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Benfica (A) 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:46 pm
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Post Benfica (A)
So it all starts here, I've been looking forward to this game since the draw was made, it will be a real good test for our young new look team, it will also be interesting to see if Fergie will make big changes from the Bolton game, I will go for the following line up

De Gea
Smalling Jones Evans Evra
Nani Anderson Carrick Young
Chica Rooney

Fergie may ring the changes and rest a few players for the upcoming Chelsea game, but I can only see him maybe start with Fletch & Valencia in place of Young and Anderson
As for the score
I'll go for a 2-2 draw.


Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:44 am
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:19 pm
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
I can't imagine they will be able to live with our forward line in the form they're in. I agree they will be a good test and they're likely to score, but (unless we start with a front 4 of Giggs, Berbatov, Owen and Valencia!) I'm confident we'll score enough to be comfortable. 3-1 to United I think.

The most important thing though is to not pick up any more injuries before the Chelsea game...


Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:57 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:26 pm
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Location: Limerick
Post Re: Benfica (A)
Its all gonna depend on who he sends out up top. Id love to see Fletch and Valencia starting to get them some much needed game time. It would probably be a good idea to start with Berbatov as well he hasn't had many chances so far...

Score draw i think.


Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:32 am
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
Pretty poor performance, Benfica were a lot better so on the basis of that it was a good point.

On a positive note Lindegaard looked quite solid especially in the second half he made a couple of good stops.


Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:42 pm
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
Not a great performance, our lack of edge tonight definitely demonstrated what a difference the new look midfield has made. Rooney was largely isolated and when he dropped deep we had no-one up front. Lindegaard's saves in the 2nd half a definite plus, as was Valencia terrorising their left back. Definitely take a point and keep the legs fresh for Chelski though.


Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:57 pm
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
Not a nice game to watch after the effervescent and exciting stuff we've seen so far this season.
Obviously set up to give midfield 5 playing time and it played into Benfica's hands. Couldn't stretch them at the back as Rooney was so isolated. We only managed 4 shots according to the stats. In 6 yrs in CL that's only happened on one other occasion... at Wembley in May. Thought Giggs was terrible apart from the goal. So many sloppy flicked passes, brought back memories of the spell he had a few yrs back when his pass completion was one of the worst in the league. Can't expect a man of his age to be straight up to pace though.
Park was equally ineffectual; pointless using him as a forward from the start of games, just not quick enough against fresh legs in attacking positions. More suited to late introduction vs weaker teams and from the start as a solid backtracking left mid against tough opposition.
No Berbatov was baffling. May as well have rested Rooney as he took most of his touches in our half.
Our 451 (or 4231) needs 2 pacey wide men to work consistently in an attacking sense. No doubt it's solid defensively and so we use it in tough fixtures... but we shouldn't be switching to it for every CL away fixture.
Roll on Sunday... and hopefully a return to 442.


Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:47 pm
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
p.s. How good were the goals! Think theirs edged it for the outside of boot pass and stunning couple of touches to maintain stride and create a yard for the finish.

p.p.s. Poor performances are usually blamed on Carrick (unless Gibson is playing) so here's an interesting stat, make of it what you will: "105 - Carrick had more touches than anyone, had 92% pass success and won 100% of his aerial battles vs Benfica."


Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:01 pm
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
Bragg wrote:
p.p.s. Poor performances are usually blamed on Carrick (unless Gibson is playing) so here's an interesting stat, make of it what you will: "105 - Carrick had more touches than anyone, had 92% pass success and won 100% of his aerial battles vs Benfica."

Not wanting to jump on the Carrick bashing bandwagon but how many of that 92% of his pass success rate was sideways or backwards. Not having a go at Carrick particularly as Fletcher was just as bad for doing it but when we have players like that in the team then we also need someone that can pick up the ball and pass it forwards and create something. I guess Giggs was in that role tonight but wasn't as effective as Cleverley or Anderson have been so far this season.

That could also be put down to playing Rooney up front on his own. He always had at least one player marking him and another not far away. Park wasn't all that effective getting forward down the wing either and when he did usually cut back inside and played the ball back to Evra or inside.

I thought Valencia did well though but we didn't get the ball to him often enough.

It was a cautious away performance though and I think that showed with Flether and Carrick rarely making runs to get up and support Rooney so defence was the priority and we'll be happy with a draw.

I'd still be happier if we went with a 4-4-2, we shouldn't be changing our formation for the likes of Benfica and should be making teams change their formation to try and stifle our game.

Lindegaard was a positive though, thought he had an excellent game.

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Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:44 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:09 am
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
I'm happy with the result, hardest game essentially out the way and gave players some much needed time on the field. Good to see Fletcher, Valencia etc back.

Re Carrick, and fully aware this might sound mike Sumberbee, I don't care what the stats say, he was very poor. He played 5 passes forwards, 4 were successful, but even one of those was played to Hernandez under pressure who then lost it through not much fault of his own. He generally added very little to the game and when they had the ball we were over-run through the middle of the park, whereas all our threats came from wide players.

Overall very good trip; lovely weather, great stadium etc. Score draw is absolutely fine, better players got a rest for Sunday.

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Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:40 pm
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Post Re: Benfica (A)
I tend to agree that a 4-4-2 would be better, even in away European games. We're looking scarily good domestically going forward, and there's every chance we could do the same, especially against weaker opposition. It is good some key players have been rested ahead of Chelsea, but I do wonder if it is really necessary this early in the season? The likes of Hernandez, Anderson, Young, Jones are young, fit and raring to go, and will likely have their feet up for the Leeds game on Tuesday. I guess the line-up Fergie selected (especially giving half-fit players like Fletcher and Park a run-out to build up fitness, when again Leeds might have been a better starting point) tells you how exciting the European Cup group matches are these days.

The other thing I wonder is, if we're going to use 4-5-1 periodically, how on earth do you keep 6/7 strikers happy? I cannot see Diouf, Macheda, Owen and perhaps even Berbatov getting enough games to keep them happy. Surely the former two will be loaned out sooner rather than later.


Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:50 pm
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