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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Man Utd's quality of football against Fulham went to a higher level

Alex Ferguson's Man Utd teams have always had a reputation for playing an attacking brand of football. Despite my allegiances with another team I have a definite respect and admiration for the progressive style of football that Ferguson demands from his team.

But yesterday the searing quality of Man Utd's attacking football against Fulham seemed to me to go to a higher level. Their possession-passing football was mesmerising to watch with one-touch pass and move football that the Fulham team simply couldn't live with.

Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Berbatov, Park and Tevez were running rings around Fulham with fast attacking passing football that looked so easy because they kept it simple. The passing was short, quick and to feet with amazing movement into space off the ball that their opponents simply couldn't keep up with. Even John O'Shea was revelling in the football that Man Utd's more skilful players was achieving.

I like the way Berbatov has incorporated himself into the team. For me he is now a major player in Man Utd's system and has IMPROVED their team from last seasons Champs League and Premier League title winners. He is a great link-man and neatly likes to come back deep to aid possession of the ball and which also creates space for Man Utd's other attackers to exploit further up the field. His touch, control and passing on occasion is sublime and Ferguson is clearly pleased with the Bulgarian's contribution because it appears he is one of the first names on the team-sheet.

Michael Carrick is another player who should be highlighed because he has stepped up again in his level of play this season. His passing range and imagination is excellent and his presence in games is improving. I like his central midfield combination with Paul Scholes - they have a good affinity with each other and launch attacks with great speed of thought and pass.

Man Utd are now five points clear at the top of the table and if they keep playing at the level that they did against Fulham they will be unstoppable. They were all on their game yesterday and for me it was a performance that was highly impressive to watch and worthy of note.


Blogger RedsMan said...

Another good article, T, and one that goes some way to sum up Man Utd's current flow. How people feel the nerve to even question the integrity of our articles is something else. Others may say I'm bias because T's a colleague, but when we talk football, we dont go off on half-truths and embellishments.

We research if we do not know and then put forward for debate. So many seem to prefer to question, ridicule, and/or insult rather than lay down a counter-point or similar point. T's been churning out factual points in articles since, while I'm not going to blow my own trumpet.

The match last night was currently the topic of debate on TalkSport radio, where Adrian Durham raised the point LFC should sue Fulham for the way the London club practically stepped aside for Man Utd to win last night. However one may view last night's Fulham performance, it means Man Utd are looking formidable as they continue, and for LFC to expect a chink in their armour is for them to play just as well to guarantee three points every time.

Teams that both clubs will be looking out for are Aston Villa (both Liverpool & Man Utd's game at home), Arsenal (both at home), Man City (both at home) and Newcastle. They are the teams I think who will be crucial in the title race. Liverpool have to go to London twice to two teams who are keen at home in West Ham and Fulham, while UTd look to bank in their home form to push them through.

It's possible, it's tight, it's the Premier League. Hope we can push them all the way to the last game.


2/19/2009 5:48 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

indeed the form of man utd is quite extraordinary - 9 wins in a row, 12 wins and 2 draws in the last 14, and 14 clean sheets in a row.

even if liverpool were to beat man utd at OT on march 14, man utd will still probably go on and win.

2/19/2009 8:55 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks Redsman and anon. There are certainly some intriguing matches still to play this season which I'm looking forward too.

This weekend I think the Villa v Chelsea game will be fascinating to watch. Even before it became Hiddink v O'Neill this was a game whose result in any direction promises to be influential. Instead of doing a prediction here I'll put it up on the Scorecast post tomorrow morning.

2/20/2009 5:21 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Good article T.

There is a long way to go, but United defineitely look in supreme condition. I think that SAF's main goal is to retain the Champions League and it will be a big blow if they come undone against a very good Inter side. That could also dent their confidence in the league.

2/20/2009 5:25 pm

Anonymous Gunnerpete said...

Whilst people who praise United for their terrific recent run are correct to do so, it is also important to emphasise the 'real' reasons for that success. The first and always the most important is that Fergie is not only shrewd re; what players he wants, but he also somehow gives the media the idea that he is buliding from the floor up as per Arsene Wenger, when really he is and has been more like Mourihno of old, a buyer of ready made stars. And he is the best ever at that. Only Bill Nicholson , Bill Shankly & Bob Paisley plus Mourihno have been so successful with big money buys. I rate Bill Shankly the best of them all because of what he took over.

I am also lucky in that I can really remember the Busby Babes and can say 'I was there' when they came to Highbury for what become their final match in the UK. Supposedly 65000 were packed into the ground but we all knew that it was at least 75000. We lost 4-5 after our kids gave them a match. I can honestly say that on that day I watch the greatest player ever Duncan Edwards, and he was worth two players every time he played. They were all home grown.

If Fergie could stop using his fat wallet every time he has an injury to one of his super stars he would have much more respect throughout the country. But why should he? After all just look at the trophy cabinet!

As for the quality of their football, I agree that they play some really nice football but, and its a big but, this recent run of 1-0 wins had an enormous amount of 'help' built in via officials and decisions made. Yes it sounds like sour grapes but the truth usually does.

They deserve to be top but when my Arsenal beat them and with half a team, I remember thinking ' I wonder how many teams will go for them with class football, or will they fall into Fergie trap and try to get a 0-0 scoreline to save face. The latter has been the answer Im afraid. Lets just hope AFC can do it again and that Liverpool will decide to ' go for them too'.

2/21/2009 10:54 am

Blogger T said...

Great stuff Gunnerpete. For me Ferguson has the edge on Wenger in two areas: knowing the value of keeping expereinced players in the squad and greater willingness to spend really big when he sees a player who fits his eye.

When I see Giggs, Scholes and Neville guiding and leading the squad at Man Utd I feel that Wenger has missed a trick not keeping the likes of Pires, Gilberto and Ljungberg in around the squad. How about this for a question for Wenger for a journalist to ask: would you have kept Giggs in your squad if he was an Arsenal player or would you had let him move to Spain a'la Pires.

The value of maintaining experienced 'winners' in the squad - this is something that Wenger should learn from Ferguson.

2/22/2009 7:43 pm


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