It has become impossible for us to write match reports of United victories without a mention of a Ronaldo goal. In fact he has been so remarkably prolific that it led to Sir Alex himself recently admitting that he never saw his goal scoring potential when he initially bought him; his purchase was as a pure winger.
But as he approaches Best’s tally of 32 goals in a season for a winger — he reached the 25 goal mark yesterday — comparisons with the legendary winger will surely resurface, and that too for good reason.
However, what is truly interesting is his contribution for most part of the game. Ronaldo was once again anonymous, as he has been several times this season, but still managed to hit a brace, as he has done several times previously this season. In a way, he embodied our performance; we were below par, but we still did eke a win — as we’ve done many times before.
Juande Ramos’ side had momentum. Buoyed by demolishing their arch rivals they showed urgency and pace and got out of the blocks earlier. United, on the other hand, seemed like they were expecting a phone call from the airport’s lost baggage claim department. The Saudi trip seemingly made them look a disjoint unit. It also claimed Vidic, who was out with a virus. Brown partnered Rio with Evra and O’Shea as fullbacks.
The absence of Vidic was felt as Rio and Brown looked shaky as a partnership. However, it was Patrice Evra’s turn to have a stinker as Aaron Lennon’s runs brought us memories of the Frenchman’s debut against the bitters, way back in 05. He was culpable as Tottenham took the lead; Lennon skinned Evra and his excellent cross was tapped in by Robbie Keane. However, soon after, a lay off from Giggs helped Tevez equalize and we were back on track. Or rather should we say, Tottenham were sure to fuck up their early advantage.
And that was what exactly happened. Spurs continued to have chances that they ought to have put away while certain players like Hargreaves dozed off momentarily. But they didn’t and it wasn’t too long before Dawson’s wildly flinging arms pushed the ball away from Rooney in the box — earning him a straight red and a penalty for United. Oh, it was an excellent punt down the field by EVDS.
Ice-man Ronaldo converted it and added another soon after — something the ‘keeper should have saved.
Carrick and Hargreaves were paired in the centre, and I thought they had a fair game. Hargreaves did a reasonable job of getting at the Spurs players, despite occasional transgressions. The introduction of Paul Scholes of course was a moment a lot of us were waiting for, and it was nice to see that he was quite good. Anderson continues to amaze me with his ability at this age and it is encouraging to see a happy headache for Fergie, now that Scholesy’s returned. Will he continue with a midfield of Anderson and Hargreaves — a combination that has shown a lot of promise and is fairly settled — or will he go with both Scholes and Anderson? Or will it be Hargo and Scholes and will Carrick find a place in the mix? All very valid questions, something that will test the man management skills of the boss to the full.
On the match, it must be said that we won another game without stepping into high gear although a week (or so?) from now we must be better if we are to get a result from White Hart Lane in the more important league. Of course, we also have the small matter of dealing with Portsmouth in midweek.
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Meanwhile Manucho has scored a brace as Angola shocked Senegal. I managed to catch bits of the game although I found his strike partner, Flavio, the more impressive one. Manucho is excellent in the air but I haven’t seen much of him to conclude if he is any good holding the ball or striking it into goal with his foot. Nonetheless, he is having a great ANC, and hopefully he does well for us too.
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