Date:Wednesday October 21 2009
Is it time to start calling him Antonio Ronaldo? Not necessarily but Valencia scored for the second game in a row and his goals gave United the three points on both occasions. This time CSKA was the vanquished side, with the win virtually guaranteeing United's progression.
Not that it was a memorable evening otherwise. It was as dire as United's away games in the Champions League usually are: few chances, lots of scrapping in midfield. Of course we were not helped by the absence of Rooney, Giggs and Evra but we had seen earlier that their presence do not ensure quality football away from home.
At least we have dominated throughout: the unusual central midfield three of O'Shea, Scholes and Anderson ensured United had the majority of possession even though in the first half it was to no avail as we lacked creativity. The strategy seemed to be to get the ball to the wide areas quickly in the hope that Valencia and Nani (or Fabio who was handed his first Champions League start) might do something. They could not as they were hopelessly crowded out throughout. Berbatov was totally isolated up front.
Second half brought a little change: United exploited space in the middle a lot better and took total control. The concerted pressure brought the first real chance on 65 minutes (yes, it was that boring) when Nani's fine header was clawed away quite magnificently by Igor Akinfeev, a player constantly linked with United.
But we actually woke up only in the last 10 minutes - when the otherwise outstanding Scholes was already off the pitch, making way for Michael Owen who was very ineffective... - but that was more than enough to secure the win. Valencia could feel himself unlucky when a brilliant move, involving three one-twos, ended with him crashing a ferocious shot against the crossbar - it would have been a candidate for the greatest goal of the Champions League season.
Three minutes later he scored an excellent and deserved goal though: the otherwise very frustrating Nani's cross was headed into his path by Berbatov (who also came to life in the last 15 minutes) and Valencia steered the ball into the far corner from a difficult angle. His celebration was, once again, pretty low-key but it did not matter: job was done and it looks like that Valencia is settling, slowly but surely. I wish he would sometimes use his left foot though...
All in all, a very satisfactory evening. Wolfsburg drew at home with Besiktas, leaving United five points clear at the top of Group B. Another win against CSKA would almost certainly guarantee top spot in the group as well. It's hardly an impossible task: I had suggested that CSKA were the favourites for tonight's game but they were absolutely disappointing. They failed to ever really get a grip on the game - and they were dominated by a midfield containing John O'Shea, for heaven's sake!
Date:Wednesday October 21 2009
Come In No2 - Man Utd In FA Cup Draw Tonight (Monday January 26 2015)
Duo Linked to United Moves (Sunday January 25 2015)
De Gea - Ruled by the Heart! (Sunday January 25 2015)
Powell Left in Limbo! (Sunday January 25 2015)
Moyes Record Better Than Van Gaal`s (Sunday January 25 2015)
Falcao Would Have Been Better With Sir Alex (Sunday January 25 2015)
Amos Free to Leave United (Sunday January 25 2015)
De Gea Situation Troubles Me! (Saturday January 24 2015)
Were United Ever Linked With Ramos? (Saturday January 24 2015)
Credit to Cambridge! (Saturday January 24 2015)
|Aston Villa||1||-||1||Man Utd|
|2. Man City||22||14||5||3||23||47|
|4. Man Utd||22||11||7||4||15||40|
|7. West Ham||22||10||6||6||10||36|
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