Sunday, September 12, 2010

Forget Rooney, bad luck and questionable defending costs United at Everton..

Going into the Everton game, all the talk centred on Wayne Rooney, who Fergie elected to rest, following revelations about his private life. Matters were not really helped by the fact that United were without new signing Chicarito, who has been away on international duty.

The prospect of a United win didn't look particularly promising going into this game, especially with Everton desperately looking for points after a dreadful start to the new campaign.

No doubting many United fans were also slightly perplexed at the prospect at Fergie's decision to deploy John O'Shea in the engine room, but what followed will have no doubt pleasantly surprised many fans only for the Red Devils to squander a two goal advantage at the death.

Quite what Fergie had to say to his players following that dramatic collapse which saw United throw away two points in injury time at Goodison Park yesterday would be interesting to know. After going behind against the run of play late on in the first-half, United came back and dominated the game.

After the opening ten minutes, which the home team dominated, United took control and only lady luck denied the visitors two goals. Tim Howard was extremely fortunate to deny a certain goal following a deflection when the American stopper was beaten all ends up, but he somehow stopped the ball from crossing the line with his foot - that was lucky escape number one. John O'Shea came within a inch or so of scoring a rare goal with a driven effort from just outside the Everton penalty area, but this time the woodwork denied United.

The Red Devils came back strongly and equalised through Darren Fletcher just four minutes after going behind to a Steven Pienaar goal. Everton had taken the lead five minutes before the interval following a mistake by Patrice Evra who failed to execute an attempted scissor-kick clearance; Tim Howard made a good save, but there was nothing he could do to prevent the South African from scoring..

Following half-time, United piled on the pressure and deservedly raced into what should have been a match-winning three-one lead.

United went in front from a Nani cross from the right as Vidic headed home. The reds Portuguese winger was a thorn in Everton's side throughout this game and Scholes was once again the man who was at the heart of everything for United.

It was Scholes who expertly supplied the killer pass to Dimitar Berbatov, who went on to beat Tim Howard with a low curling drive with the outside of his right foot to make it three-one. Berbatov should have added to his tally with a similar effort not long after, but on that occasion he pulled his shot wide of the target.

United failed to capitalise on their domination and the chances which followed and with the clock running down it looked as though the result would be a forgone conclusion. Fergie sent on Park-Ji-Sung for Patrice Evra and John O'Shea was switched to left-back.

However, disaster struck twice within a minute as United conceded two late goals; the first was scored by Tim Cahill who managed to find space between Jonny Evans and John O'Shea. Fergie will not be happy with Nani who could have done more to block the cross which led to the goal and he will be equally unhappy with Evans and O'Shea for allowing the Australian to head the ball unchallenged.

Everton's equaliser also came down United's right flank, and here again the manger will not be best pleased with Gary Neville for failing to block the cross which eventually found the head of Fellaini and his headed knock-back eventually found the feet of unmarked Arteta, who smashed home an unlikely and arguably undeserved equaliser.

United could have been and perhaps should have been 5-1 up when the score was 3-1, only luck had kept the scoreline respectable.

When United dropped two points away at Craven Cottage recently, Fergie later bemoaned throwing 'silly points' away, but he was wrong to do so, because Fulham thoroughly deserved something from that contest, but against Everton the United manager had every right to be upset at the outcome.

In contrast, the relief for Everton and David Moyes was tangible and understandable. The Toffees had got out of jail and they knew it. Football, bloody hell. As Fergie once famously said.

Bring on the 'sweaty Jocks' and Liverpool.


  1. The first piece of 'luck' you refer to involved a shot by Paul Scholes that was going wide which was deflected and was thus on its way into the net before a brilliant reflex by Howard.

    No mention of the frankly scandalous blowing for full time with Everton 2 on 1 just outside the area either.

    Don't let facts get in the way tho, eh? That Fergie myopia clearly extends to the red hordes.

  2. Scholes shot wasn't going wide and did Howard really know anything about that shot? I for one don't think he did actually.

    As for injury time. It was well over the stipulated three mins, but I can see where you're coming from on that one.

    Everton were very lucky and you know it.

  3. You could probably look at it as two points from fixtures from which we got none last year, but the fact that it could so easily have been 12 points from 4 games is irking. The performances have been magnificent upfront, but our defence gives me sleepless nights, particularly in set-piece situations.

    I just hope Rio's return sorts things out a bit.

  4. Dela,

    Berbatov and Scholes have been our star men so far this season. The Bulgarian has been very good as has Scholes. Despite the obvious lapses of concentration when defending, as we saw on Saturday, my big concern is how long can Scholes keep this up?

    I'm less than convinced about Rio's future. I think we should be looking to replace him, and I have to ask is Smalling the man to do that job? I have my doubts.

  5. Chelski have looked good but in fairness, look who they have played. WBA? West Ham? Wigan? Those are three relegation candidates. Their only tough game was against Stoke and that was at home. I'm not taking anything away from them, but they've yet to play a quality team on the road. And their next league game is Blackpool!

    United need to do better and some of our opponents have been easier as well, but let's keep things in perspective...

  6. Evgenni,

    I think United are playing quite well, but I have some concerns about Scholes: Can we rely on him all season to be the main creative force at 35 years of age?

    Your points about Chelsea are valid.

  7. James, completely agree with your point on Scholes. I am concerned more with him getting his obligatory Scholes red cards or yellow cards than I am about injury. It's only a matter of time, and we both know that a supsension will come.

  8. Evgenni,

    Have you seen the Daily Express story about Fergie 'trying to sign' David Villa today?

    Well in the above story, Fergie once again talked about the lack of 'value in the market'; this line would be ok, if it not for the fact that he paid £7.4m for Bebe who it emerges was offered to PSV for FREE and they spurned him. And of course we paid a lot of money for Smalling too.

    Then we come to Ozil who was signed on the cheap and before him, Sneijder was available for a knockdown fee.

    I fear United will pay a high price for not signing Scholes's replacement this summer.

  9. I'd like to add if anything happens to Scholes then who steps in to replace him? Anderson? O'Shea, perhaps? No disrespect, but neither of them come close to Scholes. IMO, Rafael is better than both of them and I'd be put putting him forward as the candidate most likely to succeed because he's a footgballer.


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