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Gutless United crumble against Chelsea

1003486-16281919-640-360When the fixtures were released today’s game was considered to be a potential title decider and few amongst fans of either team would have expected Chelsea to travel to Old Trafford with United already crowned champions. Good job United didn’t indeed need a result for their performance was as abysmal as they have produced throughout this campaign.

This season’s fifth contest between the two sides was as dire and depressing to watch as their last meeting. The first three fixtures between United and Chelsea this season had produced 18 goals and chances aplenty, Easter Monday’s FA Cup replay and today’s match registered a grand total of two goals combined.

The draw at Arsenal last week derailed United’s chances to better Chelsea’s record of 95 points in the Premier League and Fergie, who clearly hasn’t forgiven Spurs for beating us earlier in the season, decided to hand Tottenham a lesson by putting Chelsea in the box seat in the race for the Champions League.

That is the only plausible reason behind the decision to field a midfield including Jones, Cleverley and Anderson, with Valencia and Giggs tasked with supporting RVP, while Lindeegard replaced De Gea in goal and Vidic returned to partner Jonny Evans in the back four.

United’s midfield was Andersoned from the start as the Brazilian did his best to make sure Michael Carrick’s absence was felt by everybody at Old Trafford by misplacing virtually every second pass and providing the usual dynamism akin to the one showed by an abandoned washing machine that we have become accustomed to associate with him.

In fairness, Anderson’s job was made a lot easier by Cleverley who seems to be regressing into his shell after a positive campaign, something that United should ponder by the time the transfer window opens. It was to little surprise that, with 13 minutes gone, Oscar was allowed to run 30-40 yards unchallenged before unleashing a swerving shot that Lindegaard deflected onto the post before collecting the rebound.

United’s first sign of life came towards the end of the first half as Ryan Giggs produced a sumptuous ball for Robin Van Persie but the Dutchman, having found space behind Ivanovic, could only steer the ball wide of the post. RVP was at the centre of attention shortly after as he headed Nemanja Vidic’s cross into Petr Cech’s arms.

The second half offered pretty much the same dull menu, with Chelsea looking slightly more threatening as they sought to keep alive their Champions League quest, despite Rafa’s decision to place all his eggs in an Europa League-shaped basket.

The Europa League is at the moment cause of serious indignation in South West London giving the shocking prices that UEFA have slapped on the tickets for the final but, considering the turnout in the away end today, Chelsea fans seem more than comfortable to watch football in a pub or at home – places where some of the current match-goers that currently infest Old Trafford should return to as quickly as possible.

Rooney and Buttner replaced Anderson and Cleverley in a late, half-hearted, attempt to muster something that could at least vaguely resemble a chance – United failed to score at Old Trafford first time after finding the net in 66 Premier League games – but it was the visitors who struck when Mata curled his effort past Lindegaard and into the back of the net.

United, though, were not quite finished and, after being shouldered and elbowed by David Luiz – who had just escaped with a yellow after conducting a personal crusade against Howard Webb – Rafael treated his country-men to a robust and wonderfully delivered kick to the shin, earning himself a red card in the process.

It was the only time the champions had looked alive in 90 minutes.

Dan (@MUFC_dan87)




  1. Moscow

    May 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    As Fergie said in his pre-match conference, another decade of domination awaits! 🙄

  2. Moscow

    May 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Oh and for all the conspiracy theorists out there saying this is some sort of ploy to get Bale…

    Spurs beat City, which allowed us to win the title vs Villa, if they hadn’t we would STILL be looking for a result against Swansea next weekend. We repay them by losing at home to their direct rivals, fielding the worst midfield in the league. Not sure we’re their favourite club right now, and considering he is being touted around Europe for £50 million, we would need a sum of astronomical proportions to convince Levy to sell him to us. So there, the only tactical masterclass today was bringing on Hernandez in the 89th minute 😛

    • jos

      May 6, 2013 at 8:12 am

      @Moscow: Spurs losing CL place has an upside though. Bale would be easier to prise away from them and he might just be Fergie’s no. 1 transfer priority this summer. I think Utd purposely lost to Chelsea this one (or didnt want to win).

      By teh way, we were so dire and yet Chelsea won by 1 goal only was a surprise!

  3. colver

    May 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Yeah we should be ashamed of ourselves. We were sloppy in the FA Cup against Chelsea costing us a potential double. So this could have been payback. But with our team selection it was never going to go well.

    Without Carrick our midfield is championship level at best. Jones is not a midfielder and we have hindered his development seriously as his potential is as a centre back and no other position. Anderson has purple patches but after barely playing this year you could hardly expect a vintage performance.

    Ferguson’s weird treatment of Nani and Anderson has to stop. You cannot freeze a player out and then throw him into a big game and expect him to perform. At that age they need regular games. If he doesn’t rate them he should sell them even if it would mean recouping little more than 50% of the price we bought them for.

    This summer we need to buy a winger and a central midfielder to replace Nani and Anderson. It is hard to believe that they have been with us for around six years now and still aren’t first team regulars.

    • The_Philosopher

      May 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      @colver: Indeed. Ferguson’s treatment of Anderson and Nani is indeed strange.

      How can a winger have as dire a season as the one that Valencia has just had and yet Ferguson does not even TRY to play Nani in his stead on the right?!

      And Ferguson has played any and everyone (their dog and their gran mother) in midfield except for Anderson. Giggs is a regular in central midfield while Anderson sits and watches on. I don’t blame him for checking out at times. If all I did for one whole season is sit and watch a 40year old guy get given my game time I might also find it hard to resist the urge to whip out a Playstation Portable and a burger.

      Ferguson has taken it too far. The problem with Ferguson is that there is no one who can rebuke him. He is given free reign. But the truth is no matter how good you are you can never be beyond reproach.

      But he wins his trophies does Ferguson. So that means hands off I guess. Youn can’t tell him nothing!

  4. Abubakar

    May 5, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Selling Cleverley is something that United should ponder? Its surprising that one can contemplate such on the back of his first real game back in a few months, given a run of games Cleverley is definitely a good player. Rather more mind boggling and what you havent mentioned is why we keep persisting with Valencia. He wouldnt start for any top 6 club in the league with the kind of form he is showing now and really I think even Bebe would offer much more than a visibly irritated Valencia, I think even his teamates can sense that he isnt doing much especially Van Persie. Its not a suprise though that we lost with that team, it really was a pointless game where id have liked to have seen even more rotation especially Valencia getting some time off.

  5. ForeverRed

    May 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    ‘Domination for a decade’…. Hhmm

    Poor performance again. Very few standouts, but none of us who follow closely will be surprised. How many shots on goal even? Can barely remember one in the second half. It is so obvious that the dysfunctionality of our MF and inability to move the ball accurately and quickly from defence to attack underlies so many of our problems.

    Cleverley will be 24 next birthday and haven’t seen any improvement in him this season. Lacks composure and technique and evidenced by 2 shots from the edge of the area blazed high and wide. Certainly not a player to take us to new heights in Europe. Sadly, Anderson is the only player in our midfield that can carry the ball, but he wasn’t much better than Cleverley. Valencia was awful tbf – again. How he continues to get picked when he offers nothing is a mystery of monumental proportions. It wouldn’t be too harsh to say that he wasn’t even championship level today. I like the guy, he’s honest and tries, but seriously for MUFC we need much better. And that goes for the whole MF.

    There’s no way we can rely on Carrick can carry us again next season. It’s just unrealistic. But also he’s made to look better than he really is because we have no other options to compare him to. And when we’re pressed by good teams, he disappears. Don’t get me wrong, without him this season we’d have been in all sorts of trouble, but minimally we need quality competition for him, plus a full time World Class partner.

    Talk of ‘domination’ is laughable without an overhaul right across the middle of the park. And moreover, we need to get back to playing positively – outdated, negative tactics are stifling us – even at home.

    • The_Philosopher

      May 6, 2013 at 9:50 am

      @ForeverRed: Giggs gets to play full 90 minute games.

      Valencia has been handed the right wing whether he plays well or poorly but Nani had better produce every single appearance otherwise its the bench for him.

      Ferguson sometimes makes the most unfathomable selection choices.

      I mean would Nani not benefit from all the game time that Valencia has been given?

      Anderson should also be played more often. He is another difficult to understand situation in our club.

      I agree with the overhaul talk. Ferguson is in charge however. And it looks like his tired methods are going to persist because well he is the great Sir Alex Ferguson after all.

      • jos

        May 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm

        @The_Philosopher: you dont get it!!! nani is not signing the contract. hence the bench for him. ferguson cannot play a player that has commitment to the club.

        Fergie is absolutely right here in his treatment of nani. I dont want to see him in united colors next season. period.

        • slowshow

          May 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm

          @jos: I am absolutely in disagreement with you here. Fergie is in no way right on this one and he is very guilty of displaying selective favoritism to some certain players whether warranted or not.
          Why would a player sign a contract when he is always first to be thrown into the “dog house” after any poor performance and is constantly overlooked for some certain players who have been appalling for over 1.5yrs?

        • jos

          May 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

          @jos: @slowshow
          Every coach has his fav players. Look at how Mourinho has frozen Casillas at Real. That is the best goalkeeper in the world and club captain!!!

          And Nani hasnt helped his case. He has been worse than ordinary for some time now. Not signing the contract and not in games at all. his heart is not at united. did you see how he celebrated title at Villa??? his body language suggested he was embarrased to be out there. barely a smile on his face. I detest him now. He cant even celebrate a title with his team. he can fuck off to whereever he wants for all i care.

          Ferguson vs Nani quite simple for me. Ferguson it is 100/100 times. no question.

        • The_Philosopher

          May 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

          @jos: Mourinho inherited Casilas

          Ferguson bought Nani

        • tonymontanna4united

          May 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

          @jos: He was excellent against madrid (our biggest game of the season) and also very good last week at arsenal too.
          He also had good games in the cup against west ham, reading and Fulham despite being dropped for weeks on end in between good performances.
          That’s 5 good performances more than valencia has had this season, and yet he finds himself in the team on a weekly basis come rain or shine.
          If nani therefore has been worse than ordinary, then god only knows what word would suitably sum up valencia and his utterly brilliant season 🙄 🙄

        • jos

          May 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

          @jos: @The_Philosopher

          Ferguson bought Nani. We know that. Now what is that supposed to imply???? Does he have a morbid compulsion to play him every game? Ferguson has bought many other players as well.

          Nani is a sublime genius who can be devastating when in mood but clearly he lacks any brains. Thats the difference between him and CR7. One has gone on to be a world star and the best player on earth while Nani has followed Quaresma’s footsteps (another player who was as talented but couldnt rise above himself). There are lot of players out there who are/were tremendously talented but couldnt achieve anything in life. There are equally players out there who were less talented but who achieved great things (e.g. Roy Keane).

          Anyway I know that Nani would not play here next season so I care not for him anymore. You are welcome to continue with your Nani love. I have moved on. There are many more players at the club worth talking about than this shit.

        • jos

          May 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

          @jos: @tonymontanna4united
          At his age he should be playing like a great player week in and week out. 5 games in a season (and I dont think he was good in all those 5. maybe in 1 or 2. He didnt influence more than 1 game this season).

          And that comparison with valencia is invalid. It does not matter how good or bad valencia is. he is not competing against valencia. he is competing atgainst the likes of Bale and Ronaldo to be amongst the best players (given his talent). I dont get why valenica has to take blame for nani’s failures to reach his potential. we all know how limited valencia is. even he himself knows that.

        • tonymontanna4united

          May 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm

          @jos: Yes, and he might well have influenced more than that had he started even half the games valencia, giggs and young have.
          Maybe if after having a good game, he wasn’t then dropped for the next 5, he might well have been able to put a bit of form together over a prolonged period of games.
          As for the valencia comparison, it is very much valid, as valencia and nani are doing exactly that- competing for a place in the squad.
          Fergie time and time again has decided to put all his faith behind valencia, despite dozens and dozens of awful awful performances, whilst deciding to come down particularly hard on nani for his.
          Young likewise has been awful for long periods of his time here, and yet he doesn’t seem to be getting the same treatment. Why is there seemingly one rule for nani, and another for everyone else?
          Do you not think this possibly dents a players confidence, and may well also be partly the reason why nani has been taking his time deciding his future and signing a new contract?
          I’ll also add here after you’ve mentioned bale, that actually prior to this season, nani and bales stats were actually very very similar.
          Nani’s best season (10-11) was the season that valencia was out for most of the year injured, so nani got a prolonged spell in his favoured right wing position, and for the most part was starting games without being replaced.
          The result was 10 goals and 15 assists, a terrific total and yet in just another example of fergies favouritism, he didn’t feature in the CL game against barca that year, you guessed it- valencia despite being injured most of the season, was favoured there.
          And that to me has been the reason why nani never really built up on that season in the way bale has.
          Because despite last season, still scoring 10 goals and creating atleast that many assists, hes still labelled as inconsistent, and time and time again given a rough ride by fergie and certain sections of the fan base.
          Bale doesn’t get that. Neither robben nor ribery at Bayern, two players who you only need watch yourself, are equally frustrating at times, doing one too many step over, shooting instead of passing and vice versa.
          But both 2 supremely gifted players, whom Bayern know can produce something magic, that very few players can.
          Nani is in this category too, and despite the criticisms of him being inconsistent, let me ask you, apart from ronaldo and now bale, which flair type winger is more consistent than nani.
          Because having watched so many over the years (ribery and robben as I’ve mentioned) I really don’t see many out there, and quite why some fans are hoping to see zaha and the likes of Rodriquez, munian, isco coming in I don’t know, as its just going to be the same thing with them id wager- criticising them for being inconsistent, making the wrong pass etc.

        • tonymontanna4united

          May 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm

          @jos: And can I just ask you please Jos and others who regularly seem to complain about nani and his inconsistent performances, who in your opinion is regularly consistent for us week in week out then within our squad.
          I can think this season de gea, rafael, carrick and rvp and maybe rio and even he was hit and miss earlier in the year.
          So that’s 4 players in a squad of what, 25, and yet once again its nani head of the list getting the flak.

        • jos

          May 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

          So basically u are happy to rant against the team and SAF week in week out for playing mediocre but if I want to rant against Nani for being mediocre then you have an issue? you are willing to accept mediocrity from nani somehow. what kind of double standards are these? you guys keep dishing SAF despite him delivering titles after titles but nani is above reproach. its pathetic.

          just tell me is nani playing to his potential. when was the last time he was really electrifying, really changed the game or took the game and influenced it?? how often that happened this year? is he really playing to the level he is capable of ? if yes, then your estimation of his capability is very very limited and he doesnot deserve a place in the team for that. if not, then he is doing disservice to the club and fans by playing below his capability. in either case he is at fault.

          that valencia or young argument doesnt hold as they are playing to their capabilities (which are very limited to be honest). its wierd to say nani is crap but vally or young are crapper. what has young or vally being crap have to do anything with nani’s play ability? why isint he playing at the level he should. maybe thats why SAF is frustrated with him. how do we know who is wrong here. all we know is, nani has been piss poor most of the season and for quite some time.

          to me nani is one of the most talented footballers out there but talent alone is not enough. talent is just 1%. rest is application. he is severely founding on that now. i dont care what he did in the past. but he is not playing well these days. thats what matters. he didnt celebrate the championship with teh team. thats what matters.

        • tonymontanna4united

          May 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

          @jos: Where did I say you couldn’t rant against nani anywhere in any of my posts?
          I was merely asking a question as to who else in our squad has been consistent this season, that’s all, so no need to go off into one.

          I’ve said already, several times, no nani isn’t playing at his best. But I’ve covered that already- its hard for most players to just turn it on when they don’t have the faith of the manager and aren’t being given a consistent run of games.
          Unless your name is ronaldo, messi or bale, id wager most wingers out there after a prolonged period on the bench not playing, aren’t going to return to their A game straight away.
          If fergie had atleast given nani a good run of 10 consistent games since the madrid match, we could well draw conclusions and who knows I might not even be having this conversation with you.

          The young and valencia argument is quite obviously valid. Its their constant inclusion in the squad that’s preventing nani getting games, and thus hitting a run of form, thus preventing him from getting his A game back.

          As for nani’s reactions after villa, well yes you have a point. He shouldn’t be looking so miserable, but in fairness the pics of him in the dressing room show him looking all smiles and laughter so……
          I also don’t think fergie covers himself in glory in this regard. Hes got form for making players feel unwanted and practically out the door months before they actually are once he tires of them (see berbatov just last season, despite doing nothing wrong) so it could be understandable hes not going to feel great that hes played such a little part in the achievement.

          In any case I think I’ve covered this to death already, but I don’t expect you to change your opinion which is fine.
          Your entitled to your opinion, im entitled to mine at the end of the day. I just find his treatment rather unfair myself, and find it nothing less than depressing at the thought of nani leaving, whilst keeping valencia, young and giggs around. Just the idea of that happening, if I was fergie, would make me want to give the man the benefit of the doubt, and atleast give him the chance to play his way back into form.
          But hey that’s just me.

  6. toshe

    May 6, 2013 at 12:58 am

    maybe sir alex knows that his friend jose is coming to chelsea,so this was his gift to him ,a place in the championsleague for next year

  7. slowshow

    May 6, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I think Mourinho coming to the Prem. would be a good thing and him going to City would be the best. This would definately force SAF to wake up from his slumber and build another great team just like during Mourinho’s first stint at chelsea.

    • The_Philosopher

      May 6, 2013 at 9:53 am

      @slowshow: Very true. Ferguson needs a worthy adversary to shake him from his slumber.

      And Mourinho at City would be absolutely awesome. I really hope something like that happens.

      Or even Mourinho returning to Chelsea (although that seems less likely)

      Ferguson has gotten way too comfortable with just about winning the prem every year.

      Its like he knows he’s the top dog in the prem. And when City pipped him to the title last season he knew all he had to do was just buy one quality striker and the goal difference thing would never be a problem again.

      Like really? Really Ferguson? the only problem with our team is goal difference? Midfield is not a problem then? Our tired and talentless (bar Nani) wingers are not problem then SIr Alex?

      Ferguson needs a constant threat breathing down his throat in the prem before he is FORCED to conceed against his massive pride that maybe our midfield isn’t good enough. That maybe buying world class talent like RVP is something he can do in conjunction with developing the Nick Powells and Tom Cleverleys of this world.

      Ferguson is too comfortable and he needs Jose Mourinho (and the money bags that City or Chelsea have got) to actually start threatening him before he will budge. I think we won the league too easily this term.

      Ferguson needs another big dog like Mourinho to come and start playing in his own back yard to show him that maybe he isn’t the top dog in the prem.

      Without that kind of competition we are doomed to play Giggs for 90minutes in every single game, play the tired Valencia in every single game and to keep fielding the even more tired Scholes whilst leaving the Nick Powells of this world to start seeing why the Paul Pogba’s of the world decide that Fergie is batty.

    • The_Philosopher

      May 7, 2013 at 8:10 am

      @slowshow: The only way for Manchester United to be the best team in Europe is for the second best team in Europe to be playing in the English Premier league because you know the one thing Ferguson will not tolerate is being beaten in his own backyard.

      So we need Mourinho to coach Manchester City. And Jupp Heynckes to come to Chelsea. Or vice-versa.

      But for United to dominate Europe the best football in Europe needs to be played in the Barclays Premier League.

  8. ForeverRed

    May 7, 2013 at 3:34 am

    It was said on a previous post (by Philosopher I think) that the loss against Chelsea might serve as a wake-up call for Fergie. Sadly, I wouldn’t count on us learning or changing anything based on this result. Unfortunately, when it matters, we’ve been consistently capitulating to the ‘big’ clubs more often than not for the last few seasons. Athletic Bilbao, Chelsea, City, Barcelona, Real Madrid….

    As stated previously, we’ve become efficient at competing in the premier league slog, but lack the quality to defeat the the more technically sophisticated teams in a head-to- head. So we resort to attempting stifling tactics, in a tacit admission that we don’t have the confidence or quality to take our own game to the opposition. Sadly, we’re not good enough defensively as a unit (or on the counter attack) for even this tactic to succeed over 90 mins against decent teams. However, yesterday was just downright poor against a pretty mediocre-looking Chelsea – How many shots did Cech even have to save?

    I’m only stating the situation as I see it, and as we all know we have stubbornly failed to address the key weaknesses glaringly exposed by Barcelona and by others’ since. So frustratingly, I don’t expect the result in a meaningless game (for us) against Chelsea to influence things at all.

    However, where I do still have expectations as a fan is for the team /management to treat every game as if it were important. In this respect we were let down yesterday. Did the players get paid less because it was a ‘meaningless’ fixture for us? Did the fans get discounted admission for the same reason? Did those watching on subscription channels around the world get a letter saying they wouldn’t be charged for this one? So in my mind there is absolutely no excuse for professionals not giving 100%.

    • The_Philosopher

      May 7, 2013 at 8:25 am

      @ForeverRed: So well said FR. Very good post!

      We honestly cannot compete with the technically astute teams in Europe. We play a hard and fighting and grinding kind of football that doesn’t require too much talent. All one needs is lots of energy and toughness.

      Forget the intelligent passing and moving and finesse and skill of the Bayern’s, the Dortmund’s and Barca’s of the world.

      Not for United that fairy stuff. We play a brute force style. Hulk smash!

      Our game is dull and archaic.

    • tonymontanna4united

      May 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      @ForeverRed: Well said mate. I might well be looking at this as a fan with united tinted specs on, but I don’t think id ever describe a united game as meaningless.
      Quite frankly I expect anyone when pulling on a red shirt, to go out there and work their ass off and do the best for the team.
      If they cant, what does that say about them really, that they cant be bothered to play against chelski at Old Trafford in front of 70+ thousand people because the leagues over now 🙄 Fuck me.
      Seriously, if players were already off on their summer holidays then send them packing and lets see a bit more of powell, nani, hernandez, smalling, and maybe give a few of the kids a few minutes like tunnicliffe, Januzaj who was given a squad number last week.
      You know, players who might appreciate the chance of some game time.

  9. Redrich

    May 7, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Interpretation of the facts is what separates those that succeed and those that pretend to succeed. It’s also arguable, in the reverse, that those that have succeeded have, therefore, made the right calls when it matters.
    There is no doubt that this applies to Sir Alex. Pushing the right buttons has been as key to his success – not just for a season or two, but for the best part of 25 years, and so it’s easy to say that his “button pushing” skills have been as good as most.

    We will allow him the occasional odd decision here and there. He has bank, big bank and his balance is still very healthy. So there’s no real need for us to foreclose on anything that seems a little out of kilter. However, let me get back to the “button pushing” thing.

    My big question about SAF is how well he now can make spontaneous decisions. Decisions at vital points of games and decisions at vital points of transfer windows. There is an aura of hand-wringing about Fergie now and as understandable as might be for a man his age, the priority for the club would suggest that Ferguson now needs help.

    I believe that as long as he wants to manage, United will let him (and with total autonomy). Sir Alex needs to initiate the delegation of some of his vital responsibilities. He needs to begin the process of loosening his reins and allowing other influences to participate in the spoils.
    It’s hardly an admission of waning skills, but more of an acknowledgement that, at his age, any help you might get, is help that you probably need.

  10. jos

    May 7, 2013 at 6:03 am

    For the summer

    Nani to juve, in comes Marchisio. I hope its a straight swap deal.

    Angel de Maria from Real for 20m. More of a realistic buy than Ronaldo or Bale (I dont think glazers will spend 60m+ on a single player)

    A left back for Evra. Dont know who that should be

    At least one solid defender. Again no idea who it can be (though one can hope Hummels but Barca want him).

    Out go Young, Anderson, Macheda etc.

  11. The_Philosopher

    May 7, 2013 at 10:37 am

  12. AndyCR7

    May 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Thank you Sir Alex Ferguson.

    And the thought of Moyes taking over is just scary!

    What are the odds of Mike Phelan getting the job? :p

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