Between the Lines

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Handling of Fletcher raises serious doubts about injury strategy

Posted by hakanrylander on November 6, 2009

At the moment seven players in United’s first team squad are injured: Berbatov (knee), Welbeck (knee), Giggs (knee), Vidic (calf), Ferdinand (calf), Park (knee) and Hargreaves (knee) according to PhysioRoom. This is more than the average of four injuries among PL-clubs,  but not particularly alarming since e.g. Liverpool have eight and  Arsenal seven. Of the seven probably only Ferdinand and Hargreaves are long term worries.

The number of injuries of course fluctuates over a season and I can’t say that United have been worse hit than other clubs. I did, however, get seriously worried by an article in yesterday’s Guardian. It concerns Darren Fletcher’s ankle injury that kept him out for the five games previous to the CL-tie against CSKA this week.  A bit of bone has broken off the back of his ankle and stuck about an inch away. This causes him significant pain during matches and will eventually require surgery. He’s had an injection to clear it up for a while.

I was under the impression that Fletcher picked up this injury this season, but it turns out that it is in fact a long term recurring problem.

“I have had it for a couple of years now and the build up of fluids and other medical things that the doctors know far more about than me has been constantly aggravating it”, says Fletcher.

So why didn’t he have an operation at the end of last season??!! One possible explanation is that with Hargreaves still missing Ferguson was very reluctant to risk being without Fletcher for the beginning of this season.

Maybe I’m too critical but I see similarities to the injuries of Ferdinand and Hargreaves. In Ferdinand’s case it seems as though the treatment focus on relieving the symptoms rather than the root cause in order to get him back on the field within a week or two. With Hargreaves I find it hard to shake off the feeling that he should have had his operations a lot earlier.

It’s a difficult balance to strike, but my impression is that Ferguson and/or the physio team should look for long term cures for injuries a bit earlier, rather than push on through pain.

Posted in Manchester United, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Lookalikes of the Week

Posted by hakanrylander on October 19, 2009

Off The Post found this slightly unexpected connection. One of the most innovative football lookalikes observations I’ve seen in years.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The unofficial transfer window shopping list

Posted by hakanrylander on June 22, 2009

 United are about to receive £80m for Ronaldo and are therefore linked with just about every top class player in Europe and their dogs. Some of the suggested signings are very tempting but totally unrealistic (e.g. Essien and Torres) while in other cases the fees quoted are very fanciful (Ribery).

The Between The Lines shopping list stays away from the most expensive options and contains just three names:

Micah Richards. Probably the most talented young defender/midfielder in England. Hasn’t played to his potential during the last two seasons but it would be very interesting to see him develop under Ferguson. Could play in central defence or at right-back, but I see him as a future holding midfielder, “the next Patrick Vieira”. Tops my shopping list if indeed City, as rumoured, are stupid enough to sell him.

Robin van Persie. Reports claim that he’s unhappy with the level of ambition at Arsenal. Very skilful and mobile and would work wonderfully with Rooney or Berbatov or both. A bit injury-prone but worth a gamble.

Antonio Valenicia. Impressed me a lot as man-of-the-match against United in January. A fast and direct winger/midfielder who eschewes fancy footwork but can make it look very easy to get past a full-back. Some think he’s overpriced at £18m. I don’t agree.

Posted in Transfer Gossip, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The uncertain glory of an April day

Posted by hakanrylander on April 23, 2009

Yes, it’s still uncertain, but the win against Portsmouth along with the draws for Chelsea and Liverpool moved United an imporant step closer to the league championship. With only six games to go we’re now 3  points ahead of Liverpool and 6 ahead of Chelsea and have a game in hand.

Chelsea’s challenge effectively ended yesterday. Whatever Hiddink says about giving everything as long as there’s a theoretical chance, I would be very surprised if he fields their strongest side against West Ham on Saturday considering that Barcelona awaits three days later.

Furthermore, our remaining fixtures doesn’t look, dare I say it, impossible:

  • Spurs (H)
  • Middlesbrough (A)
  • City (H)
  • Wigan (A)
  • Arsenal (H)
  • Hull (A)

Finally, the performance against Portsmouth was very encouraging compared to much of what we’ve seen in recent weeks. With some half-decent finishing the score could easily have been 5-0.

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Such stuff as dreams are made on

Posted by hakanrylander on March 20, 2009

Quarter-finals:

  • A. Villareal – Arsenal
  • B. Manchester United – Porto
  • C. Liverpool – Chelsea
  • D. Barcelona – Bayern Munich

Semi-finals:

  • Winner of game A – Winner of game B
  • Winner of game C – Winner of game D

This draw is perfect.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hints on good taste in gardening

Posted by hakanrylander on March 19, 2009

Gary Neville appears to be breaking new ground in inventive gardening. Not all in the best taste, I’m afraid.

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Time to grow up, Sir Alex!

Posted by hakanrylander on March 17, 2009

Make no mistake about it, Sir Alex Ferguson is a great manager. But at times I would really appreciate it if he could be a little more graceful in defeat. We were well and truly beaten by Liverpool but Ferguson chose to blame Sky for unfair scheduling and refused to talk to reporters from Sky Sports.

Kevin Eason of The Times puts it like this: “Sir Alex Ferguson’s answer to trouble appears similar to the average 13-year-old girl who has been given a rollicking by her parents. He runs to his room, slams the door behind him and refuses to speak a word.”

Spot on.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Clash of the Titans, I

Posted by hakanrylander on February 2, 2009

rioobserverJust a reminder in case you missed the highlight of the media weekend, the meeting between Rio “Not the sharpest knife in the drawer” Ferdinand and Gordon “Saviour of the world” Brown. Full interview here. Very different from a normal interview, a bit chatty for my taste, but that’s also what makes it interesting at times. In a way you feel you get to know both these persons a little better. And as a bonus some insight into John Hartson’s eating habits.

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Ferguson gets knocked over

Posted by hakanrylander on January 30, 2009

I know this is supposed to be an anti-United joke, but I actually found it quite funny (even though the Football League has since changed its sponsor).

Sir Alex is queuing in his local building society, when a gunman bursts in through the door demanding money. Ferguson attempts to tackle the raider, but gets knocked over…as he falls, his head smashes the counter and Sir Alex is out cold. The robber escapes and the cashier tries to revive Ferguson. After a few minutes he comes round and looks bewildered. His first words are “Where the hell am I?”. The Cashier replies: “don’t worry, its ok, you’re in the Nationwide.” Ferguson replies, “F**k me, is it May already?”

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Do United’s starlets really exist?

Posted by hakanrylander on January 16, 2009

An intriguing story in The Guardian reveals that the 16-year-old Moldavian prodigy Masal Bugduv doesn’t exist. It appears that the player has been created out of nothing by a number of bloggers using e.g. Wikipedia and fake Associated Press-stories. What makes it all the more remarkable is that, while not existing, Bugduv still managed to be ranked 30th on The Times’ list of the hottest young football talents in the world. His name has since been removed from the list, for obvious reasons. But even without Bugduv the list is a rather strange hotchpotch, mixing unknown English teenagers with established stars like Karim Benzema and David Silva.

The non-existence of the Moldavian superstar-to-be raises a couple of important questions. The first is how much you can rely on information in a blog. The second, and perhaps even more important, is how many of United’s own prodigies that really exist?

I’ve seen photos of Adem Ljajic alongside Sir Alex, but let’s face it, Photoshop can be a devious tool. A thorough search of the Internet gave no indication as to the existence of United target Jack Sampson. And newest recruit Ritchie de Laet is supposed to have spent a year and a half at Stoke City, but hasn’t been seen anywhere near the first team.

For final proof of the existence or non-existence of these and other young stars we might have to rely on Descartes. Meanwhile, I’m just waiting for City to lodge a “massive” bid for Bugduv.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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