Friday, 26 September 2008

Manchester United vs Bolton - Preview

Our first Premier League home game since the first day of the season, against a solid but uninspiring Bolton team. Should be a welcome relief after two rough games on the road and a rocky start to the campaign.

Team news - this is the closest we've had to a fully fit squad this season, with Carrick our only major absentee. Expect some of those who have were rushed back during the crisis to take a back seat for a game or two, notably Scholes and Anderson. It also wouldn't surprise me if Rooney doesn't start, since he has been going solid since shaking off that debilitating pre-season virus and hasn't looked his best.

Expect Ronaldo to start his first Premier League game of the season, and Park and Fletcher to retain their places after strong showings recently. Vidic returns from suspension. The Brown / Neville debate continues to have legs, and it is unclear who will start after Neville's surprise appearance against Chelsea. It is also uncertain whether van der Sar or Kuszczak will start in goal - EVDS has looked short of confidence recently, and Fergie's use of Ben Amos in the Carling Cup game suggests TK might start with EVDS rested from the matchday squad entirely.

EDIT: Kuszczak has picked up a groin injury and so won't be available, making it certain that van der Sar will play with Amos on the bench.

Goals for the game

For each game, I will set out a list of goals for the game. These will be things that are of particular importance for this game (on top of winning, of course!). They will give you a guide to what to look for when watching the game. I will also pick up on them in my match report to give us a framework for assessing each performance.

Goal 1 -
the fans (and the "goals for") column are crying out for some attacking fluency. Being at home and against weaker opposition should give the boys a good chance to express themselves, and a 2 or 3 goal margin would be welcome.

Goal 2 - after mixed displays on the road, I would like to see evidence of a sustained level of performance. We had good 20 minute spells against Liverpool and Chelsea, but we should look to dominate this game for at least 60 of the 90 minutes.

Goal 3 - continuing Berbatov's integration into the team. I'm looking for repeated involvement in passing moves and greater evidence of Berba knowing where his teammates are running and vice-versa.

Goal 4 - bossing central midfield after being outfought for large parts of the game in this area against both our rivals.

Goal 5 - The goalkeeping errors must be cut out, I want to see no errors or moments of dodginess from whoever plays. Nothing undermines a defence quicker than a lack of confidence in the keeper.

Predicted team

van der Sar
Brown - Vidic - Ferdinand - Evra
Ronaldo - Fletcher - Hargreaves - Park
Tevez - Berbatov

Predicted score

3-1 to United.

What are your predictions, and what are you looking for from our performance?


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Liam said...

good preview, liked the goals bit. I feel slightly nervous about this game. We haven't been great recently and we definately do need that breakout performance that you talked about. We need to become more cohesive and the players need to learn to work as a unit. The wigan game last year when we won 4-0 was the game that really took us out of our rut and hopefully this game can have the same effect as that one

Penguinissimo said...

Liam - thanks for taking a peek over here.

I agree, we really need a game to kick-start the season for us. A few goals would go a long way to instilling confidence in the squad - here's hoping.

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