Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Giggs’
“Manchester City and Chelsea, England’s nouveaux riches, appear poised to dominate the Premier League in 2015, with traditional powerhouses Manchester United and Liverpool working their way through periods of transition. United began this year as champions and Liverpool came agonisingly close to succeeding them, but it was City who prevailed in the 2013-14 title race and it is Chelsea who approach the New Year in pole position.”
My AFP review of the year 2014 in the Premier League can be read here.
“Following his parents’ divorce, Giggs adopted his mother’s surname and it was with that name on the back of his shirt that he was to become an international sporting icon. Giggs was the first member of United’s feted ‘Class of ’92’ youth team to infiltrate the senior squad, setting an example that David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers would go on to emulate. A wiry, jet-heeled left-winger, Giggs’s weaving runs made him one of the stars of Ferguson’s first great United team and moved team-mate Gary Pallister to comment that he gave his opponents “twisted blood”.”
My AFP profile of Ryan Giggs, who announced his retirement on Monday after an era-defining 23-year career, can be read here.
“Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Teenage debutant James Wilson scored twice as Manchester United rang out the old and ushered in the new in a 3-1 win at home to Hull City on Tuesday.”
My AFP match report on a night of hellos and goodbyes at Old Trafford can be read here.
“Whereas United had not lifted the English title for 18 years when [Alex] Ferguson was appointed in November 1986, [David] Moyes’s job was to take command of the juggernaut that his predecessor had built. Ferguson hoped the structures he had put in place would allow Moyes — who failed to win a trophy in his 11 years at Everton — to slot seamlessly into place, thereby enabling United to maintain a tradition of appointing promising, hungry, British managers. It was for these reasons that United opted for Moyes, rather than a brash upstart such as José Mourinho, but the former Everton manager’s subsequent failure laid bare the shortcomings in their recruitment process.”
I wrote a piece for AFP on how the David Moyes affair exposed the fallacy of the club’s attachment to tradition, and you can read it here.
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.
“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.
“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.”
“LONDON — Chelsea claimed partial revenge for their stormy loss to Manchester United at the weekend by prevailing 5-4 when the teams resumed hostilities in an end-to-end fourth-round League Cup tie on Wednesday.”
My round-up of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup fourth-round matches, including an extraordinary encounter at Stamford Bridge, can be read here.
“LISBON — Manchester United were indebted to a superb Ryan Giggs goal as they drew 1-1 with Benfica on Wednesday despite a below-par performance in their Champions League Group C opener.”
You can read my AFP match report here.
“GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — Manchester United produced a devastating attacking performance to record a 2-0 win over Schalke 04 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.”
Read my AFP match report here.
Ryan Giggs today celebrates his 36th birthday, the day after scoring his 100th Premier League goal in Manchester United’s 4-1 victory at Portsmouth. It would be remiss not to mark the occasion.
The Welshman has enjoyed four or five careers within a career in his 18 years as a professional player, from boy wonder, to international superstar, to model professional, to elder statesman. His hair may now be flecked with grey but England’s most decorated footballer has arrived at a moment in his football development where his every touch is characterised by a serene sense of awareness, almost as if he is playing in slow-motion.
Nowhere was this more evident than in his superb second-half performance at Fratton Park yesterday, where he set up two goals for Wayne Rooney – who described his team-mate’s contribution as “truly incredible” – before reaching his goalscoring milestone with a well-placed free-kick.
It has not always been like this. There were times in his career when his inconsistency was maligned to such an extent that many United fans wondered aloud if his best days might already be behind him. It is to his credit that he rode out that rough spell and to watch him today is to behold the work of a true craftsman.
It will be a sad day indeed when he leaves the field for the final time. That that day moves closer with every match he plays makes these final virtuoso performances all the more poignant.