Sir Alex Ferguson will persist with his youthful revolution at Manchester United for this weekend’s fixture with Arsenal. At least that’s the message from the 69-year-old United manager, who says that form dictates younger stars, including Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, will continue in the United side for the visit of Arsène Wenger’s troubled Londoners. Indeed, with a nearly full squad for Arsenal’s visit Ferguson’s focus on youth is now a matter of expediency alone.
And while Arsenal struggles to overcome the loss of Cesc Fàbregas and Samir Nasri this summer, United’s quintet of experienced departures has seemingly revitalised Ferguson’s side. Three inventive performances of attacking verve and youthful flair into the season and a new optimism has descended on Old Trafford, despite the ongoing failure to recruit the new central midfielder many supporters and pundits crave.
How typical of Ferguson then to both praise his young stars and keep their feet firmly on the ground ahead of United’s biggest Premier League match of the season to date.
“They’ve only played a couple of games,” warned Ferguson.
“They have potential and we’re very enthusiastic about that potential and hopeful they can fulfil it. But the name of the game is what they achieve.
“I have a tremendous problem when it comes to picking a side but it is the kind of problem I want. Maybe some of their form will taper off. That is when the squad comes into play. At the moment they are doing very well. So I have to let it carry on.”
The aforementioned quartet of Jones, Smalling, Cleverley and Welbeck is likely to be included in Fabio Capello’s England squad for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales early next month on the back of an excellent start to the new season. With Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young and, potentially, Rio Ferdinand also included United could boast up to eight players in the Italian’s squad.
The call-ups are, of course, a bitter-sweet moment for Ferguson, the Scotsman who has always put United before international commitments. Moreover, with Ferguson regularly falling foul of the Football Association, the United manager has more reason than most to resent England’s call for his youngsters.
“It’s not a problem for us. The FA may realise who has produced more players for their country than any club in the world,” added Ferguson, of the group’s call-up.
“Maybe they will get some joy from it and realise how important we are to England instead of treating us like shit. I am pleased for the players. They are outstanding so we’re all pleased.”
Internationals are for next week though and Ferguson can boast an almost fully fit squad for Arsenal’s visit. Aside from Nemanja Vidic, whom Ferguson confirmed will not return for another month, and Rafael da Silva, the Scot can choose from the full compliment available.
Indeed, fellow Scot Darren Fletcher played the full 90 minutes for United’s reserves on Thursday night and could feature against Arsenal after spending the past six months largely on the sidelines. Meanwhile, winger Antonio Valenica is back in full training, and United will make a late call on Ferdinand’s involvement against Arsenal. Javier Hernández could make his first start of the new season after suffering a concussion in pre-season.
“On the injury front, Darren Fletcher played a game last night which is great news,” Ferguson added.
“I think the boy is back now. He’s had a terrible time but now he’s looking terrific and he’ll be in the squad for Sunday. Chicharito came back on Monday which gives me a tremendous problem for picking a side but that’s the kind of problem we want.”
Ferguson must also choose between Welbeck or the returning Hernández to start alongside Wayne Rooney in attack. Welbeck’s mixed performances against West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur may colour Ferguson’s decision, with Mexican Hernández desperate to start after two months without football. Yet, 20-year-old Longsight-born forward Welbeck also scored one and created a brilliant other against Spurs, underlining the genuine if raw talent at Ferguson’s disposal.
It is a choice that boils down to Hernández’ goalscoring record stacked up against Welbeck’s talent, with Dimitar Berbatov’s class all but forgotten in Ferguson’s revolution; a key story of United’s summer.
“It was great to play again, unbelievable,” Hernández told MUTV.
“I had one month off after the Gold Cup, and then the thing happened with my head, so it was two months without games. That was difficult but I talked to my family and friends every day when I was out, and made sure I was ready. Thankfully, for the last game against Spurs I was on the bench, then I played 10 minutes and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Squad players Carrick and Park Ji-Sung could make their first Premier League appearances of the season if Ferguson opts for experience despite words to the contrary.
Meanwhile, the visitors arrive at Old Trafford boosted by qualification for the Champions League in the past week. Despite the departures of Fàbregas and Nasri a defiant Arsène Wenger has, to date, failed to add expensive replacements to his squad this summer.
Such is Arsenal’s current malaise, having not won a trophy in six years and seen key players depart, that some sections of Britain’s media have suggested Wenger may consider his future at the club. Yet, this widespread belief that the London club is already doomed to failure this season is one Ferguson rejects, despite 15 years of rivalry with his French adversary.
“I would like to know who is going to replace him,” said the United manager.
“The work he has done in the 15 years he has been at the club is the best in Arsenal’s history. Yes, he has not won a trophy for six years but what does that mean? The quality of his side has not been reduced.
“Chelsea’s involvement has created a lot of the problem in terms of trophies to win because they and ourselves have been dominating the Premier League. Now Manchester City have come on the scene. When Arsenal and ourselves were going head-to-head, it went on for about eight years. The competition is far greater now.
“But [Arsenal] answered everybody back on Wednesday. They got a great result and the game on Sunday will be another stepping stone for them.”
It is, however, a match in which Arsenal will be without midfielder Jack Wilshere, missing for three weeks with an ankle injury and, probably, Thomas Vermaelen, who faces a fitness test on Saturday. Meanwhile, Alex Song, Gervinho and Emmanuel Frimpong are all suspended for recent indiscretions. Plus ça change at Arsenal.
The absentees are hardly ideal against a vibrant United side in the 214th meeting between the teams: a series in which United has won 88 times to Arsenal’s 79. Moreover, United has won six of the last seven home fixtures against Wenger’s men.
And while Arsenal emerged victorious in the last fixture between the sides on May day, few will bet against an 89th win for United on Sunday.
Manchester United versus Arsenal, Premier League, Old Trafford, Sunday 29 August, 4pm.
United (4-4-1-1): de Gea; Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Cleverley, Anderson, Young; Rooney; Hernández. Subs from: Lindegaard, Fábio, Evans, Carrick, Giggs, Pogba, Park, Valencia, Gibson, Fletcher, Diouf, Owen, Berbatov, Welbeck, Macheda.
Arsenal (4-5-1): Szczesny; Jenkinson, Miquel, Djourou, Sagna; Walcott, Ramsey, Rosicky, Lansbury, Arshavin; Van Persie. Subs from: Almunia, Fabianski, Traoré, Eastmond, Chamakh, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miyaichi, Bendtner
Referee: Howard Webb (Rotherham)
Fergie goes with kids for Arsenal test(145 posts) (21 voices)
Posted by unregistered user: Joner
Comfortable home win, 2-0.
just because wilsheres out we should be okLKHM
I HATE international football! The football is usually shite, the games are boring, and, outside of promoting nationalism, the format is totally pointless. The new EPL season has just gotten underway, and United have got some momentum going, but now, after tomorrow, we get to experience two weeks without meaningful football, and the possibility of some players being injured for nothing. Why can't these useless competitions be played at a time when they don't interfere with league play?
If Arsenal lose tomorrow, Swansea, which has yet to score a goal in three matches, will be above them in the standings.
Posted by unregistered user: Damian Garside
This is to help keep you amused until the big game later today (pity poor Arsene if we beat his team because the press are going to start to dismember him, maybe Fergie can take him on instead of Phelan if he gets the old heave-ho).
Cheers from Mafikeng, South Africa
Your shirts the colour of a
baby’s first jump suit
you ran from Frannie happy, flying
fat as a Summerbee
until the Bell told and you
fell into a horrible slump
your own little ice (blue) age. But hope
spring eternal that the
mullet time of
last glory may still return, your
ship coming in from
the harbours of Spain, Germany, Argentina
and the money of
the desert fall like
manna from the sky bringing
thousand year reign, time
at last to discover the
inticacies of real football,
at last, in your case,
almost the beautiful game
(pity though that
you moved home from
your inner-city battle zone
for if you hadn’t then we
could truly speak of the
brave new galacticos of
Manchester Moss Side).
Posted by unregistered user: Damian Garside
OK Fergie, this team is disintegrating: so who are we going to tap up? Anyone we can get in the next two days: all we have to do is to promise them that they too will be in a Scorcese/Goodfellas long tracking shot welcome to OT sequence that will be on You Tube and be that much classier that what the blue bunch did for Nasri. Maybe we can tap up Walcott and get Tyhe Biggs to play him in the short film, and then we could have James Gandolphini as Ferguson (real Goodfellas feel here) or even, De Niro (hairdryer scene at half time where he looks Nani square in the face and says `you looking at me…you looking at me… you must be looking at someone..). Oh sorry mixing my Scorcese films.
For the monies City paid for Nasri we could buy half of the rest of the Arsenal team. They all want to ge — its the biggest basement bargain sale in the history of football, Go on Ferg: tap them up!
Posted by unregistered user: Damian Garside
from the Guardian (but I edited it a little)
love the bit about Nasri’s goal against us on EA Sports: that will surely have us quaking in our boots.
Maybe it’s time for us UTd fans to write a book: The Manchester United fan’s guide to the `other’ clubs. The chapter on City would be much longer than any of the others, except perhaps Liverpool.
here’s the piece from the Guardian
Manchester City’s film should get an ‘X’ certificate
For all their wealth City’s shoddy attempts at projecting self-importance have more in common with the club in the 1980s
But basic photo ops are no longer enough for a club who welcomed recent big-name signings with cutting-edge PR initiatives such as the Tevez Billboard and Adebayor’s Arndale Spittoon. So Nasri’s arrival was recorded for posterity with a cinematic flourish, an auteur from City TV capturing the moment with an elaborate, over-ambitious, Goodfellas style long tracking shot.
An epic sequence was soon in the can, then up on YouTube, where it became an internet sensation viewed by tens of people. In one lengthy, tightly choreographed take, Nasri enters the building for the first time, climbs a flight of stairs, squeezes past two security goons, sashays through an open-plan office, meets the club’s communications director, exchanges an awkward high-five with Patrick Vieira who had been standing in noir-ish shadows mysteriously texting, and disappears into the office of a shady Mr Big (played, it says here, by Garry Cook, a bravura performance).
Clocking in at nearly a minute and a half, it’s a masterful example of scene setting, introducing myriad characters, and the nearest yet any club’s in-house propaganda machine has got to replicating the three-minute opening sweep from Orson Welles’s A Touch of Evil. Or the seven-minute traffic scene from Week-end (1967, dir Jean-Luc Godard) which culminates in a more literal kind of car crash.
You’d just wish, though, that the club themselves would rein it in a bit. City also celebrated their capture by commissioning their “club partner” EA Sports to knock up a computer-generated image of Nasri scoring “his first City goal” at home against United. Naff, and with a questionable premise to boot: City don’t entertain their neighbours until 28 April, the third-last game of the season. That’s quite a goal drought. It’s almost as if, somewhere in the back of their minds, they’re still expecting everything to go very badly wrong. Perhaps this new lot aren’t so far removed from the old City after all.
Manchester City’s film should get an ‘X’ certificate | Scott Murray
This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 23.02 BST on Friday 26 August 2011. A version appeared on p16 of the Sport section of the Guardian on Saturday 27 August 2011. It was last modified at 00.08 BST on Saturday 27 August 2011.
One of the papers, forget which one... is saying, that Russian outfit that just made Eto'o worth 300k a week are going to offer United £25mill for Vidic, and offer him 180k...
If true, I think it might happen..."Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don't need badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching' tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you."
Found a site listing football links.
the arse riding in troubled waters this season
still will be a hard game
rooney on fire to bag a brace
no clue how we'll line up
only sure thing is berbashite won't play, get in
I am a little concerned that United may, indeed, attempt to match Arsenal's 4-5-1 with a 4-4-2 formation, come out all guns blazing, but, after fifteen or twenty minutes of failing to put a shot on target or seeing their shots blocked by defenders and saved by the keeper, lose control of the midfield, and watch as Ramsey, Walcott, and Van Persie run riot.
EDIT: I'd like to see United line up like this:
Smalling / Rio / Evans / Evra
Cleverley / Jones / Anderson
Nani / Rooney / Young
we are unchanged.. vermaalen and sanga are also out for the arse..good times
with that scoreline form shite hart lane, that has definitely set the bar for us to emulate this afternoon
arse are there for a good gangbanging session
just hope rooney is in the mood seeing as though berbs is going to be warming the bench
The Gunners, without Thomas Vermaelen or Bacary Sagna, start with youngster Francis CoquelinMANCHESTER IS MY HEAVEN- SIR MATT BUSBY
we should ammer arenal today. no nasri fabregas clichy vermaalen sanga song wiltshre,
Has anyone got a non-Sopcast stream? I haven't found a replacement for MyP2P and Veetle sucks at the moment.
Anyone have a link for a stream of the match?
noo fucking streams......................
u got a stream?
yea han got sopcast one....good start
come on united.
has rooney had a touch the last 10 mins?
should get some joy down the right side, Arshavin doesn't look like he can handle Smalling at all
assist for Ando!
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