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Matchday at the Theatre of Dreams

Date : 24th November 2012.

Location : Manchester, United Kingdom

The Big Day had arrived. The Day when I would see the "Red Devils" take the field in their quest for yet another English Premier League Title.

Their Adversaries : Queens Park Rangers better known as QPR.

QPR was a very strong team on paper. It boasted of having players who have played for top teams in their early days but yet the team looked in disarray.

QPR had been going downhill and had just sacked Mark Hughes ( Manager ) a day before their game against Manchester United.

It was quite a nice game to be at as United had to dig deep to attain all 3 points.

 

My Day started with a big surprise. I exited the Elevator of my hotel to discover the entire QPR team sitting in the lobby getting ready for their "pre-match warm-up walk".

I got hold of a few players and they obliged me with autographs while some honoured me with a picture with them

 

Shaun Wright-Philips :

Park Ji-Sung :

 

There were still a couple of hours until kickoff but the Trams were already full

 

I alighted at Old Trafford Station and was amazed at the scores of Supporters moving towards Old Trafford!

 

The Stalls brimming with Scarves and other Manchester United "Merchandise"

 

The Walk to the Theatre of Dreams!

 

I had opted for the Hospitality at Old Trafford. I was at the EUROPA SUITE :

 

My Ticket and all the goodies that came with it!

 

I settled into my seat and soon enough we were all surprised by the arrival of our "Captain Fantastic" - the man from Serbia, NEMANJA VIDIC!! I was one of the privileged few to get an autograph from our Captain

 

It was time...

 

The Boys warming up :

 

Fred The Red :

 

Getting ready for Kick - Off :

 

Stretford End!!

 

The Teams coming out onto the pitch, here is the link of the video uploaded by me :

 

Accolades for Robin Van Persie :

 

Boys waiting for the whistle :

 

Kick-off!! Video Link :

 

Some shots from the First Half :

 

QPR Goal Disallowed! Sigh of Relief...

 

Half Time!

 

Second Half saw Manchester United conceed.

 

Substitution Time :

 

Manchester United equalised through Johnny Evans!

Video Link :

 

Manchester United wasted little time in taking the lead from another setpiece. Corner Kick by Rooney and into the Goal by Darren Fletcher!! 2-1 

Video Link :

 

As Smalling and Jones warmed up, United decided to put the game to bed. Javier Hernandez, our Little Pea defeated the offside trap to score from a one-on-one situation.

3-1 to United!!  

 

Old Trafford in all its Glory!    

 

Nick Powell comes on for Danny Welbeck    

 

WAYNE ROONEY what a game our lad had!   

 

The Final Whistle went off and United secured all 3 points against QPR. United went to the Top of the Table and have stayed there since!!  

 

Video Link :

 

 

The Home of Manchester United - OLD TRAFFORD! 

 

A Picture to Treasure, A Moment to Cherish!!

 

 

Anderson paid a quick visit to the suite. I did get time to have a nice chat with a Legend at Manchester United.

SAMMY McILROY!!


It was time to leave the stadium and return home. The words said by the 2 greatest managers on the planet shall always stay with me!

Sir Matt Busby who revived the United Legacy after the Flowers of Manchester went home early...

 

Sir Alex Ferguson who took Manchester United to the top. The man who knocked Liverpool off their perch, the man the world reveres and respects. The man who made us dream and took the club to glories unthinkable. The Undisputed king of the Managerial World!! 


I KNEW I WAS HOME!!!


What a day what an experience. Unforgettable, Unparalled. A dream fulfilled.


Thank you God and Thank you Dad for letting me experience the experience of seeing the Red Devils play in front of their faithful. 

 

There is more to come!! Watch this Space!!

The Return of the League!!

A lot has happened during the Summer Break in Football. Euro 2012 and Olympics ensured that players stayed in shape before the start of the League Season. Euro 2012 was particularly tiring for some and it wasn't a surprise to see many players excusing themselves from International Duties during the Olympics to get some rest. The Olympics came to a close on 12th August, just a week before the start of the leagues.

The Break is also renowned for the Transfer Season when Clubs go scouting to bring in players they deem fit to play for them. This Season a lot has conspired.

The English Premier Legue campaign kickstarts tomorrow and Manchester City will now defend the title.

So how have things shaped up prior to the start of the league???

 

 

ARSENAL :

Arsenal entered the market fairly early and acquired the services of Lucas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla ( just a couple of days back ).

Arsene Wenger is a wise investor and the arrival of the trio has definitely strengthened the squad. However Arsenal have suffered a huge setback as their Ex-Captain Robin Van Persie felt it was time to leave the club and joined Arch-Rivals Manchester United.

The Departure of the Captain is a blow for any club but Arsene is famous for rallying his troops and producing results. The likes of Jack Wilshire, Aaron Ramsey, Per Mertesacker, Koscielny, Squillaci, Walcott, Arteta combined with the ability of the newcomers make them a force to be reckoned with.

Arsenal cannot be discounted....

 

CHELSEA :

Chelsea offered a 2 year contract to the Interim Manager Roberto Di Matteo. The Italian had fulfilled Abromovich's dream of winning the Champions League. 

Chelsea have done good business in the Transfer Window. Roman Abromovich opened up funds to bring in Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and Oscar ( Brazilian ). They also signed Thorgan Hazard ( Eden's younger brother ) from Lens.

The Quartet are very young and have done exceptionally well for their former clubs, Oscar though is an unkown entity for most clubs. His performance at the Olympics would definitely boost his confidence.

Chelsea have had to contend with the departure of their Prolific Goal-Scorer Didier Drogba. Saloman Kalou and Jose Bosingwa left the club after rejecting Contract Renewals. Romelu Lukaku has been sent for a season-long loan to West Brom.

Chelsea seem to be lacking Firepower at the front. Fernando Torres would need too find his form upfront. However a Talented Midfield ( The BEST Midfield for me ) would definitely help Torres share the burden of Goal - Scoring.

Roberto Di Matteo needs to play his cards right. Chelsea are definite contenders for the title.

 

LIVERPOOL :

Liverpool have been quite inactive in the Transfer Market. The Arrivals of Youngsters such as Borini, Allen and Assaidi leaves much to be desired.

Liverpool will suffer greatly from the departures of Aurelio, Rodriquez, Aquilani, Bellamy & Kuyt. Maxi Rodriquez and More Imporantly Kuyt are big losses for Liverpool.

The onus will be on Gerrard to deliver in the midfield and its quite a big ask. Suarez did well last season and a mis-firing Carroll seems to be finding his feet.

Brendan Rodgers has limited options. Its going to be a difficult season again for Fans as Liverpool clearly lack strength in depth.

Liverpool will struggle. A top 4 finish seems hard. However they can sign someone with a fortnight of Transfer Period left.

 

MANCHESTER CITY :

The Current Champions have a lot of funds to tinker with. They have a team that can challenge the best of Europe. Can they deliver a repeat of last season? Possible.

City have been silent in the market. Their team is strong enough. The only arrival has been that of Jack Rodwell from Everton.

Departures have been insignificant

Mancini is an excellent manager and knows how to handle his team well. A Fantastic Strength in Depth makes team selection a headache but eases the pressure on regular starters.

The Strongest team on paper.... Can Definitely repeat their performance..

 

MANCHESTER UNITED :

Manchester United fans suffered heartbreak last season. They lost the title to arch-rivals City on Goal Difference!

Sir Alex Ferguson - The most decorated manager for any football club knew that reinforcements were necessary to wrestle back the title to the Red of Manchester.

The First Arrival was of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund. That was quickly followed by the Arrival of a promising young talent called Nick Powell. The Biggest signing of the season though was the Arsenal Ex - Captain Robin Van Persie.

 

Was it the best signing?

Robin Van Persie joins a list of abled strikers for UnitedThe Top Scorer last season, Van Persie's Partnership with Wayne Rooney would attract a lot of attention. 

Considering the need of United, although the Dutch Acquisition seems good business, the 24 Million Pounds could have been invested elsewhere. The Primary Need for United was the arrival of a Central Playmaker and a good Left-back.

Fabio left the Club on loan, so Patrice Evra has to bear the burden of the Left - Back Position. 

 

So United have options galore upfront but are light in the Mid-Field. A cause of concern but Sir Alex Ferguson knows how to handle such situations. ( 1999 Treble Season was similar )

 

As a UNITED SUPPORTER, MANCHESTER UNITED ARE FAVOURITES TO WIN THE TITLE....

 

The Likes of Tottenham and Newcastle United would definitely add more Spice to the Title Race.

 

However there is definitely a Shift in Power.

A NEW BIG FOUR has emerged... Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea & Arsenal. 

Liverpool Fans would not like this... Liverpool don't seem to be a Title-Winning Team anymore ( Unless they spend heavy ). 

 

TITLE CONTENDERS - MANCHESTER UNITED, MANCHESTER CITY & CHELSEA.

Arsenal at best would spoil someone's party. They need better players..

 

Let the Games Begin!!

 

2004 - Greece, 2008 - Spain, 2012 - ???

This is that time of the year when the Football Season is over, everything is done and dusted, the European league teams are busy regrouping, restrenghtening their squads. The Transfer season is in full swing as Players leave clubs for others to get more lucrative deals.

This season though all this will take a backstage, albeit for a period. Club Rivalries will be put aside, football lovers will unite as one force to support their national team!

The Euro is the here & this time its Poland & Ukraine who host it!

The Contenders to the crown are :

Group A

Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic

Group B

Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal

Group C

Spain, Italy, Republic Of Ireland, Croatia

Group D

Ukraine, Sweden, France, England

Teams that should make it to the Knock - out Stages :

Group A features the 2004 Champions Greece. Greece was definitely a surprise winner in 2004. Russia & Czech Republic have world class players. Poland unfortunately doesn't offer much to challenge the other three in the group. This Group is not an easy one even though it doesn't feature the more glamourous teams. Russia & Czech Republic should advance from this group.

Group B - THE GROUP OF DEATH!! We definitely have 3 top contenders for the crown in one group!! Netherlands are known for their strength in depth & their fascinating style of football. However they haven't had enough silverware to show for all their efforts. Germany showed fantastic form in the World Cup and also in the Qualifiers. Portugal have a star - studded lineup & they would definitely want to reward their fans with the cup. Cristiano Ronaldo will be looked upon as the one who can lead them to the Cup single-handedly! However their biggest weakness is team - spirit. Denmark aren't pushovers either & are known to produce upsets. The Experience of playing in the top leagues of Europe would definitely help the Danes. It's a very tough call - Germany & Netherlands should advance.

Group C features the 2008 Champions Spain. Spain is my favourite. They have literally trampled the opposition in the qualifiers. The 2010 World Cup Winners have also silenced critics by showing they are not chokers when it comes to the big stage. Italy, 2006 World Cup Winenrs have had a very torrid road to the Euros. Mercurial Perfomances, an Ageing Team, Match - Fixing Scandals in Serie A have definitely disturbed their focus leading upto the Tournament. The Azzuris though have the knack to defend exceptionally if they get the lead. Republic of Ireland have some top players in their ranks. The experience of Captain Robbie Keane will definitely help them on the field. Croatia became famous when they knocked out England in the Euro 2008 Qualifiers. The Players playing in the Premier League didn't get the best welcome. Croatia is definitely the Dark Horse in this group. This might be a bold prediction but Spain & Croatia would advance, although it would be better for Italy to advance rather than Croatia from a neutral's point of view.

Group D - Teams that have a lot to prove. France have been on the decline since their 2006 World Cup Final Defeat. Their lack of performance inspite of having some of the best talent in Europe baffles me. Their Road to Qualification wasn't an easy one either. Their failure to advance would definitely shock football lovers. England have been the lion that needs to wake up from its slumber. Fantastic talent has come & gone & yet the team has underperformed, be it the World Cup or the Euros. The saclking of Fabio Capello was a big mistake. Roy Hodgson has definitely shocked supporters by listing a team that has snubbed some quality players. The Inclusions of some has amused experts too. Only time will tell whether the decision was right or wrong. Ukraine seems to be in the same state as their co-host. They might only be also - rans. Sweden have been a close - knit team. They have been known to play around their more talented players. This Euro shouldn't be any different. England should top this group, France should clinch the other spot. Sweden is good but not good enough.

Spain, England, Germany, Netherlands should be the Semi - finalists. Spain vs England would be a dream final.

MY WINNER FOR EURO 2012 - SPAIN !!!