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Manchester United related links and news

I've come across a number of interesting reads today and I thought I'd share some links that are Manchester United related. This should get you caught up on the general happenings of the club ahead of tomorrow's tie at Wigan. Here you go:

* FIFA '11 correctly predicted United's 2-1 derby victory over Manchester City. They run another simulation for tomorrow's game versus Wigan. They see Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher bagging goals at the DW Stadium. It finishes with a prediction that will surely disappoint some Scousers. 

FIFA 11 Game Simulation | Manchester United vs Wigan Athletic (via EAsportsfootball)

* A very interesting read on Tom Cleverley from The National, and the success of the Manchester United U-21 England midfielder's loan spells. The article is from November when United last clashed with Wigan. With the inconsistent displays from our central midfield this season, Cleverley undoubtedly will get a long look by Sir Alex Ferguson to see if he can fill that void next season.  

More links after the jump...

* Georgina Turner of Sports Illustrated, wrote a good piece on Michael Carrick and his decline. In the past, I've generally been a Carrick supporter, but I don't feel he's been the same player since his rubbish display versus Barcelona in the 2009 Champions League final. Carrick doesn't appear to have the confidence or ability anymore to make the direct pass when he's pressured. 

* Mark Lomas of ESPN Soccernet also has a piece discussing our central midfield woes. He sees parallels to '05.

* Per the Guardian, Sir Alex Ferguson updates us on United's injuries. Summary: Michael Owen and Ryan Giggs may be available versus Wigan; Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans to miss the Chelsea match, but both eye returns for Liverpool. Park Ji-Sung is two weeks away, and Anderson is three. Antonio Valencia is training, but a timetable on his return is uncertain. 

* This report by ESPN Soccernet claims the royal family of Qatar is preparing a 1.5 billion pound takeover bid, after supposedly having a 1 billion pound bid denied by the Glazers. This article says the Glazers are committed to United and aren't planning on selling the club. I contend that where there is smoke, there is fire... 

* This Everton blog article compares Patrice Evra, Leighton Baines, and Ashley Cole. It's no secret that Everton's biggest strength in attack is from their left side, but it's also the side that gives up goals. All three are good in the attack, but this piece hints that Baines is much more ambitious and Cole may be the better passer. However, Evra is likely the best defender of the three. This pretty much sums up how I viewed the three left-backs anyway. 

* And finally.... John Terry is a numpty. But we all knew that. 

* Eric Cantona as Anti-Hero from The Run of Play blog... simply awesome

Behind the scenes at Marseille vs United via The Offside