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United snooze as Chelsea claw back to win Shield

The curtain raiser for the Premier League 09/10 is now behind us, and we can finally look forward to actual competitive football. Of course, the international friendly is almost surreal in its scheduling but we can break our head over it another day.

Here are a few thoughts on yesterday…

United started brightly and dominated Chelsea in the first half. They were quick off the blocks; Rooney and Berbatov linked up well, and Fletcher did a good job of snuffing out Chelsea’s formidable midfield. We attacked with purpose and should have been ahead by more than the solitary goal.

Nani had a bright game. I’ve had high hopes for him — I always felt he had the skills but his brain needed some sorting out. His brain seemed just fine, as there was marked improvement in his decision-making. The goal was beautiful, bisecting John Terry and Petr Cech into the right corner.

This has become a recurring theme in most of the United-Chelsea fixtures I’ve seen lately. Actually scratch that. This has been a recurring theme in most of the big games I’ve seen United involved in the last season (barring the Arsenal Champions’ League away leg, and the 3-0 defeat of Chelsea). We seem to fly off the blocks, get an early goal perhaps, and revert into a shell or inexplicably contrive to concede advantage to the other side. The second half was emblematic of the schizophrenia we’ve seen United display and I never saw us really deserve taking the lead in the second half. Carvalho’s goal almost seemed just to me, which brings us to my next gripe.

I’ve been supportive of giving Ben Foster the chance to prove himself. But yesterday he seemed very nervous and shaky. He hardly filled me with any confidence — and I suppose for the defence either — and if he keeps that form in the proper games, it will only be his Englishness that will keep him number one over Kuszczak. Sort it out, Ben. Foster fans can make all excuses they want about him, but he hardly inspired confidence in some of his decision-making yesterday — defence or no defence; not to mention, some dreadful kicking (which was supposed to be his strength).

And finally, onto the most contentious part of the match. Ballack elbowing Evra was a disgrace, but I won’t spend more inches debating on the German captain’s character. I was disappointed with referee, Chris Foy’s inconsistency. Whereas he didn’t play advantage when a Chelsea player went down he had no issues when Evra went down and played advantage leading to a Chelsea goal. Now I don’t have an issue if he’d played advantage for us in the first place. He has to give us an indication on how he interprets the rules. That’s all I ask. And I didn’t see that in the lead up to Chelsea’s second. That is all I will say on the incident.

In some bonus asides: I thought Berbatov sucked himself into a wormhole, during the second half. Some people claim to have seen him though. Nani’s injury was worrying, and I was really disappointed to hear reports that he’ll be out for a while. He will have a scan today, when the extent of the injury would definitively be known. Ben Hibbs, the Manutd.com resident journalist, however, provided an update on twitter that United’s doctors believe he may not have dislocated his shoulder after all. But nonetheless, a scan would only really tell.

263 Comments

263 Comments

  1. NicoQB

    11 August 2009 at 23:43

    @Stephen: He is classless and has a horrible attitude, that much is a fact and we agree on.

    But I think he’s far from being all attitude and no product and he’s certainly much more than just a Heskey. His shooting is infinietly better for one. And as a matter of fact he does have a rather good touch, if by touch you mean controlling the ball from mid-air and setting himself up.

    And I’m not saying Lampard was never good to start with, far from it. What I’m saying is with the damage Drogba does in opposition defence, Lampard gets more shooting opportunities as a result of scuffled clearances and defender’s positioning.. Its no wonder he’s the all time record holder for deflected goals.

  2. tevez

    11 August 2009 at 23:53

    Also, united can’t afford to give a run of games to a keeper who looks a liability. With a striker or winger you can allow more time for them to build form. A striker missing a chance or a winger losing the ball out wide in the opponents half is acceptable. A keeper missing a backpass or a cross is not and is so much more likely to negatively affect the result of the game. Consistency from foster is not something we can wait for.

  3. Footy4Eddy

    11 August 2009 at 23:55

    @tevez: No offence mate, but you should seriously consider changing your name… 🙂 😉

  4. Footy4Eddy

    11 August 2009 at 23:58

    Drogba only works as a Donkey, and we all know that in the good old days they were very useful. In these modern days he is just looked on as a failiure. 😉

  5. tevez

    12 August 2009 at 00:03

    @Footy4Eddy: I am a delusional, stubborn little cunt, so the name is quite apt. It stays.

  6. Footy4Eddy

    12 August 2009 at 00:03

    I am fantastic. Itsh a facht! And dont anyboody say its a fucking disgrace! Because that lacks exeptional talent, youth and creativity. In the end its all bollocks! Because you know I am special, and even if their team may be better I would love it if we beat them! Luv it!!!

    Eddy`s remix of famous(incredibly funny and stupid) comments made by other Premier League managers druing the years. 😎

  7. Footy4Eddy

    12 August 2009 at 00:04

    @tevez: 😆 😆 😆

    You forgot to add ugly as hell and greedy. 😉

  8. johnsom33

    12 August 2009 at 00:56

    @Footy4Eddy: We dont all change our names like you do.. 😆

  9. NicoQB

    12 August 2009 at 01:29

    @tevez: 😆 😆 😆

  10. colver

    12 August 2009 at 01:48

    Drogba on his day is unplayable end of story. Yes his attitude is terrible but when he decides he wants to play he causes havoc. Not the most prolific striker in the world but he does much more for a team than score goals. For example I truly believe he would be the perfect foil for Rooney if his attitude wasn’t so terrible (obviously we’d never buy him but I wonder what would have happened if we’d bought Drogba instead of Chelsea).

    Certainly not the most skillful strikers but I’d say when it comes to playing as a single striker up top Drogba is one of the best in the world and was a vital part of the 4-3-3 system that brought Mourinho so much success. There aren’t many strikers who can keep an entire defence busy.

    Id agree though that he is past his best and has lost his desire. Last season he basically went to pieces after losing the 2008 CL final and obviously did not get on with Scholari. But Ancelotti seems to have a knack for breathing new life into old drogs (sorry terrible pun) and I think he’ll be dangerous for Chelsea this season.

    tevez, you echo my sentiments precisely with regards to Foster. We do not have the luxury of time to allow Foster to develop consistency and confidence. We won a truckload of titles with Schmeichel behind the sticks. Same story with EVDS.

    Howard and Barthez…considerably more experienced than Foster but even with those guys we didn’t win all that much because they just weren’t good enough.

    No disrespect to Foster but we need a world class goalkeeper ready for next season. We don’t have 3-5 years spare for Foster to reach his best (which even then might not be good enough).

  11. Stephen

    12 August 2009 at 09:14

    @tevez: I agree but a keeper needs a run of games to get to know the back four he is playing with and for his confidence.

  12. Craig Mc

    12 August 2009 at 12:48

    @colver: Mate we need a world class stopper for this season, because United are already talking that our DEFENCE will again be the bulwark to win us the title. We have been leaking goals lately, and we appear to be caught out time after time with high crosses into the box causing panic, and at the far post with ball over the defence, when our full back often is not where he should be. Unless SAF is prepared to give Foster a season to prove whether he truly can be all SAF proclaims him to be, but accepting the possibility if he does, that we might lose that 4th PL crown he so desires! Also the great teams CONFIDENCE comes from winning games, and Ben Foster still is unproven for any length of time, and a few games lost, and we will have a confidence dip like you wouldn’t believe. So we have to decide, or SAF does, whether Ben Foster should get all the time needed to fulfil the potential SAF foresees, or accept any consequences. Who knows, Ben may come really good for us! We will be taking a chance though, and Even the most diehard Ben fans will surely know this!

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