Monday, 21 January 2013


 After the second round draw for the UEFA Champions League was made, and English league leaders Manchester United were paired with current La Liga champions Real Madrid, many have been left wondering what the game will look like.
But I tell you, anyone who witness yesterdays' premiership game between Tottenham Hotspur and Man Utd have just seen a direct reflection of the second round fixture billed for February 12/13 2013.

Clint Dempsey snatched a late equaliser in the snow to earn Tottenham a 1-1 draw against Manchester United.
Robin van Persie had looked to have claimed all three points with his first-half header at White Hart Lane on Sunday but Dempsey swept the ball home in stoppage time to salvage a point.
The adverse weather conditions had threatened to see the Premier League clash at White Hart Lane called off - and Spurs fans were soon left wishing it had.
After a cautious start in which Aaron Lennon forced a save from David de Gea, it was ex-Arsenal man Van Persie who opened the scoring by heading home Tom Cleverley's right-wing cross.
It was the culmination of a flowing move from the Red Devils after good work from Michael Carrick, Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck, who was selected ahead of Wayne Rooney in attack.
The home side struggled to create outright chances until De Gea produced a superb reaction stop with his legs to deny Gareth Bale's deflected effort from the edge of the box just before the break.
And De Gea was called into action once again after the interval when he came up with a reflex save to keep out the advancing Dempsey from point-blank range.
The Spanish goalkeeper then pushed away another Dempsey shot shortly afterwards as Spurs pushed hard for an equaliser and the crowd got behind their team.
But United remained a threat on the break and Rooney had a strong shout for a penalty shortly after replacing Kagawa when he went down under a challenge from Steven Caulker.
It was still Andre Villas-Boas' side asking most of the questions and it required a last-ditch block from Rio Ferdinand to prevent Jermain Defoe levelling things up after getting away in the channel.

But just when Sir Alex Ferguson's team looked to have held on for the win, De Gea could only punch a cross as far as Lennon inside the area and he returned the ball to Dempsey to stun United.
  Tottenham and Real Madrid play a similar pattern, a pattern which sees the wings as their strongest point, with players with a lot of pace and fast feet occupying that position, at Spurs they have Bale and Lennon on those position, similarly Madrid has Ronaldo and Di Maria to do the damage.
When it comes to the lone striker up front, Tottenham have a Defoe, who plays up front a lone and is very much dangerous with the ball on his foot, so to is Benzema or Hugain.
Coming to the midfield, the heart of the team, the midfield trio of Scot Parker, Dembele and Dempsey play very much like that of Xabi Alonso, Khedira and Mesut Ozil, though the presence of the German Ozil is the difference between the two. But when it comes to physical presence and style of play, the two are very much similar.
Then the back line, another area where both teams are very much a like. The wing backs of both teams love going forward and getting involved in every attacking move made by the team, the back of Walker, Caulker, Dawson and Naughton is very much similar to that of Marcelo, Pepe, Calhvo and Albeloa.
As for United, don't expect anything different from what they showed against Spurs, Sir Alex will approach the Madrid game the same way he did the Spurs own. playing a lone striker with five midfielders which include a Phi Jones being the Anchor man.
United will still use the 2 man marking system which they did perfectly well yesterday against Real Madrid in an attempt to contain the pace of Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria.
Some positives United can draw from the Spurs game.
1. The fact they kept Tottenham out for so long was down to a disciplined defensive performance from the whole team, and they also demonstrated the sort of commitment United's players have all got but that you don't often get to see.
2. United definitely identified Gareth Bale as Tottenham's main threat from the start and concentrated on keeping him quiet and they did that to a great extent.
3. Yes, we know United are capable of sparkling performances but the reason they are so successful is that they can grind out results better than everyone else, and this was a great example they held on to the single goal scored by Robin Van Persie for almost the whole duration of the game.
     Because United conceded such a late equaliser, their draw is being seen as a negative result but you have to recognise we saw a different side to the Premier League leaders at White Hart Lane - they have leaked a lot of goals this season but this time they were resolute at the back and if they to get a comfortable result away from home against Real Madrid, they just have to replicate this form and avoid some mistakes which really cost them some points against Spurs.
Some lessons United are to draw from the Spurs game.
1. Wrong Substitution can cost you a game, Sir Alex made some unnecessary substitution which really changed the complexity of the whole game and United had to pay for it. 
2. Antonio Valencia is no longer the player He was two seasons ago. The earlier Sir Alex begins to realise that fact the better things will be for United.
3. Never rely on the match official for help when you can actually help yourself.  United were hoping for a penalty when Wayne Rooney appeared to have been fouled in the box, yes! they may have a case there but United had every chance to kill off that game against spurs but were very careless or lacked ideas in front of the spurs goal.
4. The partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Vidic is still very much good and active, just that the pair should be given a break before the Madrid game if really United wants to get the best out of them both.
5. Tom Cleverly have come of age to be able to withstand a whole 90mins of games as crucial as this. So why not leave him on the pitch instead of opting for an out of form player.

Football is all about opinion, what's your thought on this?

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