Manchester United - Michael Owen Wins The Game For Lacklustre United
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Michael Owen Wins The Game For Lacklustre United

It wasn't an exactly spectacular start to the new season, was it? United, their nerves perhaps somewhat frayed by the news of the Jakarta bomb attack, looked lacklustre and uninspiring against a lively Malaysian XI but scraped a 3-2 win.

It was a typical pre-season game, to be honest. United lacked focus, concentration, commitment, the players looked a bit disorientated and sluggish. We haven't learnt much from this game, that's for sure - I merely saw a few things which we knew anyway.

What am I talking about? Well, like the fact that Darron Gibson is not a winger. He was as ineffective as always when asked to play on the right side of the midfield and his influence grew astoundingly when moved to the centre of the park after taking off Scholes. The ginger maestro himself had a pretty poor game: he made too many rash tackles and surrendered possession too often too easily.

His midfield colleague Anderson was full of energy and enthusiasm but his passing was wayward and his positioning left a lot to be desired on occasions. Nani had one of his better games, clinically tucking away his only real chance but he didn't light up the pitch.

By and large we were okay at the back throughout - Wes Brown and Fabio both slotted in seamlessly when called upon while Evra, Rio, Evans and O'Shea did their job with the usual reliability. However, Edwin van der Sar was at fault for the first goal and substitute Ben Foster committed an absolutely horrible mistake, letting a backpass slip under his feet, thus gifting the Malaysians the equaliser.

However, United's best performers were to be found up front: Berbatov was average even though he showed a few nice touches but Wayne Rooney was the best player on the pitch by a country mile, relishing the freedom allowed to him in the hole behind the Bulgarian. He scored our scrappy first then his absolutely brilliant pass found Nani in front of goal and the winger made no mistake.

Yet someone else stole the show from him in the end: Michael Owen came and conquered today. I was pleasantly surprised with his performance: I expected commitment - after all, he's got a lot to prove - but didn't expect such a good display. He was always available, looking for the ball, moving a lot between the defenders, confusing and stretching them. His winner was a cool and clinical finish after a bad defensive cock-up - hopefully the first of many goals in the United shirt. I just wish it weren't the number seven shirt...

So, that's it. It's a shame we didn't get to see Valencia and that we won't see Obertan till October but you can't have everything. It was a good solid win to open pre-season and it was good enough to whet the appetite. I have realised how much I'm missing football and can't wait to the real competitions to start now.

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday July 18 2009

Time: 5:57PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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this is exactly why we bought owen, not to add quality to our build up but to just score. he is a great goal poacher and if he can stay fit htere no doubt he will be the bargain of the century, cant believe the people who doubt his quality.... the only doubt is his fitness. i know you are a doubter and the 76% of the voters but i am 100% sure he will prove you all wrong
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18/07/2009 18:01:00

Amazing !!!....Owen rest of the premiership will be shakin in their boots .......guess that means that he`s suddenly a threat to Gerrard and Torres now....if Owen is the best you Mancs can boast then Liverpool are going to brutalise you again just like they did at the Theatre of Illusions...
I Bling Red
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18/07/2009 19:03:00

Owen..your main goal threat for the season...what a joke...i actually feel embarassed for you comical Mancs...
I Bling Red
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18/07/2009 19:03:00

worried are ya? or else you wouldnt be posting that ;) he never got the service at newcastle.. he will shine here. he wont be out best attacker cause that will be rooney but owen will be tapping in goals all season... maybe a few against the scum
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18/07/2009 21:36:00

Brutalise? Can't believe that scousers are still bringing that game up! Bringing up a 4-1 loss of that calibre, in a season where we just lifted our 11th premier league trophy (our third in succession) and got to a champions league final is a bit like telling your mate you slept with his girlfriend only to find out he has been consistently shagging your mum! Keep your 4-1 mate, from where we're sitting - the score reads 11-0.
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18/07/2009 22:28:00

Ronaldo! Ronaldo! Ronaldo!.... I mean OWEN! OWEN! OWEN!
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19/07/2009 07:53:00

ha ha ha thats a great shout tuscan!!! let the scouse f*#ks have there 4-1 win take being the premiership champions (again!!!) over 3 points anyday!!! cus thats all they got from it!!! gerrad may of kissed the camera after his pen, but who was kissing the trophy at the end of the season!!!
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19/07/2009 13:44:00

lol too funny tuscan
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19/07/2009 22:56:00

well done owen,2 goals in two games,not bad at all.Keep it going michael!!!
Antriksh (abmtd)
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20/07/2009 19:17:00

Also tosic looked pretty good,I was glad that he got a chance.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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20/07/2009 19:19:00

i think owen will be ok for cover this season .
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23/07/2009 10:50:00

Struck me that the back of Owen's shirt looked very much like an away England shirt from a few years back as he walked on for his debut. Besides that, his finishing was immense - it's what United have been lacking. We have plenty of creativity but not many players to finish the chances off. In recent years, Rooney has concentrated on scoring from simple close in rather than just distance amazing shots, but we still needed a class finisher. And that's what Owen still is, despite everything. Now I've seen him in action, I'm convinced we will be a success. Rooney's looked sharp and good, his passing's been brilliant at times (Nani's goal) and he was alert to score. I really think we have a lot of options this season, and Ronaldo going frees us up a bit more to work as a team and share the goalscoring burden around. Not long to go now... can't wait to see the new United.
Man utd champions
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24/07/2009 12:20:00

Precisely tuscan3000 - for the past three seasons, Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool in order (3 of our biggest rivals i must add) have done the double over us in the league, yet at the end of the season, we'd won the league so it didn't matter one bit. Since Liverpool won the FA Cup in 2006, we've won 2 Community Shields, 3 Premier League titles, 1 Champions League, 1 runner-up, 1 FA Cup runner-up, 1 Carling Cup, 1 World Cup... have I got everything?
Man utd champions
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24/07/2009 12:24:00

Berbatov's been quite in pre-season. That lad's got a lot to prove for me, especially with Michael on the scene now and looking good. Never mind Macheda, and Welbeck if he can come through. Hmmm Owen, Macheda, Berbatov and Rooney - i like that striking line-up. Especially with Welbeck fast behind.
Man utd champions
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24/07/2009 12:25:00

* quiet
Man utd champions
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25/07/2009 10:39:00

Pre-season looking good. 3 games, 3 wins, 2 goals for Owen, 2 for Macheda, 2 for Rooney and 1 for Berbatov (as well as 1 for Nani to give him a little more time to impress after last season's disappointment). Everything we could have asked for really, albeit with the defence/goalkeeper looking a little shaky and conceding, but can be expected at this time of the season.
Man utd champions
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25/07/2009 10:41:00

The defence isn't water tght at the moment, but if we can get a consistent back four out in front of VDS and then think about putting a fit hargreaves in front of them, the clean sheets would soon come rolling in.
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25/07/2009 12:04:00

Yep, apart from Foster looking brilliant and a goal for Anderson, this pre-season tour has basically been everything could have asked for - a goal a game for Owen (to prove he's not finished yet); 2 for Rooney, Macheda and Berbatov (new strike force); 2 for Nani (to prove himself this season); 3 for Giggs (he'll be around for this season too); 1 for Tosic (a bit of potential).... looking goodd.
Man utd champions
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27/07/2009 14:43:00


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