It was a penalty shootout again, like last season’s community shield. But at least last season saw two goals in open play. This was a 0-0 draw where United dominated possession throughout the game only to find it extremely hard to put the ball into the net.
It’s emblematic of United’s troubles, if any. They do seem a striker short. Their strikers spend more time outside the box than inside. But it could be argued that with a defence like that of Portsmouth a Rooney-Tevez combination could have finished the game in normal time.
The general team play however, was good. Despite a patched up midfield consisting of Scholes, O’Shea and Fletcher they ran over the physically imposing Pompey midfield. The passing was crisp and the build up play very good. All in all a very good day’s work out and it should hold the team in good stead ahead of Newcastle next week.
The defence was imperious, as usual, and Gary Neville, whilst not the overlapping right back we’ve grown used to, showed he meant business by putting in a few crunching tackles — which was a good sight.
But separate space needs to be reserved for our star performer of the day. Carlos Tevez showed what a good summer’s rest can do for a player. And he’s been impressive in pre-season, running and beating a couple of players, and yesterday was no different. He, like most United players yesterday, played like he really cared about the occasion and when he was robbed of a cast-iron penalty, he lashed out at Herman Hreidarsson (I think I butchered his name, but fuck him!) The summer would have done a world of good for Rooney and Tevez and I mentioned this a few days before that Tevez will be the man to fear for opposition defences this season. If he get’s a good target man in front of him we will get the best out of him. But it will be a tough ask for Fergie to make the call on whom to pick if we do get the striker we’ve been talking about all summer.
Speaking of strikers, Fergie’s talking about ‘looking elsewhere’ when asked about Berbatov. Maybe he is, maybe he’s just bluffing his way into asking Spurs to agree on a reasonable fee. Maybe they’ve just inquired about Henry’s availability instead of actually having put in a bid. (Oh my God! I hope we don’t get him.) Henry can’t head, so I don’t get why we might be interested in him. Names like Huntelaar keep popping up, but I am not really sure to be honest.
In any which way, the player would have to slot in straight away as time is short.
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