Monday, March 16, 2009

Will losing to Liverpool spur on United to yet more silverware?

The traumatic weekend loss to Liverpool left much to be desired from our big-game players. Individuals on both sides made uncharacteristic errors that led to goals, but unfortunately United made many more than our opponents. Liverpool fans will believe the manner of the win is a sign that United are starting to crack and that they have a chance to win the League for the first time in nearly two decades.

Pessimistic United fans will think that United are once again in for a nervy finish to the season, they may well have doubts about the side’s chances of conquering all before them too. I on the other hand, think that this is the best possible game in March to lose.

In the last two seasons United have dropped points in March, last season we were eliminated from the FA Cup by a Portsmouth team that rode their luck and came up trumps against a team that arguably needed a shot in the arm to propel themselves to success. Giggs went on record saying that FA Cup defeat still grated, and that it was an ideal chance to win the FA Cup and consequently the Treble!

This season, United won the FA cup tie against Fulham, the Champions League tie against Inter Milan and have progressed to the semis and quarters of both cup competitions. Losing one game in a league we somewhat-comfortably lead, even though it was against our main rivals, really isn't that big of a deal. With a 4 point lead and a game in hand, United could have that seven point lead back by the time we break for the Internationals.

In fact, a loss in the league, is exactly what United needed to kick start our midfield and attacking engine.

I'm happy we didn't draw the game against Liverpool, because a "decent" result after playing poorly doesn't keep the players on their collective toes, letting them relax. Getting into a habit of drawing games, isn’t a recipe for title success just ask Arsenal this season, and any Liverpool fan who has half a memory of season's past (sorry, the question can't be asked then can it. ) I'd rather lose one game and win the next instead of drawing two in a row.

The liverpool game, was, in my opinion, lost in midfield. I might have the somewhat unfair advantage of hindsight in my analysis, but we lacked a box-to-box midfielder against liverpool. Against a side that deploys two defensive midfield players, United needed players in midfield who could track back and intercept passes to the feet and head of Torres and Gerrard while also getting forward to augment the attacking instincts of Rooney and Co.

Anderson and Carrick were not suited to defending AND getting forward to attack. In an ideal world Owen Hargreaves would start next to Fletcher. Players capable of making those crucial interceptions and also getting forward to supply ball to the forwards and make 'late" runs into box and take shots on goal.

In the absence of Owen Hargreaves, I would have prefered Carrick and Fletcher, with Carrick at CDM and Fletcher as CM. Anderson was out of place, trying to man-mark Stevie Gerrard while also helping midfield, and ended up doing neither. When we were chasing the game with reckless abandon, Anderson came into his element, dribbling running at defenders and looking for the incisive pass.

Ronaldo is starting to annoy me. I was resetting my watch alarm during the game, and ronaldo went on a run and lost the ball, again, I kept my eye on my watch, as the seconds went by, Ronaldo hadn't even started moving back towards the game for 15 seconds, and had only come back into the United defensive half after 45 seconds. Time in which Liverpool enjoyed possession and made Park, Rooney and Tevez all run hard to close down space, and left John Oshea exposed to the attacking run of Riera and Aurelio.

Instead of Withdrawing Park for Berbatov, Ronaldo should've come off at 55min, for either Berbatov or Nani, who would've at least tried to complete passes. Ronaldo was one of many who had a bad day. Hopefully we don't have so many passengers during the next time we play.

6 comments:

  1. I've never quite understood why Fletcher gets the nod in Chelsea games and not at other times. He has matured exceptionally well and he is pretty dynamic too, because he has played at right back, in central midfield and right out. Whenever he plays he really does give it all. He's not and never will be a superstar, but he was perfect for the Liverpool game. Anderson, while a prospect, has a humongous amount of training to do on his passing.

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  2. I agree with the idea that in the end I think that this will be beneficial in a way. Losing to Liverpool will give us the absolute shot in the arm that we need.

    Although, I have to disagree with the analysis as to the reason why we lost. I think United lost because the team lost its concertration three times when Liverpool were in a position to hurt us and they did; Vidic's first and second mistake, and Evra not knowing where Gerrard was. That is besides the point.

    Ultimately, if United regain that focus as a result of this the loss will be well worth it because it should hopefully spur us forward. Now the most important thing is that we go out and beat Fulham.

    As to the other teams, next week is massive because Liverpool play Aston Villa. Wihle Villa has struggled of late, I expect that they can get up for this game: Liverpool at Anfield. And as for Chelsea, they have Spurs at White Heart Lane which is not a gimme considering the recent form of the home team.

    This week will be painful, but Saturday and Sunday can bring some much needed relief.

    So all in all, to fully see the effects of the game we need to wait eight days: first to see us play Fulham

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  3. Relax, it will be business as usual on Saturday. Fulham is United's ATM machine - 3 points every time. Long term though, the only way we will be able to get over the Liverpool defeat will be to beat them in the Champions league. I hope we get them in the quarter final. The sooner the better.

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  4. yeah, Fletcher seems to get overlooked a lot. he's the complete package, a nice blend of attacking and defensive capabilities. I think SAF doesn't know who to play with fletcher, so he gets left out a lot.

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  5. to 619: those obvious defensive errors weren't due to a lack of concentration, but rather because of decision making skills. Instinct vs experience. Sometimes your instinct lets u down, fact of life. The more pressing question, i think, is why were we not able to get another goal back at the start of the second half? 2-2 at 50/55 min would've seen the side play with a lot more confidence. If the midfield were playing to their collective, full potential,, Gerrard should never have gotten the ball, let alone get fouled by Vidic(who wasn't the last man!! anyways..) and the fourth goal, was once agains tinstinct vs experience, why did John Oshe not attack the goal kick, instead of letting it bounce and run onto Dossena, because he thought he could cover it sufficiently? or because there was a breakdown in communication?

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  6. I don't think it would be a galvanising moment, for they should have been galvanised that they were playing Liverpool at Old Trafford in the first place. Yes, tactically, United did let themselves down.

    I agree that, Fletcher would have been a better choice for his ability to tackle and connect the defence and midfield. United were outpaced, and thoroughly outplayed, despite Tevez and Park putting in a strong showing. There simply wasn't a spark in the final third. Ronaldo should have been brought off in half time for Berbatov, for the latter at the moment seems more likely be more creative.

    Anyhow, United were 2-1 down then, and the major mistakes had been made. I think it is a difficult road ahead, with a near-impossible draw on the cards, and a difficult run-in to the end (albeit its at home). I would be happy with the Premier League title alone, right now. I'm surprised that a relatively challenging run-in for an increasingly inconsistent squad hasn't been commented upon already.

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