Giggs hits form and threatens Real trouble


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Ryan Giggs produced another display to confound his doubters, starting the move that engendered Manchester United's third goal over Blackburn.

Jon Brodkin at Old Trafford
Monday April 21, 2003
The Guardian

For much of this season Ryan Giggs has been admired more by opponents than by certain Manchester United fans. "I love the way Ryan Giggs plays," said Raul, the Real Madrid striker, expressing a sentiment which has been heard less than ever in the Old Trafford stands.
Now, at a crucial point, the Welshman is going a long way towards winning over his doubters. Having helped propel United to the top of the table in recent weeks, more approval will come if Raul hates him by the end of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final.

While that titanic second leg looms, Giggs has been foraging ahead in the league. An impressive display and goal as a striker in the draw at Arsenal was followed by further signs of his renaissance in the same position here. The way he tackled Andy Cole, and started the move that culminated in Paul Scholes scoring goal No3, caught the eye. It would complete quite a week if Giggs were to inspire United to overturn a 3-1 deficit against Real.

That game has temporarily relegated any thoughts about United's exciting battle for the championship with Arsenal, which takes Sir Alex Ferguson's side to Tottenham on Sunday and sees them finish the season with a tricky fixture at Everton.

Ahead of Real's visit there were worrying signs for United in this performance, notably how much they might miss the goals and creativity of the excellent Scholes - suspended for Wednesday but whose double followed a hat-trick at Newcastle - but also in the slackness of some early defending and the departure of Fabien Barthez with a thigh injury. Yet there were positives to be gleaned from the slickness of much of their attacking, the form of Giggs and that of the even more impressive Ruud van Nistelrooy.

It is as a striker rather than a wide midfielder that Giggs has enjoyed much of his best form of late and the quandry for Ferguson is whether to keep him there to face Real. Without Scholes, the manager must choose whether to use Juan Sebastian Veron on the left for his first game since a knee injury sustained in March, entrust the role to Quinton Fortune or turn back to Giggs.

There is a case for keeping Giggs up front, not least in the hope that he can exploit the relative lack of pace of Fernando Hierro and Ivan Helguera at the heart of Real's back four. Here his acceleration and willingness to run at central defenders unsettled Blackburn, though he ought to have scored and twice wasted his own excellent work by delivering poor final passes.

Equally, it is unlikely to have escaped Ferguson's attention that Real's right flank has looked vulnerable in their past two matches. Real Sociedad scored more than once from attacks down that side in a 4-2 win over the European champions and Marc Overmars supplied Barcelona's equaliser from there in Saturday's 1-1 draw, one in which he repeatedly troubled Michel Salgado. Helping out defensively is not in Luis Figo's game plan.

Giggs playing on the left would probably bring Ole Solskjaer in up front. Wherever Giggs operates, the Blackburn manager Graeme Souness expects him to trouble Real. "He's a fantastic player who's been criticised unfairly and maybe he's just coming on song at the right time," he said. "You can stop him doing certain things but he's got other things in his locker that you can't stop."

The same might be said for Van Nistelrooy. The header with which he gave United the lead from David Beckham's cross took his tally for the season to 38 goals from 48 club games. He provided more besides, holding the ball up well, showing quick feet and setting up Scholes' second.

What irked Ferguson were the missed chances. "We should have scored more," he said, aware the title could be decided on goal difference. His players must be more ruthless.

United's win was ultimately comfortable but Blackburn will reflect on a turning point shortly after the interval when Ricardo Lopez, having replaced Barthez, conceded a penalty for a foul on Cole at 2-1. The keeper was not booked and then saved David Dunn's kick. "If it had happened at the other end there's no way Brad Friedel would have stayed on," said Souness.

Until then Blackburn had all but matched United, with Vratislav Gresko providing two dangerous crosses from the left and Damien Duff causing intermittent problems for Wes Brown, who was used at right-back, presumably in preparation for Wednesday when Gary Neville is also suspended.

Cole twice might have given Blackburn the lead as United's central defenders, Rio Ferdinand and Mikael Silvestre, began uncertainly. When Henning Berg headed Rovers level it followed Barthez's failure to claim a free-kick. The goalkeeper injured himself in the process: it will be a blow if he fails to recover for Wednesday because Ricardo looked erratic.

Scholes ensured that Barthez's error was not costly, restoring United's lead after a good run by Phil Neville and then making the game safe after fine work by Giggs and Van Nistelrooy. That pair will hope to ensure Scholes is not missed against Real.

concede - przyznać; poddać się
confound - zadziwiać
creativity - kreatywnosć
crucial - kluczowy, decydujący
display - pokaz
engender - powodować; spłodzić
entrust - powierzać
failure - niepowodzenia, fiasko
fixture - osprzęt, armatura
forage - szukać
glean - zbierać, gromadzić
intermittent - względny, przerywany
loom -widnieć, majaczyć; zakład tkacki
notable - godny uwagi
presumably - przypuszczalnie
propel - popychać, wprawiać w ruch do przodu
relegate - oddalać
renaissance - odrodzenie
ruthless - bezlitosny
slackness - powolność, lenistwo
supply -
sustain dostarczać, zaopatrzać-
tackle - zmierzyć się z czymś; wyposażenie
thigh - udo
ultimately - ostatecznie, w końcu
vulnerable - czuły, podatny

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