Ballsy Banter Roll Of Honour 2012: Player of the Year

December 21, 2012 in Awards

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We come to our fifth day, and it’s the big one. The category that sorts the men from the boys, the people that have risen above the rest to have the best year of their respective careers.

This category, is ‘Player of the Year’.

Let’s see who our esteemed panel have chosen in this instalment of this year’s ‘Roll Of Honour’.

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The Manchester derby: Rooney crucial as United debate whether to stick or twist

December 7, 2012 in Premier League

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In the simplest terms, there are three ways in which a team can set itself up to win a game. Football Manager players will be familiar with the following options; Counter, Control, Overload. This week, Sir Alex Ferguson will be wondering which card to play. Ferguson has never been a deep thinker when it comes to the tactical side of the game, and United’s approach to games is often startling simple and predictable, yet often deadly effective. This week, Fergie’s two options are as good, or perhaps as hopeless, as one another - and the success of either will centre around Wayne Rooney.

Firstly, I say two options because United haven’t a hope of controlling the derby match, dictating play, possession and tempo. The personnel is simply not there and United struggle to police games against the likes of Wigan and Queens Park Rangers, never mind a City team gifted with power, pace and poise through its spine. So that’s a non-starter.

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Movember: United seek to grow championship lead

November 9, 2012 in Premier League

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Last weekend, Manchester United moved to the top of the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season after comfortably outclassing Arsenal at Old Trafford. Subsequent results that evening saw both Chelsea and Manchester City falter, allowing United to stay at the top of the tree, and this coming month, United will seek, hope and even expect to see that lead grow.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that United kicked off their Premier League campaign with a limp display at Goodison Park, where Marouane Fellaini almost single handedly out-muscled and outfought United. And perhaps that’s because there haven’t been many games this season where United have performed significantly better than they did that night. Yet they sit top of the table and have qualified safely from their Champions League group, largely because they’ve managed to do what they failed to do that night and come back from behind to turn potential losses in to crucial wins. Staggeringly, United failed to come from behind and seal victory in a single competitive game last season, a trait so synonymous with United yet somehow eluded them last term. This year, Ferguson’s team have managed it on six occasions, four times in the league, meaning 50% of United’s league wins have come after going behind. So whilst United have once more discovered the comeback kid within them, their lead at the top of the table is by no means a convincing one.

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United left with nothing to Braga about

November 8, 2012 in Europe

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Giving your all for 90 minutes, it seems, no longer applies to Manchester United. Nor it seems does the saying ‘a game of two halves’. Not that this mattered on Tuesday night. In what was possibly the dullest game of football I have seen all season, United turned up in the last 10 minutes and beat Portuguese side Braga 1-3 to not only qualify for the next round of the Champions League, but to also go through as group winners.

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Why Four Big Name Strikers At One Club Is Unsustainable

October 11, 2012 in Europe, Premier League

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Much has been made about Manchester United’s legendary system of the treble-winning four strikers, Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and with good reason. That season was probably the pinnacle of Ferguson’s Manchester United fiefdom, yet few teams have attempted to copy the 4 star striker model in the subsequent seasons, in spite of the success it brought, particularly in the Premier League. And yet, this season we have two teams plying alternate versions of it; United, who in signing Robin van Persie this summer, now have a striking quartet of van Persie, Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez, and Manchester City, who have one of Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko and Balotelli.

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