Sorry for the late post. Some late nights burning the midnight oil had me groggy eyed. Although that shouldn’t stop me from writing a short preview for the readers of this blog. So here goes…
We’ll kick it off with some words from the manager, which you can see over here on Sky Sports (video link). He tries to be as diplomatic as he can. He gives them the benefit, accepts that they are a good team – which they are, going forward at least – and does say that the 7-1 win is not something one would see very often.
Moving on, he seems fairly confident of handing over the gloves to Tomasz Kuszczak. I do personally think that he is quite underrated despite his excellent time with West Brom. He would however have to be prepared to be tested as the Romans will test him, especially if Vidic is not playing.
Vidic’s absence will be a big blow because that was one department that was beyond reproach this season. Speaking of defensive troubles SAF said that ‘Owen Hargreaves is a possibility’, but so far whenever he’s said that he’s not started the player. I do wish, however, that he plays him because, so far this season, he’s taken his limited chances well and he frees up Carrick/Scholes as well as shields, what could be, a makeshift defence.
On other matters, Ronaldo’s comments, made in his newly released book, regarding Roma have been brought out into the spotlight as would have been expected given the nature of this clash. Apparently the Roma boys were begging him to go easy on them when we were 6-0 up. Heh! It’s quite a sight, if you think about it, isn’t it? Defenders like Chivu kneeling down before him,
pleading begging and promising him all sorts of candy (and maybe their girlfriends) in exchange. Well, maybe not that much. But I wouldn’t rule out candy bars. Yes, really, I wouldn’t.
Anyway it is essential he keeps his feet firmly on the ground, in a manner of speaking, of course. Those comments, while made in his book and not in any pre-game press conference, hasn’t stopped the Times from running a story about how Ronaldo ruined SAF’s diplomacy. Or whatever that means.
The formation used today could be anyone’s guess. It also depends on whether Hargreaves starts. Even then, would he go for a conservative 4-3-3 due to a makeshift defence? If so who would he play up front? Would it be Giggs, Rooney and Ronaldo or Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo? Or would Saha start somewhere? Or would he buck the European trend and go with a 4-4-2, especially since he’s playing at home? Lot’s of questions. Not too easy to say really. We are not even sure of who would play in our back four. If it helps you, Tribal Football says Pique will play instead of Vidic. (Sorry, I don’t link to Tribal Footy articles.) I suppose Pique would figure somewhere if Vidic and Brown don’t play. Otherwise, I think, the experience of O’ Shea would be preferred.
Performance wise, I doubt there would be anything much different from what we’ve seen over the past weeks. Our players seem intent on patient (bordering on ultra slow) passing and too much dilly-dallying outside the penalty area. Of course, they’ve been efficient in managing to score goals and picking up maximum points. The key player would certainly be Hargreaves. If he starts and has a good game, I can guarantee we will play a lot quicker than we’ve been playing of late. Whatever their caution levels, Roma will afford us more space than we’ve seen before. So if we do take our chances, we can win comfortably.
Prediction: I know I’ve been iff-ing and butt-ing my way through the preview, so let me stick my neck out at least once — 2-1 to United (Tevez, Rooney to score.)
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