Posts Tagged ‘ David De Gea ’

Manchester United Tear Arsenal A New One

-by M with help from D

As Howard Webb blew his whistle to signal the end of the game,  there were no wild scenes of celebration by Manchester United players. Despite beating arch-rivals Arsenal by a record scoreline of 8-2.

It was almost as if the dire situation Arsenal F.C are currently in dampened the celebratory mood amongst the players. Somber handshakes were interchanged and consolatory pats on the back of Arsenal players were dished out by the United players. One wonders what kind words Wayne Rooney offered to Wojciech Szczensy then.

The bigger question however, still persists- how does Arsene Wenger lift his team up from such a terrible, morale-sucking defeat? It was not as if Arsenal were expected to come away with a result against a United side who were so rampant against Tottenham last weekend.

Devastated by injuries and suspensions to key players, coming away from Old Trafford with a point would still have been realistic after a confidence-boosting mid-week win over Udinese that secured the North London’s side entry to the Champions League group stages.

However, even the most pessimistic Arsenal fans would not have been able to imagine the kind of punishment United were about to dish out on their side. Rihanna’s “S&M” comes to mind for Arsenal fans looking for a song to accompany the repeat telecast.

The gulf in class was encapsulated by the polarizing benches both teams set out. United’s bench oozed of quality and experience. Being able to call upon a substitutes such as Dimitar Berbatov, Rio Ferdinand, Park Ji Sung, Fabio, Javier Hernandez and Anders Lindegaard was simply frightening.

On the opposite end, Arsenal’s bench of Lukasz Fabianski, Marouane Chamakh, Henri Lansbry, Gilles Sunu, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ignasi Miquel and Oguzhan Ozyajup was frightening as well; for the Arsenal fan that is.

And as the match began, the gulf in class became a chasm.

The tone of the match was set in the first 10-15 minutes as United were clearly the dominant force in the game. Despite being outnumbered in the engine room, the energetic duo of Cleverley and Anderson completely outran the patched-up midfield trio of Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Francis Coquelin.

After Welbeck nodded in the opening goal after Arsenal’s backline failed to clear their lines quick enough, Arsenal fans knew that they were in for a long night.

Having said that, Arsenal had their chances. After Walcott was felled in the box by Jonny Evans, Van Persie had the chance to level the scoreline only for his dreadful penalty to be saved by David De Gea. Had the Dutchman levelled the proceedings then, the game may not have slipped away as drastically as it did.

And if you don’t take your chances at Old Trafford, the Red Devils will punish you. The irrepressible Ashley Young trotted up the pitch soon after and unleashed a screamer from 20 yards out that bent past Szczesny and into the top left hand corner.

From then on, the flood gates were well and truly opened. Rooney made it 3-0 with a delightful freekick in to the top corner before Walcott somehow managed to squeeze a shot through De Gea’s legs to make it 3-1 before the break.

The Spanish goalkeeper had a decent game in goal but was once again culpable for conceding Arsenal’s first goal. If there was a chink in United’s armour, De Gea has to be it.

Arsenal threatened United in the first few minutes of the second half, prompting optimistic Arsenal fans to hope for what would have been an amazing comeback. However, Rooney dashed the Gunners’ hopes with another brilliantly executed free kick. Whatever Wenger said in the dressing room at half-time became irrelevant.

In a 6 minute blitz thereafter, Nani produced a cheeky dink over Szczesny to make it 5-1 before Park, who was barely on the pitch for 5 minutes, tucked the ball into the bottom of the net with a left foot finish.

Van Persie’s goal was scant consolation for the Gunners as Carl Jenkinson, who is clearly not ready to play week in week out for Arsenal yet, was sent off for hauling down Hernandez. Rooney sealed his hat-trick from the penalty spot before Young, who must surely be United’s man of the match despite Rooney’s hat-trick, finished the scoring with another sublime curler from the edge of the box.

So where do both teams go from here now?

For Manchester United, the skies, or Barcelona, seem to be the limit. Ruthless, free-flowing and intricate passing football played at a breakneck pace characterizes United’s play while promising youngsters in Welbeck, Cleverly, Jones and Smalling continue to shine.

For Arsenal, the pressure just keeps mounting. Lying 17th in the table with eight senior players out due to injuries and suspensions, a beckoning international week is not what they need as there is as good as a chance as any that key players such as Robin van Persie will return injured.

Furthermore, two wins from the last 14 matches since their Carling Cup meltdown suggest that their slump started way before the season begun.

Having said that, it is still early days and the footballing fratenity’s propensity to celebrate and panic is irrationally high. Time will tell if United’s class of 2011 is the greatest of them all but Wenger may not be able to stay that long to see that.

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10 Conclusions: West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester United

-by M

1. Manchester United’s performance was decent but nowhere near the brilliant second half they served up at Wembley last week. They started well off the blocks and looked to have West Bromwich pinned back for the first 10 minutes but they let West Bromwich back into the game after Rooney’s opening goal. Second half performance was not all that great as Ferdinand and Vidic struggled to cope with the immense Somen Tchoyi and West Brom’s record signing Shane Long.

2. On the other hand, West Brom were unlucky to have left the Hawthorns with nothing to show for. Despite a shaky start, they grew into the game and managed an equalizer despite being pinned back for most of the first 30 minutes. Somen Tchoyi led the line fantastically, using his strength against Fabio well and Long was making a nuisance of himself with the United defenders all day.

3. De Gea should have done much better for West Brom’s equalizer. It does not matter that De Gea’s only 20 years old, goalkeepers at that level of football should be saving those all day long. Long did well to create a yard of space against Smalling to squeeze his shot through but De Gea had it covered only for the ball to squirm under his body. While there is no doubt about the Spaniard’s pedigree, he did look decidedly nervous on his debut and would have been rattled by the physicality of the English game. If De Gea is to be successful in the United shirt, he surely needs to work more on the physical aspect of his game.

4. And he needs to shave.

5. Ashley Young was probably United’s stand out performer. He was brilliant on the left wing, tormenting Steven Reid and Chris Brunt all day. While it is only the first game of the season, Young has already shown he is capable of playing in a side like United and he has shown United fans why Ferguson was willing to splash out 18m on him.

6. West Bromwich’s stand out performers were  Somen Tchoyi and Shane Long. Tchoyi, despite being a midfielder, played the role of target man perfectly, picking up long balls and holding play up while support arrived. He gave the United defence a torrid time and would have been the most disappointed to have came out of the game with nothing. The same can be said for Shane Long. West Brom’s record signing was positive throughout the game and was a handful for the United back four despite his small stature.

7. Mulumbu was equally impressive in midfield. He kept Cleverley quiet all game and was strong in his tackles. If Hargreaves decides to join West Brom, it will be very difficult for him to displace the Congolese international.

8. Who knew that signing Phil Jones might prove so important so early on for Manchester United? With both Ferdinand and Vidic out for a couple of weeks and young Rafael out for 10 weeks with a shoulder problem, United fans and Ferguson must be thankful that they have Jones and Evans at their disposal. Yet, if both Ferdinand and Vidic are out, they might have to face the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal with a defence comprising of De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Evans and Fabio. That defence has an average age of less than 21.

9. Is Tchoyi  George Elokobi’s half brother?

10. Rooney still looks like Shrek after his hair transplant.

11. Yes, I struggled with the last two.

How will United Shape Up in 2011/12?

Scenes of Joy as United Pick up their 19th Title

-by M, because everyone wants to be the manager and decide the starting XI.

In what was a topsy-turvy season, Manchester United did just about enough to secure their 19th title, fending off the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal. Early on the season, the Red Devils were written off by critics, who felt that Sir Alex had not addressed the problems the team faced, particularly in the centre of the park, where the lack of quality was all too apparent.

But the old maestro proved everyone wrong, winning the Premier League with what many considered to be a team of individuals who were not as brilliant individually or as imperious as previous title-winning sides built by Sir Alex, proving that when it came to winning, teamwork counted more than individual brilliance. Adding Rooney’s transfer request that was soon retracted and the absence of key man Darren Fletcher for months into the mix makes this latest trophy a greater achievement than most will give Sir Alex credit for.

United have wasted no time preparing for their title defence. Young, talented players have been purchased with big money with Phil Jones, Ashley Young and David de Gea coming into the side. With United’s net spend hitting 50 million pounds, there seems to be a notion that United will be spending big this season to build a side that is capable of challenging for trophies for the next few years to come, particularly with the FIFA Financial Fairplay rule coming into practice very soon. Jones should be the only one out of the three expected to play a minor role next season, especially if Ferdinand remains fit. De Gea was signed to replace the retiring Edwin Van der Sar while Ashley Young will be looking to make the left wing his personal office.

However, the biggest weakness in this Manchester United side has yet to be addressed. With the retirement of Paul Scholes, the team is screaming out for a creative central midfielder, someone capable of pulling the strings and creating moments of magic when games lie on a knife’s edge. Many potential recruits have been mentioned. Modric of Spurs has been widely tipped to replace Scholes but he has apparently stated his desire to move to Chelsea. Schweinsteiger of Bayern Munich is another viable option touted by the media while Wesley Sneijder is the pundits’ favourite to replace the Ginger Ninja next season.

Sneijder has been linked to United

Recent reports have certainly added fuel to the fire. United’s first team coach, Rene Meulesteen, was recently quoted  as saying that Sneijder would be “perfect for Manchester United”. While Inter has insisted Sneijder was not leaving Inter and the man himself has reiterated his happiness in Milan, he has not explicitly ruled out a move to Old Trafford and has, in recent years, declared an interest to play in the red of United. However, whether or not that becomes a reality will depend on whether Sir Alex sees Sneijder as his ideal replacement and if they are able to fend off the interests of Chelsea and City, should Inter decide to sell their Dutch maestro.

There is a genuine sense of excitement around Old Trafford for next season. With classy young talents in the form of Jones, Young and De Gea arriving and deadwood such as Gibson, O’Shea and Bebe leaving, there is a belief amongst United fans that they are on the cusp of another title-winning run. However, this time, they face sterner challengers in the form of cash-rich Manchester City and Chelsea, who will undoubtedly be looking to improve on last season.

Potential Starting XI: David de Gea, Fabio da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Carrick (Sneijder/Schweinsteiger), Young, Rooney, Hernandez

Is David De Gea the Right Man?

The Spanish U21 International has been signed to replace Van der Sar

by M, writing in the comfort of his bedroom

“In my opinion Edwin has been the best goalkeeper in the world whilst here at United,” – David De Gea

As Ferguson found out in the summer of ’99, replacing the best is an almost impossible task and it took Sir Alex almost 6 years to get it right in the form of Edwin Van der Sar. Before that, he had signed the likes of Fabien Barthez, Mark Bosnich and Massimo Taibi, the last name probably still causing United fans to grimace in agony at the thought of him. With Van der Sar announcing his retirement relatively early on in the previous season, Sir Alex and his scouts had the time and opportunity to earmark and watch various candidates for the No.1 shirt at Manchester United and it is now certain that that man will be David De Gea.

For all of Sir Alex’s experience and tactical nous, his transfer market dealings is probably one of, if not his only, weakness. If you need any convincing, just think of Liam Miller, Kleberson and more recently, Gabriel Obertan (doesn’t he look like Squidwurt from Spongebob?) and Bebe.  However, the top dog in United has had sufficient time to make his decision and he has decided on the Spanish U21 International, who at the age of 20, would be one of the youngest goalkeepers to wear the No.1 shirt in Manchester United history. However, has Ferguson made the right choice this time?

The boy’s credentials are outstanding. He has just recently won the U21 European Championship with his country, Spain and is earmarked to replace Iker Casillas in the senior Spain side, once the Madrid shotstopper decides to call it quits. Casillas himself has named him as his successor and after his transfer to United had been completed, former Manchester United striker, Diego Forlan, claimed that De Gea could one day be a Manchester United hero.

However, to use an old cliche, football is not played on paper. Any player who plays the game will know that the goalkeeping position is probably the toughest position to excel in. It requires agility, authority and most importantly, experience. That is why most goalkeepers tend to blossom toward the latter end of their career, as Peter Schmeichel, Edwin Van der Sar and Brad Friedel have shown. David De Gea may be an excellent prospect and at the age of 20, could p0ssibly go on and make the No.1 jersey his own for a good 10-15 years (as long as he doesn’t hanker for a move back to Spain) but is it a risk by Sir Alex to sign a goalkeeper who only has one full season of league experience under his belt? Some may argue that Sir Alex’s hand was forced. There have been reports that his first choice was Bayern Munchen’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who impressed for his previous club, Schalke, in the Champions League semi-finals against United but as it panned out, Neuer preferred to remain in Germany with Bayern. One might also wonder why Maarten Stekelenberg was not considered, given that Van der Sar himself endorsed the current Dutch shotstopper but that is something only Sir Alex knows.

Let us also not forget that David De Gea has been in Madrid all his life and this is the first time he is plying his trade abroad at one of the biggest clubs in the world. The expectations will be tremendous and for a 20 year old leaving home for the first time, all that expectations on his shoulders may be more harmful than good.

Whether David De Gea is the right man for the job, only time will tell. The man himself seems confident enough, stating his desire to “spend a great number of years here (Old Trafford)” and to win the Premier League and Champions League. Manchester United fans will be crossing their fingers hoping that De Gea will be all that he promises to be and more.

Comments are welcome. Please feel free to voice out any opinions. 

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