Manchester United have been handed a lifeline in their quest to make history, Stretford-End.com analyses the run-in for both the Champions and their greatest contenders (and only likely ones now), Chelsea.
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Having signed a new one year extension to his contract, Paul Scholes gave a masterclass today at Eastlands, showing there is much more to offer in those aging legs. His late headed winner was priceless considering the events that would unfold at White Hart Lane in the evening. Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for Scholes, who made his debut in the League Cup some sixteen years ago (scoring twice I might add), stating that he was the best player on the park. Other than getting the winner, Scholes was immense throughout the course of the game – always showing from the fullbacks to pick up and the ball and turning to switch play. Both Tevez and Adebayor ignored our number 18, who set the tempo throughout the course of the afternoon.
Awful, scrappy, difficult to watch – the fourth and final instalment of this seasons Manchester derbies was every bit the polar opposite of the previous three epics, and after even Sir Alex Ferguson looked like he had given up the league, it was Paul Scholes, a member of the United legend club, who scored with a marvellous header with just 20 seconds of added time remaining and breathed new life into the most unlikely of title challenges.
If last weeks defeat against Chelsea was the defining moment then after a season full of near fatal blows to Manchester United’s chances of making history, the two points dropped at Ewood Park after an abysmal display not only finally signalled the death knell of the Champions hopes of winning a 4th consecutive title but indicates a probable 3rd place finish behind an abysmal Arsenal team.
Every now and again you get a defeat that is so demoralising you just don’t know what to say – which is why i’ve taken so long to blog about our exit on away goals to Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Like in 1993, 1998 and 2002 United have exited the competition without losing the overall tie and generally outclassing the opposition for the first 45 minutes. I hope to examine the overall performance from both legs, mistakes made and where this leaves us for the rest of the season.
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.
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.