United completed a victory against giant killers Hull in, what could have been, emphatic fashion but for a second half where the team conceded two goals to lend some drama to the occasion.
Fergie started with Anderson and the returning Carrick in central midfield, whilst Nani and Ronaldo were stationed in the wings. Gary Neville made a return to the musical chair that is our right back slot and Rooney partnered Berbatov up front.
It would have been reassuring for Tevez to have started the game but we all know Fergie seems to prefer Rooney over the Argentine — especially on current form. [As an aside, it should be noted that the only way Tevez is going to play at anything approaching his pre-season form is by making him play regularly — something he’s not getting lately — and it’s a sort of a Catch-22 situation for the manager.]
Hull have impressed all around with their ability to mix it with the small and mighty of the Premiership, so they were always going to have a go at us. However, as with first season over-achievers — like Wigan and Reading in the past — we’ve brushed them aside. And the first half performance showed just that.
True to type, Ronaldo returned to his goal scoring ways. Another brace follows the one against West Ham and he looks approaching his prolific best. It looks more like a confidence thing for him as he seems to be enjoying playing now. I know there seems to be too much being made of his body language lately, but his demeanour looks to be in direct correlation with his confidence and form.
A word on Berbatov, again: he may seem the most languid player on the pitch, but has undeniable class, and, more importantly, he heads the Premier League assist table (6 assists already); I suppose they were all from open play. He’s a top, top buy and I absolutely love the player.
Nani seems to be improving and looks to be showing a lot of improvement, and we seemed to lose a bit of shape after he was taken off.
Carrick’s return was welcome too, and if he can take more leaves out of the Fletcher book of making surging runs into the box, then he’ll become undroppable; he’s already very important for our ball retention, but if he adds goal scoring threat to it, it would be bloody awesome.
Of course, this was a side that was dominant and led 3-1 at half time. Upon resumption, they were 4-1 ahead. Then why the final scoreline? Were they just plain bored? Did they forget that the game extends beyond 45 minutes and that the second half was not a training exercise? Did they contrive to fluff the 4695 ridiculous chances that were on offer? At least Fergie seems to think so:
“We’re a bit low after that performance. We didn’t take our chances and that’s annoying. We should have scored 10 or 11 but we frittered our chances away and we’ve almost been left embarrassed. The only positive from today is that we’re creating chances. We’re playing some fantastic football at times. Ronaldo could have scored four or five. I don’t know how many chances Berbatov made today but we could have scored a lot of goals.”
Michael Carrick, who after returning from injury also makes a return to the press, thought it was due to some poor defending.
Those were the cracks that I thought I shouldn’t paper over. United must not go on one of those very frequent switch off modes where they invited the opposition after clobbering them, as if to say, ‘Hey, looks like I roughed you up enough. Now, come on. Hit me!’. It isn’t good for the heart, really.
On the whole, however, I suppose there’s been good football played till now and I believe some team will get absolutely spanked by us, someday. Significantly, Liverpool and Arsenal dropped points which also helped push us to number three. Despite Liverpool’s performances in the season so far, I still think Chelsea is the machine we’ve got to worry about.
Next up, Arsenal at the Emirates with a fair few injury worries. Considering Arsenal’s current situation it looks like the best time to be facing them.
Anyway we’ll discuss the gooners later on during the course of the week. At the moment kindly, excuse me as I head off for wee little nap to rest my tired eyes.
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