Sunday, August 19, 2007

Derby day frustration for Reds who out played City from start to finish.

Sir Alex Ferguson like the millions watching the Manchester derby on tv will have struggled to believe that United actually somehow contrived to lose the game courtesy of Geovanni's first half deflected shot, which was one of only two decent efforts in the whole ninety minutes from City.

So it turned out to be another frustrating day from the Reds perspective, like against Portmouth in midweek, United totally dominated the game pretty much from start to finish but this time without scoring and so ended the day without anything to show for their collective efforts.

United should have been at least one up before City scored, the visitors were denied a cast-iron first half penalty when right back Corlucka clumsily brought down Patrice Evra without even touching the ball, yet to the astonishment of many including Fergie, referee Mark Clattenburg gave a goal kick. But it was one of those days as City got the rub of the green all game long with United being denied two corners, once when Schmeichel saved from Nani and on another occasion when Evra played the ball off the legs of the Corlucka.

City's results and performances have been a complete transformation from the side of last season, that was up and until today when they came up against an accomplised team like United who will play worse than today and still come away with all three points.

To a large extent, City had Richards and Dunne at the heart of the home defence to thank for the victory. The rest of the home team looked every bit as hapless as any City team that United have faced in recent times. However, the Blues got the only goal of the game and of course goals win matches, and this is an area which is giving Reds fans and no doubt the manager some cause for concern as United have only scored one goal from three league games.

The Red Devils are creating chances and against City, Tevez and Scholes had United's best chances. The Argentine missed one clear-cut header right at the death, which was unforgivable, but in the little man's defence the ball did arrive very quickly. Scholes lacked his usual composure on a couple of occasions when presented with shooting opportunities around the box and new boy Nani also pulled two shots wide of the target and Vidic hit the woodwork with a header.

City fans will no doubt be in Sven heaven and who can blame them, but after today they will believe that things can only get better, somehow I doubt it. Going off what we've seen today City are unlikely to take more points off any of the top four sides from last season as surely they cannot be so lucky again.

Here again though today's derby result will concern United as Chelsea beat Reading when United could only manage a draw with the Royals. United got the winning habit early last season, Ferguson will demand that the Reds recapture their winning ways post haste.

Some schools of thought are now suggesting that United are lacking a cutting edge up front and that perhaps we need to sign someone like Anelka who by the way we've been linked to today.

There's also a suggestion that United are trying to walk the ball into the net by over-playing. Comparisons are being made with Arsenal's style of play, but for me United have always played a better and a more attacking brand of football, that was up and until this season. United have not been guilty of over playing, we've been guilty of not finishing chances - there is a difference.

While the Red's general play has been of a very high standard, apart from finishing off chances, there is still room for improvement.

Against City Nani was guilty of wasting crosses into the box, on one occasion in the second half United had three players unmarked inside the City penalty area, but Nani's cross went out of play, his passing in general wasn't on the money and it came as no surprise when he was replaced in the second half.

With injuries and suspsensions, United currently lack quality in numbers and today that was highlighted with the second half introduction of an untried youngster in Frazer Campbell who barely touched the ball.

Perhaps United do need someone like Fernando Torres who showed his blistering pace later in day as he scored for Liverpool in his home debut against the former champions Chelsea. There was at least two occasions today when Tevez was one-on-one with Micah Richards but the Argentine lacks the pace of Torres and that was only too self evident in the Manchester derby.

On a more positive note, United played some really neat first time football which made City look second-rate and Owen Hargreaves was oustanding, barely putting a foot wrong all game long, and with Liverpool and Chelsea drawing things could be worse.

The league title has never been lost or won in August - and this United side is capable of beating all the top sides, so fear not, it is still very early days. Do not write-off the Reds.


  1. Man U's finishing was absolutely ridiculous, why was not foresight put into this? We have needed a striker, a quality striker, a poacher, a goal-scorer, ever since we lost Van Nistelrooy, we have center-forwards not strikers!

  2. Tevez is a striker. He will score, and he will score often. United will be fine. The only weak link in the team right now, sad to say it, is Giggs. He doesn't seem to be able to go around people anymore. Where is Anderson? Not another Fergie flop I hope?

  3. Your writings are always smart and encouraging. I agree with you.

    In general, i think we were too happy about what we achieved last year. Now it's a new season and the race is not against any other teams, because with what we have, i believe we can beat any football team in the world. The race is against ourselves!


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