Between the Lines

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

Archive for February, 2011

Who are you kidding, Malcolm?

Posted by hakanrylander on February 25, 2011

Manchester United is not for sale and the owners will not entertain any offers.”

This statement accompanied today’s release of the second-quarter financial results. All very official. But not true.

So far there hasn’t been even the slightest hint of an emotional connection between the Glazers and Manchester United. This means that an old business truth is still valid in this case; all assets are for sale at a price. It also means that today’s statement is nonsense.

The Entertainer?

For a take-over to happen will need an investor with deep pockets and an even more optimistic outlook than the Glazers on United’s future revenues. Which looks unlikely at this moment. But of course our esteemed owners are willing to do business at some level. The club might not be for sale at £1.5 billion. But if they received an offer of, say, £2.0 billion I can assure you that the owners would have a look at it. They might even entertain it.

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Posted in Financial, Manchester United | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Arsenal begin to look a formidable obstacle

Posted by hakanrylander on February 21, 2011

Last week’s CL encounter between Arsenal and Barcelona was an absolute delight to watch for any neutral observer. It also confirmed that Arsenal in the last few months have developed into a more formidable obstacle to our domestic (and maybe even international) ambitions. There are three main reasons for this:

-Robin Van Persie is back to full form and fitness. That’s a big difference from last season.

-The squad is probably stronger than ever in depth, with players like Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin and Chamakh not able to get into the first XI.

-And, most importantly, they seem to have acquired a steely quality that has often been missing. They kept going against Barcelona despite being played off the park in the first half, and came back to turn the game around.

We will face Arsenal in the FA-cup (if they overcome Leyton Orient) on Saturday 12 March and in the PL on Saturday 30 April. Two games that might define our season, and to really look forward to.

For in-depth analysis of Arsenal tactics and formations, look no further than Arsenal Column.

Posted in Manchester United, Previews | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

They saw that the stone was rolled away

Posted by hakanrylander on February 13, 2011

To compare Wayne Rooney’s goal against City with the resurrection of Christ is of course totally ridiculous. Still, it’s an indication of the quality of the finish and the ecstasy of moment that you even consider using such an analogy (helped by his stylish celebration).

It remains to be seen whether this really marks the return of Rooney as a world-class performer. I certainly hope so, but apart from the goal the signs yesterday were, in fact, not too encouraging. He played an important part in the build-up to the first goal and worked his socks off as usual, but this still wasn’t the Rooney of 12-18 months ago when there was great anticipation every time he got the ball.

I think City deserved a point, maybe even three.  For much of the game it seemed that United’s most effective plan was to just give the ball to Nani and hope that he would produce a moment of magic. Full credit to Nani who again confirmed his remarkable transformation from erratic fringe-player to lynchpin. 

A special mention also to Chris Smalling who has been eased in gradually by Ferguson. This was by far his most difficult game so far and he handled the pressure to perfection.

But this game will not be remembered for the accomplishments of Nani or Smalling, but for the moment when Rooney, for a few seconds, gave us all the feeling of rising above mortal constraints.

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

Add to Basket

Posted by hakanrylander on February 10, 2011

I knew that Christian Eriksen was a good player. But I didn’t realise that he was this good! Last night’s game between Denmark and England made me add another name to my Official Summer Shopping List. He impressed me in just about every department; control, composure, vision, set-piece delivery etc. In short, he was the best player on the pitch. And he doesn’t turn 19 until Monday.

Apart from Eriksen, my shopping list for the summer also includes Manuel Neuer and Jack Rodwell. All perfectly possible signings if the Glazers are indeed prepared to splash the cash. But come to think of it, I can’t remember that I’ve ever seen “Glazer” and “splash the cash” in the same sentence before…

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