Sunday, January 17, 2010

Three nil win over Burnley flatters shocking United...

On the same day that United were playing Burnley, champions elect, Chelsea, were destroying Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, it finished up 7-2 and the score-line didn't flatter Carlo Ancelotti's team. In sharp contrast at Old Trafford, but for some poor finishing by Steven Fletcher and David Nugent, Manchester United, could easily have lost for the second time this season against the Lancashire minnows.

Manchester United's defence was lucky not to concede and on three occasions as the home side was once again caught out down the middle. A better team than Burnley would have taken all three points. In the post-match press conference Mike Phelan admitted United could have been embarrassed if Burnley's finishing had been better.

It's true that United are missing the influence of Vidic and Ferdinand, but disturbingly, Ferguson persists with selecting Gary Neville, when he has Rafael, who is by far the better option. United's back four is being caught out of position too often at present and experienced players like Brown and Neville are consistently found wanting.

Nugent exposed Neville's lack of pace in one of those 'no hiding place' foot races and once the Burnley forward turned on the after-burners the United fullback was left in his wake - to the relief of the champions, and especially the veteran defender, the former Portsmouth and Spurs striker failed to beat Van der Sar.

Burnley had three good chances before United eventually took the lead through Berbatov. The Bulgarian had earlier hit the post when he was unlucky not to score following a quick turn inside the box, but his shot shaved the outside of the post. When the opening goal eventually arrived, there was more than a touch of good fortune about it as it came off Brian Jensen's legs. Nonetheless, there was good link up play between Rooney and Berbatov in the build-up on the edge of the Burnley penalty area.

Rooney doubled United's advantage and kept his tally for the season ticking over and substitute Diouf came on and scored his first goal for the club on his home debut with a clever looping header from just inside the Burnley penalty area. It's far too early to make any judgements about the merits of the United's latest signing. That isn't the case as far as Nani is concerned; the Portuguese winger has been to put it mildly, a shocking waste of money. We have been told the former Sporting Lisbon star has been out injured, but there's a suspicion he's been dropped for carping to the press about the way he's been treated by Ferguson. The shop window is currently open and that probably explains Nani's inclusion in Saturday's starting line-up. In point of fact, Nani was about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.

The win leaves United in second place in the table, a point behind Chelsea who have a game in hand. On current form, the champions will win nothing this season, there's too many problems at the back and not enough quality up front.

The champions were deservedly beaten at home by Villa in December, they were deservedly knocked out of the FA Cup by lowly Leeds United and on Saturday, Burnley, could easily have taken United's scalp for the second time this season.

The worry for United fans' and Ferguson, is that United are being found out at home against opposition that normally would have been brushed aside with ease in season's gone by. What, one wonders, will happen when the champions take on Arsenal later this month in what is likely to be a real test? The fans' will hoping the players' and manager will rise to that challenge. One thing is for certain, if United keep on defending like a Sunday League pub team - as they have been of late - then we could well be on the end of some thumping defeats when the Champions League resumes.

On Tuesday, United travel to Eastlands to face rival's Manchester City in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final. If United defend in the same sloppy manner of late they will undoubtedly be on the wrong end of a rout and if that happens it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season unfolds. One has the feeling the Carling Cup semi-final's could turn out to be pivotal. If United knock City out, it could well give the team the confidence to go forward, but should they lose badly then the defensive frailties that have been exposed by Villa, Fulham, Leeds and Burnley will have the opposite effect and the loss of confidence could well sweep through the dressing room and if that happens United's season could implode.

6 comments:

  1. I occasionally read your blog and I've often thought you were a negative little runt.

    But they way United are playing right now, I couldn't agree more. It's painful to watch them and I find myself groaning in agony at the shocking performances we seem to be delivering on a regular basis.

    What irks me is Fergies adamant claims that there is no value in the current transfer market when we are a desperate for an injection of some fresh blood.

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  2. Yeah. I think there is disappointment in the team right now. The attacking option is not much. Berbatov can't play well all the time. He is less of a threat than Rooney. Rooney didn't play against Burnley. He miss a lot of chances. Nani can be better but i don't think time is on his side. There is too much problem in the team right now. With the debt of the club weighting on, i don't think we can have a bright future as United will not buy better players can depend on younger players. The future looks dim for me on the club.

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  3. I agree with the defense, but I think you're too harsh with Nani. He is a player that suffers from lack of self-esteem and a central midfield that sucks big-time. Scholes, Giggs, Carrick, Fletcher and Gibson performs terrible. Anderson could use Hargo back now if he is to flourish. Valencia can't shoot or cross worth anything (but there is hope here). The purchase of Diouf is JUST STUPID, since it means that real talents like Macheda and King will hardly get any playing time. Owen will suffer from this too. So all in all we have a mediocre midfield and a Neville who should join Solskjaer in coaching.

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  4. Slayer,

    I'll ingore your first sentence on this occasion!

    Fergie is full of shit ref no value - more likely he's not working hard enough to find new players. Not forgetting there's barely any cash to spend.

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  5. kateku-kel,

    Sadly, I agree the future doesn't look good right now. I'm not certain what the future holds for United in the long term. But It seems everything from the training ground to Old Trafford could be sold. United are seemingly heading in the same direction as Leeds United. In other words into oblivion.

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  6. Trends and Macros.

    Nani's biggest problem is twofold; He is hopelessly inconsistent, added to which he cannot deliver a final ball - and what's more he's on borrowed time.

    I totally agree the midfield is very average - the worst we've had in the last 20 years? Quite possibly IMO. I also agree with you about Neville - it's getting to the embarrassing stage now - he should be pensioned off ASAP.

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