Roo-diculous

Absurd game in which United threw away a 3-1 lead and were lucky to get a single point…

I’m not sure why Chicharito was left out of the squad today, possibly international commitments or somesuch, but with Rooney left at the hotel to reflect on his week of shame*, Berbatov was up front on his own (with nominal attacking support from Giggs). Not ideal – I always feel it is waving the white flag when the nominal favourite in a given game plays one striker. Anyhow, Berbatov performed very well again. His form at the start of this season has been fantastic, and he scored a beautifully-executed daisycutter from the edge of the area.

Nani had a decent game, but he is still awful at making final-ball decisions – always the shot from 30 yards instead of the pass to the open man, or the tricksy cross without looking which ends up in no man’s land. He did, however, uncork an absolute stonker of a ball for Fletcher to tap-in with a smart volleyed finish from a few yards. Giggs did nothing. At this point in his career, he shimmies and shakes and dinks and taps, but it’s all for nought.

But going forward wasn’t the big problem. The defence (and defensive midfield) is still a disaster, and will be run ragged by better sides. Conceding three to Everton – that’s one more than they’d scored all season – is a very worrying sign. Vidic looked marginally faster and stronger, which was encouraging, but Evra had another terrible game – totally at fault for the first Everton goal, then engaging in some bizarre wrestling to give away a dangerous free kick on the edge of the area. Evans was very shaky, and he and O’Shea were at fault for both the injury time goals. The lack of an effective post-Ferdinand centre-back pairing is disturbing, particularly when Vidic and Evans had seemed to gel pretty well last year.

While Scholes had a great game and was instrumental in getting United their 3-1 lead, he should not be on the pitch late in a close game, as he remains far and away the worst tackler in the league. None of Fletcher, Scholes or O’Shea have the ability to take control of the area in front of the defence, and it is here that so many chances are being gifted to the opposition. Add this to the confusion in central defence on crosses and there is serious cause for concern. I still think they should have gone for Chiellini, Kjaer or even Gary Cahill over summer, and playing Neville is suicidal at this point. Rafael’s development continues to be stunted by Ferguson’s preference for ‘trusted veterans’, none of whom are close to his quality.

*Ferguson said: “He gets terrible abuse here, we’re not going to subject him to it.” I get the impression that this is classic lying through his teeth to ‘protect’ the club – I doubt Beckham ever got such consideration, nor Cantona, both subject to nasty terrace chanting. It’s more that whenever Ferguson feels the story becomes the player and not the team, he turns into a Govan distillation of Stalin and cans the player, pretends the problem doesn’t exist, and stonewalls all the interesting questions posed to him.

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Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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