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United Sleepwalk to Defeat

There’s been this nagging feeling at the back of my head; the press had built up United to be a monster that would just walk all over Barcelona. Even many fans were disturbingly over confident over our chances. Surprisingly, a good number of English non-United fans were also fairly confident of United’s chances.

With all the hubris surrounding the game and United in particular, there was one thought in my head: everyone is building this up with a chance of a spectacular fall lying in wait. That was a thought more due to my cynicism over any unduly gushing praise; even cockiness over a side that have been demolishing everyone left, right and centre — scoring well over 100 goals this season.

One may say this is hindsight talking, but I mentioned this prior to the match. I knew we were perfectly capable of beating Barcelona on our day, but I was also perfectly aware that it was foolishness to expect United would just walk all over them.

The first 10 minutes however, gave me the hope that United were really up for this and it could be our night. Ronaldo was in his elements, out to prove a point. And despite all the media shenanigans over the best player in the world, he was among the few players to emerge out of the match with any credit.

Samuel Eto’o’s goal came, as they say, entirely against the run of play. There was no indication till then of Barcelona ever coming close to the ball till that instant. More shocking was the ease with which Eto’o turned Vidic, and whilst EVDS could have done better at his near post, the damage was done.

United were shell shocked, visibly, and chased shadows for the rest of the game. There is nothing else to say about this really. Ideally, my match report should end here. Full stop.

But it won’t, because I have to waffle a little longer because of the occasion. So, waffle, I shall.

There was a debate about Guardiola being a better coach than Ferguson. It’s hard to make that argument because of the gulf in experience and achievements between the two managers. But today, it looked like Barcelona were well coached and prepared for the occasion once they got their goals. The Barcelona coach was on the touchline belching out instructions even when they were ahead, and he was quick to spot moments of indiscretion from his wards — although they were few and far between.

It’s also hard to say that Ferguson got his tactics wrong. I think he put out the side everyone predicted. It could be said that Fletcher was missed, but I’ll again chalk this down to the first goal that knocked the wind out of the players. What was shocking was the lack of drive shown by the players to get their heads together, regroup and come back stronger. There was little fight, and only more frustration as Barcelona passed us to death.

Ferguson was absolutely right when he said we did little when we got the ball. Fletcher can help get the ball back for you, but when Carrick tried way too many Hollywood passes, and Rooney just got angrier and angrier, and Evra mishit everything after another foray, and Park fell down after being given the ball by Ronaldo (following much hard work by the Portuguese) there is little one can do but scratch heads vigourously.

So, how do I feel? I feel sick but in a strange way. I am not gutted by the defeat, as I would have had it been at the hands of Chelsea or Arsenal or Liverpool. But I still feel empty today. It was as if the day seemed blank. There is a weird curling feeling in the stomach, yet no grief.

We were extraordinarily poor today, and there is little disgrace in losing to an exceptional side. I only wished we gave them a bit more fight than we did today.


The obvious fan reaction will call for heads to roll, players to be sold etc. I’ll pass on that reaction, because it belittles a season’s worth of work. Yes, we have obvious weaknesses, but so does every club. So I’ll spare my readers my rant on which player needs to be sold or who needs to be dropped. I think I’ve either moved past that or can’t be too arsed to go through that ritual following a defeat. Doing that just feels like taking hindsight to the back of the truck and subjecting him to gross, even illegal, physical abuse.

The time will come when we take stock of the season — and that will come over the next few days. So watch this space.



  1. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 17:45

    @Dan: In your dreams mate. Marin is the star of his club and is already a fixture with the German National team. Quite the accomplishment for somebody so young.

  2. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 17:48

    @Mr.Muhozi: I know Muhozi Bro, and I can assure you, that we will not see Giggs retire UNTIL riga-mortis sets in and he is ashamed into leaving 😆 .

  3. Stephen

    29 May 2009 at 17:49

    @Grognard: I have sort of met him mate and he isn’t a nice bloke I can tell you.

  4. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 17:53

    @Craig Mc: It amazes me how some people cannot see Evra for the useless, brainless little French crumpet that he is. Why don’t they get it Bro? How many times must the Skinned Sausage be skinned? How many times must he be caught way out of position? How many times must his last pass in the attacking zone end up in the opponents possession and how many times must we endure his blind and stupid clearances that go straight to the opponent and help them score goals like the second goal on Wednesday.

    Some might say he sucks but that there are no other LB’s out there that are good enough that we can afford. Perhaps that is right. God know with all our other problems, breaking the bank for Philip Lahm is not an option. But here the thing, Fergie, play young Fabio and show him the confidence you showed Rafael. He is every bit as good as his brother and many feel he is better. And if you want to break him in slowly, then do so. O’Shea is more than a capable starter for now as long as you are smart enough to place Wes Brown back at RB where he belongs. W e don’t need to shop to find Evra’s replacement. We already have him. How about selling Evra for 15 million and taking that money and buy a midfielder or a world class goalkeeper for the future? Now there’s an idea. 😀

  5. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 17:53

    @Craig Mc: You mean Giggamortis. 😀

  6. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 17:55

    @Stephen: Tell us more. I’m intrigued. I assume you are talking about Neville and not Giggs, correct?

  7. Stephen

    29 May 2009 at 17:58

    @Grognard: Giggsy I hear is a lovely fella, Craig will know about Neville, he has a bad rep in Manchester.
    I was in Starbucks and he was in front of me in the cue (hence the sort of met) and the girl who in fairness was obviously quite new and not great but Red Nev was just bloody rude to her and arrogant with it, bacically not called for.

  8. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 17:58

    @Darth Red Diablo: Well I told her I am saving for a TOP, TOP, engagement ring, and she smiled which I think means agreement 😆 .

  9. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 18:00

    @Dan: A Wengerphile – Dan I’m pmsl Bro. 😆 😆 😆 .

  10. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 18:00

    Everybody talks about us buying the unaffordable Ribery or getting Valencia but I for months have touted one name and nobody even bothers to comment on him when I do. Yuri Zhirkov. Well today I read at the BBC that Chelsea just bought him for 30 million. Now they have not only the best central midfield players anywhere outside of Barcelona. Now they have a world class winger who can also play LB better than Evra on his best days. NUTS!

    “0950 BST: Chelsea have signed Russian international midfielder Yuri Zhirkov for $30m from CSKA Moscow according to Russian newspaper Tvoi Den. The tabloid claims Zhirkov will join on a four-year contract. (Russian tabloid Tvoi Den)”

  11. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 18:03

    @Stephen: Errr wtf Stephen??? I said that I didn’t agree with Fergie playing people out of position, and I NEVER mentioned Phelan – what are you on Bro? Just stop drinking that Red wine will you mate 😉 😆 .

  12. karma

    29 May 2009 at 18:07

    How’s about Jeremy Toulalan from Lyon?

    Haven’t watch much of the French League to have an assessment on him.

    My mate’s been raving about him to me all the time!

  13. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 18:09

    @Grognard: Grog your Quote “How many times must the skinned sausage be skinned?” What before he is CANNED you mean 😆 😆 .

  14. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 18:11

    @Grognard: GIGGAMORTIS – 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 .

  15. Dan

    29 May 2009 at 18:31

  16. Stephen

    29 May 2009 at 18:40

    @Craig Mc: I was just that the players played shite mate that all plus I am drinking white! 😆 😆
    Also are you an engaged man???! If so congrats matey will have a drink to celebrate your news!! 😛 😛

  17. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 18:45

    @Stephen: No I’m not engaged yet, but I am SAVING for this bloody costly ring she wants 😆 😆 😆 .

  18. Stephen

    29 May 2009 at 18:48

    @Craig Mc: I feel your pain mate,will have a drink anyway! 😆 😆

  19. Stephen

    29 May 2009 at 18:53

    Sorry boys my spelling today has been awful, my father would delighted with the money he spent on my education 😳

  20. Dan

    29 May 2009 at 19:15

    @Craig Mc: Become a male “escort” for a week or two, the money will be coming in(and out 😉 ) like children to the ice-cream man. Trust me, its good fun, and you get paid for it.

  21. Matt

    29 May 2009 at 19:26

    @Dan: You know what annoys me about that miss is 2 things.
    1 is parks reaction to the miss. A sort of oh well i tried look, he didnt look too disappointed, i bet if rooney had missed that he would have been punching the air and swearing all that, maybe im looking into that too much.
    The other is fergies reaction and it kinda annoys me. Fergie had the look of a father who sees his son miss a sitter. Hes disappointed about the miss but ah its ok cos its park. I guarantee you if that was nani he would have been out of his seat waving his arms around looking furious. And people say fergie doesnt have his favourites indeed.

  22. Dan

    29 May 2009 at 19:36

    @Matt: i totally agree mate, totally agree. Fergie has his favourites, CQ had his, CQ is gone, so fergies favs IE park now get “special” treatment. Unfair, and poor, poor man-management.

  23. Red Ranter

    29 May 2009 at 20:01

    new post up btw.

  24. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 20:22

    @Dan: That has got to be the miss of the century. I still don’t know how it was possible to miss that? I often use the saying “can’t hit the side of the barn from two feet”. If ever there was a video description of what I mean, that would be it. I’m like the bloke in the stands. You can’t even get mad about it. You just have to laugh because it’s so comical. 🙄 😆 😆

  25. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 20:24

    @Dan: And of course Dan, you speak from experience right? 😉 😀

  26. Grognard

    29 May 2009 at 20:27

    @Matt: I can’t help but agree with you there. Certain people get the hairdryer or stare from God and others just get the Aw shucks, maybe next time treatment from the Boss. I for one can say right now that although I admire and respect the man a great deal, I could not play for a man who shows favoritism and preference to some while alienating others. Especially gits like Park who are undeserving. It’s infuriating.

  27. Craig Mc

    29 May 2009 at 20:42

    @Dan: Dan 😯 👿 , if I did that mate, I would get my arse kicked out the door PRONTO. Besides I could never cheat, I’m one of those annoying loyal to the core gits. When I care for somebody, I never look at anybody else, and before Grog gives me some stick, I mean anybody else but Lush Puppy Kimba 😆 . The GF knows about that one though 😀 .

  28. Dan

    29 May 2009 at 20:51

    @Craig Mc: 😆 😆

  29. Grognard

    30 May 2009 at 00:07

    @Craig Mc: OK so we know you are loyal to the GF but supposing you had difficult decision like picking between one managing Man Utd or two, the GF, what would you do then? 😀

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