Tag Archives: Manchester United

Time for Charlie Adam to move on from the Tangerine Dream

By Kevin Koczwara

Let’s just get it out of the way: Charlie Adam is the Premier League’s second best player this season. Nemanja Vidic is the best. Vidic has been the ever-present specter blocking the Manchester United net this season. He keeps that defense running, and the team clicking forward because his teammates knows the big Serbian’s got their backs. United would have been beaten by now if it weren’t for Vidic.

United should have lost to Tottenham just a week ago, but didn’t because Vidic defended with the fortitude of Fort Knox. If a ball came into the box, he cleared it away. If anyone tried to take him on, one-one-one, Vidic pushed them aside like he was playing against the Under-10 team. He’s been the backbone of the best team in the league – the only undefeated team – and the best player week in and week out for United. But Adam isn’t far behind.

The Blackpool ace carries the Tangerines midfield and spurs all of its attacks each and every game, making the impossible dream of avoiding relegation in the Premier League, closer to reality. He almost ended Vidic and Manchester United’s undefeated season with his inspirational play and darting corners yesterday. United stormed back from two down to win, 3-2, but Adam’s inspiration cannot be ignored because mighty United pulled off another Sir Alex Ferguson special.

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A fool's guide to an unpredictable weekend across Europe (except for Spain)

By Jonathan Gold

Manchester United’s completely unpredictable 1-0 win over Liverpool – sorry Kevin – and Spurs’ similarly shocking triumph over mighty Charlton were FA Cup fixtures reminding us of how dire the competition can be, but there were a couple of real surprises this weekend in the oldest cup tournament in the world.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Leeds United

While it’s not, you know, outside the realm of possibility for Arsenal to be stumped by lower-level opposition who outwork it and close down aggressively, the Gunners have been on a roll of late, after an important win over Chelsea and a disappointing draw with Manchester City that they nonetheless dominated utterly. However, Leeds led for much of the second half and were denied the win only by a very late penalty from Fabregas.

Manchester City 2 – 2 Leicester City

Anytime the lower-league club pulls it out over a top-flight competitor – particularly one whose team cost approximately 963 times more than the opposition – it’s fun to watch. And, somewhat surprisingly for a game involving Manchester City, it actually was a good one to watch, as Leicester leapt on City’s pallid defense, scoring in the first minute and pulling level again midway through the second half. For a team full of wildly expensive defenders and defensive midfielders, City really was shocking at the back and could easily have lost.

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Wilshere thinks Arsenal can challenge Manchester United for English Premier League title

Jack Wilshere (right) believes Arsenal can catch Manchester United at the top of the English Premier League. If the Gunners are to catch the Red Devils, the team will need Andrei Arshaven (left) to step up. (Courtesy Jonathan Ross)

By Ryan Fleming

It’s been a while since I thought a handful of teams were actually capable of pushing by the often-fortuitous Manchester United or the pesky Chelsea to reach the top of the English Premier League. This season it all seems to be rather perplexing. The Red Devils are currently in the top spot, but with Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and the loose-spending Manchester City all struggling to maintain momentum through any part of the season, the league’s title might just go to the team that screws up the least.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere told The Guardian that he believes United can be caught and his club can surpass them. I’ll go along with the youngster’s statement. After watching countless United games and being absolutely unimpressed with almost all of them, one has to wonder why the Red Devils are in first place to begin with.

Yes, they lead the league in goals scored and are second in goals allowed, but if not aided by the timely, yet completely random out burst of Dimitar Berbatov’s five-goal effort at the hands of Blackburn back on Nov. 27th, the Red Devils would be back closer to the rest of the league. Their performance as of late is of a mind-changing manner. Despite going 2-0-1 in their last three games, United have seemed rather lethargic and have made a rarity of awe-inspiring wins – often playing down to their competition.

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Georgios Samaras breaks out against Rangers, but Celtic needs more from the Greek

Georgios Samaras scored Celtic's two goals on Sunday in the club's important win over cross-town rivals Rangers. Samaras has disappointed for much of his time in Glassgow, but at times he breaks out and shows just what he is capable of. (Courtesy Football-Wallpapers.org)

By Ryan Fleming

In every sport there are players that seem to turn on the charm, or play to their ability whenever they feel like it. In Celtic’s 2-0 win over cross-town rival Rangers Sunday afternoon, Georgios Samaras proved once again that he continues to fall under that list.

Nothing frustrates supporters, managers and board members more than players like the lanky Greek international. When Samaras takes the field, no one knows what to expect. This offseason, Samaras played arguably better than any player to don the Hoops. Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised his long-haired forward, giving him his utmost confidence in continuing his impressive run.

In typical fashion, the fun ended as quickly as it started. Samaras quickly morphed into his lethargic self, seldom making runs, making atrocious first touches and failing to find the back of the net so often it was as if opponent’s asked him to do so before the game.

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Loss to Manchester United Doesn't Mean the End of Arsenal's Title Hopes, But It Sure Doesn't Help

Samir Nasri has been on top form in the last few weeks for Arsenal. The Frenchman will need to keep up his current form if Arsenal wants to beat Manchester United tomorrow. (Courtesy Ronnie Macdonlad)

By Jonathan Gold

Arsenal may not win the league, but the United game won’t tell us either way

I’ll admit it, it still makes me grin a little bit each time I think about the fact that Arsenal lead the English Premier League. That happiness is tarnished only a little, however, to know that by the time most of you read this, they might not be any more.

There’s a certain sense of fatalism among Arsenal fans when Manchester United comes to London. While Fergie’s mob haven’t had it all their own way, there haven’t been too many occasions in recent seasons for wild celebrating among the Gooner faithful.

Given how evenly matched the teams are on paper, it’s difficult not to come away with the impression there’s just a little bit more steel and composure about Ferguson’s teams, which frequently shades the fact that Arsenal is a bit more talented most of the time. It’s still awfully close, of course. Age probably has something to do with it.

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Bundesliga Bringing the Boom

Young German starts Philip Lahm (left), Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira defend a free kick in the World Cup this summer against Argentina. (Photo Courtesy sdhansay)

By Jonathan Gold

Quick, no thinking allowed: What’s the most entertaining soccer league in Europe? I guarantee you just got that wrong.

The Prem? Overpaid, overexposed, overcapitalized.

La Liga? If you’re not a fan of the endless financial pissing contest between Barca and Real, then you’re out of luck.

Serie A? Corrupt, slow, predictable.

Ligue 1? Sorry, too many racist shithead fans (at some clubs), the national apparatus is in utter disarray and all the talent goes to one of those other three leagues about 0.00145 seconds after it gets discovered.

Why didn’t you say the Bundesliga? Vas ist deine probleme? (Apologies, I’m 99 percent sure that doesn’t mean “What’s your problem?”)

All that aside, you should be watching German soccer. Yes, you. Particularly since the Revs season is over.

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Sunderland Making Mark on Title Race

Steve Bruce has led his Sunderland club to wins over Chelsea and Manchester City, along with draws against Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham. (Photo Courtesy Struway)

By Joe Meloni

Seven months from now, either Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United will claim the 2010-11 English Premier League Championship. While headlines throughout the world will inevitably hail one of the clubs’ star players as the deciding factor in the title race – whether to excellence or injury – another group of players, likely to finish in the middle of table, may provide the goals and moments that give us our champion for this season.

Sunday afternoon, Steve Bruce’s Sunderland walked into Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and lit the table-leaders up for three goals in a dominating shutout win. Entering the match, Chelsea averaged more than two goals per game, while allowing a tidy 0.42 goals per match in 12 Premiership games this season. In those 12 games, the Blues pieced together a 9-1-2 record, and stood three points clear of second-place Manchester United with a game in hand and five points clear of third-place Arsenal. For fans in North London and Manchester, a pass was issued entering the weekend to pull for Bruce’s Black Cats in hopes of preventing the gap between Chelsea and their rivals from growing.
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Derbys Not Bringing the Excitement Promised

Manchester City and Manchester United weren't the onyl teams playing an important local derby last week. Roma beat Lazio, 2-0, on Sunday, keeping their cross-town rivals from staying at the top of Serie A. (Courtesy wikicommons)

By Kevin Koczwara

Manchester United and Manchester City played to a 0-0 draw in what was hyped as one of the biggest games of the year because of the two teams close proximity and since City’s recent – and seemingly endless – spending spree. Not to mention, Sir Alex Ferguson and his club don’t care much for their “noisy neighbors.”

Roberto Mancini sends his City side out with seven defensive-minded players – four defenders and three holding midfielders– behind the ball and only three – more like two-and-a-half because James Milner is not a pure force on the wing – attacking players with the hopes that Carlos Tevez would be able to wreak havoc on the United defense with his skilled link-up play and ability to win the ball at any time on the field. The substitution of Tevez in the injury time for Emmanuel Adebayor was ludicrous. The £25 million striker was once one of the English Premier League’s most feared strikers when he was leading the charge for Arsenal, now he is a late substitution for Mancini to waste time in a derby he does not want to lose.

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Rooney signs extension with United

After a turbulent few days regarding his future with Manchester United, striker Wayne Rooney signed a five-year contract extension with the club. (Photo Courtesy AtilaTheHun)

By Michael King

In an affair that’s become more bizarre than anything to hit the English Premier League in recent history, Wayne Rooney is staying with Manchester United. Is this just another example of manager Sir Alex Ferguson getting his way, or is Rooney’s commitment to the club genuine?

Answers to this question and others are far from evident. But is this behavior surprising from someone who has “Just Enough Education to Perform” tattooed on this right forearm?

Regardless of thoughts on anyone’s intelligence – or maybe emotional intelligence would be more appropriate here – the end of this saga should mark the return to brilliant soccer for Man U. Rooney’s alleged beef with the club surrounded its inability to secure enough talent to adequately complement his own. Certainly recent acquisitions Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and Bebe don’t exactly refute Rooney’s claim that United is a club in decline.

But from Man U’s perspective, losing Rooney was the Armageddon scenario. Surely with its brand, resources and, of course, Sir Alex, United would survive and remain competitive in the long term. The decision to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid two summers ago for an obscene amount of money was driven by economics and the desire of the Portuguese international to play in his native Iberia.
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Angel Casts Doubt on Future

New York Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Angel recently suggested he is unlikely to return to the MLS club next year. (Photo Courtesy RedBullNY_049)

By Michael King

It seemed like an innocuous question. Something closer to standard in-studio fare than a probing inquiry –  just there to fill the void between halves on ESPN during Tuesday’s United States-Columbia exhibition match.

But when former U.S. defender and prominent ESPN soccer personality Alexi Lalas asked fellow half-time analyst Juan Pablo Angel if he planned to return to the New York Red Bulls next season, the midfielder responded with a surprising and puzzling, “I probably won’t.”

ESPN’s rapid move to cram in a few more commercials before the start of the second half prevented further questioning. Continue reading

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