Preview: Manchester United v Portsmouth (6th Feb 2010)


Regardless of recent results, today February 6th will always be a sad day in the history of Manchester United. Today is the 52nd anniversary of the Munich air disaster. 23 of the 44 people on board the aircraft tragically lost their lives, including eight United players. There will of course be a minute silence before today’s game to respect those who lost their lives.

Today’s game against Portsmouth is surely a home banker… Bottom against top, surely?

However, Portsmouth cannot be taken lightly. I watched their previous game against Fulham, Portsmouth were by far the better team on the night creating plenty of chances but failed to win due to poor finishing. Some of Pompey’s short intricate passing was a joy to watch at times. Their Greek balding midfielder (can’t remember his name) controlled the game. He plays a similar role to Scholes – laying deep in midfield knocking around passes, the quarter-back role as it’s called (the latest buzz word).

Having said that, I fully expect us to win today, a must considering the big match tomorrow. Lets pile the pressure on Chelsea and hope Arsenal batter them.

We are reaching peak performance and playing our best football of the season. Will Fergie stick with the 4-3-3 formation which has been so successful against City and Arsenal or play 4-4-2 because we are playing a weaker team?

Personally, I think Fergie will play 4-4-2. Team selection will be interesting, I feel there will be a few fresh faces having played two big games and no doubt Fergie will have an eye on next Wednesday’s game against Aston Villa.

Will Vidic play? Don’t know, hope so. I can see Evra given a breather, with Fabio starting. Evans and young Rafael are likely to start in my opinion.

Midfield will perhaps see the most changes. One of Flecther, Carrick and Scholes will play in centre midfield alongside Anderson (if all is well between the young Brazilian and Fergie).

The left and right wing selection is a tad more problematic.  I would like to see Nani start and hopefully continue his recent good form. If Nani starts however, should he continue on the right or play on the left? If Nani starts on the right where does that leave Valencia? Valencia is limited due to having a very dominant right foot; he rarely uses his left foot. I’d be very reluctant to switch Nani to left due to his recent performances, Nani starts on the right for me. I’d be surprised to see Nani picked on the right and Valencia on the left. Fergie may decide to play both allowing them to continually switch position.

If not Valencia on the left, the selection lies between Giggs or Park. Giggs was sensational when the teams met earlier in the season at Fratton Park. Will this be in Fergie’s thoughts? Park was excellent last week against Arsenal, he never gave the Arsenal full-backs the chance to attack with his tireless workrate. I’d be inclined to play Giggs today, he will also help Fabio and use Park against Villa where Downing and Young will be playing on the flanks.

In attack, Berbatov and Rooney start for me. Berbatov needs game time after being a sub recently. I’m hopeful we score early goals to allow Rooney to be subbed around the sixty minute mark.

My team:


Rafa Evans Brown Fabio

Nani Anderson Carrick Giggs

Rooney Berbatov

Score prediction: 3-0 for United. A goal for Rooney and Two goals for Berbatov

As I look out the window, the sky in Manchester is crisp and clear. If only the skies were the same on that fateful day in Munich 52 years ago… Being top of the league tonight will be fitting.

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