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.
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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.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes that Wayne Rooney will be fit to play against Bolton Wanderers tomorrow evening after concerns grew following the striker ‘limping’ after the 2-1 victory over Liverpool last weekend. Wayne Rooney has been in excellent form this season, scoring 33 goals so far in this campaign. There was a concern that Sir Alex Ferguson might rest Wayne Rooney with Bayern Munich next up on Tuesday night.
Fair play to Nani, who was rewarded today with a four year deal after putting in some superb performances since returning to the starting lineup in January. I honestly thought, as i’m sure most of you did, that Nani was on his way in the transfer window. However, his performances against Arsenal and Liverpool were top class and the Portuguese winger was today rewarded with a four year contract, keeping him at the club until June 2014.
Wherever Nemanja Vidic ends up next season, there is no doubt we have been in the company of one of the best defenders in Europe over the past five years. Strong, commanding and brave – Vidic has become a fans favourite for his no nonsense approach and quality that he has shown alongside Rio Ferdinand. Both Ferdinand and Vidic have been dogged by injuries all season, but against Liverpool today they played in their fourth successive game this season – something Ferguson hasn’t been able to do all season. The press tried to bill Nemanja Vidic as a blundering fool when faced with the task of marking Fernando Torres – however he showed his class with a solid performance that demonstrated his importance to the side in the 2-1 victory over Liverpool.
Ji-Sung Park underlined his ever growing importance to the cause and once again justified his manager’s decision to include him on the big occasion as he scored the winner that sent Manchester United back to the top of the Premier League in an unenterprising encounter with Liverpool.
Since Steven Gerrard made his league debut in September 1998 he has failed to win a single Championship as he approaches his thirtieth year. Nani on the other hand has won two league titles since signing from Sporting Lisbon in 2007. Our Portuguese winger believes that the Liverpool captain should consider his options in the summer if he is serious about winning a League title, with Liverpool trailing in fifth, four points off Tottenham Hotspur. Gerrard was linked heavily with a move to Chelsea in 2005 and 2006 (both years the South Londoners won their two Premier League titles), however decided to stay with Liverpool.
Manchester United versus Liverpool needs no subplot, on account of the rich successful history and the generally local proximity of both clubs. However, with United in the race for a record breaking 19th league title, the green and gold campaign, the recent centenary celebrations and the fact that Liverpool’s season long meltdown makes this game the only “Cup Final” they’re likely to reach this campaign, the ingredients are there for a real firecracker of a Premier League fixture.