As the final whistle blew at St Mary’s on Saturday evening, two-hundred odd miles north west it’s likely that the sound of ripping paper could be heard tearing through the front room of the Ferguson household.
With City beaten 3-1 by Southampton, all bets were off (in some cases quite literally) and any ideas of squad rotation were quickly abandoned; the advantage would be pressed home with a full-strength side to secure 12-point lead at the top.
Based on present form, the core of United’s strongest starting eleven picks itself at present: De Gea in goal; Evra and Rafael out wide; Evans guards the centre alongside one of Vidic and Rio; Carrick and Cleverley take the middle; and Rooney and van Persie line up at the front. Read more…
Euro 2012 has once again encapsulated Europe; shaping the evening schedules for football fanatics across the continent.
The prestigious tournament has lived up to its billing and provided us with what we crave: entertaining, gripping football matches.
For most of us however, international football isn’t a priority, it’s more of a sideshow designed to keep us amused over the summer months when we don’t have to worry about contract talks stalling or what formation Sir Alex is going to line up to negotiate a tricky away fixture.
How many people would swap seeing their club lift the league title, for their country lifting the European Championship this summer? No, me neither.
Even when we watch the competition we think about United’s players. Oddly, Manchester United only has six representatives at this summer’s tournament; a mere three of whom are likely to feature in all their country’s matches – Nani, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck. This inevitably leads us into inspecting other players more intently, in the hope of finding a hidden gem who could bolster United’s ranks.
The Only Utd Player Remaining
Don’t be fooled, this is an age-old trap! The worst time to sign a player is after he has performed well in a major tournament, be that the World Cup or the European Championships. But why is this? Read more…
As the 2012 European Championship kicks off this evening, here is a quick check on the 7 Manchester United players called up for their respective countries and an analysis on what impact they may have during the competition.
Anders Lindegaard (Denmark)
8 PL games, 6 clean sheets
An injury to Thomas Sorensen the day before the final squad was due to be announced has left Morten Olsen without his first choice goalkeeper. Kasper Schmeichel was drafted into the squad, leaving Stephan Anderson and Anders Lindegaard the front runners to start in goal versus the Netherlands on Saturday.
Anderson has been given the number 1 shirt and played the full 90 minutes in Denmark’s last pre-tournament friendly, a 2-0 win over Australia; giving us the impression that Anders Lindegaard will be the Dane’s backup goalkeeper in Euro 2012.
29 PL games, 8 goals, 10 assists
The Portuguese forward is set to start on the opposite flank to former United star Cristiano Ronaldo. This is Nani’s second senior international tournament following Euro 2008 after missing the 2010 World Cup. Four years ago, Nani’s only start came in Portugal’s final group game which was a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland and he only made substitute appearances in 2 out of Portugal’s other 3 games.
This time around, Nani will be looking to make an impact in this tournament as a starter. But it won’t be easy for the Portugal national team as they have the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark in their group, all of whom are above them in FIFA’s World Rankings with all 4 making the top 10. Coached by Paulo Bento, this team is well organised but struggles to compensate for the imbalance Ronaldo causes. Read more…