Sunday, February 20, 2011

FA Cup: Brown delivers on return, but Bebe and Obertan give cause for concern as United edge out Crawley Town...

Ferguson paid none-league Crawley Town the complement of fielding a strong United team in yesterday's fifth round FA Cup tie at Old Trafford, one that included, Rafael, Wes Brown, John O'Shea, Anderson, Carrick and Hernandez. Despite the obvious gulf which separates the two clubs, it was Crawley Town who took the game to United - there was no chasm in class and for long periods it wasn't obvious which of the two was the Premier League club.

The tie was settled by a solitary first-half Wes Brown headed goal. According to the gossip columns Brown will be sold this summer following the blossoming of the da Silva twins and the emergence of Chris Smalling who looks destined for a big future at Old Trafford. Brown was clearly delighted to score his goal - it was great to see him back in the first-team, but you have to wonder how many more opportunities there will be for the player who showed so much early promise at the outset of his United career?

No doubt in a bid to stamp some authority on the game but also in part to rest the Brazilian for the trip to Marseille in midweek, Ferguson replaced the largely anonymous Anderson at half-time when sending on last weekend's derby hero Wayne Rooney; in truth the United striker failed to make any real impact on this cup tie - his only notable contribution was a booking.

Smalling came on early in the second-half when replacing Rafael who once again didn't look 100% following his recent head injury. The Brazilian left the field shaking his head and didn't look happy; Rafael was checked out for suspected concussion after the Blackpool game and you wonder if there will be further cause for concern with a big Champions League game this week. For his part, Smalling once again did very well, so much so that he was United's star man on the day.

Darron Gibson was United's other star performer, especially in the first-half, but his influence faded in the second period. Republic of Ireland boss Trapattoni has told Gibson to quit Old Trafford and that advice could well prove to be the correct course of action, because the Irishman has been given ample opportunities to prove his worth but he has failed to convince on too many occasions. However, against Crawley Town some of his passing was excellent.

The other da Silva twin, Fabio, did reasonably well, but he too was also replaced following a knock. Darren Fletcher came on and slotted in at right-back.

Crawley pushed United all the way and their effort and organisation was rightly praised after the game. Crawley had enjoyed much of the possession and out-passed a number of visiting Premier League clubs at Old Trafford this season.

United just about deserved the win, but it was a mistake ridden performance especially where Bebe and Obertan were concerned. Bebe consistently tried and failed to beat his man and when he did manage to produce a cross, all too often it didn't find his man. Sooner or later one suspects Ferguson will have to admit he's made a gross error of judgement when he will surely cut his loses and release the Portuguese winger.

After what was a promising start, Obertan wasn't much better on the left flank; the problem? The Frenchman started to push the push the ball too far in front of himself and that led to him losing the ball. Like, Bebe, you wonder how much longer the French winger will be a United player.

United's Man of the Match: Smalling.
United entertainment value: 2/10


  1. JR. I agree.

    How many United fans can be happy after that display? How many have confidence in the ‘reserve’ side? How many feel cheated after paying out a lot of money to go and watch your team, to have a bunch of players who were not as good as Crawley Town?

    If Blackpool were fined for fielding a weakened team, then Manchester United MUST be fined as well. Don’t you agree?

    The result was a travesty. At least Sir Alex Ferguson was honest enough to admit that Crawley deserved a draw. They were the only team in the second half. United were deplorable. The four time Sussex Senior Cup winners limited the 11 time Premier League Champions and, at present, leaders of the premier league to a slender and less than convincing victory.

    At least Ferguson must have satisfied himself that many playing yesterday were not first team material. It is far too early to make a judgement on Lindegaard, in goal, but he certainly does not inspire me. It has been suggested that Brown is on the list to leave. Yet he was one who did play well, in my opinion. Oberton had some good moments, but they were just that, moments.

    Carrick has gone downhill fast. He just disappears in games. Gibson who did look up for the game in the first half, was woeful in the second. Bebe was awful and must have confirmed what many people have been saying. I cannot see anything in this lad at all. Am I alone with this view?

    After the exhilaration from watching Chelsea bomb out (again on penalties…sad) we got this.

    That they are top of the league and in the knock out stages of the Champions League plus remaining in the FA Cup defies common sense. I think we have used every ounce of luck a team can have in a season.

  2. Strapworld,

    Regarding fining managers for fielding weakened teams: I think managers have a duty to give their players a game when they can - otherwise what is the poiont of having a squad?

    Also, down the years Fergie has always managed to 'even things up' when putting out a side that on paper at least anyway should be good enough to win against lower league opposition - as was the case yesterday.

    The team he sent out against Crawley consisted of 1st team / 1st team squad players so I don't see how they can fine Fergie who is always rotating. Apart from that I broadly agree with your other comments.

  3. Towards the end of that game part of me was hoping Crawley would win. Perhaps that would have caused Fergie to completely revamp that side. Obertan and Bebe were especially bad - I honestly hope I don't see them in a United shirt again. They were outclassed by non-league players.

    Brown looked ok and its a shame really that he is expected to go this summer. I still think he has something to offer us and I would put him above Evans in the pecking order. Gibson, Obertan, Bebe, Carrick and Anderson were terrible and none of them are really good enough to play for United. If all 5 left in the summer (Anderson extremely unlikely) then I would be a happy man.

  4. Dave,

    I agree with everything you've posted, apart from hoping Crawley would win...

    Anderson isn't up to it, but Bebe is terrible.

    I'd like someone to investigate exactly where that £7m went to....


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