Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tired legs could cost United dearly as Macheda saves champions again...

Goals by Paul Scholes and fast becoming super-hero Fedrico Macheda ensured Manchester United just about managed to see off the spirited challenge of Sunderland on Saturday to regain top spot in the Premier League. Earlier in the day Liverpool had demolished Blackburn 4-0 which temporarily took to them back to the summit of the table, in so doing the Merseyside Reds increased their goal difference. While United ended the day by leap-frogging our friends from the wrong end of the East Lancs Road, once again the quality of the performance at the Stadium of Light left much to be desired.

Going into Saturday's game the fans were hoping to see evidence of a revival from the champions following what has been an alarming slump, but it simply didn't materialise as collectively the team made too many mistakes.

Paul Scholes and Berbatov were restored to the team; Edwin van der Sar was rested along with Ronaldo and Evra. United started the game brightly enough with Rooney blazing just wide early doors as the visitors went on to dominate the opening exchanges. Vidic was extremely unlucky not to score from a corner with a trademark towering header, only to see his effort blocked on the line.

Wayne Rooney played out of position, wide on the left in a 4-3-3 formation and all credit to "Wazza" who not only supplied the cross for Paul Scholes (19) to score with a text-book flicked header, but also worked tirelessly for the team. Rooney was United's star man, only Carlos Tevez came close to securing that accolade in what turned out to be another very mixed-bag of a performance.

United went into the interval one-nil to the good, but the visitors didn't have it all their own way with the United back four once again looking shaky when threatened. Vidic and Foster shared what could have been calamitous moment when the Serbian and his 'keeper were involved in an awful mix-up.

While United are undoubtedly missing the calming influence and speed of thought of Rio Ferdinand, the fullback positions - especially at right back - are providing opponents with a profitable avenue of attack.

Gary Neville was at fault last weekend for both of Aston Villa's goals, admittedly the first was down to Fergie's bizarre decision to play him against John Carew, but for the second he allowed the ball to be crossed to Agbonlahor too easily.

It has been extremely difficult season for Neville; it is hard enough playing at the age of 34, but when you've been out injured for a lengthy spell it is even harder.

So it comes are no surprise to see Neville struggling at times, which was certainly the case against Sunderland who eventually deservedly equalised 10 minutes into the second-half. Many observers blamed Foster who came and failed to deal with a cross from United's right - but what many observers failed to pick up on, was the fact that once again Neville had been exposed prior to Jones scoring following yet more mistakes in the United back four.

In a bid to wrest control of the game, Fergie sent on Ronaldo, Macheda and Anderson. Thankfully, United's 17-year-old secret-weapon did the job again, this time with his first touch which left United's many enemies in the media, particularly those who on BBC 5 Live choking on their ABU bile when commenting (several times) that it was "a lucky, lucky goal". How would they know what Macheda was trying to do? It doesn't matter, the Italian looks to have the cold deadly eye of a Mafia hitman. Macheda has had a massive influence on the title race; I wouldn't rule him out scoring more important goals this season.

Next up United travel to Porto, needing to win, it could be one of the most exciting games we have seen in a long time, providing the real United turns up. The worry is, the team looks tired and it's not surprising because they have played more games than any other Premier League club including Aston Villa and Man City who started the season a month early in the Intertoto Cup.

1 comment:

  1. Fergie's next masterstroke is to make Rooney captain. He is the next Keano, not Fletcher. Rooney would be a far more effective captain for the run-in than Giggs, Neville or Ferdinand.


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