Between the Lines

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

Posts Tagged ‘Tottenham Hotspur’

Conclusions from United 3 Spurs 0

Posted by hakanrylander on August 24, 2011

1. Phil Jones was supposed to be one for the future, but only two weeks into the new season he is already an Old Trafford hero. On his first PL start for United, at only 19 years of age, he already looked the de facto captain. Reminds me of a young John Terry, with the added bonus that Jones can play a bit. My MotM.

2. When Danny Welbeck scored the first goal he was transformed into a different player. For 60 minutes he hadn’t made much of an impression, but after the goal he was full of confidence, trying scissor-kicks and back-heels and wanting the ball all the time. Let’s hope he can carry that confidence with him for the rest of the season.

3. Ashley Young has taken to Manchester United like a duck to water.

4. Several more United players deserve individual praise, but more important was the movement and fluency of the passing game. This was better than I can remember from almost any game last season.

5. Amid all the praise for United, please remember that Spurs were below par. Especially in central midfield where they lacked both steel and creativity.



Posted in Manchester United, Match Reports, Player Analysis | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

“He who smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil”

Posted by hakanrylander on December 16, 2009

The Guardian’s eminent The Knowledge today takes a look at the crucial question of which football teams appear in the Bible. No mention of United, I’m  afraid.

Posted in Non-United | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Berbatov File

Posted by hakanrylander on April 21, 2009

berbatov4The criticism of Dimitar Berbatov has reached new levels of intensity following his weak penalty-kick against Everton. By some, or even many, supporters he’s considered lazy, uninterested and a Veron-style transfer market mistake by Fergie. Tommy Docherty goes as far as to call Berba “an absolute disaster”. Even I have occasionally (but very briefly) doubted his contribution, even though I always love his style.

So let’s have another look at the official statistics from the Premier League. Number of assists, season 2008/09:

  1. Robin Van Persie 10
  2. Dimitar Berbatov 9
  3. Stephen Ireland 9
  4. Frank Lampard 9

For some reason I very rarely hear anyone questioning the contributions of Van Persie, Ireland or Lampard. Telegraph today helped me dig up some other interesting statistics, comparing Berbatov’s performances at Spurs and United:


Team Tottenham Manchester United
Appearances 70 27
Goal attempts    
Goals 27 8
Goals per game 0.39 0.30
Shots on target 89 21
Shots off target 76 18
Shots per game 2.4 1.4
Shooting acuracy 54% 54%
Chance conversion 16% 21%
Goal assists 18 8
Chances created per match 1.53 1.78
Pass completion % 67% 77%
Pass % opp. half 65% 75%
Cross completion % 11% 29%
Tackles won % 75% 84%


I’m not saying that these statistics prove that Berbatov has been brilliant, but it’s interesting to see that he’s improved on chance conversion, chances created, pass completion and assists. He’s even won some tackles! He should shoot more often, though.

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

Carrick – Berbatov – Goal!

Posted by hakanrylander on January 28, 2009

Plenty of reasons to be delighted these days. Top of the league and looking very impressive despite a long injury list. Eleven consecutive clean sheets in the PL. Tevez resembling something like himself again. Ferdinand back in action. Ronaldo scoring and, perhaps even more importantly, at last looking like he enjoys himself and wants to be part of the  team.

But the single aspect of United’s recent run that pleases me the most is the emerging partnership between Carrick and Berbatov.  Against Spurs Berbatov scored from a brilliant through-ball from Carrick. Last night against WBA a one-two between the same players led to Berbatovs goal and another sweeping Carrick pass was converted by Berbatov but (correctly) ruled out for offfside. Both players also have the rare ability to make it look easy. I hope to see a lot more of this. Another reason why I so enjoy the Carrick-Berbatov cooperation can be found on this page.

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

Wembley, here we come!

Posted by hakanrylander on December 6, 2008

This kind of headline might seem a stupid way of tempting fate, but I really cannot see us loosing a two-leg Carling Cup semi-final against Derby County. Holders Spurs play giant-killers Burnley in the other semi-final. Even though Spurs is a completely different side compared to a couple of months ago, I still feel that Dimitar Berbatov has a great chance of picking up the trophy for the second year running.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »