Season Expectations

Gonzalo Maldonado Friday, August 12, 2011

The victory at the Manchester derby proved United are still the team to beat. After last Sunday’s comeback win against City, United begin their new season this Sunday at West Brom and begin their attempt to reclaim the Premier League title. What do we expect from the champions of England this season in all competitions?

Premier League
Big clubs are always expected to win titles and United isn’t the exception. Considering how many experienced players we have lost, one could assume this season will be one of transition and development of the youngsters among the squad. But there’s something on our side that, to me, will win us the title: Sir Alex Ferguson. The gaffer is a master at rebuilding teams and has no problem in showing the door to the older players to make room for the youth. The preseason games have shown there is no shortage of talented, exciting footballing prospects. Sir Alex knows how to rotate the squad, give everyone the adequate games and make everyone feel important to the club.

Title challengers
There are five potential title challengers, but all of them have yet to certify they’re up for it. Andre Villas Boas will have to deal with Chelsea’s ageing squad. The inclusion of Josh McEachran is a big hope to the Blues, who have only bought promising striker Romelu Lukaku and young midfielder Oriol Romeu. The Portuguese manager must find a solution to the Fernando Torres issue.

It remains to be seen whether City will be able to challenge for the League and the Champions League. It is a new experience for our noisy neighbors, who will have to rotate the squad appropriately so as to be competitive in all fronts. In addition to this, Mancini will have to handle the Tevez situation so as to not generate conflict in the dressing room (oh, and there’s this other guy named Balotelli whose conduct will have to be addressed).

Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs are the three other teams which will fight for a Champions League place next season. With Fabregas and Nasri seemingly leaving the club (we’ll have to wait and see what happens with Van Persie), Arsene Wenger has only brought in Ivorian winger/striker Gervinho, promising winger Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson, failing (or not willing) to buy a goalkeeper, two experienced centre backs and a striker. I don’t see the Gunners winning the League this season, and only time will tell if they’ll secure a Champions League spot.

Liverpool, on the other hand, has spent all of the money that was left from Torres’ transfer to Chelsea and have built a new team. The additions of Jose Enrique, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Doni have made many wonder whether Liverpool can challenge United for the title. I see them qualifying for UCL, they’ve got potential, but they’ll have to improve their performances after what we’ve seen in preseason. Spurs are a big question mark. Their goal will be keeping the success they’ve garnered the last seasons. Should Luka Modric leave, I don’t see them even making it to the Europa League.

Champions League + Domestic Cups
Last season ended bitterly, with United saying goodbye to legends Edwin Van der Sar and Paul Scholes in a CL final defeat against Barcelona. We all wonder whether we can beat Barca and win the CL. Taking into account that this is a young squad, who has yet to fully develop, I’d settle with a semifinal this season. The fact that this is a rejuvenated squad doesn’t mean that we can’t compete at the highest level against top European teams. We have the quality needed to reach a CL semifinal; from then on it will depend on ourselves.

I hope we can win at least one of the domestic cups this season. Last year we lost to City in the FA Cup and were thrashed by West Ham in the Carling Cup. Given the number of youngsters in the squad who are starting to play at their best, we should have a very strong team available for these competitions.

In conclusion, I’d be more than happy if United are able to retain the Premier League this season, and maybe win the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson will be the decisive factor which will lead us to glory.

South American Starlets - Ganso

Gonzalo Maldonado Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Full name- Paulo Henrique Chagas de Lima "Ganso"
Date of birth - 12 October 1989 (age 21)
Place of birth - Ananindeua, Pará, Brazil
Height - 1.84 m (6 ft 1⁄2 in)
Position - Attacking Midfielder

The season begins the United way

Gonzalo Maldonado Monday, August 8, 2011

The season couldn’t have started better for us. A win over the noisy neighbors after thrilling second half comeback saw United recover from a two goal deficit at half time and lift the community Shield.

It was a leveled first half, with United creating more chances than City, but we had ten disastrous minutes. Our centre backs were unable to prevent Lescott from scoring as David de Gea remained static a step away from the goal line. City dominated the last minutes of the first half and took an exaggerated two goal lead, things weren't looking good then and people were already predicting our collapse and demise!

South American Starlets - Neymar

Gonzalo Maldonado Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This is start of a new series of articles on the blog, with the aim of giving the readers an idea of South American players who might be setting Europe alight in the near future So to kick the series off, we shall present you with probably the most known wonderkid of the continent: Neymar.

Name: Neymar da Silva
Age: 19
Height: 1.74m (5 ft 9 in)
Position: Winger, Striker.
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