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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Match preview: Mancity vs Manutd


Manchester City will aim to continue their excellent week by claiming the scalp of their local rivals on Sunday.

City completed the double over United last season and will be confident of collecting three points after following up their victory over Arsenal last Saturday with an impressive display against Schalke in the Uefa Cup.

Mark Hughes' men remain in the bottom half of the Premier League table after an inconsistent start to their campaign, although their home form has been good and United have struggled somewhat on their travels.

United have only won at Portsmouth and Blackburn this term, but many of their away fixtures have come straight after European games and Ferguson has stated that he feels his side have been 'handicapped' by the schedule.

Ferguson nevertheless believes the Red Devils can make up the ground on joint leaders Chelsea and Liverpool, with the deficit currently standing at eight points.

United already have a game in hand on their fellow title challengers and will fall further behind when they travel to Japan for the Fifa Club World Cup next month.

Playing in tournaments such as the one in the Far East will be a target for City now they have been taken over by the mega-rich Abu Dhabi United Group, and Sunday's contest should provide some idea of how close they are to United at the present time.

City will expect to narrow the gap over the coming months and years and more signings on the scale of Robinho are expected, either in the January transfer window or next summer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

3rd consecutive draw for Man Utd against Villarreal


Holders Manchester United failed to secure top spot in Champions League Group E but qualified for the knockout stage of the competition after another 0-0 draw with Villarreal at El Madrigal on Tuesday.

Villarreal, still undefeated at home in the Champions League, join United in the last 16 and the final round of group matches will now decide who tops the group.

Manchester United, who have the superior goal difference, host Aalborg on December 12 while Villarreal have a tougher trip to Celtic on the same day.

Once again there was no separating these two teams who have failed to produce a goal in 360 minutes of European football having played each other four times in the Champions League with every game ending 0-0.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that he had been impressed by his side's second-half performance.

"I thought we deserved better out of this match," said the Scot, who has guided the team to two Champions League trophies in his time in charge.

"I was satisfied with the second-half performance and I felt that Villarreal were just happy to get the draw."

Cristiano Ronaldo hit the crossbar at the end of the first half for United, who had the better chances, but Villarreal could also have stolen the points.

Villarreal defender Joan Capdevila was harshly sent off eight minutes from time for a challenge on Ronaldo that seemed to merit a yellow card rather than a straight red.

"I didn't really see the incident," said Ferguson.

"However, I had spoken about Ronaldo needing protection from officials and this evening (Tuesday) we had a good referee."

Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini was delighted to qualify but confessed that the draw means Manchester United are virtually certain to top the group.

"It is mission accomplished for us so I am happy," said Pellegrini. "The group is already decided as I see it: Manchester United are going to be top. I don't think they are going to drop points at home against Aalborg."

Asked on why the fixture has produced four successive scoreless draws Pellegrini replied: "I don't think it is normal that two attacking teams have failed to score in four matches."

Ferguson received a major boost with Ronaldo being declared fit after overcoming a leg injury sustained against Aston Villa at the weekend.

With Dimitar Berbatov injured Carlos Tevez was expected to start but the Argentine, becoming increasingly used to life out of the first XI, was surprisingly left on the substitutes bench with Wayne Roooney acting as a lone striker.

For Villarreal, Giuseppe Rossi faced his former club for the first time after finding competition too fierce at Old Trafford.

Rooney had the ball in the net for the visitors after seven minutes but it did not count with Patrice Evra flagged offside.

Ronaldo, jeered by the home crowd, was involved in an early spat with Ariel Ibagaza who wound up the winger by taking his pulse after a late challenge.

Villarreal were being suffocated by the champions' intense pressing in midfield but carved open a chance on 17 minutes with Santiago Cazorla forcing a save from Kuszczak.

Ronaldo then underlined his goal threat rattling the crossbar four minutes from half-time with Diego Lopez pulling off a fine fingertip save to deny the Portuguese schemer.

At half-time Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini was forced to substitute his captain Marcos Senna who had been struggling with a knock.

Ronaldo looked the man most likely to break the stalemate and early in the second half Lopez saved his low drive and Rooney could not convince the referee that he warranted a penalty after collapsing in the area.

Despite a draw being good enough for both teams to qualify neither side was settling for the stalemate and Villarreal had their best opening on 65 minutes with a terrific Cazorla cross somehow evading everyone.

Capdevila made a heroic goal-line clearance on 80 minutes to deny Rooney only to be strangely sent off minutes later.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd


Manchester United remain eight points off the top of the Premier League after failing to break down Aston Villa in a lively encounter at Villa Park.

After Gabriel Agbonlahor hit an early chance straight at Edwin van der Sar, Ashley Young's tackle prevented Ji-Sung Park from giving United the lead.

Villa wanted a penalty when Nemanja Vidic challenged Agbonlahor before Wayne Rooney miscued in front of goal.

Both teams created openings late on but could do nothing to break the deadlock.

'Enthusiastic' Villa delight O'Neill

Villa, who leapfrog Arsenal into fourth, will be pleased to have ended a run of 12 consecutive league defeats at the hands of United and claimed their first point against the Old Trafford club since 2002.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was urging his side forward at the end and he might reflect on two points dropped, despite Chelsea and Liverpool being held to goalless draws themselves.

Both teams came into the game with form and confidence from their most recent league outings, Villa having claimed a fine win at Arsenal and United following their home demolition of Stoke.
The pair were separated by just one point but there appeared even less to choose between them in the opening exchanges.

A Luke Young free-kick was headed by Martin Laursen into the path of Agbonlahor but the England striker poked his shot straight at Van der Sar.

At the other end, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped in from the left wing and unleashed a venomous drive that was clawed behind by Brad Friedel, making his 166th consecutive Premier League appearance to equal David James' record.

United, boosted by the returns of Rio Ferdinand and Rooney, were initially frustrated by Villa's 4-5-1 formation, which turned into a 4-3-3 when in possession.

But with United looking to get forward in numbers at every opportunity, the visitors' slick passing soon enabled wingers Ronaldo and Park to get in behind the Villa full-backs.

On 38 minutes Ronaldo sent Park racing through on goal but, just as the South Korean prepared to shoot, Ashley Young slid in with a perfectly-timed challenge to avert the danger.

With Villa struggling to keep hold of the ball, United continued to flow forward and a sliding Park was inches away from converting Rooney's enticing right-wing cross.
Villa were good value for their point, attacking and defending as one

United tried to make their superiority count before half-time, Vidic heading narrowly wide from a Ryan Giggs free-kick, but Villa held firm.

Martin O'Neill's men looked vibrant after the re-start and Van der Sar was forced to concede a corner with Ashley Young's intended cross heading towards the top corner.

Villa were beginning to play without inhibition and, on the hour-mark, felt they should have had a penalty when Agbonlahor was felled after out-pacing Vidic on the left, although replays suggested Vidic won the ball.

United wasted a glorious chance when Michael Carrick hooked over the Villa defence for Rooney, who found himself clean through but fired horribly high and wide from close range.

Ferguson replaced an out-of-form Carlos Tevez with Nani as United continued to probe from wide areas but clear-cut chances were not forthcoming and Villa reminded the reigning champions of their threat when Ashley Young's drive was well saved by Van der Sar.

Vidic had to be alert to scramble clear after James Milner beat John O'Shea and crossed but in the end neither side could breach the other's back four.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Manchester United win against Stoke City


Manchester United 5 - Stoke City 0

Scorers: For ManUtd:  Ronaldo(3',89'), Carrick(45'), Berbatov(49'), Welbeck(84')

In the other matches of saturday Aston villa stunned Arsenal by 2-0 victory. Earliar Liverpool defeated Bolton by two goals to nil. Chelsea will entertain West brom later on today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Man Utd v Stoke : Match Preview

Sir Alex Ferguson has demanded a more clinical performance from his Manchester United side when they host Stoke City at Old Trafford.

The angry United boss blamed his side's wasteful finishing for last Saturday's 2-1 defeat at the hands of title rivals Arsenal, which left them eight points off the pace set by leaders Chelsea and Liverpool.

The champions carved out 18 chances at the Emirates Stadium last weekend but, despite having the combined attacking talents of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov all on the pitch, they could only find the net through substitute right-back Rafael.

Ferguson is expected to shuffle his pack for the visit of the Potters with Tevez likely to return to the starting line-up following his recent spell as a substitute.

The Argentine striker scored the penalty that secured a midweek Carling Cup win over QPR and could replace either Rooney or Berbatov.

Elsewhere, knee injury victims Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes remain absent, but Wes Brown could return to the squad after spraining his ankle in training last weekend and missing the Arsenal game.

But whichever team Ferguson sends out on Saturday will be expected to improve on a record which has seen the perennial title challengers pick up just four points from the last nine on offer.

Stoke will be hoping to follow up last weekend's strong defensive display in the goalless draw against Wigan Athletic with another backs-to-the-wall effort at Old Trafford.

Tony Pulis' side were well-drilled at the JJB Stadium as they picked up only their second away point of the season, but the Potters had Thomas Sorensen to thank as the Danish goalkeeper kept Wigan at bay with a string of second-half saves.

Those away fans travelling to Manchester will be hoping their side can repeat the heroics of beating Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium two weeks ago.

Tottenham, Sunderland and Aston Villa have also fallen foul of the 12th-placed Potters this season, while joint league leaders Liverpool were also held to a goalless draw in September.

However, Stoke have won on only one of their previous nine visits to Old Trafford and are regarded as long shots to improve on that record.

Cristiano Ronaldo seeks improved Manchester United deal

Ronaldo is currently the highest paid player at Old Trafford, having signed a £120,000-a-week, five-year contract in April 2007.

However, the player's agent, Jorge Mendes, believes the 23-year-old warrants a pay rise, having been named FIFpro World Player of the Year and now favourite to pick up the prestigious European and World Player of the Year awards in the coming weeks.

A statement from Mendes' company, Gestifute, said: "It is normal that a footballer wants a deal to go with his status and one that matches his performance on the field.

"But nobody has prepared anything concrete. We want to avoid any rumours in the press and we do predict a meeting with Manchester United to speak about the future of Ronaldo, but still there is not an exact date."

This announcement has been treated with surprise and suspicion by United, who are reluctant to offer Ronaldo a wage increase so soon after he spent last summer angling for a move to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo will have to prove his commitment to United before an improved deal is placed on the table, and even then it is unlikely to be anywhere near the £150,000 a week Real offered him just five months ago.

Reports, however, suggest United chief executive David Gill will open discussions with Mendes at the end of the season, for fear Ronaldo may buy himself out of his current agreement if a new deal is not agreed by summer 2010.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This Weeks Table


             Team             Pld Point 

01. Chelsea                12     29
02. Liverpool             12    29
03. Arsenal                12     23
04. Man United         11    21
05. A Villa                  12    20
06. Hull                      12    20
07. Everton               12    18
08. Middlesbro         12    17
09. Portsmouth        12    17
10. Fulham                11    14
11. Bolton                  12    14
12. Stoke                   12    14
13. Man City             12    13
14. West Ham          12    13
15. Blackburn           12    13
16. Tottenham         12    12
17. Wigan                  12    12
18. Newcastle           12    12
19. Sunderland         12    12
20. West Brom         12    11

This weeks BPL results


Sunday 09 Nov 2008

Fulham 2 vs Newcastle 1

A Villa 1 vs Middlesbro 2

Man City 1 vs Tottenham 2

Blackburn 0 vs Chelsea 2

Saturday 08 Nov 2008

Liverpool 3 vs West Brom 0

Hull 0 vs Bolton 1

Sunderland 1 vs Portsmouth 2

West Ham 1 vs Everton 3

Arsenal 2 vs Man United 1

Wigan 0 vs Stoke 0

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Man Utd wants Delph

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has already missed out on young British prodigies Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey to Arsenal, but this time he is set to win the race to sign the next outstanding young British prodigy.

The left-winger has been under close observation from a host of Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle, who made a bid for the 18-year-old earlier this year, but this was rejected by Leeds.

Delph has only played 21 first-team League games for Leeds, scoring three times, but Ferguson is willing to take the chance that he can become a star at Old Trafford, and now looks set to bag the Bradford-born player.

A Manchester United insider told The Sun, "It’s as certain as it gets that Fabian will be a Red in January. It’s a done deal."

The youngster has been making big news recently, with the country's big clubs excited about someone who could be the next Theo Walcott, so Sir Alex Ferguson will have to move fast in order to secure Delph's services.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Report: Arsenal 2 Man UTD 1

Samir Nasri got Arsenal back in the groove as the French midfielder scored twice to give the Gunners a much-needed 2-1 win against Manchester United on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger's side started as underdogs on their home turf after a miserable run of three games without a win - including a tumultuous meltdown at Stoke - but they produced a superb performance to cast aside doubts over their title prospects this season.

Nasri opened the scoring midway through the first half in a thrilling encounter, then added his fifth goal of the campaign moments after half-time to seal the points.

A last minute goal from Rafael da Silva - his first for United - gave the champions hope, but they couldn't force an equaliser despite six minutes of injury-time.

Arsenal, who moved to within three points of leaders Chelsea ahead of their match at Blackburn on Sunday, are now firmly back in the title race, while United are five points off top spot.

Ahead of kick-off much of the talk had been of Arsenal's injury problems, so relief swept around the Emirates Stadium once the teams were announced with Theo Walcott, William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre coming through fitness tests.

For United there was just one change from the side that beat Hull last time out in the league, Park Ji-Sung coming in to replace Nani on the left of midfield.

Arsenal started nervously and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia gave away a needless free kick within one minute as he handled a Silvestre back pass. The set-piece led to Michael Carrick firing wide for the visitors.

Arsenal had not lost back-to-back league games in 56 outings, but the signs were not looking good as that defeat at Stoke seemed to pray on their nerves early on.

United had a goal ruled out after eight minutes, Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov had strayed offside before slotting home from close range after a Wayne Rooney shot was pushed away.

Wenger's men worked their way into the game and Nicklas Bendtner should have tested goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar with two headed chances before the quarter hour mark.

Arsenal took the lead in the 22nd minute. Patrice Evra fouled Bacary Sagna on the right side of the penalty area.

Cesc Fabregas's free-kick was cleared by Berbatov as far as Nasri on the edge of the box and he hit a left foot shot which deflected off Gary Neville and into the net.

The remainder of the half was tense. Walcott struck a decent opportunity over the crossbar, and Arsenal hearts were in mouths as Gael Clichy's apparent handball from a Rooney cross was not given as a penalty.

After the break Arsenal quickly slipped into gear and doubled their lead.

Fabregas produced a brilliant turn just outside the United area on 48 minutes and slipped in Nasri, who drilled a fine strike beyond the grasp of Van der Sar.

It was a desperate blow to United, the league's in-form team following a run of seven games without defeat.

Yet within a minute they should have reduced the deficit, Cristiano Ronaldo slotting wide from close range following a perfect lofted cross by Park.

Rooney had a header saved soon after, and the visitors then introduced Ryan Giggs in place of Anderson with 18 minutes remaining in a bid to salvage something from the game.

However, it was Arsenal who had the next opportunity, referee Howard Webb waving away penalty appeals as Nemanja Vidic tugged on the shirt of Nasri.

Ferguson brought on Carlos Tevez in place of Rooney in a further bid to snatch an unlikely point and Arsenal were forced to take off Almunia, with Lukasz Fabianski on after the Spanish keeper was injured in a challenge with Carrick.

United teenager Rafael, on for Neville, gave United a glimmer of hope in the 90th minute when he chested down a clearance on the edge of the area and volleyed left footed into the corner of Fabianski's net.

But victory takes Arsenal into third place, and although Man United have a game in hand, this is a huge psychological boost for Wenger and his side.

Update: Manchester United vs Arsenal


Arsenal have several injury concerns with Theo Walcott (shoulder) and captain William Gallas (thigh) rated as having "50-50" chances to play.

Bacary Sagna is also a doubt, while Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle), Emmanuel Eboue (knee) and Robin van Persie (suspension) are definitely missing.

Manchester United's Paul Scholes is back to light training and may make his comeback against Spurs on 13 December.

Darren Fletcher (knee) is a doubt, Gary Neville returns and Wes Brown is out.

Arsenal (from): Almunia, Fabianski, Diaby, Sagna, Fabregas, Toure, Nasri, Gallas, Vela, Walcott, Denilson, Ramsey, Song, Silvestre, Wilshere, Gibbs, Djourou, Clichy, Bendtner

Manchester United team (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Foster, Neville, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, O'Shea, Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick, Gibson, Possebon, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Nani, Park, Rooney, Berbatov, Tevez

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Manchester United Held by Celtic

Yestrdays champions league clash between Manchester united and Celtic was ended at a 1-1 draw. Celtic got the lead with a perfect chip shot from Mcdonald. Ben Foster playing in place of Van Der Sar had no chance to stop that shot. Later at the 84th minute Ryan Giggs rescued manchester united with a goal. And the match ended at 1-1. Manchester united will play their next game of Champions league in 3 weeks time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Celtic vs manutd


Celtic will again be without strike trio Georgios Samaras, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Chris Killen for Wednesday's visit of Manchester United.

The Scottish side are also missing Glenn Loovens and Marc Crosas.

Ben Foster or Tomasz Kuszczak will deputise in goal for United as Edwin van der Sar has been rested.

Rafael Da Silva is set to fill-in at right-back as Wes Brown still has an ankle injury and Gary Neville is also missing from the squad.

Celtic were beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford in October and need a win to maintain their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson sees the game as an opportunity to give Foster or Kuszczak the opportunity to play, with Foster the more likely to make what would be only his second senior appearance for United and his debut in the Champions League.

Another win for United would send them into the last 16 with two games to spare if Aab Aalborg fail to beat Villarreal. A draw would also be enough if the Spaniards win.

Gordon Strachan's team will need to improve dramatically on their performance at Old Trafford, when two goals from Dimitar Berbatov and one from Wayne Rooney swept the Premier League champions to an emphatic victory.

Celtic have lost only one of their last 11 home Champions League games but they are yet to score in three matches this season and United are yet to concede.

However, the Scottish side can take heart from seeing Hull score three goals in a 4-3 Premier League defeat on Saturday.

And Strachan also said people should not read too much into his side's defeat at Old Trafford.

"We didn't play as well as would have liked but Man United are probably the best team in the world," he added.

"Everyone who goes there, who has spent more money than us, has got a right tonking there. We got beat 3-0 but two of the goals were offside so it's not as bad as people have been making out.

"Can we do it tomorrow? Yes, we can do but we can also get beat, everybody knows that. But it will be a special occasion."

Celtic (from): Boruc, Hinkel, Naylor, Caldwell, McManus, Wilson, Maloney, McGeady, Scott Brown, Hartley, Robson, Donati, McDonald, McCourt, Sheridan, Mark Brown, Nakamura, O'Dea, Caddis.

Man Utd (from): Kuszczak, Foster, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, O'Shea, Rafael, Evans, Possebon, Anderson, Fletcher, Nani, Ronaldo, Gibson, Giggs, Carrick, Park, Tevez, Berbatov, Rooney.

Courtesy of BBC Sports.