Posts Tagged ‘Preview’
With everyone STILL excited over beating Chelsea, and a rematch on Tuesday before City at the weekend, it’s going to be difficult to keep our feet on the ground and our eyes on the visit of Fulham. That is exactly what we must do to drive, once and for all, a stake through the heart of this league campaign.
Rooney is obviously banned, but that’s no bother. This is exactly the kind of team that Dimitar Berbatov relishes playing against. You’d expect Mark Hughes’ Fulham side to come to Old Trafford and play a compact game, only breaking if they can get the ball to stick with the excellent Bobby Zamora. Step forward Mr Vidic, your job is obvious.
Then, once we get the ball down, we need to go at Fulham’s heart, rather than play in front of them, get it wide and try to beat them in the air. Brede Hangeland will not stand for that. Let’s see how he handles Anderson pegging it towards him with the ball before slipping it through to Chicharito.
Of course, with Anderson pegging it forward and Scholes and Giggs needed for more testing assignments in the coming weeks, it’s probably going to fall to Darron Gibson to hold the midfield. There is no way I want my Michael Carrick injured or fatigued on the Saturday when we’ve got another game on the Tuesday night.
John O’Shea needs a game, Vidic and Ferdinand need every game that they can get as a pair, and I feel sorry for any young left-backs at the club because Patrice Evra plays every game regardless. Perhaps Edwin won’t be risked, so Kuz has a good chance of starting.
So, as massively wrong as Sir Alex usually proves me, I think I’ve got this weeks team worked out. Just you watch. He’ll go and pick Owen or Brown or some shit..
Fulham nark me right off. They’re one of these teams that just shouldn’t be good, but against us they invariably are. They get far, far too many points against us. Look what the dick-eaters have done to us recently.
Five Cantonas Prediction
Fortunately, they only seem to do this kind of shit at Craven Cottage. Whenever we’ve got them at our place, we’ve done okay. This is going to carry on. We’re going to win 3-0, take off Nani, Tony and Chicha with plenty of time left, and then move on the Chelsea on Tuesday. We have to keep our eyes on this for now, though. Absolutely have to.
I cannot even contemplate losing to Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool within what feels like mere days. FA Cup or not, this one is a must-win for us.
I probably sound like a broken record saying that every single week, but in this case it’s absolutely true. If you asked me normally, then I would say yes, games against Arsenal are always important but in this instance, we need to take a look at the bigger picture. Read the rest of this entry »
Marseille aren’t a team most fans know too much about, but they have become regulars on the European scene lately.
We haven’t played them ourselves for 12 years, and they haven’t been in the Champions League knockout stage since their bribery-tainted victory in 1993. That said, they have impressed at times in their recent Champions League campaigns, which have included a victory over Liverpool at Anfield, and their squad is flecked with quality.
This season they look like they mean business. They won away at Spartak Moscow (3-0) and MSK Zilina (whatever…) and beat Chelsea at home, albeit after the rentboy’s form plunged off a cliff. They also made it through the group with only three goals conceeded. Only Manchester United and Real Madrid conceeded less.
Their main goal threat, Andre-Pierre Gignac, will miss the game, as previously mentioned, although Mathieu Valbuena has returned to training this week. Valbuena was a goalscoring part of the impressive France team which tore England a new one a few months back, and has been linked with a move to everyone good, including ourselves. Despite being short of match practice he should start.
How will United fare in Marseille?
- Win (75%, 12 Votes)
- Score draw (19%, 3 Votes)
- Lose (6%, 1 Votes)
- No score draw (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 16
Marseille are not short of experience, either, with the influential Lucho Gonzalez well into his second season at the club, and sixth in the Champions League. He is of course familiar to us from his time with Porto, who we seem to play remarkably often.
Their team also contains a certain Gabriel Heinze. I’m not sure where to begin with this dickhead, other to say that it will be an absolute pleasure to welcome the wannabe dipper back to Old Trafford, and thank him for his service. I thought we would miss him when he left, but I was not counting on Patrice being so, so good.
The tie offers United a chance to return to the Stade Velodrome, famous for it’s intimidating atmosphere. In 1999, we lost 1-0 to them, with a young William Gallas grabbing the only goal. A year prior, it was the scene of Dennis Bergkamp’s winner against Argentina, one of the great World Cup goals. England played Tunisia there in the group stages of that tournament. Amusingly, their record attendance was for the 2004 visit of Newcastle United.
Although Gignac is out and Valbuena short of games, we have injury problems ourselves, with the usual suspects out, along with Anderson, who picked up a knock against Crawley, and Ferdinand, who still hasn’t shaken off whatever minor niggle has got to him this time.
If he were still at United, and you’d asked me ten days ago, Heinze would probably have started at center back tonight, because we’re missing Rio Ferdinand again. I would have been reluctant to suggest Chris Smalling as an alternative due to his lack of experience, but he was so colossal against City that it would be ludicrous to leave him out. Composed, confident, dominant in the air, this kid is the real deal.
He will partner Vidic, with Evra and Rafael at full-back (although John O’Shea has come back into favour lately). Then it gets interesting. If Marseille go 4-3-3, I expect us to do the same, meaning Berba could, again, be the one to miss out. It’s a difficult one. Berba doesn’t really fit the system, although that’s more the fault of those around him than his own. We tend to be more effective overall with Rooney up top.
Nani is the first name on the teamsheet this season, and I expect Giggs to start on the other wing to provide experience. With Anderson out injured, a midfield of Scholes, Carrick and Fletcher pretty much picks itself once Giggs is wide, with Gibson looking woefully short of form.
Park’s absence is a blow, because I think he would have started this game, but I still think we’re strong enough to win this tie. Our away form is a concern, however, so I think we can expect a draw here.
Five Cantonas Prediction
1-1. Rooney to continue his renaissance, but they will grab one in the second half when they come at us. We will be happy with this result.
Shows what I know. No sooner do I post this, the news breaks that Giggs has not been named in the squad to travel, along with Rio, Owen and Anderson. Has he picked up a knock? Does this mean Rooney will play on the left with Berba up top?
This game should, on paper, be a gimme, but for two things.
Firstly, we have lost at Molineux in recent memory;
Admittedly that video does contain Quinton Fortune, not our greatest player of the last ten years, but the team we took should still have been good enough to win. Read the rest of this entry »
Back to business.
After the FA Cup diversion at the weekend, we have another huge game in the Premiership, although that’s not saying anything because, as the nights begin to draw out, every game is big when you’re at the top of the table. Read the rest of this entry »
This competition has been relatively bad to us in recent years. Whilst not enjoying the same success as in the League Cup, we always seem to do OK before going out in some stupid fashion, such as Barthez not trying against Di Canio, or losing to Dirty Leeds last season.
It would be nice to get back on track in this competition, and a win against Liverpool was a great way to start, wiping the smile of King Kenny’s face before it even had begun. Read the rest of this entry »