Shinji Kagawa came into today’s match with two league goals in his Manchester United career. Over the course of 42 minutes, he pushed that to five, leading Manchester United to a 4-0 victory over Norwich City on Saturday.
The win moves Manchester United 15 points clear in England ahead of Manchester City’s Monday visit to Aston Villa. Even if the defending champions pick up three points at Villa Park, United would need to drop a point per round from now through May to lose this title.
Today’s game gave us more reason to think that’s impossible. Manchester United struggled through the first half, their frequently flawed selves plodding through a match they should have dominated. They were at home against a limited side. They should have blown the doors off this one in the first half-hour.
As the teams approached halftime, it was still 0-0, and only Kagawa’s late first half opener gave United a lead at intermission. Early in the second half, it didn’t get much better, but after Alex Ferguson changed things up, tweaks that included bringing on Danny Welbeck for the team’s leading scorer (Robin van Persie).
United went on to put up their number. Kagawa scored in the 76th and 87th minutes, with Wayne Rooney adding a stoppage time goal to his two assists.
Let’s put that another way. Ferguson has so much talent at his disposal, he was able to take off Robin ven Persie, many people’s best player in England, and his team got better. Even when his best player’s slumping, Ferguson has enough to dominate England.
The win continues an undefeated run in all competitions that’s lastest since Dec. 5. That streak gets tested Tuesday against Real Madrid.
In league, Manchester United hasn’t lost since their Nov. 17 trip to Carrow Road. They redeemed that today, their 22nd win in 27 games.
In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.
Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.
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One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.
In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.
From the BBC:
“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.
“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”
The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.
What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.
Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.
Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.
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The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.
From the BBC:
Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.
Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.