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Frustrating United Will Get Better

It might seem odd that I label United 'frustrating' after the 6-0 demolition of Newcastle. But this very game triggered me to say that we seldom reach the heights that are capable of.

Of course I know that we won't destroy teams every other week, even with all the brilliant footballers we have available. But we were much more confident and imaginative during the autumn of 2006 than during the same period in 2007.

Ronaldo's brilliant, amazing form has saved us often and masked the inadequacies of the team's displays. Often we looked a bit out of steam, sometimes it seemed we are out of ideas, too.

Of course, occasionally everything clicked and then wonderful performances came, even without Ronaldo. The 4-1 drubbing of Villa and the same margin of victory against Boro was achieved without Ronaldo's goals and assists. We collected 7 points in 3 games against the other members of the Big Four and after the dreadful start (0-2-1) our record reads 16-1-2 in the last 19 games.

But why is it that though we have strengthened considerably over the summer, we looked less good than last season? I think it's not rocket science.

Firstly, new signings need time to gel. Tevez is a success with 10 Premier League goals to his name, Anderson's been a revelation so far, Hargreaves did well and Nani's shown glimpses of potential. However, the lack of understanding with their teammates was often apparent and though they did admirably well, they will get better.

But it is only a secondary reason. The primary cause of our sometimes below-par performances are clearly the injuries.

Consider the fact that Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves, Ji-sung Park, Louis Saha, Darren Fletcher, Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre and Ben Foster had to miss at least a month (but in most cases more than that) of competitive football because of health issues. Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Nemanja Vidic, Luis Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Ryan Giggs and Anderson also had to miss games but their injuries were only minor ones.

We expected to field Hargreaves much more often than it was possible because of his injuries. Louis Saha never recaptured his 2006 form but we all know he's capable of brilliant football. Nani should improve in the second half as the potential is there. Park has returned and could prove an asset and don't forget, soon we'll have our Ginger Ninja back.

Arsenal fans often ask that if our squad is indeed so good, why are we ahead only on goal difference? Well, the answers are listed above. If these problems ease and players like Hargreaves, Rooney and Scholes manage an injury-free run in the team, we'll display the advantages of having such a great squad. Rooney's hot scoring streak came when he finally managed to play 5-6 games in a row - he will do it again.

We have already seen what we are capable of - Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Wigan, Dynamo Kiev could all talk about it. All we need is more consistency not just in terms of result but in performances, too. Ronaldo will keep on being magnificent - it's just the rest has to catch up with him. They have to do nothing else than perform consistently the way we know they are capable to perform. And then it's hard to see us not having a successful season. After all, we are already top of the table with the most goals scored, fewest conceded, most wins recorded...

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 15 2008

Time: 5:22PM

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Pervert football boss Jim Torbett terrorised a generation of young Celtic players. The trusted team chief lured innocent lads with promises of the big time. Then the Celtic Boys' Club supremo molested the babes who idolised him. Depraved Torbett, 50, is still a major figure in the Parkhead talent nursery. Today three of his victims -including Scotland cap Alan Brazil -break their silence. Brazil, 37, said: "Torbett should be locked up. "He shouldn't be allowed anywhere near boys' teams." Sex abuse allegations have haunted Celtic Boys' Club for almost a quarter of a century A Record investigation has revealed Celtic's board knew about the rumours 20 years ago. Only Jock Stein was big enough to show Torbett the door. And after the legend died, the pervert wormed his way back into the good books. Today, Torbett is a respected senior official of the boys' club. His Trophy Centre shops sponsor the league Celtic boys play in, and provide Celtic FC with most of their medals and awards. He also helped raise cash for the Celtic Charity Fund. And he has a regular seat in the Parkhead directors' box as guest of his pal, past chairman Kevin Kelly. Bachelor Torbett lured Celtic kids to his council flat with ice-cream and fancy meals. He also took them on glamorous foreign tours. Then he used them as sex toys, in return for a promise of glory. John McCluskey, brother of Parkhead star George, was one of Torbett's victims. He said: "All I ever dreamed of was to play for Celtic. But Torbett turned that dream into a memory that will haunt me until I die. "My shame is not for what happened, but for keeping it quiet so long." Last night, Parkhead supremo Fergus McCann promised to personally investigate the scandal. He has already spoken to some of the victims. He even called in police, who found nothing. In a statement, McCann said: "These are very serious allegations, and those concerned should report all information to police. "I would like to make it clear that this matter has no current link to Celtic Football Club. "I have nothing to say on the past board's handling of the matter." Celtic Boys' Club chairman Tony McGuiness said he would call for an immediate special general meeting to probe the claims. He said: "I asked Jim about the allegations, and he assured me he would never do anything to harm the club. "He is still connected with the club, although he is not a regular attender at meetings. "I have heard rumours and counter-rumours over the years against several people, and I recently helped police with certain inquiries." At his home in Glasgow's west end, Torbett said: "I have nothing to say on the matter." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- big jock knew, spread the word!!
billy britain
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15/01/2008 18:03:00

will they really i mean top of the table and you will get better the rest of the prem hope not
ozanne park rangers
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15/01/2008 19:09:00

well i think it's right to say that there is room for improvement... much more than at arsenal who played their best football at the start and are sliding downwards since november-december
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15/01/2008 20:15:00

ok, you are frustrating at times. however, your not the only ones! Arsnal rarely peroform to the peak of there abilities - and when they do, they are unstoppable. liverpool are performing well below par at the moment, and chelsea...well, they are just consistently good, and never seem to slip up. lower down the league (yes, that does exist) tams like pompey are currently failing to keep up there form of earlier in the seaoson, against teams that we should be winning by large score lines - at our best, we can take any team on in the league, and win (although i wouldnt say we will beat you/chelsea, away, 6-0 - but its still possible). it is very rare that a team just gets everything to fall into place - so dont go thinking your not the only ones! (oh, and the newcastle victory still left a lot to be desired in the way of could have won by more!)
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15/01/2008 22:28:00

we stayed there last season so i think we can again
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16/01/2008 11:42:00

I agree, just need to be free of stop-starting certain players through injuries.
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16/01/2008 14:08:00

if you think those were the reasons ur above us just by goal margins wat abt rvp missing an entire 3 months due to injury.. and eduardo is even newer to the english league than tevez, not to forget we had to go thru most of december without 3 1st team midfielders.. all i'm sayin is that this year we r evenly matched and the title race will only be decided in april/may.. the two teams r full of quality and the title will be won/lost by just a couple of points
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16/01/2008 17:58:00

we aint evenly matched we are better.
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16/01/2008 20:43:00

rooneyisgod - the proof will be in the they say...but if we take your results, and compare them to a neutral team...say both drew with us at fratton. and arsnal are the only team (so far) to actually outplay us (due to them being good, not us being ****) - both teams are full fo quality, it will be a great title race, particually with chelsea chasing your heels!
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16/01/2008 22:53:00

we survived a very difficult december and are still equal on points with you. two big points were dropped at home last week, but you will drop points too. ronaldo's goals are all that is saving you this season, because without him you will struggle, whereas we've done very well without RVP for most of the season. it will go down to the wire this season. you maybe have more depth in ur squad than us. but if we can keep our top 15-20 players injury free, then we got more quality than you guys. it will be interesting to see how you perform when ronaldo misses a few games or is a little out of form, cuz so far this season, you have struggled miserably whenever he hasnt played or performed..
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17/01/2008 09:24:00

It was class against newcastle but we have to admit that was an average united side against a poor newcastle side whisch indicates how good we really are ! man utd for the title .. oh and i was top of the fan members leauge now im not on it how come ?
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17/01/2008 12:44:00

Jakk-United-2007 - were you? you must have crept up on me/chix/merlin whe we wernt looking! i was under the impression that WE were leading the fans league ever since...well, janaury the would never say it was an average united side - that was you at your best, and them at there worst. i would be willing to bet money you wont bea a better team by more goals this season...
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17/01/2008 16:57:00

luckys_10: it's simply not true. we destroyed villa and boro, at villa par ronaldo did not play, against boro he was poor. we beat roma with ronaldo having a bad game, we beat liverpool with ronaldo unanymous, we beat spurs and everton without ronaldo... and i agree with the article that all the injuries we had it's a miracle we're in such a great position. we have more quality in the first team and on the bench and in the squad than arsenal... so the title is ours to lose.
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18/01/2008 13:57:00

and as the article stated as the team gels and rooney manages an injury-free run in the side we will be much less reliant on ronaldo... and we are already less reliant on him than you are on fabregas though it's true that he's our best finisher and most prolific goalscorer.
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18/01/2008 13:59:00


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