Cristiano Ronaldo News

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Season So Far: Part 3

29/12/2006 09:09 concludes its review of the 2006/07 season so far...

You’ll get yours…
They say revenge is best served cold and it was a bitter, blustery night at Old Trafford when the Reds dumped Benfica out of the Champions League. In a role reversal of last season’s competition, which saw United exit after a 2-1 defeat in Lisbon, this time it was Sir Alex’s men celebrating. Mind you, it was no canter. Nelson had fired the visitors into a shock lead on 27 minutes, hauled back on the stroke of half-time, courtesy of Nemanja Vidic’s towering header. Second-half goals from Ryan Giggs and Louis Saha booked a place in the knockout phase against LOSC Lille Metropole. Of course, it should never have gone down to the wire after maximum points from the opening three games. But a slip-up in Copenhagen and defeat at Celtic meant a point was still needed when Benfica came to town. In the end, the Reds did more than enough; but in true United fashion, it was done the hard way.

Freddy, steady, go…
They were the headlines nobody expected to see. ‘Shrimpers 1 Prawns 0’ screamed The Sun. ‘Eastwood’s cracker sends United spinning out’ was the more prosaic offering from The Guardian. However you looked at the morning after the night before, the Reds’ grip on the Carling Cup had been loosened by Championship strugglers Southend United, courtesy of Freddy Eastwood’s howitzer of a free-kick. Despite having chances to win the game three times over, in-form United - fielding both Rooney and Ronaldo - crashed out to a side without a home win in 12. Sir Alex was typically philosophical. “I’ve been here 20 years and it is a great reminder that things can smack you in the face like this.” Further smacks in the face have been few and far between - the 1-0 reverse at West Ham on 17 December was only the Reds’ second league defeat.

Lest we forget…
There have been other moments of note for Reds so far this term:

Tomasz Kuszczak, our other summer signing, alongside the impressive Michael Carrick, joined on loan from West Brom to save a penalty from Freddie Ljungberg on his debut.

Sir Alex collected his 17th and 18th Barclays’ Manager of the Month awards in August and October before celebrating his 20th anniversary at Old Trafford in style with November’s 3-0 victory over Portsmouth. A record Old Trafford crowd watched that game – 76,004 packing into the recently expanded stadium.

Although he can’t figure in games until 2007, Swedish striker Henrik Larsson linked up with the squad last week after signing on loan until March, causing much excitement among United fans. Let’s hope the Reds, who kicked off 2006 with three points against Bolton, can end the year with a similar haul against Reading.


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