Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Stage is Set...

I was at Old Trafford this weekend to see United turn up the heat on title challengers Chelsea with a 3-1 win over Tottenham.

Two well taken penalties from veteran Ryan Giggs and an elegant chip from Nani ensured the Red Devils took all three points and continue to press for the historic fourth title in a row.

The atmosphere at the Theatre of Dreams was subdued and nervous for major chunks in the game, with United looking unimpressive and far from creative in the first half.

Evra won a penalty after half-time which Giggs dispatched past Gomes for his first goal from the spot for United in the league and the win looked likely to come easily until Ledley King equalised soon after with a towering header beating Carrick in the air.

Cue Luis Nani to take hold of the game. Macheda slipped the ball through and with Nani's pace there was only one outcome. A beautifully manufactured chip and Old Trafford erupted.

Another late goal for United proving that hard-work pays dividends. Macheda was looking dangerous for United but it was Nani again causing problems with his pace. The protugese winger was hauled down in the area with just a few minutes to go and Giggs stepped up to finish the game. Relief.

70,000 United fans were on their feet showing their appreciation for a performance against a side who had beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks.

Leaving the North stand I could sense the buzz amongst the fans. Could United steal the title right from under Chelsea's nose after seeming to lose it many weeks ago? Football is a beautiful game and anything is possible. Except Liverpool winning the Premier League perhaps..

The Blues emphatic 7-0 win today against Stoke showed that they aren't feeling the nerves that could affect their performance and it's now up to Liverpool to do United a favour and get a result next week at Anfield against the London side. Will it happen, Wont it happen?

Liverpool seem to still be pushing for the fourth spot and Champions League football, however, by beating or drawing on Sunday they could be handing United the title on a Golden plate, which would see the side from Manchester taking their collection of Top flight trophies to one above Liverpool.

With Torres out for the rest of the season, the red side of Manchester will be urging Gerrard and Co. to halt Chelsea in their tracks, however, will the likes of Lucas, N'Gog and Kyriakos be good enough to even compete after a poor season?Football fans across the World will be waiting in anticipation for this Weekend's games and I'm sure the seasoned entertainers will add another twist in the tale...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Weekend Overview..

As the curtain comes down on a memorable weekend for sport, I take a look back at some of the action.

'El Clasico' brought together two of the World's best club sides, Barcelona and Real Madrid, at the magnificent Bernabeu stadium. Goals from Lionel Messi, who continued his impressive scoring record, and Pedro helped ensure Barcelona took three points back to the Nou Camp and the Catalan side now hold the edge in the Spanish title race.

Also, in football, Portsmouth and Chelsea are into the FA Cup Final after winning their respective semi-finals at Wembley. Chelsea disposed of Aston Villa on saturday with three goals late in the game and Portsmouth left it even later against Spurs, scoring twice in extra time to set up an interesting final which will see the Premier League's top club play already relegated Pompy.

In golf, Phil Mickelson claimed his third green jacket after triumphing at the Masters in Augusta. Mickelson finished on 16 Under Par after four rounds with two eagles on day three helping him push towards the title. The return of Tiger Woods was another major talking point which added to the splendour of the Masters, with the World Number One finishing in joint fourth place. Mid-way leader Lee Westwood, of England, finished second. This was his highest placed finish in a major golfing tournament and he is confident that a major prize will be his with a determined attitude in the future.

Finally, Tony Mccoy raced to Grand National victory with horse 'Don't Push It' on his fifteenth attempt at winning the famous steeplechase at Aintree. The pair were 10-1 joint favourites and pipped Black Apalachi to the post by five lengths. Don't Push it jumped with Black Apalachi at the last hurdle but pulled away to give trainer Jonjo O'Neill and owner JP McManus their first wins.

Photos By: BBC Sport

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Two headed goals, either side of half time, were enough to give the home side the three points on a mild evening at Borussia Park.

Marco Reus put Gladbach ahead after just six minutes before Dante sealed the tie early in the second half.

48,500 fans created an electric atmosphere before and throughout the game showing a German passion for football similar to that shown at every other game of the season.

Heading to the 'Fanhaus' two hours before kick-off for a pre-match drink, you could feel the atmosphere brewing as the German fans washed down Bratwurst sausage with copious amounts of beer. It was going to be a memorable night..

You could sense the Gladbach faithful were confident of a win against a side ten points ahead of them in the table, and thankfully for them, the Frankfurt side failed to turn up.

Goalkeeper, Logan Bailly, was hardly troubled all game as the away side failed to capitalise on any of their possession. I was sat behind a Frankfurt fan who didn't seem at all bothered about the result but was more interested in finding out which English team we all supported. In fact, this is a general theme i have found with German fans who seem more interested in the atmosphere than the game itself.

At just 25 Euros you can't go wrong with top tier German football. Borussia Park is a magnificent stadium and the atmosphere created is something special.

British football is, no doubt, at a higher standard than that of German at this level, except perhaps Bayern Munich, however, that is no reason for the crazy prices that English fans have to pay to see their home team week in, week out.
I would definately recommend a visit to Borussia Park or in fact any Bundesliga stadium purely for the experience, the atmosphere, the food and of course, the beer.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Heartbreak for Red Devils...

Wayne Rooney's appearance on the teamsheet gave Old Trafford a massive boost and obviously the players as United raced to a three nil lead against German giants, Bayern.

However, Olic's cheeky goal before half-time and Rafael's silly red card left United with an uphill battle to contain the side from Munich and Arjen Robben's beautifully struck volley sent the Reds crashing out of Europe at the Quarter Finals stage.

Old Trafford was stunned to silence and, with ten men, United never looked capable of the goal that would send them through to face Lyon in the semi-final, especially with Berbatov still looking like a lost puppy in the red shirt.

The loss has left United fans shocked after two successive Champions League final appearances and, with a three goal lead before the half time whistle, the defeat hurts that little bit more with dreams of the Bernabeau already emerging...

To add insult to injury, Wayne Rooney looked to have left the pitch with a recurrence of the ankle problem that lead to him leaving Germany last week on crutches. Wayne will be instrumental for the end of season run-in if United still believe they can beat Chelsea to the title.

Positives, however, can be taken from this early exit. No more midweek games will leave a fresher squad for weekend Premier League matches, starting away at Blackburn on Sunday. Also, Rafael will learn from his mistake and should grow into a more experienced player, learning from his childish error that resulted in the red card.

Squad morale will be low at the moment but if anyone can rally the troops to go on to win a record breaking number of titles, it's Sir Alex. A win away at Ewood Park this weekend could spark the revival that will see a fresher more confident team heading to Eastlands to face an in form Manchester City side.

The future addition of 21-year-old Javier Hernandez to the squad helps give United great ambition for the coming years as the young Mexican striker looks to prosper in his footballing career. Exciting times for United...