Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tevez rescues United again while Ronaldo gives cause for concern...

Manchester United very nearly paid a high price for some poor finishing at Wigan last night after Rodallega had given Steve Bruce's side a first-half lead. Referee Rob Styles and his linesmen were also guilty of some poor decision making because between they denied United a penalty, they also gave the home team the benefit of doubt on offside decisions when Ronaldo and second-half hero Carlos Tevez were clean through on goal.

Contrary to the views of Sky's Andy Gray and Martin Tyler, Styles did not have a great game, because not only did the referee and his assistants get some big decisions wrong, the man-in-the-middle was also guilty of continually allowing Rodallega to use his arms in a bid to hold down Vidic in aerial duels for most of the game, which in part led to the home to taking a first-half lead. The neutrals (sic) and millions of on-looking Liverpool fans would no doubt concur it made for a good contest and as things turned it did, that was until Fergie did what he should have done from the very start, that is he sent Carlos Tevez into battle.

The ineffective Paul Scholes made way for Tevez, but in truth the Argentine could have replaced just about anyone in the red shirt including Rooney, Berbatov or Ronaldo. Tevez brought United level just three minutes after entering the action with a brilliant back-heel; it was an improvised piece of skill executed in the blink of the eye.

While there was much to admire about the equalising goal it isn't stretching the facts to state that United's play improved following the introduction of the Argentine. The catalyst for United's increased tempo was once again the little man from Buenos Aires. United's travelling army of fans predictably implored Ferguson to sign Tevez on, quite right too.

Michael Carrick secured the points with a cool finish after great work by John O'Shea, who must take great credit for his raid into the Wigan penalty area and then supplying the pass which led to a sweet finish from the England midfield star.

In his post-match interview Ferguson appeared to hint that Tevez has been offered good terms by the club for next season. The United manager also said that the club were trying to negotiate with the player's owners but nothing was concrete at this stage.

It beggars belief that even after saving United against Wigan and Spurs recently, some United supporters cannot appreciate the worth of Tevez, because sadly and quite unbelievably that still appears to be the case judging by national phone-ins, if indeed that is any kind of reliable indicator.

One worrying aspect of this game was the link-up play between Berbatov and Ronaldo, it was good at times, but on other occasions the Portuguese star didn't appear to want to run for the Bulgarian's return pass and more than once it led to both players holding their arms aloft at each other by way of making a protest.

In the wake of recent and continued criticism directed towards the Bulgarian, United have been trying to take the heat off Berbatov following his pathetic penalty miss against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final. We the fans have been told that the players "like to play alongside Berbatov", well as far as Ronaldo was concerned that did not look to be the case at times against Wigan.

Ronaldo recently came out strongly and said Manchester United need to keep their best players and Carlos Tevez is one of them. You wonder if Ronaldo's relationship with Berbatov is becoming strained and if so, are we starting to see evidence of this on the pitch? Fergie cannot allow players to throw their proverbial teddy-bears out of the pram on the field of play. United look set to retain the title providing we can take at least a point from the games with Arsenal and Hull City then we face Barcelona in Rome.

If United are going to become the first club to retain the Champions League trophy they will need to play like a team for the whole game and we cannot afford to have players openly arguing with each other while the final is in progress, anything less than 100% effort will lead to defeat.

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