Monday, December 15, 2008

Fergie needs to crack away form formula.....

It has been another frustrating weekend of missed opportunities for Manchester United after the Reds' failed to capitalise on Liverpool and Chelsea dropping points with the Champions unable to turn possession into clear cut goal-scoring opportunities at White Lane on Saturday.

Much has been made of the Spurs revival since Harry Redknapp took charge, but it was the visitors who controlled the game for long periods of what turned out to be a fairly dull game in many ways.

The 0-0 final scoreline was a fair one, Rio Ferdinand missed United's best chance with a free header from a corner, apart from that Park and Giggs forced Spurs stopper Gomez into making a couple of good saves. At the other end, Modric looked the most likely to score for the London club when going close on a couple of occasions.

Going into Saturday's game, all the talk centred on Berbatov; in the end it was much ado about nothing because Michael Dawson kept the former Spurs striker in check for the most part. Since he arrived at Old Trafford the Bulgarian has been blowing hot and cold and so the jury is still very much out on his suitability, there is also the accusation that he's lazy.

To compound matters Carloz Tevez has fallen down the United pecking order. At the beginning of the season the Argentine was arguably the Reds' most in-form striker, but when Berbatov arrived it quickly became clear that Tevez would make way. More recently following talk of a possible Old Trafford exit, Tevez has allowed his form to slip - some say he's been trying too hard - which is something United fans do not say about Berbatov. On top of this, Cristiano Ronaldo isn't playing well by his own standards, in some games, like on Saturday; it appears to be a case of going through the motions.

Partly as a result of lack of form from key forwards, United currently lack a cutting edge up front. However, opposition teams are wary of trying to mix-it with United for fear of being hit on the counter-attack and so even away from Old Trafford, at grounds such as White Hart Lane, Eastlands and Villa Park recently, there's been reluctance for the home team to throw-men forward in pursuit of three points.

Instead, what we are seeing is the home team deploying a six-man defensive shield on the edge of their penalty area - and you cannot blame them really. The problem is that these teams do not pose enough of a threat up front themselves, hence United end up controlling the game - which is all well and good when you're scoring and winning away from home, but that isn't happening enough right now.

My own view is that perhaps United need to start such away games with more of a sense of urgency, because while the Reds' are proving to be very good at playing patient football, they need to somehow start scoring more goals - especially on our travels.

While United are struggling to win away from home, rivals Chelsea and Liverpool look awful at home - the latter will soon surely shoot their bolt if they keep on failing to win against the also-rans of the Premier League.

The Red Devils are of course away in Japan for Sep Blatter's ridiculous FIFA World Club Cup (or whatever it is called). It is a trip that United could well do without, let us hope United return fit and ready for the winter battles that lie ahead.

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