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Own goal can’t get United 3 points August 23, 2010

Posted by michaeltomlinson in English soccer.
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Manchester United seemed destined for another late win Sunday after taking one goal advantage in the 84th minute. Like the story of a season past the go-ahead goal was put in by the second leading scorer from the 09/10 campaign, that being in the fashion of an own goal of course. Yes Wayne Rooney followed by self inflicted pain led the Red Devils to within mere points of the premiership title. And like the campaign of a  year ago United again floundered in the last third without Rooney prowling the grounds.

Chicharito seemed lost on the field for a good portion of the game seemingly only looking for a rogue through ball and giving little help the build up. Berbatov continued to look quick and adept on the ball and had moments of brilliance in terms of his positioning and touch, but didn’t  possess the ability to finish this time around. In fact if it weren’t from a sublime effort from Paul Scholes United could have very well walked out of Craven Cottage with nothing at all. To bring up the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo and the subsequent non effort to replace him would certainly be beating a dead horse. Well I say if the colt has already filled its lungs for a final time whats the harm in a couple more cheap shots? Not into a stellar example of animal abuse image simulation? Neither is PETA.

Now back to what the idiom was intended to portray. Over the past two seasons United have added Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen and Javier Hernández to bulk up their strike force, while promoting Nani to attempt the impossible task of picking up where Ronaldo left off. The fact is he too is a stylish Portuguese winger and thats where the similarities end. It was improbable that United could replace arguably the best player on the planet, but they have done little to support the loss of talent on the left wing, with new support in the center to make up for it. Scholes and Fletcher are nice. And when Carrick is in Fergi’s  favor he sees a lot of the pitch. But all three are getting older and are showing it. The best clubs in the world are loaded with top attacking central midfielders, Real Madrid just got their second In Ozil if they don’t move him out to the wing. Barcelona has Xavi and Iniesta, Chelsea, Lampard and Arsenal despite their struggles in the latter 2000’s still has arguably the best of them all in Cesc.  As of now United seems content with fairly anemic wing play and 2 forwards who spend most of their time too far ahead of the flow of the game to get into the action. Scholes and Fletcher have been on great form through the first couple of matches, but I question how long that can last through the toils of a long premiership campaign. I am not one to question one of the greatest coach’s  player alignment, in fact I can’t blame him, who would he even put in the 10 spot if he were to use it? I’m not sure their is a player with the dynamic make-up and composure to fill such a role, which should never be the case for a team with talent in abundance.

Just so I don’t make this post all about United, I must say I could only catch the highlights of the City game today. And so it seems any English fan who feels obliged to punch Capello in the face for not starting the best keeper on the roster certainly has a case. Hart is good, shit I feel safe saying Hart is already a top 5 keeper in the Barclays.

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