Between the Lines

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

Posts Tagged ‘Stoke’

Answered prayers

Posted by hakanrylander on February 1, 2012

That’s central midfield sorted then.

OK, I realise that I’m in serious danger of getting overexcited, but Paul Pogba’s first 20 minutes of PL football were nothing short of sensational. In those 20 minutes he managed to convince me that he is (or at least soon will be)¬†the box-to-box midfielder we are all longing for. Skillful, athletic, creative, confident.

His pass completion rate was 100%. This was partly because he played a lot of short safe passes to Scholes and Carrick, but he also tried some more adventurous, most notably a long perfectly weighted ball to Valencia. He almost scored as well. And played with a big smile on his face.

Bloody brilliant.



Posted in Manchester United, Match Reports, Player Analysis | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Apology to Ritchie de Laet

Posted by hakanrylander on May 25, 2009

In the past Between the Lines has occasionally poked fun at the signing of Ritchie de Laet, and even questioned his very existence, mainly because his record seemed close to non-existent or at least not anywhere near United-quality. De Laet arrived in January from Stoke City where he spent a year and a half without even once playing for the first team, and since then the reports from the reserves didn’t indicate that he had made much progress.

I was therefore very surprised, and delaeted, by his MotM performance against Hull. He was adventurous going forward and solid at the back, and was voted our best and second-best player by the readers of Daily Telegraph and Manchester Evening News respectively. Full marks and an unreserved apology to Ritchie for doubting his ability.

De Laet was signed on a short-term contract until the end of the season. His performance yesterday should earn him an extension.

Edit: De Laet has signed a new one-year contract. Great news!

Posted in Match Reports, Player Analysis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m absolutely delaeted

Posted by hakanrylander on January 8, 2009

Only a few days ago, after the official announcement of the signings of Tosic and Ljajic, Sir Alex Ferguson said there would be no more signings in January. Then today United suddenly signs 20-year old Belgian defender Ritchie de Laet from Stoke City.

The transfer is all the more puzzling since his record is anything but impressive. In over a year at Stoke he hasn’t once played for the first team. He was loaned to Bournemouth where his greatest achievement apparently was that he took part in a 4-1 friendly defeat against Portsmouth. And he has made three appearances on loan at non-league Wrexham.

The most logical explanation is that while at Royal Antwerp he impressed Warren Joyce who was then manager of Royal Antwerp and is now assistant to reserves coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

I’ve never seen the lad play, or even heard of him. But for the time being I still choose to be delaeted with the signing.

Through sterling work by manunitedyouth you can find a translation of a Belgian interview with de Laet here. Highlight: “I haven’t got a driver’s licence yet, but I won’t be asking him for lessons, that’s for sure.”

Posted in Player Analysis, Transfer Gossip | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

United 5 – Stoke 0

Posted by hakanrylander on November 17, 2008

Lots of positives in this game. Most of all the exciting debut of Danny Welbeck who scored a stunning goal and confirmed his immense potential, even though he played for less than half-an-hour and in the unfamiliar postion of right midfield. I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity to watch him. I might be wrong but I can’t remember that Ferguson has given a PL-debut to a 17-year-old since – Ryan Giggs.

United were in total control for most of the game, but I confess that I was a little bit worried towards the end of the first half when I felt that they were too relaxed. But Carrick settled my nerves with a difficult strike that he made look very easy. Ronaldo scored twice, but I’m not as enthusiastic about his overall contribution as some commentators. I still feel that his heart isn’t really in it. Hopefully I’m wrong.

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