Posts Tagged ‘ David De Gea ’

Radamel Falcao Would Not Be the Answer for Manchester United

Falcao

 

 

Radamel Falcao is a world-class striker, but is he really going to solve Manchester United’s problems?

 

Sir Alex Ferguson and the Red Devils apparently believe so, as the club is reportedly throwing its name in the hat

It’s almost impossible to argue that United’s attack isn’t strengthened by bringing in the Colombian striker. A partnership of Falcao and Robin van Persie would be the most intimidating in the world.

Goals haven’t exactly been a problem for Manchester United, though. The Red Devils have scored 71 times in the Premier League, which is 10 more than Chelsea, who is in second place.

The Wayne Rooney transfer rumors are seemingly neverending, so the arrival of Falcao would likely either precede or follow the departure of Rooney. You can see where United would want to replace a striker of Rooney’s reputation with another big-name player.

But what about Javier Hernandez?

Chicharito is still only 24 years old. While not the quality of Falcao at this point, there’s every reason to expect the Mexican striker would be able to suffice in the absence of Rooney. Hernandez has scored 11 goals in 26 domestic and European league matches this season. He’s energetic and always manages to pounce on any chance in the box. You could very easily see Hernandez scoring 20 goals next season if he’s given a starting role. Plus, the money spent on Falcao would inevitably subtract money from the transfer budget that could be spent much more wisely elsewhere. Ferguson is not a heavy spender during the summer, so it’s unrealistic to expect him to break the bank this season.

United spent a little over £50 million on the trio of David de Gea, Ashley Young and Phil Jones back in the summer of 2011. Something comparable could be expected this summer. But with Falcao taking up £27 million, that doesn’t leave much to spend on what has been United’s biggest issue: midfield.

Surely the club would be much better off spending the lion’s share of the transfer budget on a player like Kevin Strootman, Sven Bender, Mario Gotze, Isco, Victor Wanyama, Etienne Capoue or any combination of those players.

Manchester United is built for success in England. There’s no doubt about that. Bringing in Falcao would be a shot across the bow of Europe’s elite that the Red Devils are back to take their place atop the throne of club football. But what good will Falcao be if Ferguson leaves the midfield untouched?

It’s hard to envision United being any more successful in Europe than it currently is by continuing to rely on Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Anderson to occupy the midfield. You can have the best strikers in the world, but there rendered ineffective against good clubs when you don’t have a ball-winner or someone to pull the strings in the midfield.

Falcao is a great player, but he should not be the top transfer target for Manchester United this season.

 

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Ronaldo needs a new partner or Real Madrid may never reach the promised land

Ronaldo jumping

 

The story was a familiar one: Real Madrid conceded from a set piece, then Cristiano Ronaldo did something brilliant. Two moments that sum up a season in which Jose Mourinho’s men have been below their brilliant best. And versus Manchester United, as against many others in 2012-13, it was their failure to convert chances which cost Los Blancos. Cristiano cannot do it all on his own.

Angel Di Maria dribbled, Mesut Ozil opened spaces, Ronaldo roamed. But aside from the magnificent Portuguese, nobody seemed to shoot straight for the home side on Wednesday. Madrid’s 28 efforts in an exhilarating encounter should have brought more than a single goal – Cristiano’s towering header after half an hour.

The strike itself was a carbon copy of Ronaldo’s stunning winner in the 2011 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona at Mestalla. Then, as on Wednesday, Di Maria launched a brilliant inswinging cross from the left touchline to the far post, where the Portuguese rose majestically to hammer home a header which not even Man of the Match David De Gea could stop. It was a magical moment, yet one which surprised no-one – least of all Sir Alex Ferguson. “What a header. Unbelievable. You can’t stop that,” the 71-year-old said after the game. “The spring, the way he holds himself in the air, the power in the header. I said to Patrice Evra at half-time, ‘you didn’t challenge for that’. And when I saw the video I thought, what was I talking about?”

“When he gets the ball, you are praying more than anything,” Ferguson added about Ronaldo. But after a first half in which the Portuguese threatened to run rampant, United’s defenders got closer to their former team-mate after the interval. Others, however, were afforded more time and space in and around the penalty area by the visitors. But unfortunately for Madrid, none were able to make it count.

Sami Khedira wasted a wonderful opportunity early on, while Di Maria played his best game in some time but was erratic with his shooting, Ozil dallied on a number of occasions and Karim Benzema was dispossessed far too easily. His replacement, Gonzalo Higuain, was unable to take up promising positions, either, so it was left – as is so often the case – to Ronaldo.

Madrid have come to rely upon their talisman in games like this one, and against Barcelona in the Clasico – but the Portuguese cannot do it all alone. He needs a new partner.

Ozil and Luka Modric score very few, while Jose Callejon has looked lacklustre of late, Kaka is out of favour and the strikers – so impressive in 2011-12 – are simply not scoring sufficiently this term.

Former Madrid player, coach and sporting director Jorge Valdano criticised Mourinho last week for his man-management of both Higuain and Benzema, claiming the two strikers are demoralised because neither feels like the first-choice frontman in the team’s 4-2-3-1 formation. The truth, however, is that neither deserves to be – at least on current form.

In the very big games, Madrid need a man who will rise to the occasion like Ronaldo is now doing on a regular basis. Like Didier Drogba did for Chelsea, Samuel Eto’o for Barcelona, Thierry Henry at Arsenal or, currently, Radamel Falcao at Atletico.

Madrid have a ‘non-aggression pact’ with their city rivals, but they would love to sign Falcao or a forward of the Colombian’s calibre.
Mourinho has been keen to bring in a top-class striker since the very beginning at Madrid, but Benzema and Higuain are already among the finest forwards in world football. If a new man is brought in, he must be one of the very best – better than what they have already.

So while negotiating a contract extension for 183-goal Ronaldo (in terms of ratio, the greatest goalscorer in the club’s history) must be a priority for Real Madrid this summer, a new partner for the Portuguese should sit second on their to-do list in the next window. Because without one, the promised land of La Decima may remain nothing but a distant dream for many more years to come.

Manchester United vs Fulham FA Cup Preview: Visitors aiming for first win at Old Trafford since 2003

Robin Van Persie

 

Sir Alex Ferguson is still without midfielder Darren Fletcher (bowel surgery), while Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Ashley Young (knee) will not be involved.

In defence, Rio Ferdinand could feature, although Sir Alex may take the opportunity to rest one of his regular central defenders with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling returning to fitness.

The hosts may also look to rest goalkeeper David De Gea after an extended run of league games for the Spanaird, while he also has the options of using Danny Welbeck, Chicharito and Shinji Kagawa in attacking roles.

The visitors, meanwhile, will be without Simon Davies (neck) and Kerim Frei (groin) while Mahamadou Diarra is not expected to be fit for another week.

Martin Jol can, however, boast numerous attacking options as winger Ashkan Dejagah and strikers Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega are also in contention.

Kieran Richardson is likely to continue at left-back, although Jol can alternatively choose to restore the out-of-favour John Arne Riise to the starting line-up.

  • Manchester United are currently on a 10-match unbeaten streak in in all competitions, while they have not lost in 13 matches domestically.
  • The Red Devils have won the FA Cup a record 11 times. The last time they won the competition was in 2004.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have also scored the highest amount of goals in the Premier League (57) this season, with striker Robin van Persie leading the scorers charts with 18.
  • Manchester United’s record defeat in the FA Cup was a 7-1 loss to Burnley in the first round in Februrary 1901.
  • Martin Jol has never beaten Sir Alex Ferguson in his managerial career.
  • Fulham have won just twice in 12 Premier League away games this term and needed extra-time to overcome Championship side Blackpool in the last round.
  • Fulham have also lost 31 of their 36 visits to Old Trafford, drawing three times and winning just twice. Since their last victory in 2003, United have won the fixture nine consecutive times.
  • The Cottagers’ top-scorer this season, Dimitar Berbatov  has scored seven goals this campaign. Saturday’s game will be the Bulgarian’s first visit to Old Trafford since leaving Manchester United for Fulham in the summer.

Match Preview: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Frank Lampard (calf) is a major doubt for Chelsea after the midfielder limped off during the first half in the midweek defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk.

John Terry is the only other absentee as he serves the second of his four-match ban, meaning Gary Cahill is expected to come back into the side, with Roberto Di Matteo set to name the same XI that won 4-2 at Tottenham last weekend.

Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to make several changes from the narrow midweek victory over Braga, but David de Gea is likely to remain in goal despite Anders Lindegaard’s return to fitness after a thumb injury.

The Red Devils boss is sweating over the fitness of Shinji Kagawa (knee), but Rio Ferdinand should make a return to the side, while Javier Hernandez’s brace in the Champions League could see him get the nod up front alongside Robin van Persie at the expense of Danny Welbeck.

Defenders Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic (both knee) are absentees, while Chris Smalling (metatarsal) may recover in time to make the bench.

  • Chelsea have a superb home record against the Red Devils, with six wins and four draws in their last 10 meetings at Stamford Bridge.
  • In their last 30 meetings in all competitions, both sides have got on the scoresheet on 18 occasions.
  • Since signing for Manchester United, Javier Hernandez has scored in four of the Red Devils’ seven clashes with Chelsea, while Wayne Rooney has also scored in four during the same period.
  • Fernando Torres has six goals in 14 appearances for Chelsea this season, and is just one shy of his total from last season.
  • David Luiz has scored in both his appearances against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
  • Sir Alex’s side have only been in front at half-time four times in 12 matches this season, and have gone on to win all four.
  • Meanwhile, in Chelsea’s seven Premier League wins this season, they have only gone into the break behind in one of those victories.

Match Preview: Liverpool vs Manchester United

 

 
Liverpool are likely to make just one change from the draw at Sunderland last weekend, with Jose Enrique returning to Brendan Rodgers’ side in place of Martin Kelly.

Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling, both substitutes in the 5-3 win at Young Boys on Thursday, should come back into the starting line-up to provide support for Luis Suarez, who was not in the squad for their Europa League encounter.

Joe Cole (hamstring) and Lucas (thigh) remain Rodgers’ only injury concerns within his squad. In their last five Premier League meetings, both sides have been on the scoresheet; the last time a side kept a clean sheet in this fixture was in October 2010 when Liverpool won 2-0. Liverpool have had 75 shots so far this season – the most in the league – but only 15 of them have been on target.

 

Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young may return to the Manchester United bench, and could feature at some point at Anfield. But Robin van Persie is likely to lead the line, with support from Shinji Kagawa.

David de Gea was in goal for the Red Devils’ 1-0 win over Galatasaray in midweek and is set to keep his place between the posts, and Alexander Buttner may retain his place in the XI after a goalscoring performance against Wigan last weekend. Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick are the only two players to have started all four Premier League games for Manchester United this term. Danny Welbeck has yet to have a shot on target in the Premier League, despite 10 attempts so far this season; seven of them came in last week’s win over Wigan