Sunday, December 06, 2009

Despite 4-0 win over Hammers United don't look like champions....

West Ham United have been shipping goals at home this season and so it came as no great surprise that United eventually slotted four without reply at Upton Park yesterday, however, like last weekend against Portsmouth the final score didn't tell the full story of what was an error ridden afternoon.

Last weekend United tonked Portsmouth 4-1 at Fratton Park, but they could easily have gone into the break losing if Pompey had taken their numerous goal scoring opportunities. Against West Ham this weekend there was barely an effort on Kuszczak's goal worthy of the term. But it might have been different if Jack Collison had taken advantage of an early Ryan Giggs schoolboy error, that thankfully came to nothing.

Manchester United were the better team in the opening period, and they didn't have to play that well against what was one of the poorest looking West Ham teams for many a year. Despite enjoying the Lion's share of possession, on too many first-half occasions United were guilty of poor passing.

Paul Scholes and in-form Darron Gibson had several range finders that were either blocked or way off target, especially as far as the Northern Ireland international was concerned, but if you keep on giving time and space to good players in your own half of the pitch you will eventually pay the price and that is precisely what happened just prior to half-time when Scholes slammed home a trademark drive from the edge of the Hammers penalty area.

At times during the first-half the benevolence of both teams was quite breathtaking such was the poor quality of this Premier League encounter, but United deserved to be at least one nil to the good given their territorial advantage. Once United took the lead any remote hope of the Hammers taking anything from this game quickly vanished, if anything Zola's team just went worse.

Darron Gibson made up for several embarrassing efforts on goal with one that was right out of Bobby Charlton's scrapbook on 61 minutes. Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney were involved in the build-up as they exchanged passes on the left before the Welshman laid the ball invitingly into the path of Gibson who was wasted no time in blasting the ball beyond the despairing reach of Robert Green in the Hammers goal.

The comparison with Bobby Charlton was easy to make, because just like the former England maestro, Gibson hit the ball without breaking stride. It was a truly majestic strike and a lesson to all youngsters on how to hit a moving ball.

Making comparisons with former players is always a risky business and in no way is Gibson the next Bobby Charlton, but in his last two games the Ulsterman has scored three important goals, in so doing underscoring the value of having a player who can score from central midfield. But like the rest of the current crop of United's young stars in-the-making, the jury is still out on Gibson; if he continues to play well and take advantage of the limited opportunities that come his way he could have a future at Old Trafford.

Ten minutes later, Valencia and then Rooney hammered home the final nails in the Hammers coffin with what can only be described as a brace of very simple goals in a two-minute spell. By the end of the game Green had been replaced, but West Ham did at least test United's Polish stopper, but as a contest it was a non event.

On what turned out to be a good afternoon for the champions with Chelsea losing at Eastlands by the odd goal in three, Fergie's day was spoilt by injuries to Wes Brown and Gary Neville, next up United travel to Germany in midweek for the final Group B Champions League game with Wolfsburg.

Not for the first time in recent seasons, Ferguson is without all of his first-choice centre-backs. Against West Ham it was substitute Michael Carrick who finished up in the back four alongside Darren Fletcher. United need a point to ensure they finish top of Group B, if they draw or win it will mean they will avoid Barcelona and Real Madrid in the next round - given the manager's injury problems United could easily finish runner-up and if that happens questions will be asked about Fergie's decision to play a weakened team against Besiktas - especially if the Red Devils draw either of the Spanish giants.


  1. Very well written blog. i agree wid u that united won but they didnt play their wonderful game which made them champions for 3 consecutive seasons. i think gibsons and scholes strikes were mindblowing. i think Rooney is not playing the way he used to play before. pls visit my blog at and pls comment and give ur opinions.

  2. this is bad... we should not try to find fault with everything. Fine, United is not error free... neither are Chelseas or the Barcas of the world...

    constructive criticism is good but the habit of finding fault with everything United is wrong.

  3. Partha,

    You're entitled to your opinion, so am I.

    If I ignore the very obvious failings in the current squad what would be the point of that? United were frankly awful in the first half on Saturday.

    From the outset I have been predicting that Chelsea will win the title, my view hasn't changed. But for what's worth, I think United have so far exceeded my pre-season expectations so it isn't all bad, however, I still don't see United winning any of the big prizes.

  4. A completely honest and utterly fair post. Couldn’t agree more. If you read some of my post-match posts (is that a cheeky plug of my blog??) then you’ll read that I too am concerned about this fairly unimaginative brand of football we seem to be playing, allowing (weakened)opposition teams an easier route of retaining posession.
    Although the goals and, more importantly, results are coming in, we are playing conventional football that will surely come unstuck if we are not careful; as we have already seen against teams confidently attacking at OT, such as Sunderland and CSKA.
    The loss of our most creative, innovative player is obvious as we haven’t managed to find a replacement. The 4-4-2 is all well and good – especially as Valencia is clearly a very capable winger – but I think we need more; an extra added dimension if we are to seriously compete this season.

  5. Pos,

    Regarding 442; I honestly believe it's the only suitable formation for the current squad, reason being we don't have a genuine out and out striker like say Drogba or Adebayor.

    Whenever Fergie starts with just Rooney up top it often leaves him isolated.

    The current squad has some glaring weaknesses in all departments.

    Tonight's result could leave Fergie with a huge dollup of egg on his face if we finish runner up and then draw either of the Spanish giants.


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