Man Utd 1 Arsenal 0

Another lame match at display in the first leg of the second semi finals of the Champions league.

Man utd started out all attacking and had a chance just after 2 minutes as Almunia was forced to make a fully stretched save.

Man Utd took the lead from a somewhat unlikely scorer in John O’Shea as he found space after Arsenal failed to clear a corner in the 17th minute of the match.

The goal did calm the nerves at both ends but made the game a lot boring. It was a night of good defense at both ends which was followed by measured attacks.

Almunia made around a dozen saves to limit the scoreline to 1-0. He was a man on a mission to make as many saves as the number of shots that came towards his goal. He did let one go past him from O’Shea but that was more to slack defending from Arsenal that his mistake.

Kieran gibbs at left back was phenomenal. He had to handle Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half and Wayne Rooney in the second half and did he do a fantastic job keeping tabs on both of them. He looked a bit nervous against Middlesborough the other day and i was so not sure about him being pitted against Ronaldo tonight. Maybe all the hype in the newspaper got to the kid. He was out to prove that Clichy should be looking over his shoulders going forward. He had one of the best games of his career without doubt and Weenger would be extremely pleased by his showing tonight.

Arsenals creative 4 i.e. Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott and Adebayor didn’t have much of a game and that was the reason there was no finished product to any of the Arsenal attacks.

Song i think was excellent once again and the more i see of the lad the more sure i am becoming of the fact that he will be one hell of a Star player for Arsenal in the future. Diaby though was disappointing as he kept losing posession and hardly created an attacking move.

Silvestre and Toure were pretty solid at the centre of defense. The defense surprisingly looked pretty good for Arsenal. And that would be a positive thing for Arsenal going into the second leg next week.

I still think Man Utd will prove too much for Arsenal in the second leg. Though i wish Arsenal can nip it with 2 goals in the second leg.

See you next week. Till then Adios…

Football Manager 09: – Second Coming

Since my earlier post on FM 09 received such positive response, I have decided to write more Football Manager 2009 related posts on my blog…

So here’s an update on the game I have been playing. I had chosen to Manage Manchester United at the start of the 2008-09 season. Been two seasons at the club now. I had purchased Messi (82 Mil) and Andres Guardado (19mil) in the second season itself…I have sold Berbatov and bought Bojan for more or less same amount this season…Also Real Madrid wanted Guardado bad this season coz of his excellent performance for my team in my second season in charge. So I decided to Cash in on him by selling him for 50 milJ. I bought Stevan Jovetic for around 15 odd millions as Guardado’s replacement. I have also bought Johnny Heitinga as the replacement to the tired legs of Ferdinand. To replace Gary Neville, I trained Johnny Evans to play as right defender and he has become a really good right back for me now.

 Also I am training Mamadou Sakho to be the long term replacement for Evra, I dunno why I usually feel the charm of a player ends when he reaches 29/30. So I prefer buying young players to replace the old ones once the senior players start nearing 30.

 I am trying to sell Evra now but there seem to be no takers already for the 29 year old. Also i wanted to buy Fabregas as the centre midfield man for my team, but could not as Arsenal are unwilling to sell him even for 85 Mil. Will try and buy him again for 90/95 mil.

 Also I bought this really promising  young South American AM/FC from Villareal for 10/12 Mil called Roquero. He is good at free kicks and has already scored some really good goals for my team. Also had bought Bojan at the beginning of the season. So now I have got some really good forwards, like Rooney, Bojan, Alex Texieria, Roquero and Tevez. So I am trying to sell Tevez for around 60 mil. So that I have sufficient funds to buy both Fabregas and Pato (remember that I already have around 75 mil as of now). 

 I have already reached the January transfer window and am re-inforcing players for next season. I have already signed the brazilian attacking midfielder from Bremen, Ribas Diego on a free transfer. Also trying to rake in Rosina from Italy on a free transfer, but AC milan, Inter, Roma and Chelsea are interested in the player and have bid for a transfer in January window itself. So I also have bid 20 mil for the player and offered him a great 135,000 pounds a week salary so that he cannot reject joining my team. Then when the transfer is supposed to go through, I will keep delaying it again and again till the end of the transfer window. And when the window closes I will offer him a much lower salary and effectively sign him on a free transfer for the next season. This is a very effective strategy i have been using and works like a charm… 🙂

 Also better way is to keep delaying the transfer till end of season and once the player is out of contract he will join for a much lesser amount. Had once used this technique to sign Robinho when managing Barcelona. When I wanted to offer him a contract in the January transfer window, he wanted a very high salary, somewhere in the range of 125,000 pounds etc. So i kept delaying the transfer and once cancelled, used to offer him a new contract again only to delay it further. This way I pushed the transfer till the end of the season. Then when he was out of contract from Manchester City, I offered him a contract and guess how much he wanted to join my team? Just 55,000 pounds a week compared to almost 2 and half times he demanded earlier 🙂

 I am also on the look out to sign the young Russian Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev on a free transfer at the end of the season so that he joins me in the January of next season. Lot of good English players will also be out of contract and I plan to snap them up on free.

 Another great way to build up a great youth team without spending much money is to search at the end of each season for youngsters who are out of contract. For e.g. I search for players who are 16 yrs old and sort them by clubs. Then i see players from large clubs like Barcelona, Athletic Madrid, AC Milan, and Real Madrid etc… All clubs from top European leagues are worth a try. Offer contract to each of these top club players and your assistant manager will let you know if the player would be a quality/good/Decent/last resort signing. When starting a new youth club, I always sign all that are decent and above. Once I have a established youth system in place, i offer contracts to only players who would turn out to be good/quality players. This wont cost you a single penny and you can build up a great youth squads. Based on training and potential some of these youngsters can eventually turn into good first team players and if nothing will definitely rake in good transfer revenue for your team.

 I have won the super cup and the club world championship this season already and am well on track to win the championship, Champions League, League cup and FA cup tooJ

 I recently bought a Bosnian player, a defender for around 2.5 mil. He didn’t get a work permit, but has still been added to my club. I don’t know how I can re-apply work permit for him and I cannot even play him in competitive matches. Don’t know what to do. If anyone has faced such a situation and knows how to get rid of such a player or how to get a work permit for the same, let me know.

 I will soon post more about the tactics I use and the details about my team and how to optimize the tactics for effective match play once I’ve figured out how to upload the prt screens from the game here on wordpress.comJ

 

Till then keep looking at the space for more FM 2009 updatesJ

 

Vidic & co. let the devils down

It was a sorry scoreline and a sorry performance for Manchester United against Liverpool. I mean this is a team that might have had the most 1-0 victories of the last two seasons. And after scoring the first goal off a Ronaldo penalty I was sure they’d seal the match off even if they didnt score another goal. How wrong was i gonna be…

Coz Liverpool did manage to bring things even through a superb Torres goal. He is one of those players you want to hate as they are not in the team you support but cant help like cause of the sheer quality they show on the field.

The ball was cleared under pressure from the Liverpool defense and Vidic who should’ve cleared the ball at the first chance he got, mistimed the header and let torres in on a one on one with Van der sar who could do much to the aptly put ball in the corner of the Man United goal.

Torres gets away from a struggling Vidic to score Kop's first goal
Torres gets away from a struggling Vidic to score Kop’s first goal

Next it was Evra’s turn to let his team down. He slid in with a tackle which saw none of the ball but instead some of Gerrard’s leg. Down went Gerrard and the referee pointed out to the spot. Gerrard misses quite rarely from the spot and sure was not gonna miss one in a match of this magnitude.

Evra brings down Gerrard to give Liverpool a penalty and a 1-2 lead
Evra brings down Gerrard to give Liverpool a penalty and a 1-2 lead
Gerrard's joy knows no bounds as he kisses the Camera!!!

Gerrard's joy knows no bounds as he kisses the Camera!!!

Next Vidic is the culprit again. As he brings Torres down just outside the box to not just be sent off but also allow Fabio Aurelio to place a perfectly taken free kick to give Liverpool the 3-1 lead and an extra person’s advantage.

Aurelio slots in the perfect free kick after Vidic is sent off
Aurelio slots in the perfect free kick after Vidic is sent off

Finally Dossena scored his second late goal in so many games for Liverpool to finish the match off at an incredible 1-4 scoreline after Ferdinand’s faliure to clear the ball. Dossena’s finishing is much better than Bendtnar and he’s just a left back.

Manchester united supporters leave the ground as liverpool take a 4-1 lead
Manchester united supporters leave the ground as liverpool take a 4-1 lead

Vidic has arguably been the best player for United this season and he didnt look half that player in this game. He was completely overshadowed by Torres in this match and looked a little scared of the striker to be frank.

That goes for the whole of United back four. The United defense has been the best in the whole of Barclays Premier League this season. But they never turned up in this match. Maybe they were tired with the sheer number of matches that they’ve had to play in the last couple of weeks. Maybe the mind games that Gerrard, Torres, Rafa and co. were playing got to them. Or maybe this was one of those off days that every person has once in a while. Now that the damage is done, i hope its the latter. Lets hope it was a one off day that the United defense had and that they will bounce off well next week against Fulham.

I have a strong feeling that the team will bounce back after receiving the hairdryer treatment from Sir Alex Ferguson. Fulham will be the poor team that bears the brunt.

 Buck up Manchester United…Falling is no evil, falling and not standing up sure is:)

Manchester United manage to keep cool “Heads”

It was a typical European night of Football. The match kept dilly dallying from one end of the pitch to another. Manchester United settled the initial nerves when Vidic scored the opening goal. Despite the first goal Man united looked far from the convincing side which outplayed Mourinho’s Inter all over the pitch in the first leg of the fixture.

Vidic opens the scoring for the European champions

Vidic opens the scoring for the European champions

Even experienced players like Scholes and Giggs kept losing posession and game was very much open when the sides broke for half time. Inter just needed one goal and they’d be through on away goals rule.
SAF must have given the hairdryer treatment to his team as the team that turned in the second half was a much more composed one. Any nerves that were still present when Rooney and Ronaldo combined to create a stunning goal to give Man United the much needed 2 goal cushion.

Ronaldo heads in for United's second of the night

Ronaldo heads in for United's second of the night

Ronny and Rooney- deadly combo

Ronny and Rooney- deadly combo


Rooney sent a sublime cross in the box which was brilliantly headed in by Cristiano Ronaldo. The game was beyond Inter from that point, though the visitors did scare the Man United defence a few times. Adriano almost scored right after coming off the bench but was denied by the wood work.
At the end of the day it was an efficient European performance from Manchester United to go through to the Quarter-finals.
Barcelona look like the only team that can stop the Man U juggernaut at the moment. Though Liverpool will try to stop Man U when they travel to Old trafford tomorrow.
Rooney: I hate Kop

Rooney: I hate Kop

Rooney versus Torres, who will win??
Fernando: I'll Tor United apart

Fernando: I'll Tor United apart


Zinedine Zidane has just said today that Gerrard is the best player in the world. I wonder what World player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo has to say about it…

Zinedine Zidane believes Steven Gerrard is the best player on the planet!!

Zinedine Zidane believes Steven Gerrard is the best player on the planet!!

Whether Manchester United should buy Tevez or not?

This question would have come in Sir Alex Fergusons mind many a times this season especially after spending more than 30 million pounds on Berbatev in the summer who essentially plays at the same position.

Well if someone were to ask me, i would say, yes definitely.

Tevez was stupendous for Manchester United in their double last season. the understanding between him, Rooney and Ronaldo brought the best out of everyone and Manchester united were scoring goals for fun demolishing opponents on their way to both Premier league and European glory…

This Season on the other hand they have not looked the same and have struggled. Berbatov’s performances though good have not been consistent and so  flamboyent as to warrant him a starting place ahead of Tevez whose dedication and committment is second to none on the field for United.

Berbatov just walks in the side and gets a starting 11 place? brutally unfair on Tevez who scored 19 goals last season at a time when Ronaldo was having an exceptional year,  going on to score 42 goals in all competitions. Thus the 19 scored by Tevez was definitely good enough given that his role was more of a creater than scorer last season and in the abscence of a tall striker like Berba last season Rooney played that role and Tevez played a lot deeper creating space for his other high profile team-mates.

Lets look at what are the factors that could influence SAF’s decision to retain the services of Tevez beyond this season.

  1. High Price: – Well some might consider the 32 million price tag out on Tevez as high, but is it really high these days compared to the inflated prices doing the rounds in the transfer window. for e.g.  – Bellamy – 14 Mil, Wilson Palacios – 14 mil, Lassana Diarra – 20 mil and so on. Also Fergi spent 20 odd million pounds to secure the services of Nani last summer and Nani has hardly featured this season at all. Also 30 + million for Berbatov clearly means Tevez can easily be measured at par and the benefit Manchester United have in the Tevez case is they have already paid some 10 million pounds of the 32 Million required to buy Tevez. So 22 million for Tevez really doesnt seem that bad.
  2. Formation: – Well the only true argument here is that there is no way for Fergie to accomodate all 4 of his star players and since he has already paid mega bucks for Berbatov he doesnt want to spend another 22 million for a squad player. Fergie can always use Tevez and Berbatov on a rotation basis and having someone of Tevez’s quality in the side will keep both Rooney and especially Berbatov (Who is deemed by many as a lazy player) on their Toes. Injury lay-0ffs are something no team can avoid and Rooney has recently been lost for a few weeks to injury. Tevez can come in as a seamless transition in such cases. Also for a team like Man U who aims for glory in all competitions it enters, Squad depth can prove so much critical especially in the knock out stages of the Champions League.
  3. Lack of Quality: – Another question that Fergie may have is that he may not consider Tevez to be the same quality or level as the other 3 stars in his sqaud. But that argument has been put to rest even before it started by Tevez’s performance last seaosn at Man U and the season before that at West Ham, where he almost single handedly saved West Ham from relegation. Everybody knows that when Tevez loses possession of the ball he runs to all the ends of the field to get the ball back and to restore possession. His energy levels on the field are unmatched. He may not have the technical expertise as Ronaldo or Rooney, but his Hard-working skills make up for most of it.

All in all i think letting Tevez go and replacing him with anyone who would take time to adjust to the pace of the premier league and the type of football Man U play would be a big gamble fergie should avoid. If funds are indeed a problem, Man U should sell the young prodigy Fraiser Campbell for around 8-10 millions with a buy back clause and use the same funds to buy/retain Tevez.

Given enough starts in the premier league Tevez will proove even this season how important a member he is of the Man U squad.

More later… till then, Keep smiling…

 

World Cup Qualifiers results

England manages to scrape through a somewhat convincing 5-1 victory against Kazakhstan in its 3rd world cup qualifying match playing at home in the Wembley stadium.

Rooney scored 2 goals and set up another to lay the foundation for England’s victory. Heskey and Walcott were also instrumental in carving the victory for England, though they themselves could not get on the score sheet. England struggled in the 1st half to finish the many chances created. Game came alive only after Rio Ferdinand headed England ahead before the hour mark.

In other world cup qualifying matches, Germany defeated Russia 2-1 to go top of the table. Portugal and France continue to struggle after having been held to goalless draws in there qualifying encounters.

Brazil put 4 past Venezuela whereas Argentina defeated Uruguay 2-1. Paraguay beat Columbia 1-0 to take the top of the table in the South American group for the World Cup Qualifiers with 20 points. Brazil and Argentina are joint second with 16 points each followed by Chile at 13 points and Uruguay and Ecuador are on 12.

Next round of qualifiers follows in mid-week. Watch this space for more results on the same…