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Champions League Final 2011

May 30, 2011

I’m sure everybody who has even a slight interest in football knows the result of last weekend’s Champions League final between Manchester United and FC Barcelona. And I’m sure most football fans have an opinion on the game. Well, here’s mine (a bit late, I know):

  • Sir Alex Ferguson was very bold in starting Javier Hernandez. He sacrified a midfielder to start Hernandez and it could have gone his way. But it didn’t and at around 60 minutes I was telling my mate (a Utd fan) that Hernandez should be replaced by Nani. Pack the midfield with Carrick, Park and Giggs and use Nani and Valencia for speed and dangerous balls in. It was Fabio instead that was subsituted for Nani.
    Pep Guardiola’s tactics have been made spot on by SAF’s decision to play Hernandez.
  • Vidic and Rio, although a great defensive pairing, are not really that good at tracking forwards. Just like in 2009 they were confused with Messi dropping deep. Both tend to stay in their zone and pick up whoever comes there. Vidic did make some great tackles, but those should be as last resort and not a recurring occurence.
    Michael Carrick had Messi behind him and both Xavi and Iniesta in front of him. Talk about being overcrowded… Apart from that I think that Carrick is an excellent player.
  • I’ve seen both Antonio Valencia – operating as right winger – and Patrice Evra – the left-back – close down Messi, who was playing in the center. No wonder Man Utd was so out of shape when not in possession and took a while to reshape while in possession.
  • Could van der Sar done better with those goals? Probably not, especially since the defense in front of him didn’t close down players (for the second and third goal).
  • Was Giggs mentally ok to play this match? With all the news around him it’s probably not that easy. But given that he has 20 years experience he probably is ok with it.
  • At least this time no other factor can be blamed for Man Utd’s loss. No referee mistakes, no sending offs, no dodgy dives/play-acting, and no penalties.
  • It looked to me that Fabio had cramp after 65 minutes. If that was the case then he needs to be on intensive physical training for next season. The game was at night, it wasn’t too hot, and he wasn’t the one who ran the most (I assume it was Park), so I am still mystified how a professional footballer who trains every day can get cramp after 65 minutes?
  • Messi CAN score in England. He only does it when it matters though.
  • What a journey by Eric Abidal! And what a gesture by Captain Caveman.
  • This Barcelona is definitely one of the best sides I have seen.
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