Amidst the spotlight of an exciting 3-3 draw between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park was the feeling of infinite refreshment. This was not the fragile Newcastle, lacking in character and mental courage to challenge the top dogs and to pull themselves out of a relegation dogfight. This too was not Manchester United, boring staid possession, sideways passing and Read the rest of this entry
There was a period – in March – when the mist seemed to clear and the road ahead could be seen with more clarity. Manchester United were rampant, ruthless and effective. As they swept aside Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City, the thought was that finally those intricately prepared patterns on the Carrington Training Ground were starting to Read the rest of this entry
Not many would have disagreed with Arsene Wenger. His observation seemed spot on, his assertion quite right on the money. For the 2013-2014 Champions League season, Bayern Munich were the favourites.
In fact, as Wenger aptly put it, they were the super favourites.
And that truly showed in the opening rounds — especially against Manchester City. At the Etihad Stadium, Bayern Munich out-passed and outplayed the Citizens. It seemed then as if the Bavarian club was on course to achieve the unachievable. Maybe, they could become the first club in the Champions League era to defend the European Cup.
But laboured wins against Arsenal and Manchester United in the knock out rounds brought about a sense of Read the rest of this entry
Take two! Like a setting from a film set, with the director angry at the acting in the just shot scene, the post-Ferguson era at Manchester United is at its second take.
The first take was disappointing. David Moyes arrived at Old Trafford and the ridicule seemingly followed him in. Previous highs crashed to mediocre levels. It came as no surprise when he eventually crashed and burned out.
Louis van Gaal has replaced him. His managerial CV includes Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona (twice), AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich and the Netherlands national team (twice). His titles include a Champions League trophy, league titles and cup wins in Holland, Spain and Germany.
Described by Jonathan Wilson as red-faced and dogmatic, van Gaal’s managerial career has developed steadily. The older, the wiser. His strict and stubborn approach to his philosophy in his early managerial years have now given way to a mixture of Read the rest of this entry
For a while, Xavi Hernandez seriously considered joining Manchester United.
He was just breaking through from the youth ranks at Barcelona and into the first team and though he was being touted as the next best thing, he had one problem. Pep Guardiola was still ahead of him in the pecking order. The then Barcelona captain commanded the midfield with orchestral fashion. Guardiola had been injured when Xavi had made a name for himself but the Catalan idol, while acknowledging the prodigious talents of the dimunitive Xavi, had promised to make life hard for him to get into the first team. Guardiola had Read the rest of this entry