Reuters Soccer Blog
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Much has been said and written about the verbal jousting between Rafael Benitez and Alex Ferguson and at the moment the Scot is losing both on and off the field.
Ferguson is by far the most successful manager in the Premier League but Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Liverpool suggests he is now helpless and out of ideas when he crosses swords with his Spanish opponent, who was calm and collected before the game.
Ferguson said after the match there was a “wounded animal aspect to the game” given Liverpool’s recent poor run but their victory may also have been the result of a growing confidence among Benitez’s side when it comes to meeting United.
Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat at Liverpool has again exposed the chinks in the Premier League champions’ armour, notably their defensive frailties against top level opposition.
While United overcame Rio Ferdinand’s howler in a 4-3 win over City in the Manchester derby, the England centre back’s lack of pace and cutting edge cost Alex Ferguson’s side dearly against Liverpool.
Liverpool’s run of four straight defeats has generated a lot of discussion about what has gone wrong, but precious little about how to put it right, aside from the suggestion that it might be nice to see Kenny Dalglish back in the dugout.
So let’s leave aside for a moment Rafa’s handling of big players and whether he should have kept hold of Sami Hyypia and Xabi Alonso, and consider what the club’s next moves should be.
Sunderland’s absurd winning goal at the Stadium of Light was symbolic not just of Liverpool’s woes but of a season that just keeps rattling along in ever more gloriously unpredictable style.
But despite a squad packed to the rafters with players under the age of 25, United fans are hailing the evergreen talents of a 35-year-old left winger and eagerly anticipating the return of a reliable Dutch keeper three years his senior.
There’s one game left to go (Aston Villa v Manchester City later on Monday) but frankly this weekend’s prediction league is already all sewn up.
Arise Sir Patrick Johnston, who with a bit of luck at Villa Park, could be romping towards the top of the table having so far predicted four scores bang on and only missed out on points in two games.
Arsene Wenger has not collected trophies quite as greedily as his Manchester United counterpart Alex Ferguson but in terms of his impact on English football he has no equal.
Ferguson transformed an under-achieving United into the most succesful club in English football but Wenger has set the benchmark for modern-day club football in terms of style.
Are Bolton Wanderers so bad that not one of our Reuters Soccer Blog predictions panel thought they would win at Birmingham City?
Ye of little faith. Manager Gary Megson may not be very popular with the Bolton fans but his side will always fight. A 2-1 win at a promoted club wasn’t all that shocking.
Enter Ryan Giggs.
The veteran Welshman was introduced as a substitute for the often infuriating Nani after 57 minutes and took just five more to provide the pass from which Dimitar Berbatov broke the
You’d have thought that the frankly obsessive interest most of us here at Reuters Soccer Blog Heights take in football would see us approach this competition with the pitiless, sweeping brilliance of Celta Vigo in their ‘EuroCelta‘ heydey of 1998-2000*.