Thursday, August 14, 2014

Theater of Dream

Manchester United in 2014

The 2013-2014 Season had not been a bad season. Getting a 7th place is somewhat expected for a team that suddenly had to adjust to a new manager/coach following the departure of long serving manager with strings of success in domestic competition and Europe. Replacing someone with an achievement of 13 EPL and 2 UCL titles is very hard for a new manager. During his 26 years tenure, Sir Alex Furgeson steared the club to four  UCL finals. He could be considered unlucky since the two losses suffered in the UCL finals were against the all-concuring  Barcelona team managed by Pep Guardiola. For those who have attention to blame SAF for the current United misfortune, please read the article "JAMIE CARRAGHER: Don't blame Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United's freefall".

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In the previous season season David Moyes was under great preasure to prove his worth as 'the chosen one', since he was said to be handpicked by SAF.  Contrast in play (tactics) appeared gradually, departing from the quick counter attact of SAF. Slow build up in attack (with more time consuming back-pass) and the more frequant crosses from the flank might contributed to fans becoming restless and impatient. Onother    frequent comment made by frustrated fans was that the manager changed the lineup, which won the previous week/game.  It is okey with a slow buld up, but it must be followed byt quick burst/spurt of defense spliiting move thrugh the middle one the attack is nearing the box. This kind of attack is successessfully executed by Barcelona and Messi.  Had Manchester United won four drawn games and drew two or three lost games, fourth place finish was of high possiblility.

How would it end up in 2014-2015?  It is anybody's guess. But the results so far are disappointing.

16.8.14 Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City      EPL
24.8.14 Sunderland 1 – 1 Manchester United       EPL
26.8.14  MK Dons 4-0 Manchester United         COC
30.8.14 Burnley 0-0 Manchester United              EPL

Personally, I am not of the opinion that Manchester United season is over. The club has had suffered losses in their first two games and yet end up being champions. On another occassion the team was unbeaten in their first 15 games and yet failed to land the champioship.  Currently the team has a better game plan than before. With injured players recovering, execution of game plan should improve. I do hope that the club pays more attention to individual coaching so as to harness individual skill such as stopping the ball, ball control and delivery.  The goal is to enhance passing accuracy and fluidity in defence splitting and counter attack . This skill hopefully reduces the frequency of giving the ball away after one to three passes, thus improving "shot-at-goal to percentage possession" ratio.

To illustrate the importance of shot-at-goal to percentage possession compare the statistics for the Burnley  vs  Manchester United   and  Tottenham   vs  Liverpool  games.
 Tottenham     vs        Liverpool
0               Goal scored            3
7             Shots at  goal           17
61%     Time of Possession     39%
Burnley     vs    Manchester United
0            Goal scored              0
9               Shots at  goal         7
36%     Time of Possession     64%

Comparing the two games, Liverpool with very good  "shot-at-goal to percentage possession" ratio won easily despite 39%. In contrast, Manchester United who enjoyed 64% possession fared miserably in term of "shot-at-goal to percentage possession" ratio. With that amount of advantage in percentage possession, Manchester United should have at least doubled their sot-at-goal, and thus double their "shot-at-goal to percentage possession" ratio

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bread of Uzbekistan

The Uzbeks have passion for bread.  This passion is translated into shapes, decoration, texture and taste of the breads.