 Month Loan

Manchester United

IN

Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham £30.75m

Davide Petrucci Roma £200,000

OUT

Dong Fangzhou Released

Gerard Pique Barcelona £4m

Chris Eagles Burnley £1.2m

Mikael Silvestre Arsenal £750,000

Richie Jones Hartlepool Free

Michael Lea Scunthorpe Free

Kieron Lee Oldham Free

Conor McCormack Triestina Free

Scott McManus Crewe Free

David Williams Oldham Free

Tom Heaton Cardiff Season Loan

Ferbin Brandy Swansea 6 Month Loan extension

Danny Simpson Blackburn Season Loan

Fraizer Campbell Tottenham Season loan

Lee Martin Nottm Fst Season Loan

Craig Cathcart Plymouth 6 Month Loan

Michael Barnes Released

Sean Evans Aberystwyth Released Free

Chris Fagan Released

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Filed under Arsenal, Berbatov, Chelsea, EPL, Liverpool, Manchester United, Robinho, tranfer deals, Transfer

Season 2008-09: Contenders – I

Manchester United

With both the domestic and the European titles under their belt, they would be brimming with confidence this time around. They would ideally be looking at retaining both the titles and in doing so become eligible to be the best United team ever. Ferguson has managed to retain his talismanic winger Ronaldo for one more season and has not made any notable buys so far. He is short of one striker and is eyeing the Spurs spearhead Berbatov who Ramos is reluctant to sell as he has already lost Keane.

The community shield was won in the penalty and it once again showed the fighting skills of Tevez and the youth and exuberance of Nani in the absence of Ronaldo and Rooney. But are they good enough to win the league this time also? Needs to be seen, as I can see them challenging the others only if they buy one more striker. This could be the last season for Van Der Saar, Giggs, Scholes and Gary Neville in this team. Queiroz has already left for Portugal and it is quite odd to see Alex Ferguson without his partner in coaching.

With Ronaldo and Rooney missing the beginning of the season I think United will lose their momentum initially though they will come back strongly. But how will Ronaldo play after his operation, will their new striker(if they buy anyone) fit in well with the team, can the Defenders put in one more stellar season? A lot of questions but I think they will not prosper as they did last year.

Prediction: Finish 3rd in the league

Chelsea

A new coach, old players and couple of good additions, Chelsea just look bigger and better this season. Having got Scolari as the coach who admitted openly that his only motivation was money, Chelsea did the best they could in getting a good coach. The other important thing they did was retain the services (so far) of Frank Lampard, their star player. With Drogba now looking at seeing out his contract and Ballack in some good European form this team will be pushing all limits this time around.

Deco was a wonderful signing and I wonder where he would fit in as the Chelsea midfield looks packed with talent. They have to make sure Lampard, Ballack, Essien, Deco, Joe Cole all get to play now. Scolari’s man management skill will be tested and if his past experience in handling the Brazilian national side is anything to go by then he definitely will. He is still pursuing Robinho and wonder if that is required at all.

Last year they know how close they came to winning the league as well as the Champion’s league. People like Ballack and Deco have shown their class in the just concluded Euros and would like to give it one more shot and honestly I think this year’s Chelsea team has got a better cutting edge than the previous season’s. They can maintain the winning momentum for 38 games and now they have coach who will provide the spark.

Prediction: English Premier League Champions

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Filed under 2008-09 season, Champions League, Chelsea, EPL, Europe, Manchester United

Transfer news and new kit

With the Euros over,time for some transfer news.

Manchester United – Ferguson has come out in the open and has said that he is looking for only one signing this season to strengthen his team. The position has not been specified but I presume it should be in the forward line given the injury prone Louis Saha might leave or get injured again. Lets not talk about Ronaldo and his impending transfer to Real Madrid. I feel United should just cash in as much as they can over him and pay off their debts. Will they go for Berbatov needs to be seen.

Chelsea – With Scolari coming in at Stamford Bridge,the playin style of the club is sure to change. And on his first day in office, he got Deco on board, something that Jose Mourinho could not do. Now this latest addition to the midfield means Lampard and Ballack are going to have competition for the second place. Does that mean Lampard will leave the club, again a debating point. Scolari is also strongly rumoured to get Robinho from Real as well. Now that should be interesting. Will Drogba be their come the start of the season, remains to be seen. Arshavin is the latest one who is tipped to be heading to Stamford Bridge this season.

Liverpool – Rafa is not good at buying players and to make it worse his hands are tied this time around with the transfer funds. The Gareth Barry tussle with Aston Villa is really sad, infact it is worse than the continuing Ronaldo saga. Barry has been asked to train on his own and Martin O’Neil has made it clear to Liverpool that they should pay 18 million if they want to see Barry in a red jersey next season. Fair enough. Do they have the money to buy David Villa??? No I do not think so.

Arsenal – Nasri is in. I hope he plays better than his Euro performance in an Arsenal jersey. Hleb stories have become silent and Adebayor stories on the rise in the last few weeks. Ade’s salary demands if it is true is showing him in a poor light. It is strange how one good season can make a player think so highly about himself. If he had made this demand at the end of next season after scoring 20 goals, it would have looked better.

The official jerseys are on sale from today. Here is the home jersey

And here is the rumoured to be away jersey

Also the 2008-09 Arsenal first team squad numbers have been finalised few weeks back. Notable ones;

12 Carlos Vela

14 Theo Walcott – ya he gets Henry’s number. Now only if he could play like him 🙂

16 Aaron Ramsey

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Filed under 2008-09 season, 2008-09 Squad numbers, Aaron Ramsey, Adebayor, Alex Ferguson, Arsenal, Arsenal Away Jersey, Arsenal Home Jersey, Arsene Wenger, Arshavin, Berbatov, Carlos Vela, Chelsea, David Villa, Deco, Drogba, EPL, Gareth Barry, Liverpool, Manchester United, Robinho, Ronaldo, Samir Nasri, Scolari, Theo, Walcott