Sunday, October 05, 2008

Berbatov and Ronaldo ignite Reds afterburners...

United went into their Premier League clash with Blackburn at Ewood Park on Saturday knowing that they needed to kick-start their season with a good win, for their part Blackburn went into the game on the back of three wins. Going into the game the media had tried to build-up the clash by focusing Ferguson vs. Paul Ince aka "Big Time Charlie".

Ince talked this week of his respect for his former manager, but make no mistake the Rovers boss would have loved to have put one over on the Reds by winning what turned out to be a good game to watch, albeit from a United perspective.

The first-half was a decent contest, but United could have been and perhaps should have been two up after the first 20 minutes after Vidic and Fletcher failed to convert good chances.

Ryan Giggs had a good effort saved by the Rovers keeper on thirty minutes, but a minute later Blackburn's resistance was finally broken from a corner when Wes Brown nodded the Champions into a well deserved but controversial lead, because Vidic had clearly elbowed keeper Jason Brown when the two clashed inside the six-yard box.

From that point on there was really only going to be one winner - it wasn't the home team. However, it took until the 64th minute for United to score the vital second goal, but it was well worth the wait.

The move that led to Reds second goal started deep in United's own half, with Berbatov laying the ball off, which led to a succession of quick passes before it eventually came to Ronaldo, who then majestically brushed aside the challenge of a Rovers defender then expertly picked out Rooney whose finish was clinical and emphatic. The goal was one of the seasons' best so far; it took 18 seconds from the time it left Berbatov's boot to it ending up in the Rovers net.

Rooney (unlucky not to) and Ronaldo (sans shooting boots) should have added to United's tally. Such was the Champions dominance, if the match had finished five-nil, no one, including "big time Charlie" could have complained. It didn't stop the justified carping of Paul Ince over the opening goal, but it really wasn't a serious contest for much of the game and the Rovers manager did admit as much saying that United were too strong for his team.

Despite that wonderful second goal, the most encouraging aspect of this game was the performances of Berbatov and Ronaldo, both have been struggling to find form. Against Blackburn, Berbatov, looked much sharper than in his previous United games, he was pulling the strings all around the Rovers penalty area, his quick passing was incisive and to feet.

For his part, while Ronaldo did miss some good chances to have extended United's lead, he still managed to contribute with another vital assist and he is starting to ghost beyond defenders with ease. The threat that Ronaldo carries for United cannot be under-estimated, his pace is frightening at times, it is why the Champions are so dangerous on the break.

Tevez came off the bench and should have scored following another superb run and pin-point cross-field pass to feet by Ronaldo, but the Argentine's 25-yard low fizzing shot came back off the foot of the Rovers woodwork.

Our bitter enemies have been wallowing in the Reds slow start to the new campaign, at Ewood Park on Saturday, United served noticed that the Champions are fiding their form. The message has gone out loud and clear, United are back.


  1. Our play and our finishing was greatly reminiscent of last season. Was not Berbatov brought in to net the ball that much more often?

    It is interesting to see that Berbatov, has not become completely the out-and-out striker that would take all the balls in the penalty box and net them, the way Torres does. He has become a part of United's fluid midfield where no player has a set position and plays with the flow. He in fact, tracked back greatly and stole posession from a strangely passive Blackburn side.

    And so, it seems we might have bought Berbatov for his tremendous natural creativity, and not purely for his finishing, for the finishing of United's today was apalling.

  2. I don't really know what Fergie thought when he was buying Berbatov; he's not an out-and-out striker or a second striker, in fact he's a bit of everything.

    This may seem a bit bizarre, given that everyone has been focusing on Rooney dropping too deep, but I was really pleased to see Berba drop back to help in that move which led to that superb second goal.

    You're right about his creative ability, he links in other players very well around the box and quickly too.

    When you have runners off the ball as United usually do, then having a player who can unlock defences is key - especially in those oh so tight European games.

    The finishing wasn't the best at Ewood Park but I was very happy with the performance and result.


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