Friday, April 16, 2010

United must be wary of Steve Bennett and Tevez....

United head into Saturday's derby with lingering hopes of retaining the title. Those hopes will be dashed if the champions do not take all three points from what is likely to be one of the games of the season, not least because City are fighting tooth and nail with Spurs in a bid to hang on to fourth place.

The last time the two sides met was in the Carling Cup semi-finals. City sat back in the first-leg at Eastlands and United went on to dominate; the tactic should have ended in disaster for the home side as the champions went ahead through Ryan Giggs, however, Mike Dean then intervened and wrongly awarded City a penalty which they converted. Dean was also guilty of wrongly giving City a corner, from which Tevez scored. While Dean undoubtedly cost United a first-leg win, the central defensive partnership of Brown and Evans let themselves down on the night.

Tomorrow, it's the turn of 'card happy' Stephen Bennett to take charge. Bennett is one of those referees who is too easily swayed by the home crowd. Bennett also has a history of sending off big name United stars: he sent Ronaldo and Keane off twice. Clearly, Ferguson has every reason to be concerned about the appointment of Steve Bennett for such an important fixture.

The problem with many of our so called 'first-class' referees is they don't know when to produce cards; all too often we see the men in the middle getting it wrong and they end up sending off players for two yellow cards. If Bennett gets the big decisions wrong tomorrow the referee won't pay much of a price, but it could cost United dearly.

Bennett needs to understand the passion of the occasion and he needs to let the game flow without constant intervention. At the end of 90 minutes we don't want to be talking about another poor refereeing performance that has resulted in yet more controversy. The sign of a truly great refereeing performance is when you barely notice them, sadly, all too often it is the reverse. Referees like Bennett need to understand they are NOT the stars of the show - it is the players' who should be grabbing the headlines.

From a tactical perspective, it will be interesting to see how City's Italian manager approaches this game: will Mancini tell his players to sit back and hit United on the break? If he does, he could well be courting disaster, because you do not invite good players to attack you - sooner or later you will pay the price.

For our part, United need to get back to winning ways and obviously a lot is likely to depend on the fitness of Wayne Rooney. Fergie says Rooney has a chance, but he was less optimistic about Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs who are both struggling to be fit for the derby.

Importantly, United's midfield needs to make better use of the ball and the champions must win the battle for control of the engine room. Players like Carrick and Berbatov will be playing for their Old Trafford futures, that's assuming they are selected to play some part in the game.

Failure to put pressure on Chelsea who take on Spurs later in the afternoon will be an unacceptable outcome: United simply have to win the Manchester derby to keep any hopes of retaining the title alive.


  1. Not sure why but i hope United lose. I really wanted United to be more of a force next season and see us dominate the midfield and attack. This lose will send a message to Fergie who seems to lose the plot. He say he had the 80m money and all he is buying is youngster. Saying there is no value in the market when there is much last summer. I can't see how Chelsea will lose more than 4 points and let us win the trophy so this is a good time to let Fergie wake up and buy some quality instead of quantity player.

  2. KK,

    Fergie says there's no value in the market, yet Inter snapped up Sneijder for 15million Euros last summer and he's transformed the Italian club into serious CL contenders. Fergie isn't doing his homework. But, we simply HAVE to win tomorrow.


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