Category Archives: Manchester United

Player Profiles: Jaap Stam

If you look at the 1990s there are not many footballers more intimidating than Dutchman Jaap Stam. Standing at 6 foot 3 and with a piercing stare you really didn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. Stam strikes me as the sort of man, who would genuinely intimidate an opponent and when you couple that level of intimidation with talent you’ve got a very very good player.

Fact File

Name: Jakob Stam

Date of Birth: 17th July 1972

Nationality: Dutch

International Caps/Goals: 67/3

It is hard to imagine Jaap Stam as a young man, but everybody was young once and Stam began his life in the city of Kampen, born in 1972. He began playing for his local side as a teenager and in 1992 made the step up to the professional game with FC Zwolle in the Dutch 2nd division. His talent was immediately evident and after just a season with Zwolle the Dutchman moved up to the Dutch Premiership when he joined Cambuur Leeuwarden. In many ways Stam’s progression through Dutch football smacks of a classic journeyman player. Following 2 seasons with Leeuwarden he moved to Willem II another mid-table club in Holland. Then aged 26, after less than a season at Willem II, he got his break. Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven came knocking.

Stam moved to Eindhoven and became an integral part of a side who enjoyed a large amount of success including the league title, Dutch FA Cup and the Community Shield in each of Stam’s 3 seasons at the club. This success attracted the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. The Old Trafford club made Stam the most expensive Dutchman and defender in the history of the game spending £10.6 million to bring him to Manchester. It didn’t take long for Stam to make an impact, as he became a daunting opponent for every Premier League team to face. With Stam in the centre of defence Manchester United won 3 consecutive league titles along with the historic treble in the 1998-99 season. His impact at Old Trafford cannot be understated but after the 2000-01 season the release of Stam’s autobiography Head to Head caused a rift with Sir Alex Ferguson who was angered by some of his comments, and sold Stam to Lazio; something that Ferguson has since admitted he regrets as he had wrongly assumed that Stam was a little past it.

Far from being past it at 29, Stam played for another 5 years at a high level. Lazio won the Coppa Italia in Stam’s final season at the club and he was then part of the AC Milan side who beat his former club in the 2004 Supercoppa Italia. Stam was again a Champions League finalist in 2005, this time as an AC Milan player, although this time he was on the losing side as Liverpool took the title. The big Dutchman finished his career back in Holland with Ajax, winning the Dutch FA cup in his final season.

One of the more successful centre backs in world football, a steely defender who could time a tackle with the best of them, Jaap Stam is undoubtedly worthy of a place in the Player Profile squad.

Premier League: Weekly Round Up 28/10

Story by Ryan Howden

Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United

Manchester United moved within one point of the top spot after beating 9-man Chelsea. A David Luiz own goal and a good finish from Robin Van Persie gave United an early two-goal lead but Chelsea fought back through Juan Mata’s superb free-kick and Ramires’ towering header each side of the break.

Ten the game went mad with Chelsea having two men sent off in the space of five minutes, Ivanovic for tripping Ashley Young, before in a controversial decision Fernando Torres received a second yellow for allegedly diving. Hernandez finished the game with a shot from the six-yard box in what later was confirmed to be an offside position.

As the players left the pitch referee Mark Clattenburg was greeted with a ring of jeers from the home fans.

Everton 2-2 Liverpool

The Merseyside derby is always an exciting occasion and this one did not fail to disappoint as Luis Suarez dominated the game. The Uruguayan saw his shot deflect off Leighton Baines for Liverpools opener before putting his own name on the scoresheet with a header on 20 minutes.

Everton though fought back brilliantly through Leon Osman and Steven Naismith to draw level. Suarez though looked to have won the game for Liverpool late on but he was (later shown to be incorrectly) flagged offside.

Reading 3-3 Fulham

Hal Robson-Kanu’s late equaliser gave Reading a much needed point as they hosted Fulham. Reading opened the scoring with Mikele Leighterwoods thunderous shot, but in the second-half Fulham came back strongly with goals from Bryan Luiz and Chris Baird pulling them ahead.

Garath McCleary drew Reading level on 85 minutes but Dimitar Berbatov’s low shot late on looked to have clinched the points for Fulham, before Robson-Kanu’s point-blank effort instantly drew the hosts level.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert

Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich

Paul Lambert was denied victory against his former club as Norwich visited Villa Park. Christian Benteke gave Aston Villa a first-half lead after his cool finish went past John Ruddy, but at the start of the second-half the home-side found themselves down to 10-men after Joe Bennett picked up a second yellow card.

Norwich dominated the second-half and the breakthrough came on 79 minutes when Michael Turner headed in.

Wigan 2-1 West Ham

Wigan gained their first home victory of the season against a poor West Ham team. Ivan Ramis opened the scoring for Wigan early on with a classy volley before James McArthur added another before the break.

Wigan stayed in control of the match, with West Ham showing little threat in front of goal before James Tomkins late consolation.

Ramis

The Rest of the Weekends Action

A late goal from Papiss Cisse gave Newcastle victory over West Brom, Demba Ba had earlier opened the scoring with a volley before on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku had equalised for Albion. Two first-half goals from Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey saw Tottenham move into fourth place as they visited Southampton, Jay Rodriguez pulled one back fro the hosts.

Jack Wilshere

Mikel Arteta scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal hosted QPR. Carlos Tevez scored the winner as Manchester City faced Swansea in a tough encounter that saw both Michel Vorm and Micah Richards carried off. Elsewhere Sunderland and Stoke played out a 0-0 draw.

Premier League: Weekly Round Up 21/10

Story by Steve Berry

After a soggy week of international fixtures which mainly caught the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it was a relief to get the Premier League back under way. And despite the rumblings about wearing t-shirts and moronic Leeds fans, it was football that stole the show. With some fantastic matches, starting off with a sensational derby between Spurs and Chelsea, struggling Norwich stun Arsenal and a fierce Tyne – Wear derby.

Tottenham 2 – 4 Chelsea

 Andre Villas-Boas had to endure a miserable reunion with his old club, with the man who was meant to make his Chelsea campaign, Juan Mata, tearing Tottenham apart. Chelsea took the lead 17 minutes in when Gary Cahill scored a stunning volley past the reinstated Brad Friedel, after William Gallas failed to head the ball clear. The second half started much more brightly for Spurs with ex- Chelsea captain Gallas knocking in at the far post from Jan Vertonghen’s flick back. Jermaine Defoe then gave the home side the lead, scoring his 200th career goal from an Aaron Lennon cross.

Chelsea though, soon regained the lead with two quick goals from the sublime Juan Mata, first slotting in after Gallas again couldn’t clear his lines and then again when Eden Hazard played a beautiful ball in for the Spaniard to finish cooly. Daniel Sturridge then wrapped the game up tapping in a fine cross from that man again, Juan Mata.

Fulham 1 – 0 Aston Villa

 Aston Villa’s miserable start to the new campaign continued with a defeat to a resurgent Fulham at Craven Cottage. It was a fairly drab affair with Villa showing why they’ve only netted six goals in eight games as they looked ineffectual up front despite the return of Darren Bent to the first XI. Chris Baird scored the only goal of the game late on driving in John Arne Riise’s corner with his head.

Raheem Sterling (second left) celebrates his goal for Liverpool

 Liverpool 1 – 0 Reading

 Brendan Rodgers recorded his first win at Anfield as Liverpool boss, beating former side Reading who are still searching for a Premier League win. In truth it was a poor match, and the home fans will be expecting much better from the Rodgers revolution. But it was a welcome three points capped by 17 year old Raheem Sterling’s first for the club with a crisp finish from Luis Suarez’s through ball and an excellent performance from the England youngster.

Wayne Rooney

 Man United 4 – 2 Stoke

 Wayne Rooney marked 10 years to the day of his introduction to the Barclays Premier League by scoring for both sides in a win that keeps United in second place. Rooney headed in at the wrong end 11 minutes in when he inadvertently knocked the ball in past the hapless David De Gea. Rooney though recovered quickly from his mistake levelling 27 minutes in from a Robin Van Persie cross to score his first league goal of the season. The Dutchman then converted from Antonio Valencia’s ball in, to give the Red Devils the lead just before half time.

The second half started brightly when Danny Welbeck finished with aplomb after Rooney’s through ball caught out the sleepy Stoke defence. Michael Kightly gave the Potters hope following poor defending from Rio Ferdinand, with ex- Wolves man almost running through the 33 year old. Rooney, again though carried on his goal scoring from midweek for England, tucking in at the back past form a corner.

Unfortunately though Rio Ferdinand stole the headlines for all the wrong reasons after his decision not to wear a “Kick it out” t-shirt, which manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he will be punished for.

 Swansea 2 – 1 Wigan

 A four minute goal rush saw Swansea record their third win of the season and put to bed talks of a rift between players and the manager. After a first half in which literally nothing happened, the feeble few Wigan fans must have wondered why they bothered with the trip to Swansea. The second half was just as miserable for the Latics when Pablo Hernandez opened the scoring for Swansea with an excellent turn and shot, following an impressive run from Wayne Routledge who has been thriving this season. The Swans doubled their advantage when Miguel Michu headed in unmarked to score his sixth of the season, two minutes later. Wigan though almost immediately got back into the match after Emerson Boyce scored a fantastic mid air back heel. The Latics were unlucky not to come away with a point when Arouna Kone’s goal moments later was called offside despite replays showing he clearly wasn’t.

Edin Dzeko

 West Brom 1 – 2 Man City

 Edin Dzeko heightened his reputation as a ‘super-sub’ when he came off the bench to break Baggies hearts with two late strikes. James Milner made life difficult for the reigning champions after receiving his marching orders early in the game, taking down Shane Long who was through on goal. Long was a thorn in Man City’s side all afternoon and broke the deadlock for the home side 67 minutes in, finishing smartly form Peter Odemwinige’s splitting through ball. Romelulu Lukaku should have at least doubled West Brom’s lead but missed chance after chance, the most impressive being an inventive over head kick Joe Hart had to be on top from to react to.

The game changed however 79 minutes in with the introduction of Edin Dzeko for Gareth Barry, and the Bosnian showed why he should be starting when he headed in past a flailing Ben Foster. And in the 90th minute Man City countered quickly from a West Brom corner before getting the ball to Dzeko who finished smartly.

 West Ham 4 – 1 Southampton

 West Ham continued their good start to the season with a comfortable thrashing of Southampton. Again the second half brought fans back to life after another quiet first half, with Mark Noble opening the scoring with a fortunate free kick in the 46th minute. Kevin Nolan doubled the lead two minutes later tapping in Yossi Benayoun cross. Saints captain Adam Lallana got his side back in the game with a great swivel and finish to halve West ham’s advantage. But Noble then put the Hammers out of reach converting a penalty after Jose Fonte gave it away for a handball while pressing Andy Carroll. Maiga sealed the match off with a flourish beating most of Southampton’s defenders with a fantastic solo effort.

Norwich celebrate

 Norwich 1 – 0 Arsenal

 Norwich pulled off the surprise of the weekend in the late Saturday kick off by punishing a shaky Arsenal to record their first win of the season. Grant Holt scored the only goal of the game, 20 minutes in, capitalising on Vito Mannone’s fumble from Alexander Tettey’s long range drive to score his third goal in three games. And the Canaries could be considered unfortunate to only score the one with Michael Turner missing a sitter with a header from a corner and Grant Holt spurning two one on one opportunities in the second half. Arsenal looked miles off the team who had been so dangerous against West Ham and now find themselves 10 points off leaders Cheslea.

Sunderland 1 – 1 Newcastle

 A late Demba Ba own goal rescued Sunderland a point against 10 man Newcastle in a feisty Tyne- Wear derby. Yohann Cabaye got the visitors under way three minutes in, slotting in after Simon Mingolet pushed away Demba Ba’s shot. Cabaye’s midfield partner Cheick Tiote didn’t have as good an afternoon however. The Ivory Coast international saw red following a high foot on Steven Fletcher, after referee Martin Atkinson had already blown for a Newcastle free kick. Sunderland struggled to create many real chances but managed to salvage the draw in the 86th minute when Ba inadvertently converted John O’Shea’s header.

Everton defender Sylvain Distin

QPR 1 – 1 Everton

Queen’s Park Rangers are still on the search for their first win of the season despite a strong showing at home to Everton. Junior Hoilett opened the scoring early on, making a darting run to finish with a deflected shot. Everton grabbed the equaliser when Julio Cesar pushed in Sylvain Distin’s header. The Toffees managed to hold on until the final whistle despite going down to ten men, after Steven Pienaar received a second yellow for a very soft challenge on Jose Bosingwa.

Premier League: Weekly Round Up 07/10

Story by Steve Berry

Chelsea 4-1 Norwich 

Chelsea carried on their fantastic start to the season with a routine thumping of Norwich. The away side took the lead, much to everyone’s surprise in the 11th minute through a superb half volley from Grant Holt after Leon Barnett knocked down Hoolahan’s chipped pass. However Norwich’s lead lasted only four minutes when Fernando Torres headed in, virtually unmarked. Lampard gave Chelsea the lead less than ten minutes later smashing form the edge of the area. And it wasn’t long until it was 3-1 when Juan Mata carved through Norwich’s weak defence and played in Eden Hazard.

Norwich looked slightly more solid in the second half but Chelsea’s win never looked in doubt and Branislv Ivanovic made it four, powering in on the edge of the area with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Leighton Baines

 Wigan 2-2 Everton

 Wigan pulled off probably the biggest surprise of Saturday, earning a draw against high flying Everton in a match full of incident. Arouna Kone gave the Latics the lead after 10 minutes, however Everton will have every right to feel aggrieved, with Kone somehow not being called offside when he headed in. Jelavic levelled only a minute later heading in through Ali Al Habsi’s legs. Wigan though regained their lead in the 23rd minute when Franco Di Santo smashed the ball in from close range following the fantastic Kone’s ball across. The first half brought chance after chance with Al Habsi pulling off some fantastic saves and the Toffees were probably lucky to come in with 11 men after Fellaini’s elbow on Figueroa only earned him a yellow. In a game which had almost everything it was concluded in dramatic style when Leighton Baines converted from the spot powering into the top right hand corner.

 West Brom 3-2 QPR 

 James Morrison continued West Brom’s fine start to the season after five minutes heading in, to pile on QPR’s woes. Anton Ferdinand gifted Zoltan Gera the second for the Baggies deflecting the ball straight to the Hungarian’s feet. Adel Taarabt pulled a goal back in style, brilliantly volleying in from range giving the R’s some hope. But QPR’s shaky defence gifted a dangerous looking West Brom plenty of opportunities before it was 3-1 when Mulumbu passed it in following a fine pass and move that might have even lifted a smile on Adrian Chiles’ face. Esteban Granero got a late consolation for QPR with a fantastic finesse shot that his ex Real Madrid team mates would have been proud of.

Olivier Giroud

 West Ham 1-3 Arsenal 

 Arsenal claimed all three points at Upton Park, but it wasn’t without a scare when Mohammed Diame gave West Ham the lead against the run of play with a beautifully curved shot past Vito Manone. Olivier Giroud levelled, scoring his first Premier League goal after powering through the defence to knock in Podolski’s cross. Walcott got Arsenal’s second with a cool finish into the bottom left corner from Santi Cazorla’s fine through ball. The Spaniard then finished the game off, curling in excellently with a deadly strike from outside the box and deservedly got all the plaudits.

 Man City 3-0 Sunderland 

 Man City dominated in Saturday’s early kick off against Sunderland with 3-0 probably not doing the reigning champions justice. Aleksandr Kolarov scored 5 minutes in belting a trademark free kick into Simon Mignolet’s top left hand corner. The Serbian left back then turned provider for Sergio Aguero who had just come on for the sulking Mario Balotelli who stormed down the tunnel after being substituted. James Milner got the third again from a free kick, with his shot taking a slight deflection to go over Mignolet’s head.

Miguel Michu heads home Swansea's opening goal

 Swansea 2-2 Reading 

 Swansea and Reading met again for the first time since Swansea’s dramatic Play off final win two years ago. And the game provided nearly as much drama when new signing Pavel Pogrebnyak scored first past a struggling Swansea, firing through Michel Vorm’s legs. Noel Hunt doubled the away side’s advantage firing in a right foot volley from Jobi McAnuff’s deflected cross. Alex McCarthy pulled off a string of fantastic saves to keep Reading in the game but the lethal Michu brought Swansea back in the game scoring his fifth of the season with a diving header. Wayne Routledge equalised following a fine one two with Moore before powering in to earn Swansea a well earned point.

 Liverpool 0-0 Stoke 

Liverpool failed to find the net against Stoke despite last weekend’s trouncing of Norwich. The Reds were perhaps unlucky not to get anything from the match; with the Kop calling for a penalty when Luis Suarez was man handled by Robert Huth in the area. But an embarrassingly bad dive late in the second half continued to prove why refs are somewhat suspicious when the Uruguayan goes tumbling down.

 Southampton 2-2 Fulham

 The Saints clawed back a point against Fulham in the last few minutes, pushing them out of the relegation zone. Southampton went one up within four minutes when Jose Fonte headed in from Adam Lallana’s corner. Fulham equalised though when Hooiveld stuck at his foot and deflected in John Arne Riise’s shot into his own net. And the Cottagers thought they’d won when Kieran Richardson shot deflected in again off Hooiveld in the 88th minute. But Southampton had other plans and Jose Fonte jumped up again from a corner in stoppage time to rescue a draw.

 Tottenham 2-0 Aston Villa 

 Spurs’ resurgence under AVB continued with a comprehensive victory over Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa. The Scotsman confirmed this week he was suing and being sued by his former club Norwich and his turbulent week continued as Steven Caulker put Tottenham in the lead after Jermain Defoe’s shot deflected in off the defender. Aaron Lennon then put the game out of reach in the 67th minute after a run down the wing scoring his first goal in nine months.

Jonny Evans scores for Manchester United

Newcastle 0-3 Man United 

Manchester United dominated in a convincing win over Newcastle pushing them up to 2nd in the league. The Red devils went one up early on through Jonny Evans’ header in the eighth minute and doubled their advantage when another defender, Patrice Evra, headed in seven minutes later. United pressed against a poor looking Newcastle and finished them off when Tom Cleverley powered in with a spectacular shot from range.

Premier League: Weekly Round Up 30/09

Story By Steve Berry 

A Super Saturday provided the main talking points for the weekend as Tottenham got a rare win against Man United at Old Trafford and Chelsea saw off Arsenal in a close encounter at the Emirates, with Liverpool also getting their first win of the season in style against a struggling Norwich.

 Man United 2-3 Tottenham 

Andre Villas Boas couldn’t control his emotions at the final whistle as Spurs stunned Man United to collect all three points in their first win at Old Trafford in 23 years. Tottenham bossed the first half as Jan Vetonghen and Gareth Bale fired past an under fire Anders Lindergard to deservedly put the away side 2-0 up at half time.  The second half started just as emphatically with three goals in three minutes. The first came in the 50th minute from a fine Nani strike, followed almost immediately by Clint Dempsey opening his goal scoring account for Tottenham from close range. Shinji Kagawa then a minute later got his second goal in a Man united shirt with a slotted finish past Brad Friedel. The Red Devils pressed Tottenham right up until the last minute, but to no avail, leaving Fergie to bemoan an apparent lack of stoppage time for his side to get back in the game.

John Terry & Fernando Torres

 Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea 

 Roberto Di Matteo will be delighted with his side’s display against Arsenal, who up until today had looked so solid defensively. Fernando Torres gave Chelsea the lead in the 20th minute, breezing past Laurent Koscielny to fire in first time from a Juan Mata free kick. Torres should have doubled the lead after more criminal defending from the Gunners, but missed the ball completely and tumbled over in the box. Gervinho managed to level for Arsenal a minute before half time with a powerful turn and finish on the edge of the area. However Arsenal gifted the winner to Chelsea as another Juan Mata free kick got the slightest of deflections off Laurent Koscielny’s boat to take it past Vito Mannone.

 Norwich 2-5 Liverpool

 Luis Suarez again tore a woeful looking Norwich side apart scoring his second hat trick in two games at Carrow Road. The Uruguayan gave the reds the lead after just 70 seconds, cooly finishing from the edge of the area. Suarez then got his second as a dopey Michael Turner lazily trickled the ball backwards without noticing Suarez behind him to gift him Liverpool’s second. Liverpool were unlucky not to be 3-0 up at the break as Leon Barnett collapsed on Suarez, kicking and elbowing him to the ground in the process but somehow a penalty was not given. Norwich almost got back in the game straight away as the second half kicked off with Robert Snodgrass bizarrely managing to clear Andrew Surman’s goal bound shot off the line and out for a goal kick. The Canaries then fell apart immediately after, as that man again, Suarez, set up Nuri Sahin’s first league goal for his new club. Suarez, who the Carrow Road faithful will be more than sick of seeing by now, then managed to complete his hat trick with an easy goal with Norwich’s back four, seemingly terrified of him, backed off the striker allowing him to slot a low shot past John Ruddy.

 Steve Morison reclaimed some pride for Norwich in the 61st minute following a fumble by Pepe Reina but Steven Gerrard then smashed that with a long range effort deflecting off Leon Barnett and in for Liverpool’s fifth. Grant Holt took the only positive for the Canaries, getting his first of the season with a well placed effort from the edge of the area after breaking through Liverpool’s sleepy defence.

 Fulham 1 -2 Man City  

Mladen Petric gave Fulham the lead from the spot following an incredibly soft penalty after Pablo Zabaleta arm brushed John Arne Riise who flew to the ground. Man City got back in to the game as Sergio Aguero levelled from close range.  Schwarzer kept Fulham in the game before Super Sub Edin Dzeko grabbed the winner from a Gael Clichy cross in the 87th minute.

Nikica Jelavic

 Everton 3-1 Southampton 

Gaston Ramirez gave Everton an early fright nodding in Adam Lallana’s cross in the 6th minute, but after that Everton dominated and in style, levelling through Leon Osman’s close range finish. Nikica Jelavic then gave the Toffees the lead from a Kevin Mirallas cutting pass. Jelavic finished the game off in the 38th minute heading in after fine work from Seamus Coleman. Southampton came close in the second half but Everton looked good value for the win and kept the score at 3-1.

 Reading 2-2 Newcastle 

A slow first half was soon forgotten at the Madjeski Stadium as the game burst into life in the 58th minute when Jimmy Kebe tucked in Jobi Mcanuff’s cross inside the near post. But Demba Ba equalised seconds later with a superb volley. Reading though didn’t hang about with Noel Hunt heading in again from another cross from skipper Mcanuff. The Magpies equaliser was somewhat controversial as Ba scored his sixth in six games after there were questions of handball.

 Stoke 2-0 Swansea 

Michael Laudrup’s Swansea looked completely different from the one that dominated early in the season as they’ve now failed to score in their last three games. Peter Crouch scored first from a corner when the 6 foot 7 striker was inexcusably left unmarked, and then got his second after powerful play form Jonathan Walters in the 36th minute.

Steven Fletcher

 Sunderland 1-0 Wigan 

Steven Fletcher carried on his incredible start to his Sunderland career driving home James McClean’s cross in the 51st minute. The Scotsman has now scored every time he’s played for Sunderland and is responsible for all of their goals this season. Wigan were somewhat unlucky to not be ahead before half time but Jordi Gomez made life much more difficult for the visitors when he was shown red for a two footed foul on Danny Rose.

 Aston Villa 1-1 West Brom

Darren Bent scored late on to conclude the weekend’s action and to earn Aston Villa a point in the West Midlands Derby. West Brom took the lead early in the second half as Shane Long converted James Morrison’s cross, but the game changed in Villa’s favour when Lambert brought on out of favour striker Darren Bent, who scored his 150th premier league goal in the 80th minute.