Sunday, August 26, 2007

United have to fight all the way for first victory of the season

United took on Spurs today knowing that nothing less than a win would be good enough given the Reds main title rivals all won at the weekend. The visitors who themselves haven't started the season well pushed the home side hard from the start and certainly did not deserve to lose courtesy of a second half stunner from Nani, but that is precisely what happened.

The Reds had to survive Robbie Keane hitting the bar in the opening minute after a poor cross field Nani ball that was intercepted by the Spurs attack. In the second half Spurs had two strong penalty appeals turned down by the referee, the first decision by Howard Webb was clearly the correct one when Berbatov was inadvertently brought down by Vidic, but TV replays showed that the Serbian and the Bulgarian came together rather than the Reds defender deliberately fouling the Spurs striker.

The second big decision centred on what looked like hand-ball inside the United box by Wes Brown, this time Spurs looked to have been on the wrong end of a bad decision as once again Webb turned down the visitors appeals.

The Reds also had to thank Rio Ferdinand for a goal-line clearance after Vidic had given the ball away cheaply in the second half, the England defender somehow managed to get his toe to the ball before Berbatov could poke it over the United goal line.

In the end United held out for the victory, but it was by far the worst display of the season so far and too many players looked nervy from back to front. Tevez looks shattered, Scholes and Giggs did not play well and the back four were making too many mistakes.

It wasn't a good day for United, but it was a lot worse for Spurs who can consider themselves very unlucky to be on the wrong end of a one nil defeat.

The malaise that is currently surrounding United needs to be lifted sharply, but you get the feeling it wont happen until the Reds return to something like full strength. In the end the £18m man Nani got the Reds out of jail with a wonder strike, but United cannot rely on that happening every week.

The other plus point was that once again Owen Hargreaves looked the part, so much so that Ferguson was able to take off Carrick for the second game in a row in a bid to change the game. So there was a few positives to come out of this nerve racking match, but none bigger than the Reds first three points of the season and they were much needed.


  1. Giggs and Scholes both look off the pace, and Tevez needs another striker up there alongside him. I'd kiss the Glazers if they bring in Berbatov or Martins before the transfer window closes. Otherwise, I'd push Nani up front and bring Fletcher in on the right until Ronaldo is available. But 3 points is 3 points. Today should be the start of a run with Sunderland at home next week bringing another 3 points. But the gap with Chelsea now means we have top beat the blues at home in September.

  2. Until we've seen Tevez and Rooney working together we wont know if we can get away without a new striker until next summer or next Jan. Also don't forget we have Saha to come back, that's if he ever gets himself fit.

    Sunderland despite their poor start wont be easy. Our problem is the same as theirs, breaking teams down. United might have go to a proper 4-4-2 at home, drop Carrick and really go at teams with two wingers on the pitch. At present we are starting with 4-3-3 at home and it isnt working. It might work away from home.


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