Monday, April 12, 2010

United set to finish third in a 'two horse race'?....

United were in action on Sunday when they travelled to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers. This fixture is almost always a tricky one for the Champions, and Sunday proved to be no different. In a game of few chances for either side, it ended in a nil-nil draw - a result which might well hand the title to leaders Chelsea.

If Chelsea go on to win the title, as expected, Fergie can have no complaints; it will take a minor miracle for United to win it now, having lost seven league games.

Sunday's performance was that of a very tired team. It was one of those rare occasions when not a single United player was truly worthy of praise. Blackburn stuck to their script; they make themselves hard to beat, defend well and hope to hit opponents with a sucker punch.

United didn't exactly put on a performance; sadly, it was more a case of going through the motions. The disappointment is, this was supposed to be a team fighting for the one big prize left on offer, but frankly, it didn't look like that. To make matters worse, there was much arm waving; Van der Sar had a couple of spats Rio Ferdinand and Berbatov. You don't often see professional players' rowing openly which each other on the pitch, but there was plenty of that going on at Ewood Park. It was a sign of the pressure coming to the surface, that and the frustration of recent poor performances.

Going into the game, Fergie made six changes to the team that started against Bayern midweek. Out went Fletcher, Carrick, Evra, Rafael, Gibson and Rooney who was injured; in came Neville, Scholes, Giggs, O'Shea, Berbatov and Macheda.

You never know what the logic is when the manager makes so many changes. Rooney was injured and so bringing in Macheda and Berbatov made perfect sense. Gibson is a bit-part player, so no surprises there. United are set to take on City this coming weekend in what could prove to be the game that really does end any hopes of retaining the title; with that fixture in mind, the manager might well have rested Fletcher, Carrick and Rafael.

Whatever, the reasoning behind the changes, the team that faced Blackburn should have been good enough to have won that fixture; but they weren't.

I'm sure I'm not the only red who sat through Sunday's turgid performance expecting a draw; but even so, you hope the ball will bounce kindly and we'll pinch it at some point. But, there was something about Sunday's lacklustre showing which gave you that nagging deja vu feeling - it just felt like it wasn't going to be our day, and that is precisely how it turned out.

There's been a lot of talk about United's midfield in the wake of the defeat to Bayern Munich, with questions being asked about Carrick and Fletcher. Personally, I sat through Sunday's game and not once did I say to myself "..we are really missing Darren Fletcher today", which speaks volumes about my own expectations of the player. I wasn't at Ewood Park as I watched the game on TV; Fletcher's name wasn't mentioned once in commentary. At no point did the commentary team say "United are missing the class and quality of Fletcher and Carrick".

Personally, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Fergie sells Carrick and Berbatov this summer, because neither is good enough for United. Irrespective of who wins the title, Fergie should also call time on the careers of Scholes, Neville and Giggs. The three veterans have been fantastic for United, it's a fact that barely worthy of mention, but they aren't taking the club anywhere, apart from the road to nowhere.

The current squad has stagnated; the manager didn't do enough to strengthen last summer when Ronaldo was sold and Tevez slipped beyond our grasp. It isn't true that there wasn't any top quality players available, because there was.

Perhaps the real reason Fergie hasn't spent is because there's no money to spend; if so, that could also explain the logic in retaining and relying too much on the veteran trio. Whatever, the truth of it all, the clock is ticking for Fergie and the Glazers because if there isn't major changes, then next season the current squad will do even worse and there's absolutely no doubt about that.

For the present, we can look forward to a very difficult looking fixture at Eastlands next weekend. City will be very much up for it, but will United? The fans' will not accept anything less than 100% from every single player in a red shirt.

If United finish third, in what has been described as a 'two horse race', then we only have ourselves to blame.

4 comments:

  1. I do hope we get third. That way we can add some quality players in our team. Since 2 years ago, our team is in decline. There is no fear in our attacking. I think against Blackburn, there is no one inside the box and a great threat to the opposition as Macheda is only the one forward. Berbatov sits way too deep that you wonder is he a striker. I hope we get third and see what we do in the summer. I think that the club had not much of money to spend. If yes they spend it will be debt carried to the club. The future looks dark with the Glazer reign.

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  2. United is full of old, tired horses i.e the likes of Niville, Scholes, Giggs Owen, and on top of that i think Barbetov and Owen Hergreves was a raw deal for the money

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  3. berba is better than tevez was last year. he's at least as good as he was, probably better overall if you had a look at the stats. how he fits with our current setup is a different story. if that's what you're arguing then sadly i agree with you. he's not nearly as shit as carrick is though, lumping them together cause they're former spurs aside...they're really not even in the same hemisphere.

    fletcher is good if carrick isn't being an idiot/lazy. scholes doesn't have the legs to compensate for a player like fletcher.

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  4. Matt,

    Berbatov is a misfit at United and end of; no amount of stats will convince me that (a) he's better than Tevez - just look how many goals he's scored this season and compare...and (b) he should be retained. Berbatov is one lazy fucker.

    As for Carrick. I've never rated him. He cannot tackle, he's supposed to good at passing, but he's too slow on the ball and gets caught dithering because he wants too much time on the ball.

    I hope that explains why I want rid of both of them.

    Now then onto Fletcher and this is the truth. I sat through Sunday's game with a pal and it wasn't until 10 minutes after the game had actually finished that I'd realised his name hadn't been mentioned by us or the commentary team. When I realised I thought to myself "shit, that just shows you how little faith I have in him", because if I thought he'd make a difference then I'd have been carping on about his absence...

    Finally, while watching Barca last week, Andy Gray said "Xavi hardly ever loses the ball"... I thought to myself you'd never hear anyone say that about Fletcher, because he gives it away so often... Fletcher can run, but so can Park....

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