Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jonny Evans sure to eliminate Inter despite last draw

Inter and Manchester ended a goal-less game. But the young and talented footballer Jonny Evans is confident that Manchester United will be celebrating a famous European victory in a fortnight.

Indeed, the Red Devils left the San Siro feeling disappointed last night after drawing 0-0 with Inter Milan, who were grateful that United didn’t take full advantage of their dominance for much of the first leg last 16 clash.

A we said, Evans was a concerning injury doubt ahead of the fixture in Italy, but his ankle stood up to the test of Brazilian hero Adriano and Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Once again in a big clash for coach Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, the player really made it good in the last line. If the frontme would have being just as effective, the leg would already be decided.

It’s interesting to read that Evans stated: "We're very disappointed not to have netted an away goal, especially at the moment you look at the opportunitys we had in the first half at the moment we got in behind them three or four times.

"However, it's not a bad result and we go to Old Trafford full of confidence. We must make sure we win – it's as clear as that."

Ferguson praised the contribution of Evans, hailing his desire to play. The Newtownabbey man limped off at full-time but hopes to be fit for Sunday’s Carling Cup final against Tottenham at Wembley.

Arsenal supporters will keep an eye on that one, probably still feeling a little apprehensive about their Champions League hopes.

The London team did win the first leg 1-0 at home to Roma last night through a Robin van Persie penalty, but it really must have been four or five.

PD: This game wasn't as good as the last victory over Fulham.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Red Devils win thanks to Rooney goals in his comeback

Talented Wayne Rooney made a goal-scoring return from his five-week injury layoff to help Manchester United defeat Fulham 3-0 and extend its Premier League lead to five points.

The popular Wayne, who had been sidelined with a hamstring injury, completed the scoring after coming on as a second-half substitute at Old Trafford last night. United led through first- half goals by Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov.

We must consider that United’s ninth straight league victory lifted the Red Devils to 59 points with 13 games remaining as they bid to tie Liverpool’s record of 18 English championships. Liverpool is second with 54 points.

“We didn’t take any risks with Wayne,” United manager Alex Ferguson told to the press. “I could have played him on Sunday and in despite of that, I felt wait a few days and we’ll get the dividends of that, and we got that tonight.”

The Red Devils has now gone 14 matches unbeaten in England’s top division as it seeks an unprecedented five trophies this season. Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar last night extended his shutout streak to 1,302 minutes, a European record.

In fact, Scholes opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he volleyed Michael Carrick’s corner kick from the edge of the area and Fulham goalie Mark Schwarzer spilled the shot over the line. It was the 34-year-old Scholes’s 97th Premier League goal.

“Over the years I have always contributed goals and in despite of that, in the last couple of seasons that hasn’t been the case, as I have been playing slightly deeper,” Scholes told MUTV. “Hopefully that’s the start of a few more to come.”

“The Apache” Carlos Tevez had a goal disallowed for offside in the 25th minute before Berbatov made it 2-0 five minutes later when he got between Schwarzer and Aaron Hughes to tap in a cross from John O’Shea, who had been picked out by Scholes’s chip.

It’s amazing to notice that United had a second goal waved off just before half time as Berbatov was judged offside as he headed in Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick.

Indeed, Rooney, who got injured against Wigan on Jan. 14, replaced Berbatov 15 minutes into the second half. Less than three minutes later he met Park Ji-Sung’s shot across the face of goal at the far post for his seventh league goal of the season.

Edwin Van der Sar, who hasn’t permited a goal during United’s unbeaten streak, surpassed the European single-season mark of 1,275 minutes without allowing a goal set by Atletico Madrid’s Abel Resino in 1991.

Should the Dutch keeper hold Blackburn scoreless for 89 minutes in three days, he will eclipse the record of team Brugge keeper Dany Verlinden, who went 1,390 minutes without allowing a goal over two seasons of the Belgian league in 1990.

Fergie only fears Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool in Premier League

Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't think that Chelsea Fooltball Club will provide any major threat to Manchester United's drive for the Premier League title this season. Instead, he is viewing Rafa Bentiez's Liverpool as the most important threat in the Premier League race.

"At this moment in time, Liverpool are our main challengers and our greatest threat," the Scotsman told The Manchester Evening News today.

It’s amazing to notice that Guus Hiddink has been appointed as temporary manager at Chelsea, and in despite of that, Ferguson clearly sees that making negligible difference to a title race his men currently lead by two points form Liverpool, having played a game less.

The gap to Aston Villa in third place is five points, with Chelsea a further two points behind them, and Ferguson clearly views this as an insurmountable gap for the Londoners. Aston Villa remain something of an unknown quantity, whose lack of experience might tell in the run-in.

Indeed, Ferguson has identified the period when United returned from Japan with the World team Championship as key to the progress that they have subsequently made in climbing to the top of the table.

"We went to Stoke and it was a lively pitch and we had just got back from Japan. And in spite of that, we scraped a result because we never gave in," Fergie added.

"We ended up with Ryan Giggs at left-back because we wanted to victory the encounter. It was an important marker to lay down after coming back from Japan. We needed to victory that game. Once we won that we have just gone on.

"Then I looked upon the West Ham encounter as our hardest away game in the run in. They had been playing their best football of the season and it is a tough place to go to.

"We had to play them at a great moment for them in terms of confidence and form so it was always going to be a big task for us. and in despite of that, the footballers delivered. We didn't lose our composure or nerve to play. The footballers know how to handle pressure."

In fact, United can increase the gap between themselves and the rest at the top of table this evening, when they entertain Fulham at Old Trafford.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Evergreen Giggs pens new contract

Evergreen Ryan Giggs has been handed a new one-year contract at Manchester United after displaying the type of hunger that Sir Alex Ferguson demands of his players.

Giggs, 35, who made his first-team debut for the club nearly 18 years ago, has racked up over 550 top-flight appearances and is the only player to have scored in every Premier League season since its inception.

The Welshman has featured in 18 Premier League games for the champions this season after being moulded into a central midfield player after spending the majority of his career out on the wing.

"I am as fit as I have ever been. The only difference is recovering from games," said Giggs.

"Two days after a game, I am still tired. Before, I could play Saturday-Wednesday, Saturday-Wednesday no problem.

"Today, I would be a lot less efficient at doing things. Nowadays, I only play once a week, it's very good that way."

With 10 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns representing the pinnacle of his achievements many fans would have forgiven Giggs for a wavered passion for success, but far from it.
The Cardiff-born star has been in sensational form for Fergie's men driving them forward from midfield and working hard in defence - a trait not associated with Giggs in his pomp.

And with an amazing Quadruple still possible at football odds of 16.5, Giggs might just be aiming to topple the feat of 1999 when United won an unprecedented Treble.

By Phil Tomlinson, an online sports writer for Betfair – Check them out for Cheltenham betting odds.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Carlos Tevez's car seized by Police

United's soccer star Carlos Tevez has had his 140,000 pounds Bentley seized because he does not have a full UK driving licence, police said.

The 25-year-old Argentina international was stopped by traffic officers on the M60 near Stretford, Greater Manchester. His car has been impounded.

Police said they pulled his car over, suspecting the tinting on its windows was too dark.

Test at the roadside showed the tint was illegal, police officers said.

"The officers were concerned certain windows were illegally tinted. They were tested and found to be too dark so a prohibition notice was issued to the driver.

"When asked to provide his documentation, it was discovered the driver did not have a full UK driving licence and was advised to arranged removal of the car."

Source: BBC Sports.
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Talented Ronaldo also enjoys at the time people hate him

The current World Player of the Year landed a host of individual honours to go along with the Premier League and Champions League success he enjoyed with United last season.

Lauded at Old Trafford, the 24-year-old is often targeted by opposition supporters but the Portuguese has learned how to turn the hostility to his own advantage and be inspired rather than intimidated by the crowd.

“I must say that it’s normal for me now,” said Ronaldo. “If it doesn’t happen I’m thinking, ‘Why aren’t they booing me?

“It’s part of football. perhaps they think if they boo, I’ll lose my concentration. But it doesn’t happen. I like it.”

It is not just in the stands that Ronaldo is singled out for special attention, on the pitch too his notoriety and value to his side means he often comes in for rough treatment.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson criticised the treatment that Ronaldo receives and the lack of protection from referees earlier this season – and praised Ronaldo’s strength for ignoring the worst of the attention.

Ronaldo, though, is sympathetic to the difficulty of the referee’s job after getting a taste for it himself during training with United.

“The referees have a tough job,” he said. “When I’ve been injured I’ve been given the opportunity to be a referee in training. The lads will say, ‘Come on, you are the ref in this game’. It’s very tough.

“I respect the referees, but sometimes I don’t agree with what happens. If you want to have a great league and quick football, you have to protect the skilful players.

“They are the ones that put on a show and that’s what the fans want. But there are some very great referees in the Premier League.”

Van der Sar, one of the best players for Ferguson

Manchester United's veteran Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has been attracting a plethora of snowballing plaudits due to his role in keeping opposition attacks frustrated, stifled, and kept at bay every Saturday.

By keeping his sheet clean during the 5-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on January 27 - United's 11th successive shut-out (1032 minutes) - the 38-year old had ensured the club smashed Chelsea's previous Premier League record of ten straight clean sheets (1027 minutes).

The following 1-0 victory over Everton then broke a further record, eclipsing Reading's Steve Death's notable feat of going 1,104 minutes unbeaten.

One has to sift back through 12 league fixtures to find at the time Edwin van der Sar was last beaten and, just like London buses, two goals came at once as Frenchman Samir Nasri bagged a brace during the 2-1 victory in early November at Arsenal's north London Emirates Stadium.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed the Edwin effect in his Everton clash programme notes.

"The record has left Edwin revelling in a personal achievement that seems to be giving him as much pleasure as all the many honours he has won with Ajax and Juventus, as well as earning 123 caps with Holland," the passage read.

He continued, "It’s his great experience, allied to youthful enthusiasm, that marks him out as a very special goalkeeper."

Sir Alex though was quick to attribute the feat equally to the rearguard that sits in front and helps protect van der Sar's net, even though injuries have meant that Ferguson has had to field alternative defences with almost every match-day.

"The defensive record is remarkable because this is the part of the side that has been most affected in recent weeks by injury," Ferguson stated.

He finally said: "Everyone has rallied round."

Darren Fletcher: I'm glad i chosed Manchester United

Darren Fletcher knows now he made the right decision to stick with Manchester United - but last summer the choice was not so easy.

As any former United star would acknowledge, after leaving Old Trafford the only way is down.

Arguably Beckham might be the exception that proves the rule but most Red Devils old boys who go on to achieve success do so at a lower level than they experienced before.

And even Beckham, for all the plaudits he received at Real Madrid and, now, with AC Milan, has not added another Champions League to the medal he won in 1999.

It was that thought that was fizzing through Fletcher's mind during a pivotal meeting with manager Sir Alex Ferguson, balancing out the knowledge the Scot had started on only 10 occasions in all competitions last term.

"People might say you are silly and that if United are offering you a contract why are you thinking about going," Fletcher told the Manchester Evening News.

"Fans were telling me I'd be stupid to go, but I am a soccer player and I want to play. So I had a decision (to make) that was right for me and my family.

"I didn't want to be going home to my girlfriend in a bad mood because I hadn't been playing. You have to sit down and think about your future sometimes.

"Although it's great to be at United and earning things you also want to feel as though you have done something and played a big part in achieving that success.

"I didn't want to tie myself into a long contract if I was only going to be playing for 10 encounters a season."

Not for the first time in his United career, Ferguson asked Fletcher to consider the bigger picture and ask himself whether he could imagine playing in what constituted a big game with a lesser club.

Even at boyhood heroes Celtic, the four guaranteed Old Firm encounters a year can take on a rose-tinted hue at the time put alongside a midweek trip to Inverness or Kilmarnock.

In the end, Fletcher decided to stay and has duly been rewarded with 26 appearances this season, the latest of which came in the victory over Everton on Saturday.

"The boss assured me I was needed and I was a vital asset and there were different qualities I could bring to the midfield," he said.

"Of course there wasn't a guarantee that I would definitely play more matches. He cannot guarantee you that but I just thought I'd give it another go. I believe I can do it and that is my attitude. It was a great decision."

John O'Shea is another who fits into the same category, although the Republic of Ireland star could well lose his place at West Ham on Sunday as Patrice Evra is likely to return from a foot injury.

Wayne Rooney is also due back after hamstring trouble, which in theory at least will put the striker in line to face Spain for England next Wednesday.

However, Ferguson will almost certainly speak with England boss Fabio Capello, if not to advise the Italian not to pick Rooney, then to ration his time on the pitch.

As has been the case recently, almost as much attention has been paid to events elsewhere and the United boss was no doubt relieved to see his side's FA Cup fifth-round opponents settled at the City Ground last night.

It means only a draw between United and Derby at Pride Park on February 15 can prevent the second of their outstanding Premier League encounters, against Fulham, taking place at Old Trafford three days later.

That will bring the Red Devils level with their rivals for the first time since August, although their game against Portsmouth, scheduled for February 28, has been postponed due to the Carling Cup final meeting with Tottenham at Wembley 24 hours later.

Munich Remembered: We will never forget them!

February 6th will forever be circled on the calendars of everyone connected with Manchester United.

On that day in 1958, the darkest day in United's history, 23 people - eight players and three member of the club's staff - suffered fatal injuries in the Munich air crash.

Flying back from the European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade, the team plane stopped in Germany to refuel. The first two attempts to take off from Munich airport were aborted; following the third attempt the plane crashed.

Twenty-two of the people on board died instantly, while Duncan Edwards died 15 days later as a result of the injuries he sustained.

The tragedy is an indelible part of United's history, as is Sir Matt Busby overcoming his injuries to build another great team which won the European Cup 10 years later.

Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Geoff Bent, Liam Whelan, and Duncan Edwards all died along with the club secretary Walter Crickmer, trainer Tom Curry and coach Bert Whalley.

"The Busby Babes are the story of  Manchester United" Sir Bobby Charlton. 

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