Sunday, November 26, 2006

Honours even in clash of the Titans...

IT finished up 1-1 at Old Trafford as United and Chelsea fought out his hard fought encounter. United took the game to the visitors in the first period and deservedly took the lead on 29 minutes when Louis Saha guided his curling shot from outside the box around the legs of Carvalho and beyond the unsighted Carlo Cudicini and into the keepers bottom right corner of the net, it was a great strikers goal.

Chelsea didn't offer much in the way of goal threats during the opening half and looked disjointed once again. You cannot help feel that Mourinho has yet to find the right blend, it's a case of too many cooks in the Chelsea midfield with Ballack and Lampard seemingly on different wavelengths and operating in the same zones.

United on the other hand looked fairly comfortable for most of the first period but the home side came under a bit of pressure just before the interval. At half time Mourinho predictably took off Geremi for Robben and switched Essien to right-back and Robben to the left wing. The move paid off because Chelsea more or less dominated possession throughout the second period.

Fergie needed to act to counter Chelsea's domination - but appeared to not know what to do - ironically with Chelsea bringing on a flankman and switching Essien to full-back it should have seen United getting more room in the middle of the park, but it had the opposite effect.

When in possession of the ball United gave it away cheaply, time and time again. Just as bad was United's failure to close down the Chelsea midfield in United's half. Giggs, Scholes, Carrick and Ronaldo didn't do enough closing down of the Chelsea midfield in the second period. Rooney was disappointing second half too.

When the Chelsea goal came it wasn't a surprise, as United's defence finally cracked under the weight of Chelsea pressure. Ricardo Carvalho scored with a well directed header from a corner after out jumping Heinze and it was Saha who got the final touch heading the ball past his own keeper. In truth it was only what Chelsea deserved.

United did have other half chances to have won this game, but it wasn't to be. Late on into the game United had to take off Ronaldo and Saha due to injuries - the fact that United didn't have another striker on the bench - or indeed another forward is alarming to say the least, this is the sort of thing you could perhaps expect in the Stockport and District Sunday league, but not a Manchester United. Quite simply United cannot win the title with such a thin squad and the reds without any shadow of doubt come a cropper if something isn't done to address the appalling lack of quality on the bench this January.

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