Posts Tagged ‘Chicharito


Five things we learnt from United v Stoke

If you are going to do that, just make sure you sign your next contract

If you are going to do that, just make sure you sign your next contract

A week that was gearing up to be one of the darkest in United’s recent history ended on a high as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men finally picked up an away win at The Britannia.
Whereas all the midweek talk had been surrounding an ambitious striker, by Sunday afternoon the only thoughts on anyone’s mind were of Chicharito and his well taken brace.
All of a sudden things are looking decidedly rosy for United, third in the league and still unbeaten, it seems the prophets of doom warning of the ‘beginning of the end’ for Fergie’s evil empire, may have been a little premature.

Of course, a win at Stoke doesn’t suddenly make everything perfect but unlike previous away games the positives far outweighed the negatives as United bagged three points in a high-octane match.

So what did Sunday’s game tell us other than Gary Neville still needs to protected from his own enthusiasm –or stupidity depending on your viewpoint- and if you’re going to invade the pitch then perhaps longer studs is a good idea?

Here’s five things we learnt from United’s match.

1. Wayne Rooney may struggle to get back in the team. Chicharito’s two goals, cemented what is already a glowing reputation as one of the best young strikers in world football. The first one a speculative back header was a real ‘ticket and raffle’ type of goal that caused as many laughs as it did cheers. The second one, a real poacher’s type of finish was the sort you’d associate with a young Michael Owen and showed that Chicharito may be young but his positional sense is already there. Dimitar Berbatov may not have got on the score sheet, he’s not found the net since that wonderful hat-trick against Liverpool, but his touches and link up play with both Chicharito and Nani were excellent. If the trio of Nani Berbatov and Chicharito continue to perform so well together then Rooney may have a real fight on his hands to get his place back.

2. Patrice Evra is looking back to his best. The signs were there against Bursaspor that the former French Captain may finally be putting his world cup angst behind him. Against Stoke he had arguably his best game of the season, revelling in his left wing role and giving the opposition defence no end of trouble. On another day Evra would have had a penalty, but regardless of the lack of favours he got from the officials, he still managed to show everyone just why he’s still one of the best players in the world. If United are going to win the title then they need Evra to continue the superb form he’s shown over the last four seasons and if the game against Stoke was anything to go by, he could well be on his way to doing just that.

3. Paul Scholes can’t do it all. It was a wayward Scholes’ pass that led to Stoke’s goal and while that’s about as rare as a decent Fergie goal celebration, it merely highlighted that the ginger prince is human after all. Scholes had a bad day at the office but if anyone’s entitled to one this season, then it’s him. Scholes wasn’t the only one guilty of a few errant passes; John O’Shea had a period where he actually seemed to forget which team he was on.

If there was one slightly worrying thing from Scholes’ poor showing it was that no one seemed able in the United midfield to take on the mantle from him and it should be noted that despite it not being his best game Scholes still seemed the only midfielder capable of, or willing to, pass the ball more than ten yards.

4. Wes Brown needs to play more often. The right back position for United has been somewhat problematic this season to say the least with no less than four players featuring there at one point or another. Gary Neville making his 600th United appearance, so well done him, was the surprise choice for this game. After it became abundantly clear that Neville was destined to get sent off in the second half, following a booking then a blatantly bookable offence that went un-carded, Neville was subbed just after the break- literally.

In the 45 minutes that followed, Wes Brown put in the sort of performance that’s been missing from United’s right back position all season. Brown was comfortable on the ball, got forward well and did his usual share of tackling. It wasn’t an amazing barnstorming display set to get the pulses racing; it was simply a good shift. However as we’ve seen far too often at United this season, ‘good shifts’ at right back have been few and far between. Rafael Da Silva has come in and done a good job but at times looked shaky, while in the interests of my own pulse rate I’m not even going to get started on O’Shea. With a game against Spurs coming up, the thought of O’Shea being asked to deal with Gareth Bale gives me nightmares.

There’s been talk of something of a tiff between Brown and Fergie, due to one too many shandies and a bit of holiday banter that went too far. If Fergie can forgive and forget though, again, then Brown back in the starting XI would be just what United needed.

5. Rio and Vidic are still the best in the business. If you honestly gave me the choice of any central defenders from world football, in the United line up, I’d still pick Ferdinand and Vidic. Sunday’s performance showed just how much United have missed the infamous ‘merker’ alongside his newly appointed skipper, as they both absolutely dominated poor Kenwyne Jones. Okay so dominating Kenwyne Jones, does not make you the best central defensive partnership in world football, in fact you could argue that it just makes you tall. However, there can be no denying that both defenders were superb throughout, not just with their heading and tackling but also on the ball. Neither could be faulted for Tuncay’s stunning goal and everything that came their way was dealt with decisively. If Rio can stay fit and admittedly that’s a big ‘if’ then United have a decent chance of catching Chelsea.


Five things we learnt from Man United’s victory

Berbatov- I always knew he'd come good...honest

Manchester United‘s fairly routine victory over newly-promoted Newcastle was hardly much of a surprise considering the gulf in class between the two teams. While Newcastle didn’t exactly roll over and die they hardly troubled last season’s title runners-up, so the question is what exactly did Monday’s night’s match tell us about Sir Alex Ferguson’s men? Scholes is still mint, Wazza’s not there yet, are just a couple of things that I noticed. Here’s a list of five things that the ‘return of Monday Night Football’ showed us about United.

1. There’s still life in the old guard. Paul Scholes produced the sort of passing masterclass that would have had Xavi tipping his hat in admiration. While his tackling is still diabolical- he recieved his almost olbigatory booking in the second half- the ginger one’s ability to pick out a killer ball is second to none. Scholes picked up from where he left off at the back end of last season, in fact it’s arguably where he’s actually been leaving off for the past 16 years, picking defences apart and dictating the pace of the game. When a commentator asked Fergie, if Scholes was actually getting better following his MOTM performance in the ‘Community’ Shield the United manager laughed: “We can dream”…..well maybe we can.
Scholes wasn’t the only member of the Old Trafford Dad’s Army to remind us of his class, Ryan Giggs’s small cameo was enough to add yet another feather to his bow this time in the form of extending his record of scoring in every season since the Premier league started- and a couple more before.
Surely rather than just United abolishing the number 11 shirt when Giggsy retires, the Premier League should also close down the competition as a mark of respect to the real-life version of Roy Race.

2. Wayne Rooney needs more games. It may sound like the opposite of what many have been saying over the past few months, but in reality Wazza looks short of match fitness rather than being tired. While he may have -accidentally- set up Darren Fletcher’s goal, Rooney’s passing, shooting and general play was far from what he’s capable of and the fact he’s now gone thirteen games for club and country without a goal, is one record the striker will not be looking to add to. Rooney also seems to be playing with less abandon, almost a little angrily- just ask Nani who was on the end of a rollicking for losing the ball rather than laying it off.
Being subbed is also something Rooney hates, even when he’s injured, but he may need a couple more 60-minuters to get him back in the swing of things- hopefully just in time for the visit of Liverpool in mid-september. It’s been a difficult time for last season’s PFA player of the year, and as soon as he can get settled back into his stride the sooner everyone -including me- can start drooling over him again- erm actually thats a scary thought, let’s just say ‘admiring him once more.’

3. Dimitar Berbatov is not a useless lazy b*stard. At some point almost every United fan has questioned whether Fergie needed his head testing for sticking with the Bulgarian, yet Monday night was an evening for those who defend him to point to as evidence of his value. Not only did Berbatov grab the opener but rumour has it he actually tracked back a few times as well, which almost caused several thousand simultaneous heart attacks inside Old Trafford. With Rooney not yet on top form United need someone to step up and its time for the Bulgarian to justify his manager’s faith.
The statement “There’s no questioning his ability” is one which almost exclusively is used as a pre-fix for every column devoted to United’s number nine but it’s true. Last night, despite a couple of wasteful efforts, Berbatov had the sort of game United need from him, keeping hold of the ball, passing it about nicely and getting on the scoresheet. While it wasn’t perfect it was a good start and if he continues the form he showed in pre-season and now United’s opener, then Berbatov may just silence his critics and make Fergie’s faith seem more than justified. Expect a lot of United fans to be claiming “I always knew he’d come good” if he does.

4. Javier Hernandez is not the second coming. Arguably the only shock of the evening was the fact that Chicharito didn’t get on the scoresheet. Despite looking lively and running his heart out, the Mexican’s 30 minutes on the Old Trafford pitch never really looked like producing a goal. Such was the hype surrounding Little Pea that almost every United fan- myself included- must’ve been expecting him to score within minutes. However he showed that while he’s obviously talented he is gonna need to time to get used to life in the Premiership, whether Fergie risks starting him in an upcoming game is doubtful, but with Rooney perhaps needing to be brought back to match fitness somewhat cautiously, Chicharito was may get a few more opportunities from the bench in the upcoming games. One things for certain regardles of whether he scores or not the crowd’s reaction to when he came onto the pitch shows that he’s certainly got the fans buzzing and hopefully the Solskjaer comparisons wont just stretch to getting I’D’d at the cinema.

5. The wings are rusty. While Rooney may not be anywhere near back to his usual best, the two wide men at times looked a little off the pace on Monday night with more than a few passes going astray. Although they were both still dangerous they weren’t at their best. While this hardly mattered against a Newcastle side that never truly got going, it would be a cause for concern against one of the top sides. Antonio Valencia’s showing in the ‘Community Sheild’ showed that he’s fit in physical terms and still a handful, but on Monday his control and distribution wasn’t quite up the high standards the superbly hair-styled one set last season. Nani was another player who didn’t quite look up to scratch, particularly considering that behind Scholes he was United’s best player at the back end of last season. While it’s hardly time to hit the panic button and submit that £45 mill bid for Frank Ribery, United need their wingers to be playing well this season if they’re to wrestle the title back from Stamford Bridge. A few more games should see both Nani and Valencia hitting top form- hopefully in time for the visit of a certain team from up the M62- or have I mentioned that already?