- A. Villareal – Arsenal
- B. Manchester United – Porto
- C. Liverpool – Chelsea
- D. Barcelona – Bayern Munich
- Winner of game A – Winner of game B
- Winner of game C – Winner of game D
This draw is perfect.
Posted by hakanrylander on March 20, 2009
This draw is perfect.
Posted by hakanrylander on March 19, 2009
The draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League takes place tomorrow. Most United-fans will hope that we’re drawn against either Porto or Villareal who appear to be the weakest sides, even though the prospect of another couple of scoreless draws against Villareal isn’t too exciting. This is how I rank our seven potential opponents, starting with the one I would most prefer to meet in the quarter-final:
Posted by hakanrylander on March 12, 2009
The headline is firmly directed at yours truly. As you know I was very nervous ahead of this game, but it took less than four minutes for Nemanja Vidic to make me wonder what the * I was worrying about. For the remaining 86 minutes I enjoyed another very solid European performance from United. A special mention to Wayne Rooney for his wonderful double act of skilful creator and tenacious destroyer.
We now enter the part of the season when the big games come thick and fast. Next is what promises to be a cracking (sorry, Rafa) tie against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Posted by hakanrylander on March 9, 2009
Over the last few months United have put themselves in a great position. The World Club Championship and the Carling Cup are in the bag, Chelsea and Liverpool are seven points and a game in hand adrift in the PL and Everton await in the semi-final of the FA-cup. The quintuple is within sight, if not reach. And still I’m nervous!
For all the success so far it feels as though Wednesday’s game against Inter could somehow make or break the season. It would be a bitter disappointment to get knocked out of the CL at this stage. But in a one-off game anything could happen, and what’s already occured this season merely sets the scene for the really important stuff. What’s past is prologue.
I have to admit that I don’t particularly fancy facing Mourinho and Ibrahimovic at this stage. Ibrahimovic was less than impressive in the first leg, but certainly has the quality to make that all-important away-goal out of nothing. And no other manager has anything near Mourinho’s record against Sir Alex.
The team and substitutions against Fulham at the weekend, when Giggs, Ronaldo and Berbatov were rested, gave some strong indications as to the starting line-up against Inter. Provided that Rio is fit my choice would be: Van der Sar; O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney, Berbatov.
Posted by hakanrylander on February 25, 2009
My Italian is, not to put too fine a point on it, far from perfect. Or perhaps closer to non-existent. But even I can understand the gist of this eminent article in the newspaper la Repubblica. Please enjoy!
Posted by hakanrylander on February 18, 2009
…than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Even so, The Times today publishes 25 simple steps for United to reach heaven. Which in this context is to win five titles: the World Club Championship, the Carling Cup, the FA-cup, the Premier League and the Champions League. I still consider this to be just about impossible, but presented in this way it can look a deceptively simple task.
The WCC is already in the bag and both the Carling Cup and the PL look within reach. But United are still a very long way away from repeating last year’s CL triumph, with Inter Milan as the first, very difficult, obstacle. It’s a nice dream, though.
The first step on the ladder is tonight against Fulham, who have not yet won away from home in the league this season. Several United stars are expeted to return after being rested against Derby, such as Van der Sar, Vidic, Carrick, Scholes, Berbatov and Tevez. Rooney might be on the bench.
Please also note that the Bible doesn’t specifically mention rich football clubs.
Posted by hakanrylander on October 21, 2008
According to the Independent Carlos Queiroz has alerted Sir Alex Ferguson to the full extent of Ronaldo’s struggle to recuperate from the surgery to his right ankle which he underwent three months ago. “[Carlos] said he felt that Cristiano was still finding it difficult to recover for a Wednesday game after a Saturday game,” Ferguson said. “He had played for Portugal against Sweden on the Saturday and Carlos said he was unbelievable – his decision-making, maturity, everything was at the top of his game. But against Albania on the Wednesday, he was flat because he is still trying to find the recovery thing properly.”
If this quote is correct it certainly appears as if Queiroz has lost the plot. Ronaldo wasn’t anywhere near the top of his game against Sweden. The problem for Ferguson ahead of tonight’s game against Celtic is to decide if Ronaldo needs a rest or whether his fitness will improve by playing another match. My recommendation is to start him on the bench and bring him on for the last half-hour if necessary.
Evra is injured while Carrick and Hargreaves are not quite ready. My line-up: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, O’Shea; Fletcher, Giggs; Park, Rooney, Tevez; Berbatov.
Posted by hakanrylander on October 1, 2008
As frequent visitors to “Between the Lines” will be well aware, I’ve found it hard to understand why Ferguson prefers Gary Neville to Wes Brown at right-back. This debate can now be put to rest. Last night’s performance by 18-year-old Rafael da Silva surely means that Wes and Gary will soon have to fight it out for a place on the bench. There were one or two occasions when Rafael got caught out defensively, but when going forward he looked an absolutely outstanding talent. Ferguson summed it up nicely: “The boy is special”.
Already ten years ago Ferguson predicted that Ryan Giggs would finish his career as a midfield playmaker, a role that he filled to perfection last night. I must admit that I didn’t think Giggs would make a major contribution this season, but on this evidence he’s probably our best playmaker. His pass to Rooney’s goal was a gem.
The result was obviously a good one, but otherwise it was a mixed evening. Scholes will be out for six to eight weeks with a knee ligament injury, and Rooney limped off after taking a knock to his ankle.
Posted by hakanrylander on September 30, 2008
After the draw against Villareal United need to take six points off Aalborg for safe passage through the group. A loss of points tonight could put United in an akward position, and Ferguson therefore is likely to field the strongest possible side. Only Carrick, Neville and Hargreaves are unavailable.
Aalborg won the Danish league last season but have not impressed so far this season, much like United. In Denmark tonight’s game has been called “the biggest in Aalborg history”, and there is always a danger that this kind of sentiment could raise their performance. Don’t forget that they managed to keep Celtic to a scoreless draw in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago.
My line-up: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Fletcher, Scholes; Park, Rooney, Ronaldo; Berbatov.
Posted by hakanrylander on September 19, 2008
United could probably afford to drop two points here as both teams are likely to qualify from the group. But it was an unsatisfactory performance, and United certainly didn’t look like a side capable of reaching the final again this season. We lacked the fluency that comes from crisp passing in midfield, which is often the case when both Carrick and Scholes are absent. Even though United had a lot of possesion not many chances were created and the finishing was poor.
The most positive aspect of the game was the return of Ronaldo who looked very sharp when he came on for the last 30 minutes. Hopefully he starts against Chelsea. Man of the match was Darren Fletcher who again proved that he is probably our most underrated player. He will never be one of the first names on the team-sheet, but he’s a brilliant squad player with the added bonus that he tends to lift his game in the big matches.