Posted by hakanrylander on August 10, 2012
A pre-season friendly is not very exciting. The best you can hope for is a glimpse of a new signing or a couple of youngsters knocking on the first-team door. But with United up against Barcelona I just had to be in the stands at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, despite som financial and geographical inconvenience. It is, however, impossible to draw any well-founded conclusions from this kind of game. So, anyway:
1. Shinji Kagawa is our next star player and crowd favourite. He looks exactly the kind of player we, and Wayne Rooney, have been missing. Excellent control and passing. Only two minutes after coming on he was at the heart of probably our best move. Of all the warm-ups during the first half, his drew the loudest cheers from the crowd.
2. David De Gea has reached a new level of authority and confidence. On several occasions he told Rio Ferdinand where to position himself at goal-kicks. Kept a clean sheet as well. But please note that he was not subject to any aerial bombardment or crude physical challenges. It will be a different story in the PL.
3. The combo of Nani and Valencia make us vulnerable down our right. Barcelona made good use of that space.
4. The squad now give Ferguson several good options in all positions, except left-back and central midfield. This is a problem. It is also a golden opportunity for one player in particular. Step forward, Tom Cleverly.
Posted in Manchester United, Match Reports | Tagged: Antonio Valencia, Barcelona, David De Gea, Gothenburg, Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Tom Cleverly | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hakanrylander on September 26, 2011
Andy went to see the doctor. “I’m sure I’ve got liver disease.”
“You’d never know if you had liver disease”, said the doctor. “There’s no discomfort of any kind.”
“Exactly!”, said Andy. “Those are my precise symptoms.”
During the first few weeks of the season we have witnessed a wonderfully fluent attacking game, great new signings, the breakthrough of young stars and even The Second Coming of Duncan Edwards. Seven wins and two draws in all competitions. No discomfort of any kind (at least not after De Gea’s MotM performance against Stoke). Still, the long-term target is to overtake Barcelona, and therefore I worry about two things.
- We give the ball away too easily. This was most apparent against Chelsea, and we were a bit lucky that Chelsea failed to take advantage. A team like Barcelona would punish such mistakes ruthlessly.
- We find it difficult to cope with high pressing. Benfica managed to play this way for parts of the game against United earlier this month, and this immediately put us on the back foot. High pressing is the core element of Barcelona’s defensive system.
In the games we’ve played so far this season these weaknesses haven’t really mattered. But when we come up against Barcelona they will be fatal.
Posted in Manchester United | Tagged: Barcelona, Benfica, Chelsea, David De Gea, Duncan Edwards, high pressing, Manchester United | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hakanrylander on September 23, 2010
It’s tempting to try to read between the lines of Sir Alex Ferguson’s absence from last night’s Carling Cup game against Scunthorpe. On surface it’s unremarkable that Ferguson chose to travel to Valencia to watch our next CL opponents, and leave Mike Phelan in charge for the Scunthorpe game. But this is in fact unprecedented as it was the first match during nearly 24 years as United manager that he has missed for other than family reasons.
The logical conclusion is that this was not simply a trip to scout our next opponents. At the top of Ferguson’s plans for next summer must be to find a successor to Edwin van der Sar. As Valencia were playing Atletico Madrid it’s most likely that Sir Alex saw the opportunity to take a closer look at David De Gea, and that the young Spanisk keeper now probably heads Ferguson’s shopping list. De Gea would be an excellent signing, but I find it unlikely that he will leave Spain, even though the fact that he plays for Atletico might make a move to local rivals Real Madrid unlikely.
Posted in Manchester United, Player Analysis, Transfer Gossip | Tagged: Alex Ferguson, Atletico Madrid, David De Gea, Manchester United, Valencia | 1 Comment »