Sunday, April 18, 2010

Scholes ensures City got what they deserved on perfect day for United....

Francis Lee had the nerve to claim City should have won the Manchester derby; was he watching a different game? Or had his wig slipped over his eyes? Of course Lee's views had nothing to do with his City connections - not much it didn't. It's a bit like expecting unbiased objectivity from Paddy Crerand, it simply isn't going to happen, is it?

The fact is, United were the better side for pretty much all of the first-half; Rooney and Giggs could have put United two nil up, but they didn't.

City improved second-half, but throughout the game they collectively passed the ball badly. It was also one of those rare occasions when both Tevez and Bellamy failed to make any impression; the Argentine and the Welshman are vying for City's player of the year award, both have been excellent this season. Gary Neville must take most of the credit for keeping Bellamy in-check - but it has to be said, the former Liverpool striker looked jaded too.

Tevez wasn't his usual all-action self. Vidic ensured he kept on top of Tevez and Adebayor was largely anonymous. United's Serbian defender was the man of the match; he didn't put a foot wrong all afternoon and made several telling interceptions and clearances.

Thankfully, the derby was spared the services of Steve Bennett, who would have surely ruined it; it wasn't a dirty game by any stretch and Martin Atkinson just about got all of the big decisions right and without any controversy, which is the mark of a good performance.

It was by no means a great performance by the champions. Wayne Rooney looked less than 100% fit, all too often he was static instead moving towards the ball when it was played to his feet, which made it easy for City's central defenders to shackle him. Clearly, Rooney had a mobility problem and it came as no great surprise when Fergie eventually replaced him with Berbatov with just sixteen minutes remaining. Sadly, once again the Bulgarain failed to make any meaningful impact from the bench; Berbatov's demeanor and body language is currently that of man who knows he's heading for the Old Trafford exit door and with the summer transfer window just around the corner you wonder where his immediate future lies.

The Manchester derby wasn't like recent encounters with our near neighbours; there wasn't a glut of goal-scoring opportunities. With so much at stake and with the season end in sight, perhaps tiredness was a factor, that and the pressure of expectations at both clubs.

Fergie sent on Obertan and Nani for Valencia and Gibson, but the changes made little difference. For all the world, the contest looked like ending in a draw as we headed into the final few minutes and if it had done neither side would have complained too much.

As the clock ticked over the ninety minute mark, someone from the United backroom could be heard bellowing to Scholes to stay up front. Yet another United attack broke down, this time thanks to Berbatov as City regained possession, but then the champions regained it and the ball was quickly played wide left to Evra and his cross was headed beyond the despairing clutches of Shay Given and into the rigging. The scenes of unbridled joy have not been matched, in what has been a very up and down season. The travelling United fans went predictably crazy, as did Fergie and his backroom team. City had been beaten for the third time by United in added time this season, it really doesn't get much better than that.

If you support Manchester United, it was a truly great afternoon, but the evening just got better when Spurs thrashed Chelsea at White Lane. The final score was 2-1, but it could have been 6-1 to Spurs, and of course John Terry was sent-off. Terry (Chelsea's third goalkeeper) was finally penalised for handling the ball inside the box. The former England skipper has got away with handling the ball inside the box on many occasions, there's been so many incidents it is hard to catalogue them all.

On a slightly different tack, on-looking United fans will have been hugely impressed with Gareth Bale who has destroyed both Arsenal and Chelsea this week. Fergie, Fergie sign Bale on...

Chelsea still have to play Liverpool away. Importantly, if United win all of their remaining fixtures, it means that Chelsea will have to WIN at Anfield. With Everton chasing down Liverpool in the league and with Chelsea now possibly on the verge of fading, it is going to be very interesting.


  1. Did you see the good news for Chelsea? Torres is done for the rest of the season. I guess we can pray for a 0-0 draw at Anfield.

  2. Yes I did see it. Let's face facts, it is still in Chelsea's hands. I think we have tougher looking fixtures too, in the light of Spurs and Sunderland's current form.

  3. BTW, we didn't see anything of Hargreaves - he wasn't on the bench was he?

  4. Yeah, I was going to comment on that. Hargreaves did not even make the bench. I was gutted. I just do not know what to think.

    My biggest belief is that SAF does not want to let it get out that he does not have to pay even more over the odds for a replacement.

    On another couple of points, I think United are doomed against Spurs for one reason: I have already twice today that Spurs have never beaten us at Old Trafford. Once on the United website too. Do you remember what happened after simliar discussion against Villa this year?

    Also, this if for a post below, hear the noise about Mourinho? Unless he takes the Liverpool or City post, he is coming here for one reason: the Glazers cannot afford to lose. What other manager, that we would realistically get, offers a closer chance at guaranteed success?

  5. 619,

    As I've stated before, I'm sticking to my Hargreaves prediction...

    As for Mourinho, here again I'm sticking to my prediction: that is he will join City or Liverpool (soon to have new owners?). Taking the United job doesn't make any sense; there's no money to spend and following Fergie is a no brainer. IMO there's absolutely NO guarantees of success for the next manager.

    It's a game of opinions...

  6. I think that you read my comment wrong, I am not saying that the United job guarantees success. What I am saying is, when the Glazers search for a replacement, they will search for someone who offers them the closest guarantee to success. For that reason, I think they will push hard for Mourinho.

  7. 619,

    Fair comment. Obviously, you'd hope that the Glazers will talk to the very best available and of course JM comes into that category. But, it seems to me there's far more attractive/easier looking options. Madrid, despite their appalling record of hiring and firing looks to me to be the best bet.

    Mourinho could walk away from Madrid in two years time with his honour intact.

    I guess you could put forward the same argument if he took the United job: "I'm leaving because I have no funds to spend"... but I seriously doubt he will take the job. It's only my opinion.

    I don't know who I want to replace Fergie to be honest. Certainly not Roy Keane.

  8. Don't know if you will get this before the Spurs match, but Ole Mr. Hargreaves is in the team. Will he make the bench? Only time will tell.

  9. Yeah, I saw it, but he didn't get on the pitch. Strange that Fergie sent on Carrick who is surely heading for the exit door....

  10. I just started thinking about Hargreaves, and thought, SAF has really no incentive to play him.

    We are at a point in the season where we play one game a week. The players we have are more than capable of doing the job. Why would we play him if we aren't a head by a large margin?

    While this is not to argue that Hargreaves is fit to play, we know you don't think he is. I can see the thought in letting him develop further strength and confidence during the rest of the (off) season and then letting him loose at the start of the next campaign.

    By then, he should be fully fit and raring to go, if indeed he is capable of playing.

    Another truly CRAZY thought just came to mind while typing, loan him to an MLS club for a month. Rapids, for example, where Steadman can keep a close eye on him. Let him play some first team football and see if indeed he is capable of playing.

    At least we will see, if he can't hack it in America, he definitely won't be able to hack it with United. If he can hack it, then at least we know he can play. The final question will be, to what level?


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