Posts Tagged ‘Manchester United’
I put on my posh podcast voice to speak to Sportsnet’s Soccer Central podcast about Laurent Blanc’s winning formula at Paris Saint-Germain, Olivier Giroud and Arsenal, Frank Lampard and Chelsea, and David Moyes’s tactical conundrums at Manchester United. You can listen here.
“LONDON — Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson launched his new autobiography on Tuesday, lifting the lid on his relationships with stars including David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney.”
My AFP report on the launch of Alex Ferguson’s forthright new autobiography can be found here.
“The topsy-turvy opening weeks of the Premier League campaign have fuelled pre-season optimism that the 2013-14 title race would be one of the most open in years. With Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all under new management, and a glut of new players having arrived during the close season, the English top flight is in the throes of transition, and the off-pitch upheaval has been mirrored in the results.”
I’ve written a piece for AFP asking if we are set for the most competitive Premier League title race in recent memory, and you can read it here.
“MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — David Moyes’s first derby as Manchester United manager turned into a nightmare on Sunday as Manchester City inflicted a humiliating 4-1 defeat at a triumphant Etihad Stadium.”
My AFP match report on a dazzling display by Manchester City and an abject afternoon for Manchester United can be read here.
“MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — Wayne Rooney reached 200 Manchester United goals with a brace to give David Moyes a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen in his first Champions League group game on Tuesday.”
My AFP match report on Wayne Rooney’s milestone moment for Manchester United can be read here.
Reaction: Moyes salutes ‘world-class’ Rooney
“MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — Wayne Rooney may have played his way out of a transfer to Chelsea after a committed display in Manchester United’s 0-0 draw against their Premier League rivals on Monday.”
My AFP match report on the first major head-to-head encounter of the new Premier League season can be read here.
Related link: Ramsey rubber-stamps Arsenal progress
David Moyes is only two competitive games into his tenure as Manchester United manager, and his tactical strategies are likely to evolve as the season progresses, but his side’s early performances have already benefited from the unique skillset of versatile forward Danny Welbeck.
In both the 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield and last Saturday’s 4-1 win at Swansea City, Welbeck operated in a role that was difficult to define; hugging the left touchline one minute, darting into the box the next. In this respect he dovetailed with Ryan Giggs, who was United’s most advanced central midfielder in both games.
Welbeck and Giggs were the only players in the United XI who could be said to have taken up unorthodox positions in the two matches. Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley patrolled the centre of the pitch – Cleverley slightly ahead of his England colleague – and while Wilfried Zaha (in the Community Shield) and Antonio Valencia (against Swansea) stayed wide on the right flank, Robin van Persie led the line as a conventional number nine.
Welbeck and Giggs, however, were harder to pin down. Giggs played slightly in advance of Carrick and Cleverley, and was often the player charged with carrying the ball forward into opposition territory, but he occasionally drifted wide to take up a role on the left. Welbeck orbited in support of Van Persie, typically moving to the left when Giggs was not there, but in the game against Swansea he also made a series of bursts into the penalty area from central positions, as his two goals demonstrated. The 22-year-old blends the stamina and work ethic of a central midfielder with the pace and dainty footwork of a winger, and his mobility equips United with both an outlet on the left flank and a foil for Van Persie.
“LONDON — Manchester United manager David Moyes picked up where Alex Ferguson left off on Saturday as the Premier League champions began their title defence by winning 4-1 at Swansea City.”
My AFP report on the opening day of the 2013-14 Premier League season can be read here.
“LONDON, England — New Manchester United manager David Moyes put a testing pre-season behind him as his side beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 in the Community Shield at a sun-soaked Wembley on Sunday.”
My AFP report on David Moyes’ first official match as Manchester United manager can be read here.
The closing weeks of the 2012-13 season represented one of the most seismic periods in the recent history of English football: Sir Alex Ferguson sensationally retired as Manchester United manager, bowing out after an astonishing 5-5 draw at West Bromwich Albion; David Beckham called time on his perpetually headline-grabbing career; Wigan Athletic stunned Manchester City in the FA Cup final; Chelsea claimed a last-gasp victory over Benfica in the Europa League final; Arjen Robben netted a dramatic late winner for Bayern Munich to settle a pulsating Champions League final at Wembley; and then shy, retiring José Mourinho returned to Chelsea.
I was privileged to report on all of it, and below are links to some of the pieces I produced for AFP as the season reached its crescendo:
Sir Alex Ferguson
Profile: Alex Ferguson, the man who rebuilt United
Analysis: Following Ferguson, United’s impossible job
Report: Ferguson bows out as United share 10-goal epic
Reaction: United look forward after Ferguson says goodbye
Analysis: Late-season retirements hint at Premier League flux
Report: Wigan stun Man City in FA Cup final upset
Europa League final
Report: Chelsea claim last-gasp Europa League triumph
Report: Beckham calls time on stellar career
Champions League final
Report: Redemption as Robben gives Bayern fifth European crown
“Villa threatened to spoil things when Christian Benteke side-footed over from Andreas Weimann’s pass, only for Robin van Persie to double United’s lead with a strike to rival any goal scored in Europe this season. Wayne Rooney floated a 40-yard pass behind the Villa defence and van Persie met the ball first-time with a technically immaculate volley from outside the box that rocketed past goalkeeper Brad Guzan and into the net.”
My AFP match report from Old Trafford on the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa that gave Manchester United their 20th league title can be read here.
“Saturday’s 1-0 win at Sunderland was Manchester United’s 15th victory by a one-goal margin in the league this season, one game short of the record they set en route to the Premier League title in 2009. For all the goals they have scored, United have rarely been ruthless, and they are on course to finish the league season without having put five goals past an opposing team for the first time since 2006.”
My piece for AFP on the curiously unfulfilling end to the season awaiting Manchester United following their FA Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea can be read here.
You can also read my match report on the game here.
“MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — Holders Chelsea stormed back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday and take their FA Cup quarter-final to a replay.”
My AFP match report on Chelsea’s cup fightback at Manchester United can be read here.
“MANCHESTER — Cristiano Ronaldo scored the decisive goal as Real Madrid controversially came from behind to win 2-1 at Manchester United on Tuesday and reach the Champions League quarter-finals.”