Archive for January, 2008

Best Freekick ever?

Posted on January 30, 2008  by Stretford-end  in Man United   1 Comment »

Cristiano Ronaldo took his goals tally to an impressive 27 goals in all competitions. His latest goal an absolute screamer against Portsmouth at Old Trafford. For me, it is one of the greatest free kicks i’ve ever seen based purely on technique and overall skill.

For all the jokes and humor that United fans have thrown at David James over the years, there isn’t a goalkeeper in the world that could have got across to stop such an accurate and fierce shot. Fergie has always defended Ronaldo in interviews when pokey Sky interviewers are trying to find an answer to the technique that Ronaldo uses. ‘Practise’, i’ve heard the gaffer say many times when commenting on his superstar winger. I for one agree that in order to score such an amazing goal you need to practise, but also the nurturing of a special talent.

I’ve commented many times over the years that at the age of 18, Cristiano Ronaldo was technically the best footballer i’d ever seen. What he does at the top level is immense – even at the age of 18 he showed bravery, creativity and above all ability. He did have his critics and towards the end of 2005/06 I did want him to deliver more in games. The talent was always there but desire to succeed at Old Trafford was sometimes overshadowed by his desire to show what a talented player he is. After the World Cup though he really showed to everyone what a fantastic player he is and scored so many important goals and he has continued it this season.

Anyway – back to the freekick. Have you ever seen a better freekick in the Premiership? Everyone always refers to the apparent king of freekicks, Roberto Carlos and his amazing shot against France in Le Tournoi, and right fully so, it was a great strike. But I believe that Roberto Carlos (aged 25 at the time) lived off this freekick always – superb full back but his return from freekicks wasn’t great. So i’d like to speak about the freekick David Beckham scored at the Stretford End against Barcelona in the 3-3 thriller in 1998. I felt for years that this was one of the best freekicks i’d ever seen due to, like Ronaldo, the sheer power and accuracy of the strike. I can’t really weigh up what goal I prefer – obviously Ronaldo’s is fresh in the mind but Beckhams goal at a crucial point in the match was simply stunning.

Does anyone remember this goal well? I’d also like to mention the goal Beckham scored a Anfield against David James, which was actually situated on the left hand side of the 18 yard line. Beckham bent it in the top right hand corner (James’ right) and it was a superb technique to score from there.

Giggsy has scored some great freekicks over the years but a special mention for Pallister who scored in 3-1 win over Blackburn in the final game of the 92/93 season. A horrid freekick that could have destroyed a flower bed, but accurate, precise and resulted in a goal. Other great freekicks throughout the years:

Matthew Le Tissier against Wimbledon in 1994

Rivelino against East Germany in 1974

Gazza against Arsenal in 1991

Zidane against Spain in 2000

So what do you think is the better freekick. In time I think I will actually go for Ronaldo’s goal ahead of Beckham’s against Barcelona. His technique, skill and timing were impeccable and combine this with his form I believe this freekick is the best freekick i’ve ever seen.


Beckham scores a superb goal.

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United draw Arsenal in FA Cup

Posted on January 28, 2008  by Stretford-end  in Man United   2 Comments »

Manchester United have been drawn to play against Arsenal in the 5th Round of the FA Cup.  Great tie and really looking forward to this game as United and Arsenal are by far the best two footballing teams in the country, which should hopefully make this game a memorable occasion.  Liverpool get the mighty Barnsley at Anfield so another easy tie for the Scousers.  Would be great to get them in the final.  I’m confident we can beat Arsenal and go onto the quarter finals.  The other games in the round are:

Fifth round fixtures:

Bristol Rovers v Southampton

Cardiff City v Wolves

Sheffield United v Middlesbrough

Liverpool v Barnsley

Manchester United v Arsenal

Preston v Portsmouth

Coventry City v West Brom

Chelsea v Huddersfield Town

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Munich victims should get one minute silence

Posted on January 22, 2008  by Stretford-end  in Man United   1 Comment »

It is reported today that Manchester Citeh’s official supporters club has written to Manchester United to try and get United to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster with a minutes applause rather than a minutes silence. To be fair to the supporters club, they are trying to cover up the fact that there will be a number of idiots singing Munich songs and making noise during the anticipated 1 minute silence. Citeh lost a former player of their own, goalkeeper Frank Swift who was covering the game in Belgrade for the Manchester Evening News, and will want to pay their respects to a number of gifted footballers who had their lives cut short and died for Manchester United. It is a tragedy that we never saw Duncan Edwards push on and become the best player in the world, the powerhouse that was Tommy Taylor score even more goals for the babes and Salford born lad Eddie Coleman dazzle the league with his famous body swerve.

Did I ever see the babes play live? No. Do I know what the babes represent? Yes, they represent everything that Manchester United stands for, believing in youth, believing that you can push yourself even further (by playing in the European Cup against strong opposition from back home) and believing that if you work hard you can achieve true greatness. It is a tragedy that Old Trafford never saw the like of Edwards, Pegg, Taylor and Colman progress even further and challenge Real Madrid (United lost 5-3 in an epic semi final over two legs in 1957 – this against a Alfredo led Real Madrid against a United side with an average age of just 22).

Manchester United have to hold a 1 minutes silence on February 10th to mark this tragic anniversary. I believe that for certain events, a minutes applause is appropriate and needed. To celebrate the life and triumph of a footballer like George Best was appropriate and welcomed I feel by every football fan. But this group of players lost their lives before they had even begun and although achieved only a fraction of what their potential and ability deserved to achieve they will always remain in our hearts and thoughts and that is why I feel there needs to be a minutes silence.

As i’ve been writing this it’s been announced that United will have a one minute silence rather than the one minute applause.

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Sven = Striker stalker

Posted on January 21, 2008  by Stretford-end  in Citeh   No Comments »
Sven = Striker stalker

What is it when a striker comes on the market, the continental “genius” that is Sven-Goran Eriksson is constantly linked to him. I’m not surprised hearing that Citeh fans are over the moon when apparently the fallen hero Adriano is on his way to Eastlands. Fast forward a few months when a tragedy stricken Adriano is back home in his native Brazil ‘trying to find himself again’, Citeh are still being linked to every striker that comes on the market. This time it is Bayern marksman, Lukas Podolski, who has fallen down the Bayern pecking order (behind Klose and Luca Toni). He has been made available for loan by the German league leaders with Citeh in pole position to capture the signature of the former Cologne superstar. This is the same striker who put in a number of impressive performances in the last World Cup and earned his big money move to the German giants. He should feel at home with Citeh, after all, they’re a massive club.

On his way to Citeh….apparently.

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Manchester United 6-0 Newcastle United

Posted on January 15, 2008  by Stretford-end  in Man United   No Comments »

A scintillating perfomance from Manchester United and SIX second half goals, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s first hat-trick in a United shirt, saw them return to the top of the table.

United (of Manchester) started well and Rooney had 4 good chances to score as Capaca struggled to come to terms with the returning Englishman.

Newcastle were not without their threat in the first half – Milner seeing a half chance blocked by Ferdinand after O’Shea made a mess of a clearance.

The talking points of the first half came around 35 mins as Manchester United turned up the pressure. Two cast iron penalties were denied, first for Ronaldo, second for Giggs – it is easy to see why Styles didn’t give the Ronaldo one, not on the incident, but based on the fact that Ronaldo would probably have to be murdered to get a penalty at Old Trafford these days. Still, it will be interesting to see if Mr Styles repeats his public apology for Liverpool after seeing the replays of this.

Straight after the penalty appeals, Newcastle raced down the other end and added a little controversy of their own, when Michael Owen was given offside, but raced through to put the ball in the goal anyway. The commentators and media immediately called this a “disallowed goal” – and if we’re being totally honest and fair, Owen was onside, and should have been given the opportunity to continue. However, the issue of whether this was a disallowed goal is in its very nature contentious – the whistle was blown long before Owen put the ball in the net – indeed, Ferdinand had stopped chasing. While I have every sympathy with the decision, it wasn’t a disallowed goal, it was an offside decision previous to any Owen attempt, and if we’re going to be completely pedantic, Owen should have been booked for kicking the ball away. It is mere clutching at straws to suggest in hindsight that the “goal” would have changed anything, and I would suggest anyone still harping on about the legibility of the goal is surely crying hypocrite after the no penalty decisions preceding the incident.

Still, this seemed to liven the game up and spur a previously anonymous Ronaldo into action, as he went close twice. Numerous corners were won but no advantage was taken, and the teams went into the half time break level, but not before Rooney was booked for a cynical challenge as Newcastle broke – met with understandable anger from Ferdinand, who had just witnessed Alan Smith escape from an identical challenge with a warning.

Whatever was said at half time must have made a hell of a difference for the Red Devils, but when you consider that theoretically they could have been 4 up anyway by that stage, then take into account the 6 goals and 5 goal-line clearances, as well as a couple of other chances, it is no exaggeration to say that Manchester United could have won the game by 12 or 13 goals – indeed, putting my opinion out there, it could be the most perfect performance in Premiership history, and goes to show, again, that while the media and half of North London hide behind their delusions, the best footballing team in the land is Manchester United.

Contrary to what the scoreline may suggest, Newcastle didn’t lay down, and although missing a couple of players, were stronger than they have been for a while, with Owen and Duff both getting rare starts as they continued their comebacks.

It could be argued that the team in red got a lucky break after a dubious foul by Smith led to a Ronaldo free kick goal, but nothing was lucky about their second when Giggs showed great determination to charge down a lost cause, then great intuition to pick up a dodgy backpass, and finally superb inventivity to somehow pick a pass to Tevez, who, unmarked, easily scored the second.

It was party time by now at Old Trafford, as the crowd, who had been responding to Sir Alex’s criticsm after the New Years Day fixture throughout with a loud show of support, were rewarded with the kind of goal United are becoming renowned for, and simply, the kind of goal that no other side, in England at least, can reach the levels of being able to score. A charge down and intelligent pass from the delightfully confident Carrick was picked up by Ronaldo, he found Rooney, who in turn fed Tevez, whose ball was picked up exquisitely by the on-running Portuguese forward, who coolly finished it.

United were inexplicably denied a third penalty after a blatant push on Ferdinand. After such a performance and win, it is easy to dimiss, but to have 3 cast iron penalties turned down, especially after the incident against Fulham before Christmas, all by Styles, is a worrying sign. Some may feel it’s a moot point given the win, and although the point is half in irony, Styles apologised to Liverpool for a dubious penalty given against them. If his current trend continues he could end up costing United the league because of his personal opinion of Ronaldo – further still, if this is the kind of official that carries a pre-determined opinion into individual incidents, he may very well end up costing a Premiership team who is struggling, their place. That is no over reaction.

Back to Old Trafford – Wayne Rooney may have been frustrated by not scoring, but his all round contribution was fantastic – he and Giggs were at the heart of most of United’s chances, and it was Rooney’s sublime pass that Rio Ferdinand magnificently volleyed in with just 5 minutes left. However, the scoring was still not done, and there was an air of inevitability when Ronaldo picked the ball up on the edge of the Newcastle box with seconds remaining, waltzed past a challenge and comfortably finished, with the aid of a deflection, for the long awaited first hat-trick of his career.

There was even time for Carlos Tevez to net his second with a brilliantly taken drive – over, but inches over – the line, via the crossbar, but debatable enough to understand why Alan Smith would argue enough to get a second yellow, even at 6-0 down. Smith was applauded off by a buoyant Old Trafford crowd.

United have reclaimed top spot for the second time in three weeks, albeit on goal difference, but if today’s display is anything to go by, even winning the league by goal difference will show United as worthy champions.

Ratings : van der Sar 7, O’Shea 7, Ferdinand 9, Vidic 9, Evra 7 (Simpson 7), Ronaldo 9, Carrick 9, Anderson 8 (Fletcher 6), Giggs 9 (Nani 7), Rooney 10*, Tevez 9.

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Manucho, whoooa aaaaho!

Posted on January 15, 2008  by Stretford-end  in Man United   No Comments »

New United striker Manucho scores against Egypt. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of this at Old Trafford:

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Berbatov 25 million are you havin a laugh?

Posted on January 01, 2008  by Stretford-end  in Man United   2 Comments »

He is getting on for 27, say 4 years left at the very top and not much of a sell on fee if we let him go then.

Spurs bought him for £10.6

Bayer Leverkusen 152 games 68 goals

Spurs 52 games 20 goals (including the 4 against Reading) And only 4 premiership goals last season.

His attitude is questionable as is his consistency and his teamwork, he has wonderful gifts and can do things on a football pitch many others would not dream about but this does not amount to a 25 million pound player.

I’d consider taking him for £15 million or less but not a penny more!!!

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