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UEFA Champions' League

Man Utd v Roma: Preview

Welcome back. Yesterday, Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-2. Yes, the ‘dippers actually scored four goals. How they manage to turn it in Europe is beyond me. I didn’t get to see the game but from reports, they were helped by a dodgy looking penalty decision. I really can’t feel too happy nor too sad about the result. I heard that Wenger looked like he was going to kill himself by digging his head into the turf. Meanwhile Chelsea completed a robotic win against a Fenerbahce side that showed little ambition going forward.

So there you have the first semifinal decided: 90 minutes, and perhaps a little more, of shit slinging orgy. But all that’s an aeon and a half away. So let’s get to today’s game against Roma.

Team news first, and there is good news about Rio. Surprisingly he has an outside chance of playing against Roma. It is nice to hear, but to be honest, I’d rather nurse him till he’s 100% ready for the Arsenal game rather than rush him today. A 2-0 cushion going into a home game should be defendable even with the sort of players we have stepping in. In fact, since Roma will have to attack, I think it should suit our counter attacking game just fine.

One of those defenders who’ll step in and be expected to play his part is Wes Brown, who thinks we can’t afford to sit back on the lead. It is really not in our nature to protect leads, at least not at home. Ideally we should score a goal early on and just play kick-about and practice for Le Arse.

Park Ji-Sung, who has actually had a couple of good performances the last couple of games, chimes in too:

“In a couple of matches we’ve changed the team around but still managed to get good results. We can win the league as well. We can do the double.”

Nice to hear talk, but it would be nicer if we saw it happen.

The manager had his ideas clear though,

“We need to make sure we don’t do anything silly. There are 90 minutes to get through, and the clock is ticking against Roma. They have to do something, which may suit us.”

Keep your heads down, and do your job. He will have drilled this a million times now. I would expect a conservative start from United, even though we’re playing at home. The idea would be to build up slowly and cause some urgency in the Roman camp, hopefully leaving us with some open spaces up front.

I think, based on his performances recently, Hargreaves should get a look in. Where he would play, however, is a good question to ask. If Rio won’t play, then Pique and Brown could take the centre back spots, while the right back could be a toss up between Hargo and O’Shea. If he opts for a 4-3-3, then Hargreaves will play in central midfield giving the added shield for the defence. Carrick and Scholes also appear sure starters, but with the Arsenal game in the weekend, some one will be given a breather.

Park may start this one ahead of Giggs because he gave a good account of himself in the first leg. And, Ronaldo and Rooney will start.

Prediction: 2-1 to United.

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