Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Archive for September, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

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.

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Posted in Manchester United, Player Analysis, Transfer Gossip | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Smalling will have big impact

Posted by hakanrylander on September 23, 2010

This was a very enjoyable Carling Cup night. One reason was the fact that City, Chelsea and Liverpool were all knocked out! But more importantly, this was probably a breakthrough night for another up-and-coming United star. I am of course refering to Chris Smalling.

It gives me great pleasure to watch a centre-half who is comfortable on the ball, able to hit long accurate passes and score goals. The pass to Gibson that led to the first goal would have made Paul Scholes proud, and Smalling scored the second with the ease of a goal-poacher rather than a defender. This game will have further strengthened his confidence. I’m looking forward to his first PL start. It won’t be long.

Posted in Manchester United, Match Reports, Player Analysis | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The End of the Berbatov Debate

Posted by hakanrylander on September 20, 2010

Welcome back, Premier League football. This was electrifying! The second half in particular had everything you could ask for in a football game; individual brilliance, good team effort, a lead wasted by poor defending and a Goal of the Season contender as well as a winner by MotM Dimitar Berbatov.

This will surely be the end of the debate that has been ongoing between United fans for the last couple of seasons. Is Dimitar Berbatov a genius or an expensive flop? No one who was present at Old Trafford yesterday can have lingering doubts. Berbatov is the closest we’ve come to another Cantona. I think Manutd24 summed it up perfectly in the headline “I am not a man. I am Berbatov.”

Finally, a reminder.

Premier League Top Scorers:

  • Dimitar Berbatov 6
  • Florent Malouda 6
  • Didier Drogba 5
  • Andy Carroll 4
  • Salomon Kalou 4
  • Theo Walcott 4
  • Darren Bent 3
  • Johan Elmander 3
  • Craig Gardner 3
  • Carlos Tevez 3

Posted in Manchester United, Match Reports, Player Analysis | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »