The last time we beat West Ham was in March of 2006, I agree that we are well overdue a win against an average side that continually believe that they should be punching above their weight regardless of the fact that they attribute England’s world cup win in 1966 to their historical triumphs. It seemed that when former United defender, Johnathan Spector, handled in the box, Ronaldo would have no problem tucking away the penalty – as usual in football nothing quite goes as planned and it hide it wide of the post.
Cue the press (and some United fans) jumping on the fact that Fergie decided to leave out Wayne Rooney and include Darren Fletcher. Fletcher has long been the subject of abuse from a section of United fans who are in disbelief as to how the young Scot can wear the United strip. Firstly, Stretford-end.com is a fan of Fletcher and we do believe that although he might not have the vision of Carrick or Scholes, pace and trickery of Ronaldo or indeed the all round game of Anderson he can still play a role in the success of Manchester United. Would I include him in a United side with everyone fit? No, but that doesn’t mean that he does not have a role to play in the side.
People are living in a dreamworld if they think that players can play every game until the end of the season. Yes they are paid extortionate amounts of money and don’t exactly portray themselves in a good light (some not all) but imagine playing game after game after game for a whole season. Your performance will falter and fatigue comes into play.
There is no question that Fergie is still haunted by the squad available to him against Milan last May. He does not want that to happen again and if he has to sacrifice a couple of results in the season for success in the Champions League then so be it. After all in 1999 we did only accumulate 79 points. Thats less points than the four times we’ve won the title since.
This is a minor blip in what hopefully will be a 10th Premiership title under Fergie. Stretford-end.com is still confident that United will be victorious come may, beating West Ham at Old Trafford on the 3rd will be nice as well.
As widely predicted Kaka of AC Milan picks up the European Player of the year award, or if you’re a bit continental the Ballon d’Or. Many times have players from the Premiership been over looked over the years in favour of players from Spain and Italy. Michael Owen won the award, with a few eyebrows being raised, in 2001 ahead of Raul and Oliver Kahn of Madrid and Munich respectively. So is the Premiership always being overlooked for the more favourable, classy leagues of Spain and Italy?
To be honest, what do personal awards mean these days? Kaka, a sublime footballer that glides over a football and combines superb technical ability with pace, strength and a desire to perform on the highest level. Compared to Ronaldo, you would have to say that what Kaka takes from Ronaldo in vision, he certainly makes up for it with skill and dribbling ability. So there really is not much between them, expect for maybe two performances in the Champions League semi-final last season. If it had gone the other way and United had of progressed would Kaka be runner up and Ronaldo in top spot?
Milan finished last season a below standards fourth, after being involved in the match fixing scandal that rocked Italian football last season. They were already out of the title race prior to the meeting with United at Old Trafford and could afford to rest a number (well all) of their players. It was the same in the other semi-final for Liverpool against Chelsea – with Liverpool having nothing to play for other than the Champions League (although they weren’t deducted points at the start of the campaign).
Milan this season aren’t fairing any better compared to United who are at present 3rd behind Chelsea and Arsenal. So what does Kaka have that Ronaldo doesn’t to make him come out on top for this award? He has three years on Ronaldo, a bag full of Champions League experience (and performances for that matter) and he came out on top of the duel between the two in the Champions League semi-final. So it is fair to assume that this contest was decided in the first week of May when United went down 3-0 at the San Siro. We literally didn’t turn up and to combine this with the comical defending of ex United left back Gabriel Heinze and current left back Patrice Evra, we didn’t deserve to go through to Greece.
There is no doubt in my mind that Ronaldo will win this award over the course of what I believe will be an illustrious career. But more importantly I believe he will win the European Cup with United that will catapult him to the Ballon d’Or.