Thirtieth Edition Mar 8, 2009 22:04:49 GMT
Post by Scott on Mar 8, 2009 22:04:49 GMT
Another month flown by with United still topping the table. Liverpool's threat is diminishing whilst Chelsea's is getting stronger, but you'd have to be an extremely passionate supporter of either of these clubs to believe any team other than United was going to the league again this year!
A big month ahead of us in March, with the crucial second leg against Inter Milan, as well as entertaining our friends from Merseyside.
The FA Cup draw is in, with United taking on Everton at Wembley in the semi-final, setting things up, probably, for a United vs Chelsea or United vs Arsenal final. Joy.
A couple of new designs have been added at the shop, perfectly timed for a match against Everton!
El Blanco Pele and Once a blue, always a red.
Now let us begin:
Player of the Month
Written by StretfordEndling
Part of our success in the 90's & 00's was the establishment of a fantastic defensive core of 3 players. In the 90's we had the delights of having Schmeichel, Bruce & Pallister. When those 3 were in our line ups we were unstoppable and they were never afraid to go up and score a goal (well maybe Pally was a bit goal shy then ). But we've finally got a trio of players who compliment each other so well in Van Der Sar, Rio & Vidic.
The month started with a run of form by one player in particular who was set to make history and one record after another. Edwin Van Der Sar was on a run which saw him break the clean sheets record domestically with help from his partners in crime Rio & Vida. This run would continue well into the month.
Little wonder that the time when Sir Alex Ferguson decides to give VDS & Vida a rest (with Inter Milan in mind) for the game against Blackburn is when we concede our first goal in the league since the dreaded game against Le Arse in November.
So my choice of PotM goes to Edwin Van Der Sar who narrowly beat Vidic to my overall vote. Both have been ever present in the United defense and have been rock solid. His form this month has kept our goal difference healthy and stronger than our rivals. The man has seen it all and won it all in his long domestic history and he doesn't look like he's giving up soon either which can only be a good thing!
Special mentions have to go to Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, John O'Shea, Michael Carrick, Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Tevez & Rooney (for coming back from injury with two goals in two games) also who put in fantastic performances this month.
Match of the Month
Written by Tatty
There’s been a few contenders for this accolade this month. After going the month unbeaten, and only conceding twice it’s seen United move 7 points clear, and with results going our way elsewhere in the last games of February, it seems the title could well and truly be done and dusted, which is a good thing with February also seeing the resumption of the Champions League, and not forgetting a we’re only 3 wins away from another FA Cup success.
So what was the match of the month?
There are arguments for all the fixtures we participated in February. A crucial Ryan Giggs goal secured the three points against a resolute West Ham team, and we left it late again against Blackburn, who again provided sturdy opposition, and probably deserved at least a point from the game, but hey, that’s why we’re champions.
Another highlight was the 4-1 victory at Pride Park, a game where I, at least was a little pensive about, especially after the Carling Cup capitulation there earlier in the year, and with a lot of the same players gracing the pitch again in the FA Cup tie, it could have been a case of deja vu. Fortunately, a professional performance saw us swat away a resurgent Derby side, with excellent finishes from Darron Gibson, and the Henry-esque, Danny Welbeck, along with a thunderbolt from Nani and the seemingly obligatory Ronaldo goal.
However, there were two stand-out games this month, and there’s not much to separate them. A devastating brand of football, and a the return of Wayne Rooney saw us dominate Fulham from first to last, and we finally saw the real Manchester United in that game, flicks, tricks and a master class in Midfield play from the Ginger Prince were just the icing on the cake which saw us stretch our lead at the top of the table in our game in hand.
So, that just leaves our trip to the San Siro, to play Jose Mourinho’s Nerazurri, in what was an intriguing first leg. A game all the more intriguing give our supposed lack of defenders for the tie. Of course, Jonny Evans and O’Shea both played, and Evans in particular put in assured performances against one of the finest strike-forces in Europe, Ibrahimovic and Adriano. Also, props to Darren Fletcher, playing, after hearing what happened to his girlfriend and house.
So there United line-up, in the stadium where we so feebly bowed out of the competition in 2007 to AC Milan. A European Cup and two league titles wiser, it seems we’ve learned the lessons of that fateful evening in Milano. And that certainly was the case, when we went at Inter with what was basically shock and awe football. It was fast, free-flowing and cut through the Inter defence at will at times. One such move saw Ryan Giggs one-on-one with the ‘keeper, only to fluff his lines and poke the ball at the on-rushing Cesar, when a shot with his right foot into the far corner seemed the better option.
But there were chances before that, when an unmarked Ronaldo, rose superbly to guide a corner goalwards, only for Cesar to make another fine save. Surely the goal must come everyone thought, and that was re-enforced when Cristiano smashed one of his trademark free-kicks against the post with the keeper seemingly beaten and flashing another just wide of the Italians goal. Mourinho was on the touch-line, and he didn’t look happy, perhaps sensing that a away goal was inevitable.
The second saw Inter come out all guns blazing, the ineffective Ibrahimovic moved form left flank to the right, and gave Evra some problems in the air, after finding O’Shea unbeatable in the first. It was infact Zlatan who provided Inter’s best moments, a low cross saw from the Swede saw Adriano miss the ball completely, whilst Cambiasso fluffed his lines completely when unmarked at the back post from a late corner, and United were lucky not to give away a penalty for the second game running when Rio Ferdinand looked to have dragged Adriano down in the box.
But United weren’t done attacking yet as more good chances went begging. A low Ronaldo cross saw Park sliding in, agonisingly missing the ball by inches, as Berbatov screamed for a penalty as he was be wrestled by the Inter defence. When Rooney came on with the clock ticking down, he brought an added impetus to the attack, a long ball over the top saw him brush Cordoba aside, and only the quick thinking of the keeper saw the ball to safety. Finally, a Ronaldo free-kick, which was the last of the game saw the keeper clumsily spill the shot, but on further looks, he didn’t know anything about it.
So, a stale-mate at half-time in the tie. Jose got it all wrong, Fergie got it almost perfectly right. The Second leg is finely poised, but at least we know what to do. Win. And that’s what we usually do at Old Trafford.
I hope you enjoyed the thirtieth edition of The Paper. If you enjoyed reading this please show your appreciation for the people who took time to make it happen in the comments thread on this board