Trophy aspirations for the Premier League Champions Manchester United are in tatters after their limp exit on away goals in the Champions League Quarter Finals against Bayern Munich. Arjen Robben scored the Germans second goal – and more importantly, the second away goal – in a second half that saw the team that have made consecutive finals comfortably eliminated.
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Didier Drogba came off the bench to score a goal despite clearly being offside as referee Mike Dean handed Chelsea a probable unassailable advantage in the title race. Dean, who is also a Liverpool fan, made several bad decisions – with increasing likelihood of deliberate intention – to do all in his power to halt Manchester United’s attempt for a record League title push.
Sometimes you get so fed up after a defeat, you just prefer to leave things the way they are rather the dwell on the shambles that you witnessed. I should have probably vented my feelings on the performance a little earlier, rather than on the eve of our biggest Premier League game of the season, however I honestly feel that we will get a result at home on Wednesday night – although we will have to play a lot better to get anything out of the game. The performance was lackluster, flat and we were generally second best to Bayern all game. We operated far too deep with Van Bommel loving the acres of space he could gallop into. Both Neville and Evra were at fault for the goals and were generally poor all evening. Patrice Evra has been one of our best performers all season, however he did have an off night, which I know he will bounce back from next week.
I think it is fair to say that Antonio Valencia has been a hit since signing from Wigan Athletic in the summer for a fee believe to be in the region of £16Million and £18Million. He has notched up six goals for us and an impressive 11 assists so far. I’m not even going to suggest that he was bought as a direct replacement for Ronaldo, as it is unfair to compare the two – however, his athleticism, crossing and positioning have helped United create more of a balance, whilst providing Wayne Rooney with a number of goal scoring chances. Looking back at the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge it dawned on me how quiet and pushed back Ashley Cole was due to the attacking position that Valencia occupied for most of the game. With Cole injured, Yuri Zhirkov has stepped in of late to fill the void – could Zhirkov’s attack minded approach play into the hands of our Ecuadorian winger?
Well done, media, you got what you wanted..
After months of doom-mongering and encouraging with the ridiculous leading question “What if Wayne Rooney gets injured”, the media finally got their wish last night in Germany when the 34 goal striker pulled up with what looked like either a nasty ankle injury or even the dreaded m word, and left the stadium on crutches.
What started as a dream ended in a nightmare as incidents involving Wayne Rooney influenced the infant stage, the current stage and threaten to influence the future stage of this Champions League Quarter Final. The England striker scored his 34th goal of the season to hand Manchester United an advantage in the Allianz Arena before he deflected Franck Ribery’s free kick in and was trod on in the build up to Bayern Munich scoring an injury time goal to give the Germans a solid advantage heading into the second leg.
Tonight, Manchester United face Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League Quarter Final – despite the media billing it as a chance for the Germans to get revenge for their final defeat of 1999, they already have that after knocking United out in 2001. The two teams played each other again the following season in the group stages, with two draws. The game tonight will be a totally different game with barely any survivors from that trio of ties. Stretford-End.com gives a brief analysis and preview of what to expect.
After Chelsea had hit Aston Villa for seven and Arsenal had got a point at Birmingham, Manchester United – minus leading scorer Wayne Rooney – secured a massive result at the Reebok Stadium, beating local rivals Bolton Wanderers 4-0 to move back to the top of the table.
Having already beaten Arsenal twice this season, Sir Alex Ferguson may be slightly bemused as to how the Gooners are only two points behind the league leaders. However, Fergie believes that ‘on paper’ Arsenal appear to have an easier run in but at this point in the season that theory ‘does not really work’. Arsenal travel to Birmingham City on Saturday, where both Chelsea and United have dropped points this season. This will be the first time Arsenal travel to St Andrews since the infamous 2-2 draw where Gael Clichy gave away a last minute penalty, Eduardo horrendously broke his leg and saw then team captain William Gallas sit bewildered in the center circle after the game.
It was confirmed today that the Red Knights, a consortium of wealthy businessmen who are attempting to buy Manchester United from the Glazers, will be making a bid for Manchester United until the end of the season. The Glazer family bought Manchester in 2005 for £828Million, of which £556Million was borrowed from the bank. Both the Glazer family and chief executive David Gill have both denied that the club is for sale, although David Gill said in August 2004 (the same season the Glazer family put the club into debt) ‘Debt is the road to ruin’, which demonstrates that every person has their price.