Да живее Бербатов

Or ‘long live Berbatov’ for those who prefer Western script…

Good game, great result, but a poor performance by United today in my view; lots went wrong, but let’s start with the good news. Berbatov was masterful, playing in a slightly withdrawn role (his best position in my opinion) where he could dictate play in the whole opposition half. He popped up on the wings, in the centre circle, and with good acceleration in the box for his goal. I really hope Ferguson has learned from his mistake last year of trying to shoehorn Berbatov into a 4-5-1, a system he just isn’t built for. United will only ever get good value out of him if he has a relatively free role in a solid 4-4-2 (which we definitely have enough strikers for this year).

Evans didn’t have a bad game, though being next to Vidic on an off night probably flattered him. Valencia was lively, though lacked ideas; Chicharito came on and tried hard to get into the game though he didn’t get much service; and Giggs notched one of his trademark accurate-if-a-little-effete volleys.

As for the bad, it begins with the brain-dead Nani, who continues to waste every final ball by either overhitting crosses, playing passes to nobody at all (or directly to grateful defenders), or by taking several touches too many in a quest to emulate Maradona ’86. If he doesn’t improve by Christmas I wouldn’t be averse to cashing in on his diminishing value. Deja vu. Nemanja Vidic was made to look daft on several occasions by Andy Carroll (who appears to be hoping to get picked for Argentina with that hair), which even is more worrying considering the former Rock of Serbia has just signed a bumper contract. Both he and Evra had sub-par years in 2009/10 and they picked up where they left off today.

There is no excuse for O’Shea to be starting if Rafael is fit enough to be on the bench; another dunderheaded Ferguson move. Scholes had an absolute shocker with the sole exception of a sublime outside-of-the-boot cross-field pass (puzzling after he single-handedly taught Chelsea a lesson last week); Fletcher was also hopeless other than his smart vulture-like finish (both he and Scholes were guilty of awful tackles); and Rooney looked like he was still in the throes of a major world cup hangover – not only ineffective and lacking ideas, but slow to tackle back and grumpy with teammates. Not a good sign.

Newcastle could have had three goals from free headers, and they were unlucky not to hit the back of the net at least once. They will probably stay up – Carroll is a handful, and Barton and Nolan were causing problems for the midfield. Incidentally, what on earth is going on with Barton’s moustache?! He looks like Peter Mandelson c.1984 (see below).

The Prince of Darkness, and Peter Mandelson

Anyway, I enjoyed the game, but there’s plenty of work to be done to get the best out of this squad if United hope to recapture the league this year.

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Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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