Adieu Fergie!

Sir Alex Ferguson decided to retire after long and successful coaching career of Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson decided to retire after long and successful coaching career of Manchester United

When Mourinho joked ‘I don’t think I can manage United because Sir Alex will still be managing them when he is 90 and I will be 70 — and I won’t be managing when I am 70.’
at eve of pre quarter final of this year’s champions league between Real Madrid & Manchester United, my childish thoughts considered it as a possibility that he till manage atleast till 75. A true managerial talent who withstood pressure of sustaining at top of club football world for 26 years from 1986 to 2013 decided to retire at age of 71 on May 8 2013. I have been following football closely for 15 years and I never thought of a Manchester without Alex Ferguson. Both club and manager are so tightly coupled and it if you think of one, other also would come to thought immediately.

Let me scribble on the best and worst of Fergies manchester united career.

Best quote:

I’m a follower of Fc Barcelona and following quote is a proof for their claim of ‘best team in history’ tag for Pep Guardiola‘s team after 2011 Champions League final at Wembley.

“They’re the best in Europe, no question about that. In my time as a manager, I would say they’re the best team we’ve faced. Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It’s not easy when you’ve been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that. It’s a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football”

Worst quote:

There were many instances of blaming referee after some bad results from Fergie. But following one from Fergie was very bad after a 2-2 draw that led to a two match ban and criticism from various corners of football world.

“He was not fit enough for a game of that standard, The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. It is an indictment of our game. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher’s dogs. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. It was ridiculous.”

Best match as a coach:

Best comeback match I have seen live. After going 3-0 down at an away stadium against Tottenham in 2001/02 season.

Worst match as a coach:

Never saw Manchester being so incompetent under Fergie. A 4-1 win by Middlesborough inspired by Mendiata, Hasselblaink.

Best signing:

No doubt that many will agree my selection of Cristiano Ronaldo. Bought from portuguese club Sporting Lisbon at 15 million Euro’s, helped team to win 3 successive Premier league, one champions league and many more followers across world and booked profit of 78 million Euro’s by selling him to Real Madrid for 93.9 million in 2009-10 season.

Worst signing:

Juan Sebastian Veron. A expensive flop Fergie bought from Lazio to bring European success for club in 2001 and sold to Chelsea in 2003 after two below par seasons for Manchester united.

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Gracious Puyol

Miki Roque died due to pelvic cancer after a struggle of one year

Miki Roque died due to pelvic cancer after a struggle of one year

Barcelona can find solace by winning La Liga today if they can beat Real Betis today in their home ground after being hammered by Bayern for 7-0 aggregate in UEFA champions league. There were rumors last week before Barca‘s match against Bilbao that they would try to avoid a win(and league) against Bilbao to celebrate with their home fans in Nou camp if Real Madrid fails to win in Madrid against Aletico Madrid.

Today Betis is visiting Barcelona for the 34th round league match. Let’s point to an example of generosity andsuport football players shows these days for those who are needed support. Puyol is not anonymous in football world after leading Barcelona for a decade. But Miki Roque probably would be anonymous outside Spain. He was a defender playing for Betis when diagnosed of Pelvic cancer. Roque lost his fight against cancer in 24 june 2012 after he initially diagnosed of disease.

Puyol's newly designed boot showing tribute to Roque.

Puyol’s newly designed boot showing tribute to Roque.

Spanish football world was unaware of the expenses of expensive treatment Roque received till his club revealed that it was financed by Puyol. His big heart also found space to write his name in his newly designed boot. He was a frequent visitor to the Dexeus Clinic in Barcelona where Roque was treated. Hope cule’s will pay tribute to Roque at time of their league celebration (if they win today).

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Arsenal no match for Bayern!

Arteta fighting for ball with Kroos

Arteta fighting for ball with Kroos

Bayern defeated Arsenal in the first leg of champions league tie of round 16 yesterday in their home stadium by 3-1. Hardcore arsenal fans won’t be surprised at this result after Arsenal’s exit to championship side Blackburn in FA cup on saturday continued with Arsene wenger completely lost his cool in the press conference ahead of the clash. On the other side, Bayern entered into match with a lead of 15 points from second placed Borussia Dortmund after 22 matches in league with a bonus of team conceded least in the top European leagues this season with just 7 goals conceded.

Team Line up:

Arsenal Line Up   
                               Arsenal Line Up
Bayern Line Up

Bayern Line Up

Arsenal Failed in Midfield:

Control of a match is won in midfield. They control the game, orchestrate moves, act as link between forwards and defenders. Arsenal played with Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla all are agile, good ball players with good sense of passing. But if take a more close analysis on characteristics of these players, none of them are well known for defending. Arteta played as defensive midfielder who also has the responsibility to bring ball from back in absence of a defender capable of bringing ball from defense.

Arteta failed as a defensive midfielder

Arteta failed as a defensive midfielder.

Arteta and other midfielders failed to keep the line between defense and midfield intact.  First goal from Bayern exposed players of Arsenal’s understanding in their duties. For that goal, Arsenal had six players in the defensive line to play against three, leaving huge space between defense and midfield for Kroos to open account for Bayern at 7th minute of game and chasing Bayern for the entire game.

Kroos with acres of space

Kroos with acres of space.

When Arsenal succeeded in crossing the water tight midfield line formed by Bayern, forward line were isolated with no option other than trying all by player himself. There were couple of instances where Sagna had to do his best by himself after Bayern neatly blocked all his path for option to pass.

Sagna without options

Sagna without options

Wenger’s reaction

Arsene Wenger admitted of hope reaching into next round with second leg pending, saying Arsenal should concentrate on top four finish in English Premier league after their loss.

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Shakhtar Vs Dortmund review

Mkhitaryan and Lewandowski fighting for ball

Mkhitaryan and Lewandowski fighting for ball

A review on last wednesday’s match between Shakhtar and Dortmund after 3 days of match is still hot,  because football world is not thought of looking into this match because of high profile match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at same time. All are still busy in finding adjectives for Ronaldo’s header and how Manchester contained Madrid’s attack at their home turf. That gave time to analyze and write on this match.

Dortmund visited Shakthar for first leg of Champions League round 16 after a 1-4 home loss against Hamburg. Meanwhile Shakhtar’s last competitive game happened 70 day’s back in same ground, same tournament against Juventus with a 1-0 defeat that put them as runner up in their group. 70 day’s is a big gap especially if your first match is a demanding Champions League tie. They organised some friendlies this year, but match fitness from these games is a question mark. By the end of match, wear and tear was visible in face of their players.

Shakhtar Vs Dortmund highlights

Shakhtar’s Game plan:

Shakthar formed a 4-2-3-1 formation. Bubschman and Fernandinho provided protection for back for from youthful Dortmund attack. Right back Srna supported Teixeira in attack from right wing putting left back Rat at the back line to cover his foray into attack. Taison did all by his own from left side and looking for options inside the pitch due to lack of push upside from Rat. While attack Fernandinho joined Mkhitaryan in attack. But have to say absence of creativity in centre a concern for Lucescu. A defense splitting pass, a good through ball to Adriano missed all the match from Shakhtar. Adriano went invisible entire match other than winning a silly foul from Santana to help Srna score a goal from freekick. Though Srna showd courage to join attack, his corner’s and crosses were as awful as their buildup in attack from back. Chygrynsky, Rakitsky, Rat all had to resort in longball towards forward line to bypass pressure from Dortmund’s forward line high up the pitch. Space left by Srna helped Dortmund to find space behind right back line of Shakhtar, though Dortmund’s attempts were futile. In right wing, Dortmund dominated Rat, due to Taison’s unwillingness to support his left back.

Dortmund’s Game plan:

Dortmund played their usual game. They pressured high up the pitch, transition from defense to attack did swiftly. Gotze, Reus, Blaszykowsky and Lewandowski played their part in attack to create goal scoring opportunities. Gotze especially was in form to assist  for their first goal and in creating a glorious opportunity to Lewandowski. Blazcykowsky was another point for Dortmund by being in position to shoot at post from right of penalty box.

Back line should take responsibility in conceding two silly goals. Santana was at fault for committing a silly foul in a dangerous area especially with Adriano not in a dangerous position to concede goal from Srna. And Hummels missing a long ball from Shakhtar’s half for second goal by D’costa. At times, Hummels took risks that could have caused more damage, though hummels responded with a header goal at the dying minutes of match.

Referee Webb was in full control of game except for missing a second yellow card or a straight red card to Fernandinho for an elbow on Blaszcykowsky.

What next?

Dortmund is in a good position to advance to next round by getting a high scoring draw. But missed their excellence displayed in group stages against opponents like Madrid, Manchester city.

Shakhtar should find a way to play from the center of pitch to control the game and create more chances. Expecting a 3-1 win for Dortmund in the second leg.

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Things you may be interested before watching Real Vs Manchester clash

Against each other after a decade

Against each other after a decade

Two legged tie between Real Madrid and Manchester United is scheduled for 13th of this month and 5th of next month. World of soccer is waiting to analyze results of Mourinho vs Ferguson, Ronaldo Vs Van Persie.

Some interesting things that might interest you:

– Ronaldo meets his previous employer for first time after sealing most expensive transfer in football history. World of soccer is eagerly waiting how Ferguson, who unearthed talent in Ronaldo, will try to stifle him for 180 minutes.

-Madrid and Manchester faced each other four times. In 1956/5, 1999/2000, 2002/2003 Real Madrid won and in 1967/1968 Manchester won. Of the four meetings, winner of this fixture ended up as eventual European champions thrice. Exception happened in 2002/03, when Real were knocked out by Juventus.

– It is rumored that Abramovich’s interest on owning a club born after seeing second leg of their 2002/03 tie. Manchester won by 4-3 with a sublime freekick winner from David Beckham.

-Redondo’s spectacular dribble to create goal for Raul happened in 1999/2000 tie at old trafford. Real won by 3-2 after they took a lead of 3 goals.

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Ronaldo’s pursuit for Ballon D’or 2013

Frustration of being behind Messi haunts Ronaldo

Frustration of being behind Messi?

Yesterday while answering to questions from AS on Mourinho’s absence from January’s Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich, Ronaldo said “I respect the coach’s decision, and it was his call, I think he knew what was going to happen. Maybe he is cleverer than others. I did understand as well as him what was going to happen, so I understand it”. Do you think Ronaldo understoodthe result till FIFA announced result?

He was confident for this year, voters were going to vote in favor of  him for his League winning season long performance where his Madrid side dethrone messi’s Barcelona after 3 years. He and his advisers knew his image would hold him behind messi for Ballon d’or.  Ronaldo used interviews as avenue to clarify things in his pursuit for ‘player of the year’ award. He talked about justice at an interview with world cup winning former French defender Frank Leboeuf in August. “I want justice, If there is justice, you see who is going to win and who deserves to win. I’m not going to say any more.” Ronaldo noted. Later he admitted to he has image problems. “Why? It’s question that I never give the 100% right answer, because sometimes I really don’t know. Maybe I agree, I have bad image on the pitch… because I’m too serious, but if you really know me, if you are my friend, if I leave you inside my house, if you share the day with me, you will know I hate to lose. People who call me arrogant, I would like to sit with them and to have a chat with them to see which way to they think I’m arrogant because I think they need to sit with me to know who is the real Cristiano.”

When day came to announce winner, Ronaldo was there with belief that he did all his homeworks in field and media to be the winner. If he didn’t have hope do you think he would have attended award ceremony. From my analysis, he would have skipped ceremony as mourinho did. At announcing 2011’s winner all world knew who was going to win. So he skipped ceremony to avoid media capturing his awkward emotion.
Same story would have happened last january, had he lacked belief in his candidacy.

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Sweden Vs Argentina

argentina vs sweeden

Today Sweden are playing against Argentina in Nya Ullevi stadium. In media, it is a clash between Messi vs Ibrahimovic than Sweden vs Argentina, a result of their stardom and a personal rivalry started when both played together for single season with Barcelona.

Argentina is a football power having won two world cups and two final berths. Sweden won’t come par to Argentina, but they are a regular in Euro competition and World Cup(WC) off late and a final birth in 1958 when they hosted WC. But they have played each other just twice. Once in 1934 that Sweden won  and in 2002 WC, it ended with a scoreline of 1-1. On scoreboard it was a draw, but it might be the best draw they have had in their history. That took them to knock round along with England from group of death consisting of Nigeria too.

In 2002, Argentina came as a favorite to win WC as winner of South American qualifiers coached by Marcelo Bielsa. Their team constituted of midfield maestro’s Veron, Aimar, Ortega, a forward lineup of Batistuta, Crespo, Claudio Lopez and defensive stars in form of Ayala and Walter Samuel. And they were playing a possession based football similar to total football. In group stages, they had more possession, created more chances and won more corners then any other team. Unfortunately they were also on their way home. Reason told for their failure are defensive weakness on counters(a problem for most possession based teams) and difficulty in regaining possession once it’s lost. Fingers also pointed on the quality of chances created after creating most chances in group stage but scored just 2 goals.

Some people believed exit was due to bad number 13 because it was their 13th attempt in WC final stages. Whatever the reason be, team of 2002 missed a wonderful opportunity to trigger a wonderful moment all Argentine people looked for after their worst economic crisis.

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