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Man Utd 5-2 Spurs: Were you watching, Merseyside?

There are some sporting moments that are for the ages. Moments that, years down the line, one would sit under a chestnut tree and recount with glee; a glint in the eye will betray the nostalgia that, quite obviously, has overcome the storyteller.

Yesterday was one such moment.

As a matter of fact, we’ve had a rather strange season this year. We’ve had an impervious defence, which got replaced by a conference side defence, in addition to occasionally being awesome offensively, and then being completely impotent.

In addition to that up and down road, we’ve had at least two games where we got out of jail in by coming from two goals down. Both these games will, unmistakably, take us two years back to 2007 at Goodison Park. 2009’s version of that Everton game would be the 3-2 against Villa, and the 5-2 against Spurs yesterday.

We haven’t sealed the title yet. But we are digging ourselves out of holes (self-imposed ones, arguably) in games which are bound to be tricky. We still have the Manchester derby, a trip to Riverside, and a home game vs Arsenal that are all tricky fixtures. But one would hope the lift this win gives the team could plausibly take the team through City and Boro unscathed. If we do manage to not drop points until the Arsenal game, then a win over Hull in the last game of the season should see us through the season, assuming Liverpool don’t drop any points.

But what makes this game quite encouraging is the will shown by the players following the break to make something out of this. One always felt we needed a goal for us to gain the momentum, but that came courtesy of a major talking point of the match. Howard Webb’s penalty was a point of concern for Spurs fans, the press and, presumably, Liverpool fans to. The common line trotted out, almost disturbingly in unison, was it was an appalling decision by Howard Webb, and there was no way in the world that it was a penalty. Scott made a compelling argument about it and I am in agreement with it.

From video evidence it is at best inconclusive over whether Gomes got fingers to it or Carrick kicked it away; actually from the replay it was quite clear that Carrick kicked it away from Gomes, but until one has the benefit of an ultra slow motion camera that doesn’t cause blurring of the screen or missing frames, it is impossible to say, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was quite obviously not a penalty. Notice the emphasis added to the phrase ‘quite obviously’. No, it was not painfully obvious even in action replays. So in full speed, the fairest thing to say was this could go either way. The press prattling about it endlessly on how United benefited from an appalling decision is unfortunate, and mildly disturbing.

The other important game changer was Tevez’s substitution at half time. It had to be done. Nani, who hasn’t found favour with Fergie this season, was the sacrificial lamb; it was unfortunate for the Portuguese winger, who was actually quite decent; his delivery on occasion was inch perfect and begged to be headed. But a change had to be made and Fergie decided it had to be, shall we say, his least preferred son who’d go out.

Tevez’s burst onto the half and the rest was a blitz which now seems like a blur. But more than words, I think it’s worth watching this video analysis from MotD (Match of the Day) that accurately describes the contribution of the big four. Watch this first, if you haven’t already:


Video 1 from Dummy Account on Vimeo.

Now this may be rather premature but, from the looks of it, Ferguson may have stumbled upon United’s most potent and dynamic formation, given the current squad. On paper, it looks a no brainer: Rooney, Tevez, Ronaldo and Berbatov playing together as a front four would be a Football Manager gamer’s wet dream. But doubts were cast from the very beginning on them working together as a quartet. And owing to a heady cocktail of injuries, and bizarre team selections, they’ve very rarely been played together. It’s also quite possible this system worked because one of our central midfielders decided to take control of midfield and move forward more often. That man yesterday was Michael Carrick. It mystifies many why he doesn’t do that more consistently. When he does it, we almost always do well.

But as much as we comment on the excellence of our attack in the second half, the less could be said about our defending in the first. I will continue with the refrain on Patrice Evra letting himself get skinned quite easily on several occasions by Aaron Lennon. When you see someone like Lennon getting so much time to deliver accurate crosses you can see why we have a bit of a problem in left back. His prolonged lack of form is puzzling. Rafael offered a lot going forward although did look out of position in defence. Personally, I think bringing on O’Shea for Evra might have been a better decision than pulling off Rafael.

All in all, a win that was an affirmation of the old United; a we’ll outscore you mentality, that may have restored some faith in the side’s attacking end. Ronaldo’s attitude was another welcome plus point — that celebration was something I never expected from the lad. So credit where it’s due, despite my bitterness towards him in the past. And Rooney turned in a performance that should turn heads. There is always the belief that if he stayed injury free for a season he could do wonders. Yesterday was a reminder of it, but we hope it’s not a false dawn.

Onwards and upwards from now on, hopefully. Were you watching, Merseyside?

EDIT: Right. I’m already seeing a flood of Liverpool fans swarming into this site to comment. I’d wager a large number of those will be cretinous bile. So if you Liverpool fans can’t offer anything constructive your comment will be summarily deleted. Save your energy and relax. It’s a Sunday.

131 Comments

131 Comments

  1. Matt

    April 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Is it just me or is there something thats a bit annoying for lack of a better word about us being linked with karim benzema. He has repeatedly said we are not 1 of his choices saying madrid or barca are his choices, and with a massive transfer fee required and his seemingly obvious attitude problem i cant help but wonder why if the rumours are true we are still after him. I just keep getting the feeling with him he would be a serious influence on the team spirit here, i dont know why i just have that feeling about him.
    I can see however why we might be linked with another striker. If im honest im just not sure about tevez, i just feel that we should give him a run of starting games from now to the end of the season. How do we do that, easy by going with our 2nd half formation to spurs and play the “fab 4”. As Rahul says they aint the fab 4 yet, but the 4 of them played a key role in getting the goals against spurs in the 2nd half. Spurs did sit back so some critics may say thats not a sign the 4 could work, well thats not a real reason to use against that because in truth how many teams dont sit back against us from the 1st minute. It sounds like arsenal are gonna go for it against us, and thats with injuries, so why dont we match them and go for it, play the 4 of them with a solid midfield 2 of say fletcher and an other and were ready to go. This time of the season is not the time for gambling as some may say and yes thats true to an extent, but quite possibly if those 4 clicked as they did against spurs on a regular basis then were talking about us scoring a shed load of goals and winning some serious trophies.
    Not that were not on target to win trophies now but scoring does seem to be a part were struggling with right now, so can you say the 4 of them together wont score. And can you say our defence wont handle whats thrown at them. I say lets try the 4 together and see how it goes. Im sorry but football in general is a big gamble, but this could be a gamble i feel will pay off.

  2. Traverse

    April 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    The link up play between the four of them was Barcaesque at times. More of this please.

  3. Matt

    April 27, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    @Traverse: The amazing thing is if we were to play those 4 in our team every week, we would be the best attacking team in the world easy. Barca play with 3 in midfield and a forward 3, we would be playing with a midfield 2 and almost 4 strikers all swapping position. For me though, the part that would put us above barca would be our brilliant defence. I know its been a bit dodgy of late but its still a good unit, so if we were to play barca in the final and went 4-2-3-1 your talking an absolute classic, with us i feel having the advantage because their defence is still pretty poor no matter what people say. It would just be a beautiful spectacle to watch, saying that though if we were to go with our bore tactics with say park, fletcher and play our slow build up play as we have most this season it could be an entirely different result, and sadly to say i could only see 1 winner and that would be barca. We must play to our strengths and thats attacking, and that means all 4 playing and that should start against arsenal on wednesday.

  4. colver

    April 27, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Couple of observations having watched the fame in full:

    1. Did anyone see Ronaldo? He wanted to win that game. Ive never seen him celebrate as much as he did today this season! Forget muted celebrations, shirt removing, fist pumping, eyes blazing super celebration!

    2. Berbatov for me plays better as a support striker with players like Rooney and Ronaldo overlapping. Maybe he was good as a main striker for teams like Tottenham but in our team he’d get isolated in that role as we’ve seen already this season

    3. The fabulous foursome works for us. So long as our defence stays strong and we have midfielders who can win the ball, there is no reason why we can’t have four players attacking and a midfielder linking defence and attack. Of course to give it a true test we need to play it against a decent team. But Fergie won’t have the balls-it is only when we are down and out that we remember our attacking instincts and glorious results like this happen!

    4. Our defence still looks dodgy and very vulnerable in the air. Thank god we are only playing Arsenal. Although we need to be careful about Evra and Rafael getting skinned by players such as Walcott, Nasri, Van Persie.

    5. This game and the Villa game show that this isn’t just a team of softies. It is a team that has heart (although it needs adversity to show it). I thought we’d lost our ability to pull off miraculous recoveries. Guess I was wrong!

  5. johnsom33

    April 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    I find it funny that spurs and there fans are crying over a penalty decision that was followed by 4 goals ,more than United fans who were denied a stone wall penalty that lead to us being knocked out of the FA cup. I repeat, we were denied a penalty in a FA cup semi final which we lost on Penalty kicks. Spurs are mad at giving up a 2nd half penalty in a league game win they were up 2-0 and went on to lose 5-2.

    Is it just me or is this madness? get the fuck over it spurs. you gave up 5 second half goals, you dont deserve shit. fuck off.

  6. Dan

    April 27, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    @colver:2) Hes been playing support striker all season ๐Ÿ™„

  7. Matt

    April 27, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    @johnsom33: The worst thing about all this is the media coverage this penalty is getting. In my opinion looking back i still think it was 50:50 but you can see why the ref would give it when he has a split second decision. The problem with all this coverage is 2 things.
    1. Its taking away what happened in the rest of the match, the press seem to forget we did score 4 other goals and in my opinion produced the single best attacking display i have seen from a team in a half in years. Amazing football was played, and yet all we hear is about that bloody penalty, pathetic how all the great play is overshadowed by a penalty.
    2. And this is probably the worst is that after all this coverage over a supposed dodgy penalty, referees will be hesitant to give us penalties unless they are stone wall ones. We saw after moyes’ remarks how we were denied a blatent penalty. I really feel from now on if we have a player clean through for example and he gets brought down, the refs will think a second longer before giving us one just because according to the press we always get soft penalties.
    Thats another matter i would like to moan about, penalties at old trafford. Why do people always say teams never gets pens at OT when we know they do. I remember no less than 3/4 penalties given against us in the last 3 seasons. Arsenal got 1 which they missed in 06/07, bolton were given a penalty that season as well i think or it was last season, portsmouth got that one in the cup when rio went in goal, and also gerrard this year in the humiliating 4-1 defeat. That just off the top of my head im sure theres more, and you have to ask yourself when was the last time a pen was awarded at chelsea or pool. I cant remember a pen at stamford bridge for the life of me and at anfield they must be few and far between. It just gets to me how we are always stuck with that tag, yet other teams never get pens awarded against them and no1 mentions a god damn thing. The bloody press, hate those leaches.
    I just hope their coverage of all these penalty incidents dont cost us a genuine pen when we need it later on which denys us a trophy like the fa cup 1 week ago.

  8. Ryan

    April 28, 2009 at 12:59 am

    @Dan:

    And if we rewind to the beginning of the season you were one of the prats saying Rooney should be sold. Some fans are so fickle……. and now evra should be sold?! He was quality in the first half of the season and while his form has dipped he has shown over the last couple of years he is a class act and will come good again.

  9. shanthu

    April 28, 2009 at 1:49 am

    What a game we have had..A game of two halves..this cliche was tailor made for these games.. The controversy over the penalty is only to create a a blip on a fantastic second half display. Agreed it gave momentum to us..but the way we were playing, we would have scored anyways..Last game against Everton, we had a penalty turned down, no one seems to bother about it, why does it always create a problem to the media or some impotent bastards when we DO get a decision going our way, we have had heaps of matches we have won when refereeing decisions have been totally against us.. British media is totally against United it seems, fuck them.. the only way to shut their big fart mouth is to win the title without even letting Liverpool even get a sniff from here on..Not that they will…except Torres and Gerrard they have got is all shit..Rafa can only gain attention when he is crying how he is not getting any refereeing decisions his way and loosing points..HE sucks…Had we not lost to them in that appalling fashion @ OT we already would have won the title..

  10. Dan

    April 28, 2009 at 7:47 am

    @Ryan: go fuck off somewhere else, who the hell do you think you are? i have never seen you before, so what gives you the right to call me a prat? go away you stupid troll.

    I never said rooney should be sold at the beginning of the season, i said tevez should be starting in his place, because at the time tevez was better.

    Did you even read my entire post? or do you have some retarded selective reading problem? i think you should get that checked out.

  11. Karl

    April 28, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Saturday was truly a game of 2 halves. I loved our style of play in the 2nd half. It would be great if Fergie could take a chance and play as offensive as that more often.
    Another point worth highlighting was that it was actually a joy to see crosses coming in from a full-back for a change (and No it wasn’t Evra).

  12. Darth Red Diablo

    April 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CPFEqsP_sw
    Seriously!
    This guy is going to do SOMETHING BIG! this Wednesday night!

  13. colver

    April 28, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Dan actually during the period when Rooney was injured and on a couple of European nights Berbatov was playing on his own. Incidentally that coincided with his worst period of form.

  14. Karl

    April 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Just read on manutd.com that Rafael got a contract extension. I’m extatic over this. However, I have a slight concern…what about Fabio?

  15. Traverse

    April 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    @Karl: He hasn’t been in the first team as much. I think Rafael has played in 24 games this season. Fabio’s will come when the games come. Fab is contracted to 2011 as it is, but I’d imagine Raf is on a bit more monies now.

  16. Karl

    April 28, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    @Traverse: I understand. It will be sad though if Fabio does not get one. From the 2 games I’ve seen of him in the first team, he really impressed me. Perhaps more so than Rafael.

  17. Dominic

    April 28, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Hello there chaps…long time reader, first time writer.

    I just want to add my two penneth about the boy Nani. I honestly dont think he is fit to wear the shirt and obviously Fergie feels the same, which is always a good indicator in my book!

    Whoever says wingers dont need to track back is obviously extremely deluded and Nani’s attacking output does not vindicate his sheer laziness in helping out his fullback. He also nearly cost us the game the other week against Porto when he came off the bench and did nothing except prance around and ignore his duties in a hugely important tie…arent your subs meant to inject a bit of energy and work rate?

    Fair enough he is one of our best crossers at the club but that is literally all he does….except try hugely speculative screamers that end up in the family stand. He also rarely beats his man and gets to the byline, so I really do not see the point of him. Gary Neville is a better crosser of the ball for starters. I can just, and only just, about take it from Ronaldo but not this unlikeable little prima donna.

    Another thing…maybe if you watch on TV you dont get to see the full extent of his laziness but if your at the game and can see the whole pitch it makes a huge difference.

    It seems this report vindicates mine and others opinion on his attitude.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/apr/28/ryan-giggs-nani-manchester-united

    I hope I never see his annoying little Michael Jackson mug wearing red ever again. The slimy get has the temerity to leave the stadium early during one of the biggest games of the season…on what grounds? He once scored a screamer against Spurs and took the piss out of Arsenal for 30 seconds a year ago. And look what happened when he did go back to his ideal home on the bench…5 goals

    Ok thats my first rant…please be kind and dont inflict me with too much vitriol!

  18. antsBoy

    April 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Well, Fergie’s come out and rubbished the Nani rumours that he’s off in the summer. Well, I don’t know if the rumours are true (that Nani was upset and left OT before the final whistle last weekend), but Fergie would have surely given him a piece of his mind if he did so.

    Anywayz, it now looks like Nani IS gonna stay, so let’s hope he brings home the goods next season!!!

  19. Red Ranter

    April 28, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Btw, new post up.

  20. Red Ranter

    April 28, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    @Dominic: Just so that you don’t get it like a bolt from the blue, let me inform you that you’ll be getting a barracking from a select few Nani lovers, whenever they read your comment. So brace yourself. ๐Ÿ˜€

    It won’t be pretty. Trust me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. antsBoy

    April 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    @Dominic: I was about to say something, but then RR took the words out of my mouth…it’s not a safe place to bash Nani bro! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Dominic

    April 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Oh shit the bed! ๐Ÿ˜ณ Nothing like first impressions eh? I posted it on the new thread too…is that amateurish?

    I am already out of my depth! Maybe I should have started with something nice like how much I hate Benitez?

  23. Red Ranter

    April 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    @Dominic:

    You are allowed to say anything here as long as it’s not personal. However, some people take anything said against Nani personally — as if they had a role in his development as a footballer ๐Ÿ˜† . So I just wanted to warn you not to take it badly when you’re called a prick for your efforts. Just giving you context.

    Also regarding posting several times, not to worry. There has been way more amateurish stuff done on this blog.

  24. Craig Mc

    April 28, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    @antsBoy: No because Nani bashing will get YOU SOME BASHING dOMINIC ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜† .

  25. Craig Mc

    April 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    @antsBoy: If I was Lil Man Nani, BEFORE I left the ground early, I would have kicked Fergie in both feckin shins, and told him to Feck off, I wouldn’t be staying around with all his little pet Nancy boys next season. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ .

  26. Craig Mc

    April 28, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    @Dominic: Yeah right, YOU just keep on spouting SHITE fellow, because your viewpoint is bollocks IMO mate. If Dithering Evra didn’t track forward all the fecking time, Nani wouldn’t need to track back. As for Nani being lazy, what utter bollocks. As for Fergie being good indication – hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha – his judgement counts for nothing where Nani is concerned because he doesn’t play the player enough. Last season Nani was fucking magic, but then I don’t expect the bigotted blind to see ๐Ÿ™„ .

  27. Craig Mc

    April 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    @Dominic: Michael Jackson mug???? Where the fuck do you stand on the OT terraces then, because I would like to see what your fucking mug is like, just for information, because I don’t expect you to be a fucking Adonis ๐Ÿ™„ .

  28. Craig Mc

    April 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    @Karl: Fabio is FAR FAR better than Rafael, but then Rafael is one of Fergie’s little PET boys isn’t he?

  29. Craig Mc

    April 28, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    @colver: Walcott will DO Evra, skinning him til he is red raw and bleeding. Evra’s defensive abilities have been shite lately ๐Ÿ™ .

  30. Red Ranter

    April 28, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    @Craig Mc: Fabio is far better than Rafael offensively. Both remain suspect defensively though. The reason Rafael got a contract is because he’s played enough first team games and could show enough promise. It’s not Fergie preferring Rafael over Fabio. It’s Fergie giving Rafael a chance at RB because we really didn’t have anyone there. The actual pet boy you should be after is really Evra. Fergie is loyal to Evra because he was massive for us in the past. In 2009 he’s been shite, yet Fergie seems to play him.

    So for Fabio to win a contract, he needs to show his worth in the senior team which he can do only if he breaks into it ahead of Evra.

    Because, really there’s no questioning either of the twins’ abilities. And you’d think you wouldn’t want to split the twins unless one is really shite. ๐Ÿ˜€ Fabio needs to overcome his injury issues and prove it. Till then he will remain potentially brilliant.

  31. Darth Red Diablo

    April 29, 2009 at 8:29 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CPFEqsP_sw&feature=related
    5:52
    Check out this video!
    THIS GUY is going to fuck Arsenal Today!

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