Wednesday 4 November 2009

Akinfeev passes United audition with flying colours - Man Utd 3 CSKA 3

Well it was an odd night throughout really

There was a ton of 'football tourists' in the stadium. The name given by the Faithful to worldwide fans that manage to get a ticket on these sort of nights. The guys behind us screamed for 'G Nev!'repeatedly (as they seem to think Gary Neville is nicknamed) but didn't know the words to 'Take me home United Road', so it sort of just turned into a random screaming affair rather than a good ol' Manchester singalong. Bizarre really.

That aside, the oddness in the stands was reflected on the pitch. I was interested to see if all the hype about Akinfeev was justified. The Ben Foster nightmares of the last few months have heightened the call for a new keeper when the hardwired battery in Van Der Sars retro body finally fails. Well, the Russian boy didn't disappoint. He was simply stunning.

A number of top class saves in the second half must have left Fergie salivating. At ten million quid for a 22 year old the temptation to land him before the World Cup must be great. But the manager has great faith in Foster. I get the funny feeling that he is still leaning towards the England man as Edwin's future successor...something that will not leave me sleeping well at night!

The game itself was mental. United dominated in virtually every part of the pitch. CSKA looked dangerous from the counter attack in almost the first few minutes but nothing that special. Their first and third goals were a result of some soft defending, and like it or not, Van der Sar should have done better with both, failing to anticipate two shots close to his body and somehow not getting a touch on either. Big fail. The second Russian goal was a sweet move and the impressive Milos Krasic rounded the Dutch keeper and finished with aplomb. Expect to see him plying his trade in the Prem next year.

United's first goal was taken well by Michael Owen. The expectation on him from the fans is greater than on any other player on the pitch when he plays...yes even more than on Rooney. We all have this ideal that every chance that falls to him he should finish...because..because he is Michael Fricking Owen! Its not really a great reason is it? But Ive got great confidence in him. I'm dying for Fergie to start him more. Our second was well taken by Scholsey, who had an indifferent performance in the centre again, but nailed his header into the top corner. And Valencia's goal? Well...a bit of Stretford End luck id say.

The other flash point was the Darren Fletcher 'Im Not Fcuking Ronaldo' moment, when the ref booked him for a dive. It was a blatant penalty, and the manager has called it "the worst decision he has ever seen". Yes, it was that bad. The trip was right in front of us. We didn't even think there was a decision to be made!

Special praise needs to go to Gary Neville..ahem...G Nev! who rolled back the years and seems to be on a diet of some magic renaissance juice, or something at the moment. It was a brilliant right back display, and Glen Johnson should fear greatly for his England first team spot. If Nev can play like this week in week out, he will be on the plane to South Africa, mark my words. I am surprised as anyone to see his performances this season. He is a man of steel and thunder. Bloody hell, can you imagine Becks and Nev playing together again at a World Cup! No one would have bet a penny on that. Obertan also looked useful with his cameo, and Valencia worked hard all night on the wing. On the downside, Nani was once again an absent mess. If he was a cat he surely is on life number nine now.

So the knock outs are but a formality now. I pray for Real Madrid. Bring them to the Theatre please.



  1. Akinfeev looked good, no better than good! I hope we do sign him and it was encouraging to hear Sir Alex speaking about him after the game!

    G Nev did look again I read somewhere that they are looking after him as he keeps suffering from knocks and stupid little injuries. Although because it's a "World Cup" season there are always some players that surprise you and find a good run of form, although I didn't think it would be him!

    Nani again was crap, he better not play Sunday!

  2. Nani should be banned from the team with his recent performances, may be time for Tosic to step up as well as for Sir Alex to dip in the transfer window. I just hope United do defend better against Chelski and manage to scrap a point out of the game

  3. I do not like the condescending tone that you use when you describe football tourists. You do understand that they are a very large part of the game now and geographical distances are no reason to feel self important! There are a lot of us fans outside of Europe who may never get to see a live match, but we do what we can. Adding to the sales, sponsorship and merchandise so fans like you can go watch Rooney and Co live. I have been a fan for a decade and some and would give an arm to get a ticket to OT, if wishes were horses and all that jazz.
    All I am saying is since we "lack the history", either let us know what these traditions are so we can feel more involved than sitting in front of the telly every weekends and wait till midnight for champion's league games to start! unless of course, there's a feeling of exclusivity w.r.t to real fans!

  4. thank you for your comments Elvido

    Firstly, the football tourists i was refering to in my article were English so maybe i should have made that clearer. However, like it or not when the ground is full of people from around the globe the atmosphere is different. For this match there was also a group of fans from abroad (i will not mention their nationality) who laughed heartedly everytime CSKA scored and despite wearing freshly purchased United gear from the club shop were NOT United fans. When we equalised at the end of the game i turned round to these 'fans' who stood there glum whatever you think my tone was, these are the facts. Also at a recent game an individual who was obviously sightseeing snapping his camera incesantly had the gaul to wear a Liverpool badge on his coat. This stuff is unacceptable to us that spend thousands of pounds wathing this team, as small as it may seem

    I understand that you dont have to be born in England to support our club..I know Americans, Asians and Europeans who are mad for our club and i welcome them all...i refer you to this piece i wrote in the summer that will explain: