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

  1. @Dan: So bloody true mate – Nani was Good, but Stephen is a blind fuck, like so many other Nani haterz on here. I wrote to Iran, and their prime minister has told me he will grant my request and send a GUIDED MISSILE to blitz Stephens brains.

    It wasn’t Nani that was the problem, it was Dithery, I love being skinned by opposing wingers – EVRA ๐Ÿ™„ . He should have gone, and Sheasy and Nani would have got the job done up the left.

    Stephen Bro – the missiles on the way, tell your fiance to stay away from home for a few days ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜† .

  2. Giggsy got player of the year, Oh dear NOW Rafa will really crack up. He is more anti United, than the whole scouser world put together. This will really do his head in. Giggsy though – the sentimental vote NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. Made up for him though ๐Ÿ˜€ .

  3. @Nick: Your team is improving and certainly will go from strength to strength with HR at the helm. Next season should be solid for you once things get sorted out at the back.

    If you argue that any touch on a ball before contact with a player should be deemed a good challenge, then potentially dangerous tackles from behind, two footed challenges (in which the ball is first touched) etc. ought to qualify then. I use these extreme examples to make the case that any touch on the ball should not be deemed sufficient if the player is illegally impeded in the process. This is what I felt Gomez was guilty. It seemed to me that his contact with the ball was simulatenous with felling Carrick. But again, agree to disagree

    Thanks for the well wishes!

  4. Giggs!! Brilliant. Deserves it. Legend. Hope he keeps on going to 1000 games ala maldini!! He is the example of pure class and humility rolled into one. Wish he would grab ronaldo by the ear and teach him to be less of an embarassment to the club. He has the skill but needs to grow up and quit bitchin. Congrats to ryan!

  5. And arguing penalty decisions is so tiring. At full speed in this game to get it right is hard and we were hard done by last week. The press were not roaring over that missed call. These things even themselves out. As for berba and nani. Give them a break. Fergie has tinkered so much with team selection that these players often look confused when trying to figure the systems out. Evra will be fine too. He’s a natural athlete. He just needs to be told that defending is the priority and quit harking back to his monaco days when he was a winger. Hope the fab 4 get a chance to shine again against the arse. I would play. EVDS, rafael, vidic, ferdinand, evra, Carrick, giggs, rooney, ronaldo, tevez, and berba. Just go at em and tear em apart! No more boring 1-0 mourinho shit. Thats not what united are about.

  6. Yes, Congrats Giggsy!
    the icing on the cake of a glorious career.

    United also got 6 players in the EPL team of the year:

    Edwin van der Sar; Glen Johnson, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra; Ashley Young, Steven Gerrard, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo; Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres

    only one problem… where’s ROONEY??!!
    he’s been our light this season, he should’ve been swapped out for Evra

  7. @Sully m: Gotta give Ronaldo some credit, he’s been playing unbelievable since SAF gave him a public earful, and his attitude has a lot to do with it, see how he celebrated his goals from the game. He’s learning i reckon.

  8. @Craig Mc: Well I saw what Stephen saw!! Nani did put in a few good runs and a couple of decent crosses, but his passing and shooting was wild and off the mark.
    We needed to retain possession in order to come back in that game, and that was why he was subbed out! Good early decision by SAF and it seemed to make all the difference didn’t it??!!

  9. Great news about Giggs (POY). Love the guy for what he’s done for the club and now he has some decent recognition of that.
    I had a bad feeling that Stevie G was gonna win it, so I’m actually doubly happy. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  10. Glad Gerrard didn’t win but it shouldn’t have been Giggs. Giving it to Giggs this year just means passing over someone else who then may come to the end of their career without winning it. Noone deserves it more, but not this year.

    If I had to choose one of the nominees it’d be Rio, but I think Lampard should have won. He;s been consistently great in a team that has had more ups and downs than I care to remember, and played a variety of roles superbly.

    Travesty that Stephen Ireland didn’t win Young Player; he’s been a joy to watch this season, but Ashley Young has hardly been shite so fair play.

    I think these results just go to show that voting should really be in June, not March.

  11. Here we go off on the Nani see-saw again! ๐Ÿ™„

    I know it’s none of my bloody business, but I think Stephen told things as he saw it..there’s no need for anyone to get personal here.

    I’d commented during the first half itself about Nani’s performance. Yes, he did put in 2-3 crosses, but have our expectations of him been lowered so much now that we’re happy even when he does ONLY that much??! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ He looked to be improving towards the end of the half, but he was very poor before that. The biggest problem I think SAF finds with him is that Nani doesn’t give him enough confidence of being up for it enough, and maybe this feeling percolates throughout the team too. So what did he do? Brought on Tevez in the 2nd half, his attitude just lifted the team – look what a difference it made!

    I feel for Nani and I really want him to do well, but that said, I still have very high expectations of him. So I’m not gonna sit back and say “Well done lad!” if he puts in 2 good crosses in 45min of play, no way sir!

    Oh, and by the way, TAKE A BOW GIGGSY!!! We’re all so proud of you!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. im happy for giggs, it should have been vidic, but im happy for giggs.

    This reason im not happier, is because, one wayne rooney isnt in the team of the year ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    Rooney>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>anelka how the hell did that ugly fuck get into the team!

    Oh, i know how, score a couple of goals at the beginning of the season, then do fuck all for the rest! rooney would have been a better candidate then ronaldo if im bloody honest!

    ๐Ÿ‘ฟ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

  13. Congratulations Ryan Giggs!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ He well and truly deserved it, not only because he has had an amazing season but for all the stuff he has done for us during his long career. He has had some really amazing games this season( Chelski, West Brom, West Ham), and even though I feel Vidic has had a better season, he is more than worthy enough for this award. Hopefully knighthood will follow… ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Now that Ive said well done to Ryan, its time for more serious stuff. HOW THE FUCK DID ROONEY NOT GET INTO THAT TEAM??!!! He has been our third best player this season, our best attacking player, and some of the games he has had have been incredibly good. And not only that, he has performed consistenly well this season. He has scored 27 goals in 38 games this season, which for him is splendid! But no, of cource Anelka is in the team ahead of him because he was top scorer 4 months ago. Anelka? FUCKING ANELKA?! ๐Ÿ™„ Its insane, it really is. Still, I hope not picking Rooney in this team will drive him further on, so he goes on to have the best seasons possibly the next few years. I know it may not matter a lot to him, but after him playing like he has done this season that should be taken as an insult.

    This would have been my team:
    Van Der Sar
    Rafael Rio Vidic Cole
    Young Gerrard Lampard Giggs
    Torres Rooney

    No place for Ronaldo, not because I feel he ahs had a bad season, but because Young, Rooney and Torres all have been better. I think he would have deserved a place, but Lampard, Gerrard, Giggs and Young have all performed more consistently than him…

  15. @RedDevilEddy: But young, Rooney and Torres haven’t scored as many goals as Ronnie, and that is after he missed games for a while beginning of season. Also Ronnie would have more goals but for the PL Bruisers chopping the legs under him every time he gets anywhere near goal. Ronnie deserves to be in their Eddie mi man ๐Ÿ˜€ .

  16. @Dan: Its not a couple of goals Anelka has got Bro, he is up there among the top PL scorers list with Ronnie and Torres. ๐Ÿ˜€ .

  17. @antsBoy: FFS lighten up mate, I can say what I like to Stephen, BECAUSE in case you missed it he is MY BUDDY – end of! ๐Ÿ™„ .

  18. @Stephen: ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† , Well I heard from your fiance you are a very good one Stephen Bro ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜† . Don’t get too serious mate, because I was pissing about as usual. We cool then Bro?

  19. @RedDevilEddy: If you look at the whole season arguably Rooney has been our best player rather than third best!
    I don’t agree with you about Rafael. He does have a lot of potential but at the moment he is a liability defensively. He has poor positioning (as shown by Spurs second goal) and has been skinned by quite a few players.

  20. I just heard Stephen loves Nani,
    I think someone’s taking the Pee ๐Ÿ˜€ .
    Maybe he’s had a tipple or two,
    Cos I just sent Beer called Nani’s brew ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† .
    Admit it Stevie Bro – your SLOSHED! ๐Ÿ˜‰ .
    Just watch out for your boss,
    Don’t want you to suffer loss,
    Oh hell I forgot your, your own BOSS – ๐Ÿ˜† .

    MEGA!

  21. @Dan: I agree Vida should have won but nice for Giggsy as he is a true gentleman of the game, but 12 starts this season seems generous.
    @RedDevilEddy: I think putting in Rafael is a seeing things through red tinted specs! But he has bags of potential and hopefully he will live up to it.

  22. @Craig Mc: That is fucking quality!!! Ps havn’t had a drink today…………………..yet!! ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

  23. Giggs has always been my hero at United. Grew up having him as my favorite player, and he doesn’t score many goals, so every time he did, I’d be sure to watch it over and over till it burned in my head! (no Youtube for replays back then, you see) To me it’s amazing he’s never won this award because for all he’s done for the club, I can say that he is the epitome of United and British football. And despite his age, he still hasn’t lost any of his foxiness and craft. Probably the greatest Welsh player ever, I tip my hat off to Giggs for his contribution to United and football as a whole. I’m glad he won this award because it’ll probably be his last chance to win it, and I think he knows he’s reaching his end very soon. So kudos to Giggsy, the Welsh Wizard!

  24. Rafael has signed a 2 year contract extension. Here till 2013. And he seems amazed by it! Lets hope Fabio gets more of a go too.

  25. My Line up for Wednesay:

    Nani
    Nani-Nani-Nani-Nani
    Nani-Nani-Nani-Nani
    Nani-Nani
    Subs-Nani,Nani,Nani,Nani,Nani,Nani,Nani!

  26. Benzema??
    ..
    .
    His name has been doing the rounds recently… with Lyon not sure to qualify for the CL, we could get him on the cheap….

  27. This is possibly off subject but I wanted to share.

    Replacing Ronaldo has been the major talk of almost all United fans for almost a year now, who could replace him? and will he leave in the first place?

    2 questions that I think I have a really good answer for, wether he leaves or not, replacing him or partnering him, this man can.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fqb7Ag3wvc&feature=related

  28. @Stephen: ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† what a team eh Bro ๐Ÿ˜‰ . 11 of Lil man Nani and 5 Nani subs, we’d DO IT ALL then my friend ๐Ÿ˜€ .

  29. @Jon: Yeah and the media are full of questioning that Giggsy is not player of the year. Doesn’t matter, if his fellow players want to HONOUR him with this accolade after all he has done for football, then the paps should shut the feck up for a change! Good on his fellow professional players for wanting to honour Giggsy in the only way they can that means something really ๐Ÿ˜€ .

  30. @Frankie: I dont blame rafael for that goal, the damn cross should have never came in!

    Both goals where evras fault, end off.

    The guys a tosser whos been found out, i said it, he needs to go!

  31. @Dan: Bit harsh Dan? He could well be just out of form but as they form is temporary class is permanent and I believe he will rediscover his form ideally on Wenesday against Walcott.

  32. http://www.sirryangiggs.com, thats the petition to get (soon to be) sir ryan, knighted!

    @Stephen: You cant be off form for an entire season! even rooney showed glimpses in the 07/08 season(the one where a lot of fans where calling for his head) every so often. Evra has not.

  33. up until a few years ago united had aresenal totally susst!
    we played 4-5-1 with all our work horses on the field and won on every occasion. Then fergie for some reason went back to playing arse at their own passing attacking game e.g the emirates
    we need to start with
    oโ€™shea โ€“rioโ€“vidicโ€“evra
    ron-carrickโ€“andoโ€“fletch-park
    rooney
    anderson to man mark cesc(same job essien was on gerrard in anfield) fabregas is everything to them, everything good they do goes through him and hes like being in andoโ€™s pocket
    iโ€™m not sayin we couldnt match them if we went man for man in a 4-4-2 system but it would be high scoring and we donโ€™t want that in a eouropean semi at home!! 4-5-1 and get at arse be tough and firm in the tackle stop their pretty passing and get their shitty defence on the break!!!
    oh and wen we beat them 4-0 in the cup we played 4-5-1

  34. i think that fergie may start with the fab 4 against arsenal. i feel sorry for nani but despite what many people believe it was tevezs introduction and not taking nani off that sparked our performance. and at last it looks like ronaldo has something through his thick skull. hes been a real dick at times this season but he is the top goalscorer in the league despite having a bad season by his standards. and congratulations to giggs for his award though i must say that the main reason for him winning it was probably becasuse he has never won it before ๐Ÿ˜ฎ give the fab 4 time to gel, make a middle two of carrick nad anderson (for now and Mr.Glass next season)back four with brown at right back and Foster in goal ( or more likely he will be number 1 next season).

  35. @RedDevilEddy: anelka was bagging goals for fun at that time. He was leading goalscrorer by far. torres however was injured and hasn’t done anything of note this season. Johnson has been much better than rafael, whos been coming on really well.

  36. @Dan: Thanks for the petition link.. have done my bit!!!

    On the game, I was proud of Rooney and Ronnie and Tevez, and pleasantly surprised by Berbatov. I’m not so sure about the ‘Fab 4’ thingy yet though!

  37. Haha, you just have to laugh at F365, sinking their own boat:

    Consistency
    From the F365 Manchester United v Spurs match tracker:

    ’56: PENALTY: Spurs are incensed and surround the referee Webb, but the replay suggests it was a straightforward decision. Carrick was played into the area and got a touch just before Gomes slid in to take him out. Gomes is yellow-carded.

    ’59: Another look at that replay shows Gomes got a fingertip to the ball before taking out Carrick, so in fact that shouldn’t have been a penalty. Such a tight call though.

    ‘FULL TIME: The final whistle goes and Old Trafford cheers. United are back on top of the table, having gone three points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand. A poor penalty decision got them back on track after Spurs had taken a shock 2-0 lead in the first half, and United ran riot thereafter.’

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