Category: Archive

More Barthez blunders have Red Devils feeling the heat

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Joe Behan

Manchester United still steal the headlines, but not to the extent that have have in the past. The Red Devils are having a bad time with goaltender Fabien Barthez, who continues to put his hands in the fire. He gifted his fellow Frenchman, Thierry Henry, with a goal or two in United’s recent 3-1 loss to Arsenal.

The real story, however may unfold with Sir Alex Ferguson. At the moment, Fergie refuses to speak to the press. This time around it is not about United winning the EPL Championship, it is about Ferguson winning the Champions League. Can one of the best managers in the game pull it off in his last year?

United drew 1-1 with Bayern last week and the two teams were only short of holding hands as they walked off the field. At the same time, Barthez will no doubt be working on coming off his line to close down opponents. Or will he? No matter how world class he is as a goalkeeper, he has to work on his game. One has to expect that United is working on Barthez coming off his line. A look at the Bayern goal exposes the goalie not advancing when he should have.

Nonetheless, trying to figure out the Barthez bloopers is truly not the story at Old Trafford, it is of course Sir Alex. Anything can happen in football and it is happening with the Red Devils.

The game has no mercy and no club or team is immune to the humiliation of it all. For a decade or so, United have dominated the EPL under Fegerson and the club also experienced an invincible period for one or two years. But it’s all slipping away.

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In the draw against Bayern, Roy Keane hit the bar with a thunderous shot to end a spell where he slipped some lovely little passes here and there that carved open the Bayern defense. Keane took over when Bayern’s Stefan Effenberg was substituted. United were very close to winning the game when a ball flew through their defense in the final minutes, finding everybody

reaching and Barthez freezing.

The main interest in United for Irish

fans is Keane’s availability for club and country. Keane did not start against Iran in Ireland’s crucial World Cup finale, but the Corkman made a miraculous recovery for the Champions League against Bayern and

against Arsenal in the EPL.

Meanwhile, better footballing days are in the making at Anfield Road, where Liverpool beat Sunderland 1-0 with Emile Heskey finally scoring.

Niall Quinn also returned to the field for his club after not featuring for Ireland against Iran. The Pool go top of the Premier and five points clear of Man U.

Also, Leeds, in second place, took the lead in the 18th minute but could manage only a draw at home to Aston Villa.

Chelsea was booed of he pitch after a tie with Blackburn Rovers.

For Glasgow Celtic it is a completely different ball game. The Hoops won the Old Firm clash 2-1 over the weekend. Rangers are now 10 points adrift and could do without Scouser Ball swearing at Dick Advocaat in front of the fans.

Talk of the Bhoys winning the Championship again has brewed, and that’s fine. Celtic absorbed spells of Rangers pressure prior to producing a goal.

“There is a belief about the players that we can weather the storm and get a bit of luck,” Martin O’Neill said. “But there is still no arrogant streak here — we’re not good enough to do that.”

O’Neill typically refuses to agree that an SPL title is on it’s way to Parkhead as the season is not even halfway there. However, many, and probably most, fans will expect back-to-back titles for Celtic.

In the Champions League, Celtic is a goal down as Valencia prepare to travel to Parkhead for the return leg. If Celtic is to get more fluency in their style, this is the game to do it in. O’Neill has been doing just enough to get those big Ws, but against Valencia he will want his team firing on all cylinders in attack and in defense. He must also be conservative and prevent Valencia from not scoring.

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