Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another win, another totally uninspiring United performance...

Manchester United were in action at the Liberty Stadium yesterday and for the third league game on the spin it finished up one-nil to the champions. Javier Hernandez grabbed another poachers goal just ten minutes into the game with help from Ryan Giggs and a howler of a mistake by Angel Rangel, who gifted United's midfield veteran possession on the edge of the Swansea penalty area. Giggs intercepted Angel's attempted pass and threaded the ball to Hernandez and the Mexican's finish did not disappoint the travelling Red Army. Sadly for the visiting fans and the millions watching the game live on TV, that was one of the few highlights from a United perspective. Phil Jones was very unlucky not to score late on but his low driven shot rebounded off the post. Nani should have scored as United applied pressure with the game heading to its conclusion, but apart from those opportunities, it was another performance which had all too few moments to remember.

In his post-match interview, Ferguson praised the manner of his players concentration in relation to defending and he was right about that, but Swansea could quite easily have taken a point from this game. Scot Sinclair was guilty of missing what some are describing as the "miss of the season" on twenty minutes. Quite how Sinclair did not score from close range beggared belief. But the Swansea winger did miss and the rest is history.

While there are undoubtedly some positives in relation to United's recent improvement where the issue of defending is concerned, the same cannot be said about the team's attacking play in the final third.

United really struggled to open up Everton, Sunderland and it wasn't much better at Swansea. At least Ferguson started with Rooney up front against Swansea, which didn't happen in the previous two league games. Playing Rooney in midfield, amounts to an admission of failure on the part of the manager - you don't play your best player out of position unless you really have to. Clearly, the derby thrashing by City has impacted on Ferguson's thinking about tactics, the players at his disposal and the formation. As a result, the manager's thinking has become muddled since the derby defeat - at least that is how many fans see it.

The fact is there's very little Ferguson can do about Manchester City, but one gets the feeling that perhaps the United manager is considering reverting to a more defensive formation, one that would mean dispensing with at least one winger. Evidence of that theory has been all too obvious since the derby defeat; United haven't started a league game with two wingers - factor-in Rooney playing in central midfield in two of those games adds further weight to the theory that the manager has without any doubt been adopting a more cautious approach.

If Fergie really wanted to copy City's tactics as well as their formation he would have to sign at least one specialist defensive midfield player - because right now, he doesn't have one. Nor, does Ferguson have a player like David Silva, or come to that an Aguero or a Tevez.

While it is true that United have been far too open at the back this season - until the derby - front an attacking perspective, the team was by and large playing reasonably well and scoring goals. In the wake of the derby hammering, United have been playing like trauma victims. The manager needs to set his team up to attack teams again - in short we need to see United playing 'the United way'. Fergie cannot do much about City and so he must concentrate on Manchester United.

As for the battles that lie ahead, we can only hope that the league leaders slip up soon in what looks like a difficult run of games. However, even at this very early stage of the season, Manchester City look like racing certainties to secure the league title. The thought of City winning the title is something of a doomsday scenario, but even among time-served United fans the debate has started to move on from "..will they win it?" to " is now a question of by how many points..".


  1. no playmaker. no trophies. no nothing. just boring stuff. we wil hav to put up watching united silently as others entertain. who covers for the one twos incisive barca style passes from cleverly when he gets injured? and he gets injured many tyms? fletcher? carrick? gibson? pur- liiiz

  2. You are so right. Fergie signed Bebe (without ever seeing him play) for a third of the fee that City paid for Silva. With so little quality in midfield it is bordering on criminal that money has been wasted on so many average players.

  3. Gary Neville was suggesting liverpool need to remove all the dead wood bt i think its us that need that. all united midfielders are dead wood excpt cleverley and mayb anderson. the midfield need an overhaul. fergie is mellowing badly with loyalty to very average players. who has taken the place of hargreaves? how abt scholes? we need alpha replacements.....not. ..... there is no value in the market. u mean the whole wide world fergie? how kam atha teams are getting em? playmakers are evrywhere in south america spain italy germany portugal. its up to him to want to buy. he normally says he is satisfief with his group....oh really?

  4. I can't believe this. Your team may not be winning with style at present, but 1-0 is the title winning results when your team is not at full steam. As an Arsenal fan, even if we play good football, I would to have loved those 1-0 results when we were not playing so great. We would be very close to the top.

  5. The only reason SAF did not buy a playmeker or a defensive midfielder is because of two reasons. Cleverly and Pogba.SAF has faith in young players.its just a matter of time before they come good. If not this season than the next.Do you really want to go the Shitty way and buy yourself to glory (Real) or have faith in your fundamentals and earn your glory (Barca). If you doubt SAF judgement than you are ungrateful and lack integrity.

  6. Saf needs a little creativity. Jones or young in the middle. Maybe a 4-2-3-1 with Rooney in the middle 3 and Javier up front. Maybe Berba in the mix. Try something with your best players.

  7. 68devils I think you need to read my post again. I along with no doubt millions of other reds want to see United attacking teams. Fergie has changed tactics since the derby - we haven't started a league game with two wingers since then. It is Fergie who is going down the road of following City - but as I pointed out it won't be easy to do that without making wholesale changes. Finally, if you want to discuss integrity let's have a discussion about Bebe - a player signed for £7.4m without the manager seeing him. That was a scandalous disgrace and in part it is why we are in such a mess in midfield - a lot of money has been wasted on average players. With that said, I really like TC and Pogba does look good , so yes I agree with you there - they will hopefully play a big part in the future.
    Anon, Berbatov is finished as a united player.

  8. We could face the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter in the last 16 if as expected we finish 2nd in the group... Any thoughts ? Wouldn't fear Madrid I'd say it would be a cracking game. Would hate to get Bayern again.

  9. Dgil,

    Sadly, I fear United will be dumped out by Basel and what's more we have gone backwards this season. The teams you have mentioned will give United one hell of a beating.


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