Wednesday, January 20, 2010

United undone by Mike Dean, but Tevez war of words backfires...

Defeat in any derby is hard to take, but when you've lost because the referee made controversial decisions that led directly to conceding goals it makes it even harder. That was what happened at Eastlands last night as United, who had taken an early lead, went on to lose the first-leg of the Carling Cup semi-final with City.

Mike Dean was in charge of a Manchester derby for the first time and he failed the test miserably when awarding a spot-kick against Rafael for holding on to Craig Bellamy's shirt. TV replays clearly showed the Brazilian had let go of the Welshman's shirt outside of the United penalty box. Bellamy went down and Dean pointed to the spot which led to Carlos Tevez thumping home an equaliser that they did not deserve. It was a very poor decision, especially as the referee was perfectly positioned. Dean has no excuse; if United go on to lose this semi-final, it will be a stain on his CV. If an official cannot get the big decisions right in such circumstances then he should not be given the big games in future.

Ryan Giggs had put United into a deserved early lead from close-range after excellent work by Valencia on the right. The Ecuadorian was a thorn in City's side all night, a pity that he was eventually replaced by Michael Owen, but at that point United were chasing the game.

United went behind following yet more controversy from Mike Dean, this time when awarding City a controversial corner midway through the second-half. According to Dean, the ball had taken a deflection off Rafael, but no one was sure, not even, Craig Bellamy, who wasn't on his own in thinking it was goal-kick; Bellamy had to ask Dean for clarification, and no doubt to his surprise the corner was given.

City took the lead from that resulting corner when unmarked Carlos Tevez headed home from inside the six-yard box. United had not defended City's corners well all night long and the central defensive partnership of Brown and Evans simply isn't good enough, the pair of them were all over the place on City's second goal.

As bad as United's defending was from set pieces, it doesn't alter the fact that "Dean vision" had played its part in the champions conceding again. Dean needs to book himself into Specsavers at the earliest opportunity.

Contrary to the post-match views of Roberto Mancini, Manchester City did not dominate this semi-final; without the intervention of Mike Dean, United would have surely gone on to win, added to which Shay Given ran Tevez close for the Man-of-the-match award, which speaks volumes about this cup-tie.

United's defence is a long way from its collective best and you wonder what will happen in the second-leg next week. Carlos Tevez played like a man on a mission - as he almost always does. Much is being made about Ferguson's and Neville's pre-match comments about the former United striker.

At the weekend in a newspaper column Neville, appeared to back his manager when hinting Tevez wasn't worth his £25m asking price, but the Argentine has nearly doubled £30m Berbatov's goal tally this season...

United have the chance to redeem themselves in the second-leg, but you do wonder if lady luck is about to smile on trophyless City, because clearly United only lost the first-leg thanks to Mike Dean, that and an inspired performance by Shay Given in City's goal.

In the aftermath of what was a decent contest, Gary Neville has been caught appearing to give a proverbial 'one fingered salute' to Tevez; it was an act that wasn't spotted by BBCs TV cameras. For his part, Carlos Tevez made an equally provocative gesture towards the United bench when cupping his ears after scoring - the difference being everyone clearly saw it. Who will the FA punish, Tevez or Neville? No prizes for the correct answer...

City started this childish banter with that dubious "Welcome to Manchester" poster campaign, but in the interest of well being, it would be wise if all concerned put an end to it. Isn't ill-feeling bad enough between both sets of fans already without this nonsense?


  1. Oh Bleat Bleat Bleat. My heart bleeds for you! I can't help but think your article reeks of sour grapes the whole way through. To say you took a "deserved lead" in the first half was laughable. it was barely the first attack of the game! And to moan about the penalty decision: THAT'S FOOTBALL. Man united have been proven to get a greater proportion of decisions in their favour than any other club in the premier league.I'll say it; It wasn't a penalty, but that's what happens in football. Rafael was fowling bellamy all through the game so in reflection, I just think it balanced things out.

    And finally: I know it's against the law to disagree with fergie, but many of my Man U Supporting mates have the balls to say it. Tevez is an excellent player and you shouldn't have let him go. I just wonder if you can say it?

  2. Andrew, It isn't sour grapes I'm stating facts. Dean made two big mistakes that led directly to both of your goals.

    As for Tevez, if you read this blog regularly you'd know I'm a big fan.

  3. I forgot ask, show me the evidence of United getting the greater proportion of decisions. I suspect this is another Bitter Blue myth, like there's barely any United fans living in Manchester.

  4. Bad referring yes, but many positives to take from it, play like that at home and we're through. I feel bad for Raphael, Bellamy went down like a sack of shit with nothing but a brush, yes it was a NAILED ON FREE KICK OUTSIDE THE BOX, the lad is getting better in his position but decisions like that will not help his confidence and I am all for him starting at home.

  5. FBOTW,

    Actually, poor defending aside, I agree with you about the positives. We were in control for long periods, but without really creating enough chances. The fact that this was largely down to City's shite tactics, it doesn't alter the fact that we bossed the game for long periods.
    But with that said, it was definitely one the best overall performances for a few weeks. You'd hope that the players will be up for the return next week.

  6. Definitely, I am hoping for a 442, it SHOULD destroy them. Didn't know Mancini was a fan of the Sunderland "park the bus" tactic.

  7. I only caught the first half and followed the second online. I thought we played well but still don't have a central midfield . We are mediocre there as Anderson and carrick don't create opportunities up the middle. How many through balls did they give away, on top of posing no scoring threat? Wing play was good but can destroy teams with a strong center too.

    I came away happy as we will play hard at OT and only need to win 1-0. Hope vidic is better but encouraged by rafa. He is about the only youth prospect that looks like he has a long term future at utd. Sorry for the typos. Writing this from my phone at work as your site is blocked.

  8. FBHOTW,

    To be honest while I totally agree 442 is the only formation that suits squad, I have serious concerns about Berbatov.. so who plays alongside Rooney?

    City were very withdrawn last night and you do wonder if indeed this is the Italian way creeping in you also wonder if Vieira will be fit next week...

  9. Evgenni,

    I couldn't agree more, while there was some positives and it was our best performance for a few weeks, we did give the ball away cheaply on far too many occasions, but it was Fletcher who was the biggest culprit.

  10. i think mike dean act was too unfortunate.but teams form is not of the quallity as we saw in the previous season.i think we need some new players in midfield as carrrick and fletcher are a waste.only gigs does the distribution.and i think berbatov is a post striker.he always strikes the ball at the post or outside the post.but never between the post.i think our strategy needs to be changed.....

  11. @ Avishek
    Fletcher a waste? Seriously, watch some games before commenting.
    He is the only consistent midfielder we can boast of. He is no scholesy, he wont bang those 30 yard screamers, but he'll do all the dirty work, he'll run for the team and break up plays. He is a monster, the closest we have to keano.

  12. Fletcher was the worst of United's midfield trio in midweek, because he gave the ball away the most. It's no use working hard if you keep on losing possession cheaply which is exactly what he did against City.

  13. I really do not remember thinking that Fletcher gave the ball away cheaply during the game. However, I did think that Anderson gave the ball away cheaply trying to play the through ball as he does so often to little effect.

    I feel for Fletcher. On an individual basis, I think his form has suffered since the injury problems at the back. He was a monster in the middle of the park. To me, he does not seem to be up to the level he was at prior to having to step into the back four.

  14. i think overthinker you think too much.i have seen every game.the main key players are evra,rooney and the defence.....and i think macheda and obertan should be given a chance...we need some players to keep up the pace of the game.berbatov walks rather than to run....i think playing the youngstar can be worth a risk but can benifit the team afterwards....

  15. @ james
    My comment was based on a broader sense and not just one game. He did have a bad game, but by no means he is a waste.
    Name one other player who has been as consistent as fletch in all the big matches we have played in the last 2 years.You,re right, no one.

  16. Overthinker,

    Fletcher is the best of an average bunch. But against City he was poor. That is my point.

  17. Robin,

    Well you must haven't noticed the number of times Fletcher tried and failed to pass the ball wide to Valencia only to see it intercepted.

  18. @ james
    I agree he was poor against city. My comment was based on someone calling him a waste.

    @ geneside
    Rooney might be our trump card, but even he is found clutching at straws many times. Example being the leeds game.
    Follow games closely and see its fletch's tireless running and tackling that injects the much needed adrenaline in the team. So does evra.
    I can't believe a bad game can be bring him down so badly that you forget his displays for the last two trophy laden years which were to say the least, fantastic.

  19. i think carrick have made his part more distinct than fletcher.i prefer fletcher than carrick but form shows it all.i can't help......

  20. @overthinker

    dont think too much....
    i called him a waste on that particular day...........
    not waste as a player.....

    bot sometimes he gets reluctant to add momentum is that what i am talking about....

    many times he passes sloppily ,
    and he was far from better that day....

    adding to the worse....

  21. @overthinker
    are you trying compare rooney with fletcher????

    if it is true then i am not going to say anything.....

    if you are a true fan help yourself understand who has given his most to the team this season..........

  22. @geneside

    It wouldn't hurt if you use your eyes and brains carefully to read my posts instead of making assumptions.

    You think saying that rooney doesn't always shine in every game is comparing him with fletch. And i stick to comment, he cant be great in each game. Even when ronaldo was banging in goals for free, i always held rooney as our main man, and i still do.

    We all know who is more important. i was just defending fletch beacuse people like you trash players based on one bad game.And yes, for the nth time, he did have a bad game.
    End of.


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