Sunday, August 24, 2008

Manchester United @ Portsmouth: Preview

Manchester United play Portsmouth tomorrow at Fratton Park in Portsmouth. The game could already play a crucial role in deciding if United will be champions of England again. I know its only the second game of the season but with the schedule set as it is, it could very well play a huge part in United’s season.

Let me explain. After Portsmouth we travel to Play Zenit St. Petersburg, the Russian club who has a star named Andrei Arshavin. Arshavin and Zenit won the UEFA cup and United will take them in the European Super Cup. Than September hits us with a bang. As soon as we return we take on Liverpool, at Anfield. A game where a draw or win has to be the result. Then the following weekend we take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Things calm down after that but if we lost against Portsmouth, again at Liverpool, and again at Chelsea, we could be 10 points behind by the end of September.

I said in another post the beginning of the season is the most crucial this year and United could be out of the hunt by the end of September. United must get a result against Portsmouth and hope a key striker can be brought in by the time we have to travel to Liverpool and than London.

The injuries are hurting United with the biggest name Ronaldo out till October (missing two huge games). Hargreaves, Saha, Giggs, Carrick, Neville, and other are still out injured as well. Hopefully Giggs and Carrick will return in a short period of time and surely will return before September. Hargreaves also looks certain to return by the Liverpool game. Our midfield really struggled against Newcastle with the tremendous loss of true first level football, but with Anderson returning and others getting fit, United should return to the form they enjoyed last year.

The transfer window closes in 7 days and the door is closing on signing Berbatov from Tottenham. It will be a huge loss for United not to bring in a striker and possible two other signing in respective positions. I believe if Saha can stay fit we will be fine, but that’s a big ask considering his injury riddled past. Right back is also worrying as the jury is still out on Brown, Neville can’t return to the high form he previously enjoyed, and Simpson has been loaned out, again. Another left back is also needed with more experience but the new Brazilian twin Da Silva looked good when he came on in the second half against Newcastle.

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