English Premier League [ Scores Inside ]
This one deserves a thread too...Arsenal seem to be running with it now the 4th place is for grabs and it will be interesting to see who will stay and who will go in the bottom.
Ferguson's hold at Man Utd slipping on and off the pitch
By Gavin Hamilton, World Soccer Magazine
Forgive me for being impertinent, but how long has Sir Alex Ferguson got?
It's a genuine question that deserves a serious answer. The storm clouds are hovering over Old Trafford, and Ferguson's long-term future as a football manager must now be seriously in doubt.
We've been here many times before, of course, as Ferguson delights in pointing out. From the victory over Nottingham Forest in the 1990 FA Cup third round (which saved him from the sack) to the victorious 2003 title run-in (after lagging behind Arsenal for most of the season), Ferguson has a habit of turning adversity to his advantage.
Yet things look different this time around. The next few weeks will prove crucial. In the Premiership, United face tricky trips to Fulham and Man City. In the Champions League, they must overcome a 2-1 deficit against Porto to reach the quarterfinals.
United must do so without a host of key players. Crucially, captain Roy Keane will miss the Porto return, banned as a result of his stamp on Porto goalkeeper Vitor Baia.
In the Premier League, Gary Neville's four-game suspension for butting Manchester City's Steve McManaman kicks in this weekend. Then there is Paul Scholes, who faces a ban for swinging a punch at Doriva of Middlesbrough. And not forgetting Rio Ferdinand, who continues to collect his weekly wage of £80,000 while sitting out his suspension until the summer, appeal notwithstanding.
It is that time of the season when such absences should not trouble a club of United's size and budget. Yet this season's squad does not appear to be up to the challenge.
Of Ferguson's summer signings, only goalkeeper Tim Howard has been a success. The others -- Kleberson (was he signed as a mate for the non-appearing Ronaldinho?), Eric Djemba-Djemba, David Bellion and the talented but unpredictable and overpriced Cristiano Ronaldo -- have all failed to deliver.
The defensive weaknesses are there for all to see, with United conceding eight goals in the last four games. Absurd as it may sound, but the world's richest club does not have a left-back in the first-team squad.
With John O'Shea (last season's revelation) short of confidence, and Mikael Silvestre injured, Gary Neville has been left to partner Wes Brown in central defense, with two midfielders -- Quinton Fortune and Phil Neville -- as fullbacks. Gary Neville is, by Ferguson's admission, two inches too short to play in the center, while Brown, by his own admission, has not fully recovered from his terrible injuries of the past two years.
The painful truth for Ferguson and United is that they are missing David Beckham more than they ever imagined possible.
The players bought as replacements have proved to be lightweights. Ferguson, of course, will not do what Ruud Van Nistelrooy has done and admit that United have struggled to replace Beckham. That is not in Ferguson's nature.
The United manager has proved his critics wrong before, and may yet do so again. Ultimately, United's season will be judged on results and results only. Yet United sit seven points behind Arsenal in the Premiership and look precariously placed for progress in the Champions League.
Furthermore, this season, there is an extra dimension to the United story. Ferguson's dispute with John Magnier, United's biggest shareholder over the racehorse Rock of Gibraltar remains unresolved. It still threatens to overshadow events on the pitch.
In the past, Ferguson's power at Old Trafford has been unquestionable. But now, both on and off the pitch, his position is under threat. His desire for complete control over his players has led him to dispense with such strong personalities such as Beckham, Juan Veron and Fabien Barthez, replacing them with younger and more impressionable, but less effective, players.
The reality is that you need big personalities to succeed in modern European football. Yet Ferguson is mistrustful of any personality he cannot control.
The example of Arsene Wenger is instructive. Here is a coach respected by such talented players as Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira because of what they have become under his guidance -- and not because he has bullied them.
For better or for worse, football has changed dramatically in recent years -- but Alex Ferguson is in danger of being left behind.
Stripped of his absolute power by United's corporate investors, and without the quality players he needs to succeed, Ferguson is struggling -- a playground bully who has run out of people to pick on.
Personally Im glad to see ManU slipping, makes the EPL more competitive now with Arsenal and Chelsea superior or just as good as ManU. Guess selling Becks was a mistake then, oh well.....
I won't rule Man Utd out just yet. Yeah, Arsenal has the biggest chance to win the title. But it's not over until it's over. As long as it's mathematically possible, clubs like Man Utd or Juventus should never be ruled out. We've learned our lesson dearly in 01/02, haven't we???
I agree with Han but not only that they have the FA cup still...and it really would be foolish if they let Ferguson go.
Well, by getting themselves out of the CL, I think Man Utd will now concentrate in winning the EPL. I personally think it's very possible since Arsenal is still in the CL (Well, let's see if they are still after tonight. ) and Arsenal's concentration will be distracted.
About Ferguson, I've read reports that he's buried the hatchet with Magnier. So I don't think he'll be out in the summer.
I think it would be disasterous if Arsenal slip up like last year it would show that they havent learned anything from last year,which i doubt,i think they really matured..the SOB's
SOBs??? Do you hate Arsenal??? Thierry Henry scores yet another sublime goal against Blackburn. What a free-kick!!! I don't think there's any better player in the world than him at the moment. This guy scores from everywhere!!!
SOB's cause i am jealous :s
ManU lost today soo that cusion is bigger now...That will give them a better chance to concentrate at the CL as well.
I thought everyone hates Arsenal, at least I do.
Originally Posted by Handoyo
And I could say that Cassano is better than Henry right now.
All the poor guys in my office think the world of the EPL. When i mention Cassano as being one of the best players in the Serie A at the moment, they simply shrug him off with a simple, "Oh really?"
Originally Posted by Jake
Cassano may not be what Henry is at the moment, but he certainly has the world at his feet. Euro 2004 will be the defining moment for Cassano as Euro 2000 was for Totti. The time has come for another Italian hero to step onto the world stage.
MAI STATI IN B
Well I too don't think that Cassano is even near Henry. Henry has been world class for 2/3 years already and he's much more consistent than Cassano. But Cassano is only 21 I believe and he has all the time in the world to be as good, or better than Henry. And like Tim said, he could be Italy's hero in Euro 2004. I hope that Trap will select him. It'll be foolish to leave one of the best and brightest player in Serie A. A tridente of Cassano - Totti - Vieri will strike fear to the heart of any defence!!! Sorry DoPe, you gotta get used to the bench!!!
I hate them but u got to give credit where its due...After their loss by our brilliant side on the day they went on just getting positive results and looking good doint it more times than not...Most convincing side i would say this year..
This is however due to their chemistry together and now that they had one coach for soo long and same players day in day out..they got to know each other and got to know each persons style and capabilities and what they bring to the table...Plus they never over did it on the transfers to maintain that chemistry
Consistency and continuity are Arsenal's biggest weapon, not Henry or Pires. Which is why I want Inter to keep the same batch of players we currently have but if changes are necessary, make it as small as possible. I want a coach change though.
What if we get a great run of results till the end of the year,with amazing performances and it seemd that finally the team is getting their act together..in addition to the UEFA cup,would u still want that change in coaching? :?:
Originally Posted by Handoyo
Hmmm, maybe no. Chances of that happening??? Very very small!!!
wow thay is small!
Originally Posted by Handoyo
Originally Posted by Fitzy
Chances are small but it would be a wonderful way to end the season which we actually started well (especially in CL)and then dipped and then Cuper fired and then Zac bringing us close once again to the competition and then we got out of the CL and are looking up to fourth in SerieA..So maybe its time to end it on a high note. :grin:
Well i dont thin they are going through a crisis...And if they are who better to handle it then Ferguson.But maybe a mini crisis which started with Ferdinand suspension.I mean i didnt think he was that great to begin with but as soon as he was suspended u can see the gap he left behind that could not be filled...ManU has conceded so many goals as a result of bad defending...Plus Tim Howard looked soo good at the begining now looks helpless in so many occcassions...
We lost Coco,Gammarra for long times plus Canna and or Cordoba are always slightly injured and Matrix suspended...I would say relative to ManU e are in excellent shape
Wenger lauds Arsenal
Boss Arsene Wenger praised Arsenal for matching Leeds and Liverpool's record of going 29 games unbeaten from the start of a season.
"This is a great achievement for my players as they've shown an outstanding attitude," he said.
"They deserve respect not only for their class but also their motivation, attitude and mental stamina.
Looks like the gooners will def win this year, I just can't see them letting many points drop. Be interesting to see how they go against Chelsea and Man U in their next matches.