United Ready For Barcelona Redemption

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Feed Me, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Apr 28, 2011
    #1

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    I'm not one for being premature (stop sniggering) but I'll confidently assert that Manchester United and Barcelona will lock horns in this season's Champions League final at Wembley. United stayed patient to overcome the inspired resistance of Manuel Neuer in Germany on Tuesday while Lionel Messi brilliantly gilded a hitherto disgraceful 'football match' in Madrid on Wednesday.

    With the return leg of each tie rendered a mere formality, thoughts will now undoubtedly shift towards the re-run of the 2009 final, when the artistry of Andrés Iniesta and Xavi tortured Sir Alex Ferguson?s side into a meek surrender. On that occasion, the intensity of Barcelona's fabled pressing game suffocated the metronomic stylings of Michael Carrick and United, shorn of any fluency, melted in the Roman heat.

    It wasn't supposed to be like that. United were the reigning European champions and went into the match with some of world football's most stellar names printed on their team sheet, while Barcelona's backline assumed a haphazard look with Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves missing through suspension. In practice though United's side lacked balance and cohesion, thanks to a team selection overly geared towards positioning Cristiano Ronaldo as the centre piece.

    Ronaldo soon departed for sunnier climes, while Carlos Tevez defected to Manchester City, and the widely held view was that United had been shorn of vital attacking inspiration. Almost two years later, apparently devoid of their characteristic fantasy, United's current side seem primed to exorcise their demons and exact some sweet revenge on Pep Guardiola's pass-masters.

    Ferguson has constructed a European system that is ruthlessly effective and an epitomisation of the maxim "the sum is greater than the parts." The defensive triumvirate of Edwin van der Sar, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidi? gives United a real obduracy. Carrick, who has quietly returned to his best form, conscientiously screens the defence and affords the side additional insurance in light of the frequent forays made by the firebrand full backs Patrice Evra and Rafael da Silva. Impressively, United have conceded just three goals in this season's competition, but their defensive solidity will be given its sternest examination by Barcelona's mesmeric attackers.

    However, it is the growing influence of two attacking players that have had a transformative effect on United?s fortunes. Javier Hernández and Antonio Valencia have been increasingly vital contributors, to the detriment of both Dimitar Berbatov and Nani. It is well documented that Hernández, with his explosive pace and generally unerring finishing, forces opponents to retreat towards their own penalty box. His mere presence creates space and time for the likes of Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney to creatively operate in. By the same token, Valencia's penchant for getting chalk on his boots helps stretch the game and provide a vital outball in a manner not to dissimilar to Daniel Alves for Barcelona. Nani has enjoyed a fantastically productive season, but he doesn't possess the positional discipline of Ecuadorian, such is his tendency to make outside to inside runs.

    Perhaps most pertinent to United's prospects is the form of Wayne Rooney who, after enduring an annus horribilis in 2010, has stunningly rediscovered his form playing as the side's "number 10". Rooney has enjoyed a glittering career at United since moving from Merseyside in 2004, but there is a sense that he has been a member of the supporting cast for the club's truly hallmark moments rather than the leading man. He finally became the club's pivotal player last term, as he plundered 34 goals, yet his and United's season ended ignominiously. Rooney will also be mindful of the fact that he has been a peripheral figure in his previous two appearances in Champions League finals.

    Barcelona are fully capable of monopolising the ball and respectfully embarrassing their opponents. The Catalans will rightly go into the final as favourites to lift "Big Ears", but United will approach their task buoyed by the improved balance of their side compared with the 2009 version. This seems somewhat paradoxical given that four of the front six - Ji-Sung Park, Giggs, Carrick and Rooney - that started the mauling in Rome are likely to line up at Wembley, but the introduction of Hernández and Valencia makes a massive difference.

    This quiet, unassuming and relatively unfancied pair are the embodiment of United's current side. Hernández has taken to English football as though he was a seasoned professional and belied the notion that young, foreign players need to be afforded the luxury of a bedding in period. Meanwhile, Valencia has impressed everyone by stoically returning following his horrific leg break. No frills.

    Barcelona will be encountering a Manchester United side with infinitely less star quality than in 2009 and yet a feeling pervades that United can avenge the humiliation that was inflicted upon them in The Eternal City. It promises to be an absolute cracker?
  2. Apr 28, 2011
    #2

    spinoza Paz's ion

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    Get to 60 minutes without conceding, and we have a real chance...
  3. Apr 28, 2011
    #3

    spinoza Paz's ion

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    ... against Schalke
  4. Apr 28, 2011
    #4

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    Granted it's a bit premature, but I think we're on safe ground assuming that we're through to the final providing we are professional in our approach to the return leg.
  5. Apr 28, 2011
    #5

    spinoza Paz's ion

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    I never assume. It's backfired too many times. We still have to play Schalke, and they'll never again be as bad as they were last night.
  6. Apr 28, 2011
    #6

    TheHorse'sMouth Full Member

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    Rather than sweet revenge or what not, you'd do well to concentrate on formulating a masterplan on beating them. Musings on sweet revenge and come uppance's often end up coming and biting you on your arse, when you disregard tactics and attempt to beat them at their own game. You'd do well to treat it as an entirely new game with new tactics and focus rather than riding high on the emotion of what happened two years ago. You need to concentrate and maintain discipline, otherwise Barca will have a field day.
  7. Apr 28, 2011
    #7

    redevil2 Full Member

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    You are such a pessimist! Isn't it a bit OTT to say "It's Backfired too many times"! It's laughable you said they will NEVER be as bad considering we are playing at home and are 2-0 up already. We want to be realistic to be not counting the chickens but to think that way is near idiotic!
  8. Apr 28, 2011
    #8

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    In fairness, the piece only briefly talks emotively. Much of what is said revolves around the greater balance of this side (compared with the 2009 one) and the individual form of Rooney.

    At no point have I talked about playing Barca at their own game.

    Whilst I agree that it would be folly to talk exclusively about revenge, it has to be a motivating factor. It's human nature to want to rectify things when you get the opportunity to do so. The beating united took in Rome was quite a harrowing experience and I suspect the players, staff and fans are looking forward to giving a better account of ourselves...
  9. Apr 28, 2011
    #9

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    I don't think it's particularly arrogant to assume we're through. We just need to be professional now and it's job done.
  10. Apr 28, 2011
    #10

    Red Dreams Full Member

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    spin

    please don't go see the match.


    ta
  11. Apr 28, 2011
    #11

    erickingcantona Full Member

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    "obduracy"? surely that was straight from the thesaurus...
  12. Apr 28, 2011
    #12

    beardsleybob Full Member

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    I reckon if we get to ET the advantage will be ours, assuming the advantage isn't ours already.
  13. Apr 28, 2011
    #13

    VoetbalWizard Banned

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    vds
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  14. Apr 28, 2011
    #14

    MarceloFalcon Full Member

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    In '09, after the defeat I was devastated. Before the match I thought we had a great chance of making it back-to-back, I just trusted the lads so much, and also didn't realise how good Barca had become since the past year. I lied in bed for about an hour silent, Eto's goal rerunning in my mind. The rest of the game was a blur, just knew we'd never seen the ball. At the end of it I said "You know what, even with the result today... if I had to pick a team to play Barca in a week, I'd still pick United. And I wouldn't change a single player."

    Thinking back today, there's two I would, had I only known about them. An Ecuadorian and a Mexican. Today, if I had to pick any team to play Barca, I'd pick ours. I don't care what people say about Madrid, Inter, Chelsea, etc. Even though at times its looked like our team couldn't beat a League side, even though we lost at Wolves, got hammered at Anfield, even through all that, this team can still be the best in Europe.

    If it steps out on Wembley next month to face Barca, like in '09, I will have no fear. That's just on more thing I fecking love about this club and its manager.
  15. Apr 28, 2011
    #15

    Scoreboard Red Banned

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    I make it in total standings as Played 10, Barca have three wins, Utd have three wins with four draws and an overall aggregate score of 17-14 to Barcelona.

    Pretty balanced too, we've beaten them in a final, they've beaten us, we've beaten them in a semi, they've beaten us in a group stage.

  16. Apr 28, 2011
    #16

    Makki QUITTER

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    Can people stop using the term 'annus horribilis' all the time? It's like the world collectively learned a new word and insist on using it as often as they can when talking about Rooney.
  17. Apr 28, 2011
    #17

    Escobar Poster originally known as Michel04

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    Redemption, revenge... with this attitude, we will lose the game
  18. Apr 28, 2011
    #18

    Red Pavan shittest username ever manutddabest791

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    Berba? :(
  19. Apr 28, 2011
    #19

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    It's a perfectly well established term which roughly translates to 'horrible year'. It's a phrase that has long been employed in a variety of contexts, far beyond just football.

    Are there any other words or phrases we should refrain from using, in case they have the effect of irritating you?

    Fortunately the players and coaches are more professional and focused than an emotional fan like me. Are we supposed to approach a potential rematch like robots? They school and humiliated us in 2009, I want us to set the record straight. 2009 must surely be a motivating factor for the team. You can see it when Ferguson broaches the subject.
  20. Apr 28, 2011
    #20

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    Also, looking at Voetbal Wizard's line up, is it a commonly held view that Fabio has now moved ahead of his brother? Surely Rafael is still the first pick in that position. I prefer his greater aggression.
  21. Apr 28, 2011
    #21

    spinoza Paz's ion

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    No. I've supported United for nearly 30 years. I know better than to write our team off, I also know better than to assume a match is won. I admit I've started to think about how to get a ticket for the European Cup final though. But I won't be putting down any money right now, that's for sure.

    :lol: I haven't tried watching standing on one leg with my left arm tied behind my back, maybe that will work.
  22. Apr 28, 2011
    #22

    Treble Full Member

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    And maybe still more likely to get a red card?

    Fabio seems to be a tad more mature.
  23. Apr 28, 2011
    #23

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    It's an interesting one.

    I was impressed with Fabio's natural defensive positioning against Schalke. He seemed to have the knack of knowing exactly where to be to make clearances, blocks etc.

    He still gave away a number of needless fouls though. I think both da Silvas still have that rash streak in them, it's a risk we may have to take. In fairness, O'Shea acquitted himself pretty well in 2009 (though that may be down to Herny being Barca's most ordinary player) but I'd favour the da Silvas for their added mobility.

    Thing is, before his injury, Rafael had put in a smashing season. His defensive performances had reached an extremely strong level. I can't remember the last time he was outdone in a one-on-one duel. He's still the number one in my view.
  24. Apr 28, 2011
    #24

    adexkola American Arse

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    O'Shea has played more times than Rafa this season, and in more important games. How you deduce he's number one, I have no clue.
  25. Apr 28, 2011
    #25

    Feed Me I'm hungry

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    Rafael's non selection has frequently been down to injury.

    I don't think Ferguson would play O'Shea ahead of a fit Rafael.

    Edit: do you feel that O'Shea would be the best option against Barcelona? Granted Rafael has a mistake in him, same with any young defender, but he's got the mobility to recover and he's far superior in the attacking respect. It's a no-brainer for me. I think Fabio will get the nod ahead of O'Shea if Rafael is not fit.
  26. Apr 28, 2011
    #26

    adexkola American Arse

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    I'm being facetious.

    I'd rather play Rafael against Barcelona, he'd relish getting on one of Valencia's lay offs. I'm just worried about his rashness, and after watching yesterday's game, you only fear the worst. I'd play O'Shea ahead of Fabio though, he was very good midweek but with all due respect, Schalke offered nothing going forward.
  27. Apr 28, 2011
    #27

    mariachi-19 Full Member

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    Lets end those cnuts like we ended these ones :keano:



    With an O'Shea chip!
  28. Apr 28, 2011
    #28

    jojojo Full Member

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    Yes we can.
    And should.
    And football, as well as our trophy cabinet, will be better for it.
  29. Apr 28, 2011
    #29

    pauldyson1uk Full Member

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    no Berba , even has a sub :houllier:
  30. Apr 28, 2011
    #30

    VoetbalWizard Banned

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    i didn't mean to say fabio should start definitely over rafael.

    i guess the more accurate would be putting down rafa/fab in the lineup and rafa/fab on the bench. One starts, the other on the bench. As to who starts...not a clue, I've had a preference towards fabio even in the reserves as I truly believed he was a bit less rash and more gifted technically...but it all depends who is fit and who is on form in training.
  31. Apr 28, 2011
    #31

    Levi_Jm Full Member

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    Alex Ferguson has been relishing this opportunity since 2009. He sat back and went over countless tapes of the match. He dissected it and analysed it. Be his own admission too,he was taught a "footballing lesson". The aim is not only see out Schalke and progress to the final but to also do so devoid of injuries and suspensions. I'm confident that if Ferguson has a fit team to pick from with his first choices for the various positions, we will do well to avenge 2009 and even if we don't, I'm sure we'll do our best.
  32. Apr 28, 2011
    #32

    Longsden_7 Full Member

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    Going one up top WILL NOT WORK. We have the most in form strike partnership in world football, why change it?
  33. Apr 28, 2011
    #33

    Levi_Jm Full Member

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    I think Fabio should start over Rafael for this match simply because of his temperament. Also Evra needs to get his shit together as he will come up against Dani Alves. I hope Scholes is a sub because that will put him in the firing line against Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano and those cheating cnut will definitely make it difficult for them. We need strong mental players to tackle these players as they will gnaw at us and as soon as we react, they fall over as if they were shot.

    Pep allows it to go on so I guess winning is all that matters. feck that "total football" bollocks eh?
  34. Apr 28, 2011
    #34

    MacMUFC Banned

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    Because we would get our arses handed to us on a plate if we go 4-4-2.
  35. Apr 28, 2011
    #35

    utdalltheway Sexy Beast

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  36. Apr 28, 2011
    #36

    Freak Born a freak always a freak.

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    Let's concentrate on finishing the job against Shalke first.
  37. Apr 28, 2011
    #37

    Longsden_7 Full Member

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    Not necessarily. Rooney has hardly been in the box since he has found his form, leave the scoring to Hernandez. Let Rooney pull the strings. Easy.
  38. Apr 28, 2011
    #38

    utdalltheway Sexy Beast

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    agreed. there's plenty of time to discuss formations, etc after the final is set up.
  39. Apr 28, 2011
    #39

    MadDogg Full Member

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    Rafa was definitely number one earlier in the season. Unfortunately, since he got that concussion midway through the season his form has dropped and he's been in and out with injury.

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