Sunday, 20 September 2009

United 4 - 3 City

  • On the balance of the second half, we probably didn't deserve the point that I thought Craig Bellamy's equaliser had brought us. We were under siege for the whole thirty-eight minutes between Bellamy's two strikes. Were it not for Dimitar Berbatov and Shay Given conspiring to keep the score first at 2-2 and then 3-2 we could have been swamped. Imagine what Adebayor (who cost £5m less than Berbatov) would have done with those headed chances. All this is a way of saying that a 3-3 final score would have flattered us, and therefore that we can't complain too much with the final result.
  • But I can't quite make myself buy it. To lose in the sixth minute of four minutes of stoppage time stings something quite serious. I'm really not a big fan of the explanatory power of officials' bias in explaining the outcomes of football matches and seasons, and certainly not in relation to a particular conspiracy against one's own team. It stinks of solipsism. That said, I don't think you need to be a lifelong blue to question whether the six minutes of stoppage time - after the initial award of four - was justified. And I don't think you need to be a Munich-singing neanderthal to question whether Manchester United needing a goal at Old Trafford was a factor in the generosity of the award.
  • Anyway, back to the performance. It was mixed. In both halves United started with pace and guile and scored early. In both halves City looked rattled before finding an equaliser out of nothing. But there the similarities end. In the first half we grew after Barry's goal, matching United and creating the best chance of the half - Carlos Tévez hitting the post. In the second half we sat back after Bellamy's goal and came under serious and sustained siege. Not much would have to have been different for us to lose this by a distance.
  • For all United's domination of possession, I wonder if Hughes will worry that all four of United's goal were avoidable from our perspective. Richards and Kolo Touré slipped for Rooney's goal, while errors of marking were responsible for Darren Fletcher's two headed goals. I don't want to remember Owen's winner but he certainly escaped Kolo after we'd lost the first ball. Defensive errors are certainly part of the game. United have the two best centre-backs in the world and still conceded three. So you can't wholly eliminate them. But after spending £38m on centre-backs one would hope that we could avoid conceding four in one game.
  • Realistically, our challenge for the top four is not going to be defined by our result at Old Trafford. It hurts to lose the derby in such circumstances, but better than dwelling on any possible injustice we must hope that the same errors of marking and defending are not made in our next two home games: Fulham in the League Cup on Wednesday, and West Ham in the EPL next Monday. The wheels must not come off.


grayfield18 said...

Fully agree a point at 3-3 would have been robbery but United have done that to us so often - Gigs unbelievable goal those years ago !
On the other hand to lose it in the 6 minute of extra time when 4 awarded and no doubt no explanation cos i can't really remember where the 4 came from in the first place.

newsoftheblues said...

giggs was impressive!

it was 7 mins in total played, that is a disgrace!

It's dissapointing becasue dejong, bellamy and tevez worked extremely hard and they perhaps earned the draw!

the defence is a real worry, Given has saved usvseveral times this season, We must get a grip leaking goals against arsenal and united in a sloppy fashion is really dissapointing!

charles gullung said...

we were extremely unlucky to lose a game we 'should' have lost...
players must play the whistle of course.
managers and players must be aware of extra, extra time at certain grounds, this is the real problem for me.

Jon T said...

Gutted. Yes, a draw would have been pretty fotunate but...arghh!!

Look at the postives:
Excellent spirit from the team to fight back and in the first half display.
The fact that the goals conceded were mainly through poor defending, should be something the team can work on and improve.
A defeat at that place can happen to any team, so for it to be such a close game (in the result at least!) is promising.

We definitely missed Adebayor to hold the ball up and provide an outlet to the pressure, 2nd half. Hopefully the team can perform without him in the next 2 games...

OxfordBlue said...

As usual a sound assessment. I wouls just like to make the following points:-
1. Bellamy did not deserve to be on the losing side - he scored the best two goals of the game & his work ethic was terrific
1(a) I was disappointed that he chose to get invloved with the fan - we can do without more controversy after last week;
2. Barry's goal was well taken too
3. Coming back 3 times demonstrated real character. That would not have happened last season.
4. Whilst I don't want to dwell on the time issue I would like to know why, if an extra minute or so was added on for Bellamy's celebration, why were only 16 seconds played after the kick off following Owen's goal. His celebrations lasted at least a minute. I doubt we would have scored BUT it does seem to me that THIS is the stronger argument to make....the 'playing field' is not level.
6. Gary Neville looked a right muppet for his celebration in front of the Coty fans and then, realising he might kep picked up for incitement, proceeded to pretend to be warming up on the touchline. What a git.