We Are All Bitters Now – Manchester, 6th of May 2014

The most celebrated event for reds this week has undoubtedly been the misfortune of Liverpool in their last two games. Their good luck seems to have run out at the most crucial time of the season. I should perhaps feel sorry for them, but I don’t remember the scousers being too upset when United blew the league two years ago at home to Everton. Reds with longer memoies, like me for example, will remember the glee the scousers had in April 1992 when their win over United made Leeds United champions. With those memories still quiet fresh, their defeat to Chelsea and their outright implosion at Selhurst Park last night, where Crystal Palace tapped into the spirit of Istanbul if you will, had me pissing myself with laughter.

Liverpool fans celebrating winning the League at Old Trafford in March just passed, steady on boys…

It was said to me before tonight’s match that with our reaction to that result, in effect we are all bitters now. Perhaps we are Continue reading We Are All Bitters Now – Manchester, 6th of May 2014

We’ve won it twice – Galatasaray V Manchester United 20th of November 2012

After tonights match, a smart arse Turkish journalist stated to Sir Alex Ferguson, “You were disappointed in ’93 and again now. Anything changed in 19 yrs?”, to which our manager replied “Yes, we’ve won it twice.”  I’m sure Sir Alex Ferguson was disapointed to lose tonight but to compare it with going out to them in 1993 on the away goals rule is a bit much. There was an experimental side out from United tonight and whilst it wasn’t a vintage performance, it was United’s best showing so far in this competition which paradoxically yielded United’s first defeat. The winning goal was down to naive marking by United’s midfield summer signing Nick Powell. Burak Yilmaz was allowed a free header on 54 minutes from a corner which was the result of an outstanding save from Anders Lindergaard moments earlier. Like Chelsea the other week, if these young players are going to make these mistakes then nights like tonight are the perfect time to make them. Apart from that error, Nick Powell struck me tonight as somebody who’s got a big future.

Sneaking in: Yilmaz sees his header go in the goal

Burak Yilmaz scores the winner for Galatasaray on 54 minutes Continue reading We’ve won it twice – Galatasaray V Manchester United 20th of November 2012

Full moon in Transylvania – CFR 1907 Cluj V Man United 2nd of October 2012

When I first saw the team sheet, I thought tonight boded well for a good performance with plenty of goals. In the end, United dominated the game with a possession percentage that would’ve had Pep Guardiola or Arsene Wenger purring. For all that possession, United were always vulnerable to conceding a daft goal. As it was, David De Gea made an outstanding one handed save in the penultimate minute of injury time. With another unexpected result tonight after Sporting Braga beat Galatasaray in Istanbul, it will be a very content Sir Alex Ferguson flying back to Ringway Airport tonight.

Inquest: David de Gea (right) and Rio Ferdinand (centre) react after Pantelis Kapetanos (left) strikes

Inquest just about to commence when Pantelis Kapetanos put Cluj into an early lead

United played Otelul Galati, a Romanian side in this competition last season: one of the worst sides I’ve ever seen. Cluj, while having no chance of winning the competition were tonight a vast improvement. To my surprise (and the bookmakers’ delight), they beat Sporting Braga in Portugal a couple of weeks ago. Tonight Cluj capitalised after Senegalese winger Pape Amodou Sougou quickly realised that he was yet another winger who’s now got Patrice Evra’s number. He got goalside of Evra with an ease which is nowadays all too frequent to play a perfect cross to an unmarked Kapetanos to score on 13 minutes. Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans had decided to give us an encore of their Laurel and Hardy impression for the weekend by appearing to be completely oblivious to Kapetanos’ presence. Ten minutes later, Sougou was substituted after an accidental collision with Evra. United, who’d had almost constant possession, now had Evra free to play as an overlapping full back. Sougou’s departure took a lot of pressure off Evra.

Predator: Robin van Persie clips Manchester United's second goal past Cluj keeper Mario Felgueiras

Robin Van Persie equalises for United

Robin Van Persie scored an equaliser from a Wayne Rooney free kick on thirty minutes with an attempted glancing header which bounced off his shoulder over a disbelieving Mário Felgueiras’ head. The goal was lucky but for all the possession and sometimes suicidal attacking intent United played with, it was well deserved. Four minutes into the second half, Robin Van Persie scored what turned out to be the winner for United with a beautiful flick over an oncoming and flapping Cluj goalkeeper. It was a classic goalkeeper’s mistake; if he’d stayed on his line, he probably would’ve saved it. Apart from the last minute save from David De Gea, United cruised well for the rest of the game. Ferdinand got a daft booking, Anderson had an OK match and Scott Wooton, who came on for Jonny Evans, became the first player involved in a direct transfer between United and Liverpool since Phil Chisnall in 1963 to take to the field.

Robin Van Persie celebrates his brilliant winning goal with his provider Wayne Rooney and Tom Cleverley

United fans were in the usual good voice for a Euro away. With this season’s final taking place at Wembley, there were plenty of songs from United fans about being On the way to Wembley and the old Doris Day classic Que Sera Sera also geting an airing. This time last season I didn’t think United had a prayer of winning the European Cup. This year I don’t feel any differently but having seen a spectacularly average Chelsea side win the trophy last May, I’d rule nothing out.

Andy Jamo, get well soon mate