Posts Tagged ‘Nani’

I’m sorry, but I didn’t watch most of the games from this weekend, I’ll speak about the two games that I did watch – Aston Villa versus Man United and Chelsea versus Sunderland.

I’ll start off with the game at Villa Park. I was pretty sure this would be the game where it all changes. United would come out, stamp their authority on a young and inexperienced Villa team and then we’d all go home happy. I was completely wrong. United were outplayed by the “young and inexperienced” Villa team. Stuart Downing, Mark Albrighton and Ashley Young were causing problems to United’s back four. Vidic and Ferdinand were really good and solid (I’m glad to have that center back pairing back together) up until the 72nd minute when Wes Brown bundled over (I think it was) Agbonlahor to give Villa a penalty. It was a definite yellow card.

Four minutes later, United substitute Kiko Macheda gave away the ball way too cheaply at the Villa end and Villa countered like lightning. They moved so quickly with the ball that within second Mark Albrighton had put the ball in the back of the net. It was a fantastic performance by a team that consisted of players like him, Bryan Bannan and Hogg, with Stuart Downing, Ashley Young and Agbonlahor putting in their share of experience.

But United fought back with 14 minutes left to go, and Macheda managed to pull one back after Fletcher’s clever flick back to him. 2-1 and the game looked like changing. And then Nani (about whom we will speak in a bit), puts in a beautiful cross to find Captain Vidic on the far post and he heads the ball in. 2-2, and perhaps if there were five more minutes we would have seen United walk away with all three points and a grave injustice done to Aston Villa who definitely played better football for large parts of the game.

Lets talk about Nani, United’s biggest threat when it comes to goals. He’s got, I think, 9 assists this season and he’s scored a few himself as well. But he’s still not matured fully. He’s still got to be a little bit more consistent when he’s on the field and he should DEFINITELY stop rolling around on the fucking floor so often. I’ve noticed that there are many times he just gives the ball away and rolls on the floor hoping the ref gives him a free kick. When he doesn’t get one, he can’t obviously get back up and chase after the player, so he rolls around for some more time. I think Nani is going to be hugely influential this season and which is why, I hope, that if he ever reads this awesome blog, that he will note these things and I’m sure it’ll help him improve as a player.

Needs to stop rolling around

But other than that, all I can say about United is this – Its the midfield, stupid! There’s not enough creativity, something United fans have been moaning about from the start of the transfer window. Lets be very clear, if Ferguson does pull a rabbit out of his hat and delivers the Premier League (which really isn’t unlikely, I think as a Man United fan) it should definitely go down as his most memorable because he did it with a very thin squad and perhaps an average one as well.

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Steve Bruce mentioned that Sir Alex had asked Bruce to keep him informed about Jordan Henderson. So I had to check out this player who Fergie was interested in, apparently. So I brought out all my voodoo equipment, the Drogba doll with needles stuck in it and everything (which must’ve worked) sat down to watch Henderson take on the champions – he was good, but I really liked the way another youngster, on loan from United, played. Take a bow, Danny Welbeck.

Chelsea suffered a humiliating home defeat at the hands of a well organized Sunderland side. This was Chelsea’s starting 11 – Cech, Cole, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Ramires, Zhirkov, Mikel, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka. And if you ask me that’s enough quality for them to be winning at home against Sunderland.

A very well organized Sunderland who were crisp with their passing managed to put 3 goals into the Chelsea net and most surprisingly keep a clean sheet as well! Even more surprising was that Cattermole did not get booked!

The team that Chelsea put out was good enough to beat Sunderland but it doesn’t ooze with quality. In a way, Chelsea are just like Manchester United but with fewer injuries and fewer defenders. A decently strong starting 11, but after that there isn’t too much you can call on.

Ramires, Chelsea’s biggest buy this summer, hasn’t been as effective as I’m sure Ancelotti would’ve wanted him to be. He’s done okay in the absence of Frank Lampard, but most Chelsea fans would much rather have had Lampard back instead. He’s not gone out and grabbed a game by the throat.

Then they have McEachren and Kakuta, two talented youngsters but throwing them into the Premier League might be a problem as they’ll definitely take time to adjust to its demanding nature. They’re still learning, and they will make mistakes. Even Wilshere, perhaps the most exciting talent at that age in the Premiership gives away the ball cheaply once in a while and not to mention jumps into tackles too early as well. Their midfield will be boosted when the suspended Essien returns, but will their squad run thin?

I’m also fairly surprised with Ancelotti’s substitutions – why did he take off Malouda and play Kalou? I’m disappointed not only because Malouda is in my fantasy football team, but also because I genuinely think that Malouda has more in him than Kalou when it comes to changing a game.

What you’ve really got to question though is the sacking of Ray Wilkins. I’m sure it has had an impact on the player’s mindset, because Wilkins was a really good Assistant Manager, as Ancelotti himself put it. It was abrupt and completely uncalled for, much like the sacking of Jose Mourinho. So long as Abramovich makes stupid mistakes like this, I’ll be glad we have the Glazers who hardly interfere in these matters as owners.

Will definitely be missed - Ray Wilkins

Credit to Sunderland for really taking the game to Chelsea. I thought they put in a fantastic team performance. Welbeck comined really well with Gyan and Richardson. Zenden played everywhere for them and provided them with some fantastic experience. They kept the ball really well, they pressurised Chelsea and they tested Petr Cech on a number of occasions. It could easily have been 5 nil if Cech wouldn’t have saved Welbeck’s header and his shot.

Thanks to this defeat, Chelsea no longer have the comfort of a wide gap between them and the second placed team. Arsenal are within two points of Chelsea, and United would’ve have gone within a point if they’d won, but as it stands they’re 3 points behind – which isn’t too bad to be honest. Its a crazy old league and it doesn’t look like I can see a clear winner!

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The week has been pretty good for the top 4. Wait, I think its best to say top 3, don’t know who the fourth is – Tottenham, City or Liverpool? I think we’ll give it to Spurs considering they DID finish fourth last season. But if Spurs are included, then they had their ups and they had their downs as well.

Weekend was United versus Spurs and within 3 minutes of the game Park Ji Sung hit the upright. I was expecting a flowing game and it came. Lets be quite honest, I was on the edge up until Nani scored United’s second. Perhaps one of the most controversial goals ever scored in the Premier League era, but in my opinion it was a legitimate goal. Clattenburg made an absolute meal of it. He has it in for United versus Spurs game – Pedro Mendes’ goal being disallowed, giving United a penalty in the 2006/7 season incorrectly and then failing to give Spurs one even though Gary Neville was holding on to Chimbonda in the penalty box.

Clattenburg made a complete mess of things

The goal was good though. However what I really noticed was that Nani had to be told by Scholes to shoot. Some of you may say it wasn’t sportsman like behaviour for Scholes to ask Nani to shoot. I don’t know about that, but what I’d really like to draw your attention to is the fact that Scholes brain works really really quickly.

While perhaps all the other players on the pitch were pretty sure that it was a free kick, it was Scholes who realised that the ref hadn’t blown the whistle therefore the game was still in play due to the advantage given to Spurs (either that or he understood what Clattenburg meant with his shrug). Its fantastic how he figured it out in the heat of the game, but then we all know he has a cool head on his shoulders except when he needs to make a tackle.

Chelsea won away at Blackburn which was definitely a tough fixture and Arsenal managed to win in the dying moments of the game against West Ham. The Hammers would have been quite disappointed especially after Robert Green making some fantastic saves during the game. Nonetheless, Song managed to win it in the end for Arsenal and therefore they remain second in the Premier League standings 5 points behind Chelsea and on level with United but with better goal difference (+2).

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Gareth Bale rips apart Inter Milan again

Bale ripped apart Inter Milan in the first leg at the San Siro but since the final result was Inter 4 – 3 Spurs, it wasn’t talked about too much. Bale then repeated his performance at White Hart Lane in front of the Tottenham faithful and I’ll bet they’d love to make a DVD out of this!

Humbler of Maicon

Beating the reigning European Champions can have a very satisfying feeling. But absolutely hammering the reigning European Champions gives you a sense of euphoria. Spurs are pretty sure to go through barring some unforgivable mistakes.

Credit to Harry Redknapp for always playing attacking football and you see the results. Bale absolutely ripped apart Maicon twice and has trampled all over his reputation of being the best right back in the world. Rafael Da Silva (Manchester United’s young full back, also Brazilian) did a much better job of containing Bale at Old Trafford.

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Other Champions League shizz bizz..

Real Madrid managed to draw 2-2 against AC Milan at the San Siro. Two goals by Pippo Inzaghi (the second one was perhaps offside.. then again he was born offside, wasn’t he?) for Milan and a goal each from Higuain and Pedro Leon (in the end) to put Madrid through to the group stages. Still unbeaten in Europe, Real Madrid.

Group G

Teams Pld Pts
1 Real Madrid CF Real Madrid 4 10
2 AC Milan Milan 4 5
3 AFC Ajax Ajax 4 4
4 AJ Auxerre Auxerre 4 3

Arsenal missed a brilliant chance to cement their place in the last 16 of the Competition after losing 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk. The Gunners went in front through Walcott and then were 1-1 due to an Eastmond own goal. Following this Eduardo came back to haunt his old club (as I mentioned he might). 2-1 to Shakhtar on the night, although Arsenal are still favourites to go through.

Group H

Teams Pld Pts
1 Arsenal FC Arsenal 4 9
2 FC Shakhtar Donetsk Shakhtar Donetsk 4 9
3 SC Braga Braga 4 6
4 FK Partizan Partizan 4 0

Chelsea has booked its place in the last sixteen and don’t really have much to worry about having conceded only 1 goal in the European encounters. The battle for second between Spartak Moskva and Marseille will be interesting after Marseille hit Zilina for 7.

Bayern Munich also are assured of a last 16 place after getting maximum points from their four games in Group E. Roma are second with six points.

Barcelona drew 1-1 at Kobenhavn with Jesper Gronkjaer pretty much running through Barcelona and “holding his own in the battle of number tens”, as the commentator said. They’re on 8, Copenhagen are on 7 points. On our blog we had expected Rubin Kazan to go through but Copenhagen seems to be favourites to take the second place in Group D.

In Group C Manchester United are on 10 points and Valencia on 7. This seems pretty much like what we expected it to be.

Group A is pretty much wide open. There’s no room for error in that group.

Group A

Teams Pld Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur FC Tottenham 4 7
2 FC Internazionale Milano Internazionale 4 7
3 FC Twente Twente 4 5
4 SV Werder Bremen Bremen 4 2

 

Spurs are on 7, Inter on 7. Twente on 5. I think its pretty safe to say that Bremen are not going to go through although it isn’t impossible either. You never know what happens in the Champions League though.