Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Derby ended 1-1

It was a really tough game for both squads. But the most incredible part was when Ricardo Carvalho muscled in a second-half header to earn visiting Chelsea a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

In the most important derby of the week, Louis Saha gave United a first-half lead in the 29th minute with a wonderful piece of skill, bending the ball past Carlo Cudicini.

In fact, the encounter developed an intriguing ebb and flow in the second half as Saha twice went close, while Frank Lampard rained in a series of shots in reply.

That's when Carvalho earned Chelsea that point when he powered a header past Edwin van der Sar from a Lampard corner in the 69th minute.

We have to say that if Manchester United had the better of the first half, Chelsea were well worth the draw given their impressive second-half display.

What's more, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho brought on Arjen Robben for Geremi at the restart, a switch that entailed Michael Essien dropping to right-back.

That lineup provided Chelsea with greater attacking fluidity, with Essien superb in the way he surged forward from his defensive place on the pitch.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Saha is becoming a vital striker

French striker is becoming important for Manchester United. And this time it was against Blackburn Rovers, scoring the only goal to get a tough victory.

When United coach, sir Alex Ferguson, is willing to allow Alan Smith to leave Manchester United on loan, the vital role to be played by Louis Saha in this season's title race was underlined here when the French international forward scored a really good winning goal while his partner Wayne Rooney squandered three incredible chances.

Indeed, Saha struck his eighth goal of the season, with an accomplished 63rd-minute hooked shot from six yards - a superb, predatory finish after Rooney, who had been denied for a third time by Brad Friedel from close range just a minute earlier, played a wide ball to John O'Shea whose centre was brilliantly turned across goal by midfielder Ryan Giggs.

We must say that Ferguson thought the performance praiseworthy: "Louis is in good form. He's a threat with good pace and power and he's a great balance to the squad.

"It was a feisty match with a lot of challenges and tackles, and a good result and a great performance by us because in the past we have come here and played better and lost - last season we scored three times and lost 4-3."

Finally free of injury, French striker Saha looks a devastatingly effective finisher, in stark contrast to the efforts of Rooney yesterday, although Ferguson's decision to allow Smith to leave Manchester, at a time when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is out injured and Saha and Rooney both have a long history of their own injury troubles behind them, looks a calculated gamble.

However, as long as Saha is in such form, Ferguson's hopes of continuing his team's impressive start to the season and maintaining the pressure on defending champions Chelsea look fine.

"The important thing is Chelsea have done fantastic the last two years, winning the league early on and making it difficult for us all," Ferguson admitted. "But at least this good start must give us a chance"

"A lot of things come into consideration. You've got to get through December, which is always tough, and by January you have a great idea of who's going to contest and who's going to be involved in relegation. That's a pivotal time. Hopefully, if we can keep our good performance and keep the injury situation low, we will be there."

Monday, November 6, 2006

Powerfull attack in the Carling Cup

Manchester stars Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo could be unleashed on Southend on Tuesday as the team look to book a place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals.

Indeed, Manchester United needed a late extra-time goal to get past Crewe a fortnight ago, and Sir Alex Ferguson has vowed to field a much stronger side at Roots Hall, with only Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin van der Sar missing the game.

It's important to consider that Ryan Shawcross, David Jones, David Gray and Crewe hero Kieran Lee will all be involved but apart from those youngsters, the remainder of United's line-up will be from his first-team squad. Even if Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo do make the trip, they seem certain to start on the bench.

In the other side, Southend will be without Matt Harrold when they host the holders.

The talented forward, who scored Southend's goal in the 3-1 defeat by Wolves at the weekend, is cup-tied having turned out for former club Yeovil in round one.

According to the club, with fellow forwards Lee Bradbury (hip) and Billy Paynter (hamstring) still on the injury list, Gary Hooper is likely to partner Freddy Eastwood in attack.

What's more, defender Adam Barrett is a doubt after missing the Wolves match with a stomach problem, with Spencer Prior ready to step in.

Friday, November 3, 2006

United lost a game and a player

One of the most beloved players in Manchester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has been ruled out for a few weeks after injuring his hamstring in his team's Champions League defeat to FC Copenhagen.

In fact, the Norwegian striker only recently returned from serious knee problems that had sidelined him for two years.

That's why Sir Alex Ferguson expressed: "It's unfortunate for Ole but I am actually quite happy. Given his previous history of knee problems, I was a bit concerned but, fortunately, it is only a hamstring. He will be out for a few weeks."

It's important to mention that Solskjaer is currently United's leading scorer with six goals this season.