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Valencia Was Brilliant Against Valencia

Manchester United have finished their pre-season in style, beating Spanish side Valencia 2-0 in a lively, entertaining game which brought plenty of positives. Most notable among these was the performance of Antonio Valencia who showed, once again, that he could be an extremely good signing for us.

United started with the following eleven: Foster; De Laet, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Tosic; Owen, Rooney. And we played well for most of the half against a Valencia side that was comfortable in possession but visibly behind on stamina - no surprise as their league starts at the end of August only.

And Valencia - the player - was in his element. He was terrorising the fullbacks, taking on everyone, dribbling, creating chances for teammates, getting into good shooting positions. He was unlucky not to score in the first half and was unlucky not to notch at least one assist as well. His fearsome pace was evident again and in that aspect he's even better than Ronaldo...

Then there was Ritchie de Laet. The young Belgian once again confirmed that he's a quick, aggressive, brave defender with good anticipation and he knows how and when to go forward. I expect he'll get more games this season, he's got promise.

Rooney, predictably, was excellent, running the show ahead of the midfield, just behind Owen. He should have scored in the first half and delivered many fine passes, none of which were converted into goals by his teammates. But that wasn't his fault: he played with an elegant intelligence which was fantastic to see against a top European team.

The biggest negative of the night has to Michael Owen: he was bought to score goals yet he missed FOUR very good chances. He could have buried Valencia single-handedly yet somehow could not find the back of the net. Zoran Tosic didn't have the best of games either: he's got great pace but his distribution must improve and he's way too lightweight just yet.

We weren't exactly solid all the time: the harassing and hassling of a competitive fixture was nowhere to be seen and too often we allowed Valencia to carve us open with pretty passing. They hit the bar and had a few chances themselves even though by and large United were in control.

The goals came only in the second half, after massive amounts of substitutions by both sides. The first was, fittingly, the work of the two best players on the pitch: Valencia dribbled down the rigth, crossed for Rooney who headed home from 6 yards out. Simple yet delightful.

Of our substitutes, Fabio was average, Berbatov did a job but hardly excelled, Nani was better than usual, Anderson was energetic yet wayward - no surprises there - and Cleverley was a pleasant surprise: he scored a very clever (nomen est omen) goal, set up by, oh yes, Valencia. Macheda caused plenty of problems for the Spanish defence but displayed an alarming tendency to fall over in possession... Gibson should have scored, he was unlucky as he rattled the crossbar with a fierce effort.

And that's it. A fine 2-0 win in a good game - couldn't have wished for anything more.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday August 6 2009

Time: 11:50AM

Your Comments

What I have found interesting about Valencia is that he only really has one trick - dribble slowly up to a defender, knock it past him and then chase after the ball. It sounds crap, but when he does that he is impossible to stop as he is so strong and quick that as of yet, no defender has been able to block or catch up with him. Valencia HAS to be consistently marked by TWO players because there seems to be no other way of getting to that knock on before he does. In terms of freeing up space for his team mates - I don't wanna jinx the lad- but he seems to be even more effective at it than the artist formerly know as CR7.
tuscan3000
Our only issues now are in midfield. Carrick has the passing ability, anderson has the ability to drive the team forward, scholes has the creativity, Giggs has the guile, Fletcher has the stamina and Hargreaves has the steel. The problem is none of them seems to have any more than their unique ability; which is why whatever combination we play (unless its a three man midfield where everybody is fit to be selected) we seem to be missing something. In my view it would be nice to have an all-rounder in the team (like De Rossi) who we can partner up with whoever will complement the particular needs of that game. It would also be nice to have a bit of extra class, consistency and creativity on the left (david silva maybe) but I'm of the opinion that neither of those will happen - I don't think that will stop us winning the title though - I just think that instead of galloping across the line, we'll sort of stumble or maybe crawl across.
tuscan3000
That is what I like about Valencia. His sudden burst of pace is almost second to none!
ForeverUnited
Give Owen a chance... he's not sharp yet and he can't score them all. Rooney was excellent: if he can keep his cool and avoid injuries, this could be an immense season for him. Valencia too looks very promising...
Man utd champions
Tuscan: I would say more effective at crossing in the ball. Not more effective at actually cutting inside and striking. Difference are clear, Ronaldo attacked, Valencia supports.
Paulinho
I was just saying he is more effective at occupying multiple defenders. Defenders would go 1 on 1 with Ronaldo because with a well timed challenge and a bit of concentration they at least had a chance of nicking the ball. But with valencia, you only seem to be able to get the ball if one defender faces him up and the other chases the ball once he has knocked it past the first. I'm not at all suggesting he is as effective overall as CR7.
tuscan3000
A very good overall performance.Both the teams could have scored.
Antriksh (abmtd)
 

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