Ryan Giggs gets United through

Having watched both legs of Manchester United’s Champions League quarter-final with Chelsea, it hasn’t been too difficult in recognising that Ryan Giggs was the main reason United won.

He seems to now be turning into the creative midfielder that United have lacked at times this season. I keep on hearing that this isn’t the best United side ever produced by Alex Ferguson, and that the reason for that is mainly down to a lack of creativity in the middle of the park.

Well having watched Giggs in both games against Chelsea, it’s hard to say that there is a lack of creativity in the United midfield at the moment – although due to Giggs’ age, it’s obviously not a long term solution.

Plenty of credit has to also go to Ferguson for his rotation and handling of the squad, I’m quick enough to (rightly in my opinion) criticise him for the way he conducts himself with referees, so when he gets things right, it’s only fair I praise him too.

He got the team selection right against Fulham on Saturday, and he got it right against Chelsea as well.

A special mention also has to go to Park Ji-sung, how much work does this guy get through?

He also isn’t a first choice selection, but you never hear him moaning or dissenting, he must be a managers dream.

People might say that Alex Ferguson is lucky to have him, but I’d disagree with that. I don’t think it’s down to luck, I’d say Ferguson did his homework on Park and knew exactly what he was getting when he signed him. It can’t just be a coincidence that Ferguson keeps signing players who don’t cause a problem.

I thought that United deserved to go through over the two legs, Chelsea were better tonight than they were in the first leg, but they didn’t seem to have enough quality where it mattered.

Chelsea contributed to their own downfall. Ramires deserved his red, he can’t complain. To make the tackle he did on a yellow was stupid.

They also managed to concede in less than a minute after they had scored to get themselves back in the contest, you can’t do that at this level. And Torres also flopped again.

To add insult to injury, Chelsea have been pulicly taunted by Ferguson. He had already accused them of being obsessed with the Champions League, and now he has got his usual sly kick in, this time with Fernando Torres.

On the face of things Ferguson just seems to be making an honest general comment about Torres and how he is a good player who will find his form soon, but in reality he is having a go and trying to add to the pressure by claiming they had to play him because of his hefty price tag.

It was typical Fergie.

Cautious Rafa at it again

It was a decision that could have finished off Liverpool’s chances of finishing 4th. With Spurs slipping up and Man City winning, surley Liverpool had to win against Birmingham on Sunday to keep the pressure on in the race for 4th place.

If Man City now win their game in hand they will be 7 points clear, with only 5 matches remaining.

The decision taken by Rafa Benitez to sub Torres after 65 mins, had the Liverpool fans booing, skipper Steven Gerrard looking bemused and annoyed, and the man himself, Torres, coming off shaking his head in disbelief.

It showed to me that the senior players have little, or no confidence left in Benitez.

No wonder Torres keeps losing his head, the story that Benitez had to calm him down at half time against Manchester United was ironic, as Benitez is probably the reason why Torres has been so worked up lately. Also, should that not have been kept in house?

Is he also starting to lose the fans? In my experience of following football, the away following are the hardcore fans. They are the ones who see the bigger picture, and tell it as it is. Their booing of the decision to sub Torres was quite telling, and contradicts the generous chanting of Rafa’s name, regularly heard at home matches.

Maybe Sunday was a turning point in the fans feelings towards Rafa.

I actually felt a bit sorry for Benitez during the week. His comments about Aquilani and his sore ankle were probably right, it showed a frustrated man who is being let down by some of his players.

The problem is though, that he signed Aquilani. When the likes of Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson talk about signing a player, they comment about how they look beyond the players talent, they look at what kind of a character he is.

In the case of Aquilani, it would appear Rafa didn’t do his homework too well.

Torres may well have been tired, as he did put in a shift and a half against Benfica on Thursday night. At least he will be fresh for this weeks return leg in the Europa League, he might as well play in the match and get used to this competition, as under Rafa’s guidance he will be playing in it a lot more.