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Exits Will Hurt United Says Anelka


The departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez will seriously dent Manchester United’s title challenge, according to Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka.

Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for a world record £80million, whilst Tevez left for rivals Manchester City after his loan deal expired. United have signed Luis Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen and Gabriel Obertan in a bid to replace the duo but Anelka thinks the champions may struggle to retain their title.

“I don’t think they’ll be as strong this season” said the French international.

“Ronaldo and Tevez have gone and maybe it will give us more of a chance to win the title and be stronger than United.”

The Old Trafford club have won the title for three successive seasons and in doing so have equalled Liverpool’s record of 18 league championships. However, they are likely to face increased competition this season, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all desperate to dislodge them and Manchester City spending around £80million in a bid to break into the ‘big four’.

Anelka thinks the title race could be closer than ever. He said: “It will be a tough title race. All the teams at the top are very strong and even Manchester City have some good players.

“Because United have lost two big names, it gives everyone else – including ourselves – a big chance to win it. We will fight until the end and see.”

Anelka’s comments could well provoke a response from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot has already got the mind-games underway ahead of the new season with a dig at Manchester City. Speaking during a pre-season tour in China he claimed City pose little threat and are a “small club with a small mentality”.

With three weeks to go until the big kick-off and sparks already starting to fly, 2009-10 may prove to be one of the most explosive seasons in Premier League history. Premier League betting may certainly be interesting this season!

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  1. Cam

    July 28, 2009 at 3:08 am

    I think that United have a bigger problem in replacing someone like Sir Alex….he is not far off retiring even though he is 67 and fully fit.

    As has been stated almost everywhere, United have lost their best players before and haven’t really lost much of the talent/drive they had before! I will agree that Ronny is a huge loss, as he would be to any team, but I believe Sir Alex is the one and only person that United will be tested without.

    My last point, you really have to have a good defence to win trophies! Those people saying that United are going to fail this season need to think about this, United went 11 games without conceding a goal in the Premier League last year which in turn set us up for our 3rd consecutive league title. Having Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Rafael, Brown, Neville, Evans, Simpson and O’Shea in defence and the form they are in will be what makes or breaks United this year, not the loss of two mercenaries who seem to have had no real desire to play for one of the greatest clubs in the world!

  2. brn442

    July 27, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Ya think ? – that’s why we dont pay footballers to think.

  3. Lyle

    July 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Anelka makes a good point. Manchester United should be a little less potent this season, which may cost them a couple of victories here and there. This might give room to Chelsea or Liverpool to sneak in and win the EPL this year.

    I also think this season will be a top heavy season where the top 4 or 5 clubs pretty much win all their matches and the league comes down to how to how the big 4 do against the big 4. Lots of weakish teams in the EPL this year. Should be a fun relegation battle, but the big teams should cruise through the field all season long.

    • Thomas

      July 27, 2009 at 10:09 pm

      To be honest with you, that’s generally the Prem.

      An outsider to the top 4 hasn’t had a shot at the title in over a decade. Villa threatened the set order, but ultimately fell short. Everton a few years ago broke the top 4.

      With City spending heavily to improve, Everton and Villa consistantly rounding out the field, we may have a serious push at 4th place.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely entertained by English Football. But overall, the league is relatively predictable with regards to who will win (always the same 2-3 teams pushing), and you can guess who will be fighting relegation.

      The irrelevance of the Europa League, and the premium placed on league competition, even makes the fight for 5th-7th rather dull.

      Bundesliga has loads to offer in terms of unpredictability and excitement throughout the league.

      • Lyle

        July 27, 2009 at 11:27 pm

        Oh, I know. You are right. I think it is just going to be worse than usual. Although Manchester City should scare the heck out of Arsenal and whoever doesn’t keep pace with the top two.

      • Lyle

        July 27, 2009 at 11:31 pm

        … and I agree with you about the Bundesliga. It is a fantastic league. It’s been particularly good the last 2 seasons without Bayern running rough shod over everyone. FC Köln was actually the first professional European team I started following regularly. Thank god they staid up, they’ve been a yo a yo team for nearly a decade before this past season.

        • Thomas

          July 28, 2009 at 12:01 am

          Yeah, I was born in Austria, and went to German American Shool for a while. This led me to get into Bundesliga more than anything else. It was cool because the kids were from all over Germany, so there were many different loyalties throughout the classroom.

          My aunt and uncle live in Munich…hate Bayern, but I’ve grown partial to 1860. More of a “real” club, at least for what I’m looking for in supporting a team. My best friend is diehard FC. Nurnberg, so I like them too. Might be in Berlin next year, so I’m thinking Herta might be the club to pull for.

          And ya, I agree, it’s going to be even more top heavy this year. I just don’t see a team like Villa or Everton being able to compete over a 38 game haul with the other big teams. They drop too many points against mid level opposition, and they tend to do relatively poorly against the top 4.

          Arsenal is in better shape than many think. You have to factor in the return of Rosicky, Arshavin being even more assimilated, etc. If they could only get themselves a decent holding mid, you’d have 6 world class attacking talents in front of him.

          City is probably scaring the “old guard” a bit. While people laughed at them mere months ago for going after Kaka and overpaying for the lieks of Bellamy, Kompany, etc., their financial muscle has to scare the others. If their defense is shored up (I think Kompany at the back will help and so will Richards and Dunne, who I think will both be much improved), they can be very dangerous. Looks like they can play 2 holding mids, and let their attacking options push forward with reckless abandon. Should be a fun team to watch.

  4. Thomas

    July 27, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Anelka has a point. Not easy to replace your best player (probably the best in the worldd), and a key role player and not see a drop off.

    What should worry Man U even further is that players like Scholes, Giggs, and V. Der Saar are all a year older.

    I am still a firm believer that the purchase of Berbatov and the sale of Ronaldo are all part of a bigger plan that SAF has hathed. I get the feeling that SAF knew he would only have Ronaldo for another year. This year, he will build the team more around Berbatov. You can’t have as many creative, free role type of players that Man U was trying to field with DB, CR, Rooney, etc.

    I think Man U will resemble a team that is more industrious (Fletch and Carrick deeper in midfield) with Park/Giggs/Anderson operating on the left, and Valencia on the right. Rooney will play a more creative role, and the team may look more rigid than it has in the past.

    • Tyson

      July 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm

      You have to remember Wes Brown also comes back next season.

      Wes Brown is an absolutely instrumental player to Manchester United. A defense is like a chain and a chain is only as good as its weakest link.

      O Shea and Johnny Evans are both great players but O Shea is no Wes Brown and Johnny Evans has a great deal to learn yet.

      With Van Der Sar in the net and Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra covering the first line you are talking about the best defense in the business back at full strenght. Considering the defense did more to win the previous season than anybody else thats a pretty big coup.

      Midfield will consist of Park on the left, valencia on the right and in the middle Hargreaves(Manchester Uniteds own Mascherano or Yaya Toure) and then with Rooney dropping in behind Berbatov or Owen.

      Berbatov is the creative play maker while Owen is the poacher and if the ball falls back Rooney will give it a boot up the backside or it will fall back into the hands of Owen Hargreaves who is the counter offensive breaking down genius.

      With players like Rio Ferdinand, Vidic, Rooney, Evra, Park and upcoming players like Welbeck and Macheda this just seems like a plan in the making finally being executed from a “working team” perspective it fits like a jigsaw.

      If Berba and Owen work pieces of magic like this more often I think Fergie will have the last laugh(again).

  5. DaveMo

    July 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    This is a basic daily news item – six paragraphs of background around one or two quotes – same as can be read on or any of hundreds of other sites. What makes it rise to the level of interest that you would post it on For me, I come here for discussion and opinion. Maybe hard-to-find news that affects how I can tune into the matches. Or a digest of similar news articles that may mean a trend. But not this. Don’t bother cluttering up the home page with items like this – it makes it that much harder to find the stuff worth reading.

  6. Tyson

    July 27, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I think Chelsea will give us a run for our money but then again they usually do.

    It pains me to say this but Chelsea is a team that any side on the planet should be scared of.

    Chelsea has some great players but more importantly all of those players are loyal to the team and have a desire to win rather than being mercenaries that only wanted a bigger pay packet.

    Chelsea are obviously eager to win and they have the credentials to challenge(rather than all the hypothetical crap that people talk like their opinion means more than fact)

    August 9th is when United and Chelsea go to war. I’m relishing facing a side I respect as much as I dislike.

  7. Joaq

    July 27, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Remember to tell me when anything that little puff has to say has any actual significance… No one gives a shit. Crap article.

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