United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Blue Stars 2009: An overview

Posted by nickogs20 on May 22, 2009

With the official Blue Stars tournament website lacking somewhat in terms of the accuracy of its match stats (scorers, lineups etc) and the detail of its match reports, we’re delighted to be able to bring you an in-depth and accurate report on United’s two days in Zurich from someone who was there and saw the action unfold.

As an overview we had one of the youngest squads at the Tournament, with Ravel Morrison being the youngest player in all ten teams by a considerable margin. Teams such as FC Basel, FC Zurich and Grasshoppers all had stronger, older and more experienced squads….many of their players had a bit of first team experience.

The weather was very warm, sunny and often humid and the grass on all three pitches was quite dry and long. These conditions certainly didn’t help our passing game.

The team was managed by Ole Solskjaer and Warren Joyce as opposed to Paul McGuinness who also attended.

 
Game 1 vs FC Blue Stars – 2-0 (Brandy pen 23, King 38)

A pretty comfortable victory with all the players finding their feet. We were in control the whole game but could not convert our superiority into goals in the first half. Early in the second period, Drinkwater played a lovely through ball to Brandy who was brought down in the area. Brandy duly converted the penalty to give United the lead. Just after the half hour mark Solskjaer made two substitutions and on 37 minutes, Norwood played a lovely through ball to King who rounded the keeper….seemed to lose his balance and opportunity but then drilled a low shot to the keepers near post to put United 2-0 up. Ben Amos made two great saves at the end before Ollie Norwood hit a free kick into the wall on the final whistle.

United lined up in a 442 formation…..Moffatt and Dudgeon the fullbacks…Drinkwater on the right of midfield and Brady on the left with Stewart and Brandy up front.

1. Ben Amos
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Corry Evans (c)
6. Matt James
7. Cameron Stewart (16. Nicky Ajose 32)
8. Danny Drinkwater
9. Febian Brandy
11. Robbie Brady (15. Joshua King 31)
12. Scott Moffatt
14. Oliver Norwood
18. Scott Wootton

Unused Subs
2. Richard Eckersley
5. Reece Brown
10. Rodrigo Possebon
13. Conor Devlin
17. Ravel Morrison

Man of the Match: Oliver Norwood

 
Game 2 vs Fenerbahce – 2-2 (Possebon 14, Brandy 40)

The Turkish side proved sterner opposition and although we had the better of possession we were over-elaborate at times and didn’t really pass the ball well. Nevertheless, with five minutes of the first half remaining, Possebon tried a speculative shot from outside the box and his low half volley beat the keeper to give United the lead. Rodrigo had been patchy up to that point so it was hoped the goal would help him start to dominate the game. At half time United led by a deserved 1-0 margin.

Once again we had loads of possession in the second half but tried to play as individuals rather as a team. After 37 minutes they equalised against the run of play with a 35 yard screamer as we failed to close them down – a clear sign that the Reds should not be complacent. Then with time almost up, Brandy raced onto a through ball and slotted it past the keeper to give United what looked like a late victory. However, Fenerbahce raced up the other end direct from the kick-off…and with our defence at sleep equalised again on ’41. Aaagghhh!!!

We played in a 451 formation with Ajose on the right of midfield and Morrison on the left with James, Norwood and Possebon in the middle. King was the lone striker.

1. Ben Amos
2. Richard Eckersley
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Corry Evans (c)
5. Reece Brown
6. Matt James
10. Rodrigo Possebon
14. Oliver Norwood
15. Joshua King (9. Febian Brandy 21)
16. Nicky Ajose (11. Robbie Brady 28)
17. Ravel Morrison (7. Cameron Stewart 36)

Unused Subs
8. Danny Drinkwater
12. Scott Moffatt
13. Conor Devlin
18. Scott Wootton

Man of The Match: Matty James

 
 
Game 3 vs FC Basel – 1-5 (Possebon pen 19)

Lining up in all white for the last game of the day at 19:00 United started out well against the more experienced and physical Swiss side. But within 4 minutes the locals took the lead and we were playing catch up. It seemed that the Reds were still suffering from the shock of losing the last minute goal in the previous game. Brandy then had a good chance on 7 minutes but over elaborated and it went out for a corner. On 12 minutes, Febian had another chance, this time a header from a free kick on the right that he steered wide. Then on 18 the ever busy Brandy was brought down in the box and Possebon stepped up to score low past the keepers right. At half time we were holding Basel 1-1 although we had not been playing well.

A minute into the second half they scored their second which caused frustration in the team. We hadn’t been playing well…..not got our passing game together at all…..and were lacking concentration. A minute later it got worse! After failing to win a free kick, Brandy lashed out at the keeper and was rightly shown the red card……a season’s frustration was unleashed and now United faced real danger. On 29 we went further behind when a Basel forward unleashed an unstoppable drive that gave Amos no chance. By now we were all over the place and chasing the game. What could have been a 1-3 scoreline quickly turned into a nightmare when defensive lapses allowed Basel to score two late goals for a flattering 5-1 victory. To be fair United did not deserve anything out of the game and lots of heads were seen to drop after their third.

Brandy was shown a yellow before his straight red and Evans was also booked in the second half.

Original formation was 451 with King on the right…Brady on the left….the other three in the middle with Brandy the sole striker.

1. Ben Amos
2. Richard Eckersley
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Corry Evans (c)
5. Reece Brown
6. Matt James
8. Danny Drinkwater
9. Febian Brandy
10. Rodrigo Possebon (7. Cameron Stewart 21)
11. Robbie Brady (17. Ravel Morrison 30)
15. Joshua King

Unused Subs
12. Scott Moffatt
13. Conor Devlin
14. Oliver Norwood
16. Nicky Ajose
18. Scott Wootton

Man of the Match: Probably Corry Evans but it was a bad team performance all around.

 
 
Game 4 vs CR Flamengo – 1-1 (James 21)

Day two gave the young Reds a chance to reflect on the previous day and put things right. The mauling at the hands of Basel meant that we had no chance of reaching the final, but if other results went our way we could still get into the 3 v 4 play-off position.

At 11:40 we lined against the Brazilians who had won their earlier game and thus the best we could do was finish third in our group. We started the brightest and on ‘3 Ajose had a good effort comfortably saved by the keeper after some good build up play. They also pressed and on ‘9 Conor Devlin saved brilliantly at the feet of a Flamengo forward. Six minutes later another shot, this time from James from 30 yards was straight at the keeper. Richard Eckersley then collected a yellow card for kicking the ball away. A strange decision as the free kick was given to us! The half finished shortly after at 0-0.

Within a minute of the restart United had taken the lead. A great ball by Ollie Norwood found Stewart on the right wing. Cam had been a little wasteful up to that point, but on this occasion he beat his man on the outside and whipped in a low cross which Matty James ran onto at the far post to score. United now started to look their confident selves. However on ’30 minutes….a Flamengo player took a dive near Joe Dudgeon that was unbelievable! A terrible decision! Flamengo duly equalised. Danny Drinkwater had two good chances to score…one on ’35 that the keeper saved brilliantly from 12 yards and another which shot across the goal in the last seconds.

A game we should have won but the final result did not affect the standings…however the referee was poorest I had seen in some time.

The team lined up in a 4411 formation…..Moffatt and Dudgeon at fullback with Evans and Eckersley in central defence. Stewart on the right of midfield with Norwood on the left…..Possebon and James in the middle. Morrison in the hole with Ajose up front. Brandy was suspended.

 
13. Conor Devlin
2. Richard Eckersley
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Corry Evans (c)
6. Matt James
7. Cameron Stewart
10. Rodrigo Possebon
12. Scott Moffatt
14. Oliver Norwood
16. Nicky Ajose (11. Robbie Brady 36)
17. Ravel Morrison (8. Danny Drinkwater 31)

1. Ben Amos
5. Reece Brown
15. Joshua King
18. Scott Wootton

 
Man of The Match: Matt James

 
 
Game 5 (5th/6th playoff) vs Real Madrid – 0-0 (won 3-0 on penalties)

This match kicked off at 14:20 to decide 5th v 6th positions in very humid conditions. We faced an equally young Madrid side who had also struggled against more experienced teams.

In a game of very chances, Ollie Norwood came closest on ‘5 with a free-kick that dipped low at the last second and just beat the post. Other than that there was very little in the way of action for the rest of the half. Moffatt pulled up late in the period with what looked like a strain of some sort and was replaced by Brandy. 0-0 at half time.

We kept the same 4411 formation in the second half with Brandy going up front and Stewart going to fullback and Ajose into midfield. Once again the game had few chances with Brandy coming closest to breaking the deadlock, a shot from a wide angle that their keeper pushed out.

Thus the game ended 0-0 and went to penalties. We won the toss and went first….Ollie Norwood converting in the top left hand corner with a hard drive. 1-0 to the Reds. Conor Devlin then saved the first Madrid spotkick, diving down to his left. Possebon calmly slotted home number two and Devlin then saved the second Madrid penalty with a carbon copy dive to his left. 2-0 to United. Febian Brandy confidently notched our third and it needed the Madrid No. 8 to score and keep their hopes alive. Fortunately for the Reds he put his shot wide and we ran out winners 3-0 on penalty kicks.

We started with a 4411 formation. Moffatt and Dudgeon at fullback with Evans and Wootton in the middle. Stewart on the right side of midfield and Norwood on the left. Morrison in the hole and Ajose up front. After the subs….Stewart went to right back, Ajose to right wing and Brandy up front. Eckersley was not included.

 
13. Conor Devlin
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Corry Evans (c)
6. Matt James
7. Cameron Stewart
8. Danny Drinkwater
12. Scott Moffatt (9. Febian Brandy 20)
14. Oliver Norwood
16. Nicky Ajose (11. Robbie Brady 30)
17. Ravel Morrison (10. Rodrigo Possebon 34)
18. Scott Wootton

1. Ben Amos
5. Reece Brown
15. Joshua King

Man of The Match: Joe Dudgeon

 
 
 
Summary

Overall, United had not played that well. Although we were one of the younger teams, we should have used our experience more.

The forwards found it difficult to make inroads and often tried to go it alone too often. Norwood and James, the latter playing all 200 minutes, battled away hard in central midfield without really dominating.

Over the whole competition, Devlin and Wootton did not do too much wrong but only played in two games…..so it was really only Corry Evans and Joe Dudgeon who I thought played anywhere near top form.

Ravel Morrison also struggled against defenders more than four years his senior. He never gave in and put himself about but was out muscled more often than not.

Overall a good learning experience for all the lads.

The Swiss teams finished 1, 2, and 3……fielding much more mature sides.

We will win it next year!

 
Many thanks to Mr MUJAC for the fantastic report.

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3 Responses to “Blue Stars 2009: An overview”

  1. arjwiz said

    Great analysis. Keep it up!

  2. Norries said

    Nickogs – here is some truth before the first teams final premship game. A man that truely deserves an appearance is Lee Martin. With the commitment and effort he has shown when play for the reserve – it would be really terrible if he does is nt involved today. I guess he had pass season the chance but i would have given Lee the reserve player award this year. Didnt he have the most appearances than the three nominees, unless they took chesters involvment in first team matters and danny achievment out onloan.

  3. nickogs20 said

    Evans had the most appearances of anyone in the reserves this season.

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