Sunday, March 30, 2008

Vintage United performance leaves Reds within touching distance of glory...

Before the clash with Aston Villa on Saturday I'd posted that with one eye firmly fixed upon Tuesday's clash with Roma, Fergie would likely rest Rooney, but I also added that there was a strong argument for starting with his most offensive line-up and sans injured Saha that meant the former Everton striker had to start. Fergie will have thought long and hard about his options and eventually he went for it with Tevez and Rooney in harness up front. Thank the football gods and Fergie that he did so, because the result was nothing short of a superb display pretty much from start to finish, but especially in that second-half in which the champions were majestic.

It was a performance which personified Manchester United's attacking style of play down the years - no other club in England - not even the current Arsenal at their very best with their admittedly excellent passing game have produced the same level of excitement. Against Aston Villa, United were at the very best and it was a joy to watch.

At the heart of it was Cristiano Ronaldo who was once again by far their best player on the pitch. The former Sporting Lisbon winger is now being called "the greatest player in the world" (rightly so) scored one and made three. It doesn't get much better than that.

Ronaldo's goal on 17 minutes was out of the George Best/Denis Law archives. It was a goal that only a genius could even contemplate scoring. In one magical movement, the Portuguese star took control of the ball inside the Villa penalty box after Wilfred Bouma had deflected a Giggs' corner and back-healed it into the net. There will be those who will question continue to question Ronaldo, but in that one moment he weighed up the situation, dispatched the ball in one movement and in doing so he outwitted the whole of the Villa defence before they had time to react.

If the Ronaldo opener had the mark of sheer individual brilliance, the second on 33 minutes was the nearest thing to a perfect team goal. The execution was clinical and the build up was just as good as the ball was pinged around the Villa half with a series of swift inter-passing before Ronaldo's raking cross found Tevez who had started the move from inside the visitors half and then ended it when smashing home a powerful header when unmarked at the far post.

At that point Villa could have been four down, but the bad news for Martin O'Niell and his players' was that United were only warming to the task, it began to look like a question of how many and the Old Trafford crowd just loves that.

Rooney, who had not scored a league goal at OT since last October finally ended that barren run with two fine second-half goals, it should have been more, but no one was complaining, and of course it was Ronaldo who supplied the final killer balls again with the impudence of a genius.

Villa for their part, while being outclassed had their chances, Maloney was unlucky on two occasions as he brought out the very best from stand-in 'keeper Tomasz Kuszczak. Ronaldo could have scored a hatrick, it was that kind of game and if had finished up 6-2 it would have been a fair reflection of what was very entertaining match which will be rightly remembered for the brilliance of Ronaldo.

United and the fans will want to see more of the same in the remaining games, but Fergie has little room for error domestically with some very tough looking games on the horizon. After the win over Villa the United manager was taking nothing for granted and quite right too, but the Reds are in a very strong position now, we are on count down to retaining the title.

Next up it's Roma and once again the manager has the task of deciding how to approach this huge Champions League quarter final. Does he take the cautious route and start with just Rooney, or does he go for it as he did against Villa? While the fans would love to see a repeat performance in the eternal city on Tuesday, it's more likely that Fergie will try to flood the midfield with the hope of snatching an away goal and worst case a draw. However, both teams know each other so well now and so it is to be hoped that Fergie pitches it just right. Bring on the Romans'.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Our Comment Policy. Do NOT post spammy unrelated comments for the purpose of link building - as they WILL be removed...Comments containing foul and vile abuse will be deleted.

Follow by Email