RVP sinks 10-man Liverpool

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Manchester United came from behind to defeat 10-man Liverpool in an emotional encounter at Anfield.

Much had been said before kick off about United fans’ response to Liverpool’s tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy, in the Merseyside club’s first home game since the release of the Hillsborough report.

United fans were quick to dismiss fear of sick and vile chanting, following Sir Alex Ferguson’s appeal during the week.

Sir Bobby Charlton handed a bouquet of red roses to Liverpool legend Ian Rush, before the home fans unveiled a mosaic reading “Justice” and “The truth” which covered three sides of the ground and both teams lined up with specially made tracktops bearing the number 96 on their backs.

The away fans joined in the applause for the victims before belting out chants of “United, United” as the home crowd paid a fitting tribute to the 96 victims and their families with a rendition of You’ll never walk alone.

The much dreaded hatred was nowhere to be seen, at least not to the extent the press had worried (hoped?) for over the last 10 days.

United, without a win in the last five games in all competitions at Anfield, fielded Lindegaard in goal, with a back four including Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans and Patrice Evra, as captain Nemanja Vidic surprisingly missed out.

Fergie opted for Valencia and Nani on the flanks with Carrick and Giggs – who captained the side,despite Evra’s presence in the starting XI – in the middle of the park, despite United’s woeful record at Anfield in recent seasons. Kagawa was chosen to support Van Persie up front.

Ferguson had worried before the game that his side might suffer the occasion, and United certainly looked shaken as Liverpool went close to open the scoring twice within two minutes.

First, Suarez forced a good save from Lindegaard after getting ahead of Ferdinand, then Shelvey pulled a corner back for Gerrard, whose shot hit the side-netting.

United were simply not at the races, wasteful and scared in possession as Nani and Giggs in particular were guilty of vaguely hoofing the ball towards Robin Van Persie, rather than patiently build an with real attacking purpose.

The Dutchman was left too isolated up front as Liverpool showed more hunger and drive and United seemed happy to nurse their way to half-time.

With less than 10 minutes to go in ten first half, JonJo Shelvey recklessly launched into a challenge against Jonny Evans and while both players weren’t in control going into the tackle, referee Mark Halsey was right to send the Liverpool player off.

For a side that had demanded respect, Shelvey’s reaction at being sent off was surely petty and nothing short of disgraceful as he pointed his finger towards Sir Alex Ferguson, who dismissed him with a grin.

United would have considered themselves lucky to go back to the dressing room at half time with the score still locked at 0-0, and re-emerged with Scholes replacing an evanescent Nani as Sir Alex tried to exploit United’s numerical superiority in midfield.

With less than sixty seconds on the clock, though, Liverpool were in front as Scholes intercepted Glen Johnson’s run, only for the ball to fall into Steven Gerrard’s path. The Liverpool captain was awarded acres of space to chest the ball down and fire home in front of the Kop.

United found themselves deservedly behind but were sprung into life by the goal.

Less than five minutes later, Valencia’s cross was chested down by Kagawa and drilled home with a magnificent left footed curler by Rafael that stunned Anfield and had the United end berserk.

Despite their numerical inferiority, Liverpool kept pouring forward and twice went close to regain the lead.

Suarez unleashed a left-footed effort from outside the box, forcing a smart, one-handed same from Lindegaard, before finding Suso whose shot was expertly palmed over the bar by the United keeper.

Despite their numerical superiority United couldn’t seem to grasp the match by its scruff until the 76th minute, when Valencia broke free after intercepting a pass on the halfway line and was brought down by Glen Johnson inside the box.

Ref Mark Halsey quickly pointed at the spot and, despite a long wait due to Daniel Agger’s injury, Robin Van Persie made no mistake, firing United to their first win at Anfield since December 2007.

Hernandez then replaced Kagawa and, despite five minutes of added time, which turned into seven following Martin Kelly's injury and Danny Welbeck's introduction, Liverpool couldn't muster a fightback and United fans left their bitterest neighbours' turf with three points. A poor performance perhaps, but three points in the bag, nevertheless.
Dan (@MUFC_dan87)

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48 Comments

  1. Awful. Ashamed to take a victory in that manner with a man up most of the game. How pathetically coward can we get when we play giggs in midfield ? how bad must the others be in training if fergie cant trust them? Phelan seems a complete douche sitting there with no tactics in his head! Get Moyes and learn from him ffs !

    • @godzilla: You only need look at arsenal and what a difference steve bold has made for them since he joined the back room staff this summer. Arsenals defence actually looks competent and defensively sound, something that hasnt been seen there since the days of adams, campbell in their prime.
      You just wonder what effect a similar addition to our backroom staff would do for us. I mean were not even talking a guardiola or martinez coming in (as if they’d come as no 2 anyway), just someone a bit bloody competent who actually understands tactics and can address our shortfalls (i remember mentioning laudrup back in 2008 after quieroz left).
      Basically someone with no link with the club, whose not gonna just be a yes man “great idea boss” type person, but someone who will grab this bunch by the bloody neck and tell them this is exactly how its gonna be.
      They can start by teaching us the art of pressing teams, and also how to deal with teams that press us as thats something time and time a bloody gain, we seem to struggle with.
      Its sad when even a team like everton, who im not the greatest fan of, can play good football and can press a team as competent as swansea and make them look average and yet we get over run by fulham and southampton.
      Why cant we do that? Why cant we keep the ball for more than 3 passes? Why even when other passes are on, do we resort to just playing it safe back to the keeper who then boots it up field and loses us possession?
      Why do we select the wrong types of players for the wrong games (ie when we play games that need alot of energy and mobility we go with players who are static and immobile and vice versa).
      I sometimes wonder what the hell exactly we work on in training. Looking at phelan, id guess sitting about playing poker and smoking cigars 🙄

        • @AndyCR7: Yeah something to do with gym mats and helping teach the players areas they needed to mark or something. Strangely enough, i remember hearing from di matteo last season that he was using a similar strategy with chelsea in their game against barca where it worked too.
          Cant see phelan ever having the brains to come up with something like that can you.

  2. Performance vs. Result. What a poor, poor, poor performance, but do 3 points make is “OK”? I think not. In fact, it is embarrassing that we “beat” a 10-man liverpool side on a dubious penalty… and only managed three shots total!!

    As mentioned, only Rafael, Rio, and 5 minutes of Valencia were good enough to wear the United jersey. I am so tired of our ridiculous tactics, lineups, and under-par player performances.

    On tactics, did we even have one? Were we playing down wings or going through center, because Kagawa+RvP kept playing centrally, while Valencia, Giggs, and Nani + Evra/Rafael kept going out wide. An unholy mess.

    On lineup, why would Giggs start at all? And as captain when Evra was on field?? Why would Vidic be rested for such a big game??? Where was Cleverley???? What does De Gea have to do to start two games in a row???? These questions make Fergie (and his staff) look really poor…

    Performances were FAR below par with only Carrick, Scholes, Rafael, Rio, Evans, and Valencia creeping up above 5/10. Giggs and Evra set new standards of poor performance that allowed one to stay on the field for 90 minutes, while Nani, Kagawa, and RvP were cursed by poor tactics…

    Seconds best is NOT United standard. If we don’t improve ASAP and build team chemistry with consistent selections, we will be SMASHED by better teams than Liverpool, which according to EPL table is 17 other teams in England and any team in UCL knock-out stage (if we make it that far)….

  3. Yeah that was very ugly performance. I can’t think of one standout performance, which makes me think the occasion overawed the entire team.
    That said, it was a very strange starting lineup. Carrick, yes but Giggs, no – we have to think of a better CMF pairing than that and If we insist in including Kagawa as an attacking midfielder we must provide some steel behind him. To me, Anderson should have started instead of Giggs and Welbeck for Nani (who again, seemed to have no idea what he was doing).

    Along the back line we seemed to defend only the zones and hardly ever pressed with man marking. A sure sign of lack of confidence.

    Least said about this one the better. Hope it was just bad day at the office.

  4. It’s sad to see that the prevailing theme of this blog is now that it’s “all Ferguson’s fault”. Win, lose or draw he always gets a hammering for what is perceived as a sub standard performance. Never the fault of a good opponent or the underachievement of the players or the fact that we have a squad that is constantly transitioning from the past to the future.
    Sure there are times when his decision making can be brought into question. The thought of losing or nearly losing brings into focus a hindsight that is very comfortable for us all to see. The fall guy, and there must be a single, convenient one, can be the only reason for failure??
    It’s a way to diffuse our frustrations, I know, but seriously, cant we see things that are more than one dimensional. The belief that a good performance is based on the good showing of one player in as illogical as feeling that a poor one is the fault of the manager.
    The game is not a perfect game, even if we hold it to an ideal standard. Mistakes are as common as perfect executions and our manager is not immune either one.

    There is always a reason, but it’s not always a single one, and it’s certainly not always SAF’s fault – look at his record.

  5. All said and done – happy to see back of this fixture and that too with 3 points that ultimately matter. Fact of the matter is – Liverpool played well and we played poor but still they couldnt beat us! we should remember that ainfield game (together with everton away) has been our bane for some time. play well or bad, we’ve always managed to get beaten there.

    I dont think we’ll play this bad again this season. If we do, well…

  6. It was undeserved 3 points but it taste sweet when it was against Liverpool. I acually expected defeat so win was big gift.

    No point to discuss about how we line up. In Fergie’s review in press implying he will think about new tactical set up so I will wait to see what will happen.

  7. How bad was Nani yesterday –

    One good measure is that fact that he was substituted at half time! I have never ever seen SAF make a substitution that early in the game. Even when we are losing badly, its usually around the 60 min mark. SAF is not known to be a reactive coach.

    Hope its a wake up call for Nani and he comes back stronger than ever.

    • @jos: Not gonna deny nani was woeful, but again why is it always just nani who gets the finger. Was giggs any better with his 50% pass completion stats, or valencia, or kagawa or van persie?
      Maybe his all round crappiness had something to do with the fact that he only received the ball a handful of times, and when he did all his team mates in front of him were 25 yards away.
      If we’d actually had a midfield instead of empty space we might have been able to actually get a touch of the bloody ball and of been able to give it to him. As it was we didnt.
      Again though, not gonna deny he was anything other than awful, but i find it startling the way nani always seems to be the fall guy on here and with fergie.

      • @tonymontanna4united: Come on bro, Nani was awful. Vally was having a decentish game, Giggs should not have started it was a silly decision. Kagawa after a decent start has been anonymous in the past two games, as has RvP. The issue is we are lacking in midfield, we should have strengthened this Summer but we all know that. Scholes should have been rested on Wednesday and should have started, once he came on we started to pass the ball a little better.

        • @Stephen: Not denying that mate, but i still say he was no more awful than anyone else on the field first half.
          As you say, it hardly helps when you have no bloody midfield who can control the game and give him the bloody ball.

  8. Ferguson takes the blame yes. It’s no longer unclear that he knows the least about tactics and football systems in the football world. But what gets to me is his more often than not, ridiculous line ups. It’s very rare to see him playing a normal team. Something always has to be puzzling and misplaced. He can’t honestly be that crazy. A lot of people go about complaining that “we’re so short on quality we have to rely on 38 year olds”. But the funny thing is no one wants to see Giggs in midfield. Most think Anderson is useless, but how many here would prefer Giggs to him in the centre of midfield? I’m certain the answer is less than zero. Anderson may not score a goal, but he does understand how to complete a pass and how to be a physical test for the opposition in there. Giggs is the last person every man, woman and dog wants to see in central midfield. But Ferguson definitely thinks otherwise. But come on, at Anfield. Really that’s just ridiculous and there’s no reasoning or logic that can even begin to defend it technically. The only way I see it, is this. Ferguson has absolutely no regard for tactics or systems. He is a man manager. He deals with the abstract. The emotional. He looks at each game and thinks “I think Giggs should play in the middle, because he is calm and will be an assuring presence to the rest of the team. Also, it may jump start other midfielders if I pick him for such a big game.” or “today I’ll play Lindergaard because De Gea may be expecting to start so this will keep him on his toes”. I think I may be closer to the truth because he clearly shows a total disregard with the penalty taker issues. He is to blame, for putting the players in the most difficult of circumstances to perform.

    Okay, we got Rvp, we got Kagawa. Same midfield as before, but at the very least, we ought to see some improvements in the play. Both are definite upgrades to what we had. Right now Rvp looks like a confused amateur. Kagawa seems pretty average and they are hardly making a difference. I.ve said it many times before. You can bring the best players in world football to OT and we’ll still play like rubbish cooked in crap. I saw this with Berbatov and I’m seeing this with Rvp and Kagawa. Let’s not fool ourselves,Ferguson and his henchmen are the real cause for our poor performances. We are so far behind technically, now it’s just unredeemable but the rotation and beyond illogical team selections are threatening to send us to an untenable abyss.

    I find it absurd to blame players in these unique circumstances. They’re definitely not being given a level playing field and similar conditions as their counterparts elsewhere. For instance, how can you assess Carrick’s performance, when his partner can’t pass a football? It’s not like they are playing in a vacuum where the opposition will let it pass. That puts more pressure on him because he no longer has confidence to pass to him and has to look for other avenues. Which makes the job a whole lot harder. If Busquets had no confidence in Xavi or Iniesta or Cesc,it means his job becomes mission impossible. Or how can we make an assessment that Kagawa was ineffective if noone was passing him the ball. But who would pass him the ball if you have the worst passer in the team delegated to link up with him? How does Van Pesie always end up with 1 shot every game? Is it because he doesn’t fit in to the United way? You bet your life he doesn’t. Noone does. Why is Nani always caught in two minds? Maybe because there’s no one to pass to because Van Persie is trying to get close to the ever wide Valencia,Kagawa is trying to get close to Nani but also link up with Rvp,Carrick is trying to stay alive in the centre circle and at the same time try to pull together two wide and disenfranchised units of attack and also do the central playmaking role that Giggs is so spectacularly failing to do. Never mind trying to shield a logically under fire defence. It’s kind of like an army going to battle with footsoldiers in front of flamethrowers who are in front of tanks. How confident do you expect the footsoldiers to be with flamethrowers on their butts. Or how does the tank operate without blasting it’s own into the next realm? Who’s to blame? The crack smoking General that’s who

    • @Jay wire: If Fergie is so clueless and tactically inept, why are we currently sitting second in the league and lost the title on goal difference in the last 30 seconds? Oh and we were Champions the two previous seasons..

      • @Stephen: So because of that, we just overlook performances like yesterdays then do we?
        38% possession in the first half, no shots but its nothing to worry about?
        So next season when we go back to anfield, we set up with giggs and scholes in midfield again, play like shite and get thoroughly outplayed, its just another one of those days even if were not as lucky and only come away with a single point, if any?
        Come off it mate, surely that performance must have worried you.
        Yes we got the 3 points, but how many games will we lose the points in in the coming season/s playing like that.
        How many games last season did we see the exact same performance where we came away with nothing.

        Wigan away where we were uncompromisingly outplayed and had 1 shot on target.
        City away where we left without a single shot on target and played some of the most negative football i have seen this club play.
        Bilbao both legs where we were played off the park.
        Ajax at OT where again we were outplayed.
        Basle away in the CL where we didnt create anything.
        The City mauling at OT, the everton away tie, Newcastle away, blackburn home, palace in the cup.

        The list is endless. Its very easy though to overlook those and rule them off as just “one of those days”, but surely the performances in each must concern you, and worry you that even after all these errors we seem happy to do nothing about addressing them fo the next season.
        I just dont see how you can fail to be concerned by it tbh. Not a pop at just you mate, but i just find it worrying that our standards seem to have dropped so much lately.
        It wasnt that long ago that we were having a go at chelsea for the way they played their boring football whilst winning games. We used to pride ourselves on the way we played games whilst getting the win.
        Not anymore it seems. Long as we get the 3 points, to hell with the performance and staying true to our principles.
        The points are all that matters, so anything that was worth looking at during the game is swept under the rug ready to be displayed again in all its glory the next time we go there.
        Terrific.

        • @tonymontanna4united: No we don’t, we were terrible and didn’t deserve anything, but we won. Come off it mate, Liverpool played the game of their lives, this doesn’t excuse the way we played but lets give the dippers a bit of credit. You sound like a spoilt fan to me mate sorry. Fergie should have invested in the midfield we know that, we are also interrogating Kagawa and RVP to the side. You seem to be focussing on the poor results last season, how about Arsenal 8-2, Bolton 5-0, Wolves 4-1, Fulham 5-0, Wigan 5-0, Wolves 5-0, Villa 4-0.

          Look mate I know where you are coming from, but at this stage of the season we are usually poor. It needs to get better, starting Giggs is nonsensical. We need to get better, but grinding out a win when we could have lost is a positive.

        • @Stephen: Thats true mate, liverpool always do play the game of their lives against us, but then you have to ask yourself why dont we? Why arent we up for the game in the same manner they are?
          Why do we always play so poorly and always make the same mistakes going into this fixture every season?
          Why dont we learn that giggs in midfield is asking for trouble?
          Or why we are unable to do anything but play long ball against them.
          Or how to handle teams that press us?
          Dont you think those are issues that should have been addressed going into this game?
          Or the other games i mentioned where we witnessed the exact same issues?
          Look i do get that sometimes you do just have one of those games. We used to play negatively in games years back too. Im not blind to that mate.
          Its just that these sort of performances we saw yesterday are becoming far too frequent for my liking and we seem to keep making the same basic mistakes on a far too regular basis.
          You may be right though mate, maybe i/we are spoilt and i am asking for too much, but thats the thing with this club, we never supposedly rest on our laurels.
          So why now do we seem to be doing just that, accepting 15-20 games of awfulness as just one of those things, surely we should be looking to improve on that?

        • @tonymontanna4united: We have all been spoilt mate, but yesterday was a poor performance. We need a good showing at home against Spurs, AVB has set them up with one up front to be tougher to beat away from home.
          We need to get more fluid, but if we had invested in the midfield then we would all be happier. Fergie has bought well this Summer, RvP, Kagawa and Buttner look good. Nani needs to get his season going, if we can get him firing then we will be good.
          I am fed up seeing Giggs start games like this, we should have shipped out Anderson in the Summer. I am not too worried yet, but we need to get going soon.

        • @Stephen: Fair enough mate.
          As for spurs, well they’ve actually impressed me since AVB’s arrival. Ok the results have been poor so far, but i suppose it was always going to take a whle taking them onto the next level after redknapp.
          Dembele in particular was a fantastic signing for them. Would have loved him here actually.
          We probably could have had him for about £10m an all with berbatov going there and yet still we passed.
          What i wouldnt give for a beast like him or fellaini in our midfield.

        • @jos: Don’t forget Bilbao and Basel are also our bogey teams. Possibly City as well if they can repeat that 1-6 thrashing.

      • @Stephen: By the way, no one is saying fergie is clueless. Its just that surely with him taking on less and less of the day to day responsibiities of training, it makes sense to have a competent number 2, coaching staff who actually know what theyre doing.
        And before you or anyone else says we dont know what phelan does at the club, well id say his influence or lack of, is more than shown in the 3 years hes been at the club where every part of our game seems to have gone to hell.
        I mean even set pieces, scoring them and defending them (somehing you’d think phelan would be good at looking at him) have been a problem since his arrival.
        You only need look at how many we scored in our double winning season in 2008, to see how important even that was to us winning what we did.

        • @Stephen: To be fair, if there is one thing i can compliment us on the last few years, its been our clinicalness in front of goal.
          But saying we scored more goals compared to then doesnt mean we are more attacking or attractive then we were then.
          Afterall we scored more goals than spurs, arsenal last season, i dont think any united fan anywhere would say we were more entertaining than either of those two.
          Just that we took our chances better, which does make you think if we were creating the amount of chances today as were then, how many goals we would be scoring.

    • @Jay wire: utter dross and too many assumptions. so thats how saf has made a career in football – by just assuming things and no technical knowledge whatsoever???? typical knee jerk reactions (that too when we won at a ground where we “usually” lose).

      I’m assuming now all of Nani’s horrible passes yesterday were because of ferguson! He told the guy – look Nani dont you dare find a man…

      I thought those 11 in the middle were pros. Arent they supposed to know how to play or they need to be coached all the time??? I mean, what can you teach RVP or Scholes really??????

      Heres what Alan Hanson had to say that actually makes some sense for a change:

      Liverpool and United are now polar opposites to where they where 20 years ago. In those days, we saw the United fixture as a huge occasion, but never felt it had much bearing on our trophy ambitions.
      We often lost to them, but it made no difference to our pursuit of the league and European Cup.
      Today, United see Liverpool in the same way. It is a daunting trip to Merseyside, and one which I’m sure gives them tremendous pleasure when they win, but the days when it makes any difference to whether they can compete for the Premier League or Champions League have long since passed.

    • @Jay wire:

      As much as it hurts, I AGREE entirely with every single point Jay Wire has made on here! Have a butchers at this article which outlines our tactical decline since Carlo Queiroz left the club!

      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1279039-man-uniteds-decline-how-united-have-regressed-tactically-since-queiroz

      I agree our coaching staff are miles behind most in the current footballing world! Both SAF and Mike Phelan are tactically inept, and thats an understatement if you ask me. Its such a shame and worrying to see us going backwards in terms of our tactics and style of play. I mean come on, how outdated is the 4-4-2 now and still we insist on playing this system. If we continue to play the way we are playing we will undoubtedly get slaughtered by the bigger teams (no disrespect to the smaller ones) domestically. I don’t event want to go into how we would perform against mediocre sides in Europe. Look at the 2 legs against Bilbao last season, completely outplayed, and they are a normal side in their domestic league! We really really need to improve sooner rather than later and keep up with the way modern day football is supposed to be played but unfortunately i don’t see that coming any time soon. How effective were Kagawa and RVP at their club last season in the systems they were deployed in? I could go on for ages on various flaws in our current style of play but i think Jay Wire has summed it up perfectly. Its frustrating and worrying at the same time/

  9. I am not saying we are perfect, as we know we are far from that. The issues are as I see things:

    Giggs should not start big league games anymore.
    Evra is still a liability.
    We neede to know who our number 1 is.
    We should have signed at least one midfield player in the summer.
    We need to intergrate Kagawa and RvP.
    Nani is woefully off form.
    We miss Rooney.
    Welbeck isn’t United quality, it is obvious.
    We don’t press teams.
    We over rotate.

    • @Stephen: Rooney didn’t exactly cover himself in glory against Everton, he has been quite poor ever since he decided he was a good enough midfielder. We’re desperate for RVP’s goals so him coming into the starting XI will mean we have to play with 2 midfielders.

      • @Moscow: Mate, he was garbage against Everton, but who did play well?! But he and RvP linking up together is a mouth watering prospect. Between them they notched 72 goals last season.
        Fergie wants to play with 2 midfield players, which is archaic. Kagawa needs time to adapt to the Premier League, I can see Fergie deploying him in a deeper role.

        • @Stephen: We can play a 4-2-2-2 formation which City used to win the league, it would allow us to pair RvP with Rooney:

          ——-De Gea———
          Rafael-Rio-Vidic-Evra
          —Carrick-Cleverley—
          Nani————Kagawa
          —–RVP-Rooney—–

          Reason why I put Nani instead of Valencia is so that we can have a more free flowing attack front four. It’s just a shame Carrick doesn’t have a world class midfield partner, with the right tactics that team would win things.

  10. Let’s see what Ferguson had to say about the midfield in the summer:

    Sir Alex has reacted to the suggestion that he should be looking to invest in a holding midfielder during the close season.

    The Manchester United boss has explained that he has never used a player to fill that specific role and cited Barcelona’s former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas as evidence that the most effective performers in the middle of the park need not be destroyers.

    “If you look at the examples, Fabregas was one of the best midfield players in England for five years but he wasn’t a big lad and wasn’t a holding player,” said Sir Alex. “He was an attacking player. Xavi and [Andres] Iniesta are small players – you can’t call them holding players.

    “I don’t think we’ve had a holding player since I’ve been here. We’ve never had a holding player.

    “We tried to get Roy Keane to do that but he just couldn’t do it. He had to play a way that was his own way of playing, so I’ve not had it for 25 years. Why should I think about it now?

    In terms of midfield options, the manager expects Michael Carrick to build on a fine personal campaign and flourish with increased responsibility in the coming years.

    “I think Michael Carrick has had his best season at the club,” he added. “I’m very hopeful now he will have an authority that will stand us in good stead for the next two or three years. That will be an important role for Michael, to replace Paul Scholes in that department.

    “I always think he starts the season slowly but when we started putting him and Scholes together all the time, it’s a sensible combination in terms of both using the ball and their ability to take the ball. It gave us a central part of the pitch that was very strong.

    I haven’t seen them over-run. Against [Manchester] City, they were the best two players we had.”

    http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Football-News/2012/May/sir-alex-ferguson-will-not-sign-a-holding-midfielder.aspx

    • @Moscow: I’ll make a prediction right now that i will stand by.
      That being that whilst fergie is manager of this club, however long that may be, we will not be signing a new midfielder full stop.
      For whatever blinkered reason he just cant see beyond his 3 blue eyed boys, those being giggs, scholes and fletcher.
      Until such a time comes that those 3 retire, are injured, or disappear off the face of the earth, absolutely nobody else is going to enter the mans head.
      Wouldnt matter if xavi was released from barcelona tomorrow and came out expressing his desire to play for us, we’d probably still pass him up as it’d impact giggs’ playing time 🙄

  11. RVP must be no less baffled as to how we actually win games than at his time at Arsenal. He is getting absolutely no service but still scoring goals and creating space for himself. Let’s hope his form doesn’t drop due to lack of competition from the poor Welbeck and Hernandez who have a goal between them.

  12. Not agreeing or disagreeing with anybody in particular here, as i think that most of the points made are valid but may I just point out that when I wrote about us still needing a CM, despite having already signed Kagawa and RVP, i was given a bollocking by some people on here? Obviously we don’t have to agree on everything all the time but our performance yesterday had been a long time coming. Yes, the selection didn’t help, yes the Scousers played out of their skin for much of the game but the truth is that our midfield hasn’t been dominant in ages.

    I disagree with people claiming that Giggs “can’t pass a ball”, he’s simply not a CM, let alone in games of such physicality like the ones at Anfield always turn out to be. I was at Anfield yesterday and the first half were 45 of the worst minutes i’ve seen United playing for a long, long time. We were completely impotent, scared in possession and too slack when applying pressure to their players.

    I thought Carrick played well (might be the right time to see more of Powell?) and Rafael and Rio were superb. Evra wasn’t superb be he could have (and has) been far worse.

    Kagawa and RVP need time to settle, but I can’t help thinking that last year we would have lost this game and while the result doesn’t make the paucity of the performance any better, i much rather us winning when play badly rather than losing.

    Finally, winning there and ramming it down the Scousers’ throats is always a bloody good feeling lads.

    • @Daniele: I think it came at a time when we had just signed RVP and fans (myself included) were buzzing, everyone knows the midfield is a problem mate, you were fully justified.

  13. Stephen and jos

    You obviously didn’t misunderstand me because it’s clear what I’m saying. We’re the worst technical team in football. And Ferguson clearly knows very little about tactics. We’ve won things, but let’s be honest, the quality on the pitch has been declining rapidly since the Champions League win. Also the trophies are also looking less likely with each season. Whilst people give credit to Ferguson for making us apparently “punch above our weight” I give tribute to the players for winning under very adverse conditions. We almost always win due to just quality from players. Other great teams combine that with quality from the bench (coaches). Last game for instance. Nothing positive came from the bench,but we equalised by way of player quality. Generally, we have midfield players who can keep possession which helps our quality defenders keep us from conceding. Our defenders face more attacks than the Spartans faced in that movie, but do tend to keep it together. So no help from the bench in forming a functioning defensive system. We just have top quality defenders. We also have top quality forwards who can make sure we score more goals than the opposition to leave us all completely confounded as to how we won. We’ve won so many games we didn’t “deserve” to win and even the opposition can’t figure out how we keep doing it. Is it because Ferguson has magic dust that he gives these useless players? No, it’s because we have quality players who rise above poor tactics to produce moments of brilliance like a critical double save, a well timed last ditch tackle,sublime control and volley into the top corner, brilliance. That instantly dismisses 85minutes of comprehensive confusion.

    Jos you were asking, is Ferguson responsible for Nani’s poor performance. Does he instruct him not to complete a pass? Obviously not. He also doesn’t instruct Valencia to offer Van Persie support by getting away from the touch line and moving in. Which means a ball playing forward like Rvp is forced to go wide and away from goal. Against an overcrowded midfield we obviously lose out due to less numbers centrally, coupled with the fact that the same Ferguson clearly doesn’t instruct his forwards to press high up the pitch,Carrick and partner in midfield have to play deeper to support an under fire defence. Which makes Kagawa’s job of trying to link up the attack from central and wide positions another mission impossible because the centre forward is out wide together with Valencia and the playmaker(Giggs) is not just losing possession but he’s also struggling to advance because he’s outnumbered in the middle. It’s then logical for Kagawa to move deeper to relieve the midfield by adding to the paltry number of two in the middle. So we basically have one team playing in about 5 different locations. All so far from each other to render them 5 completely detached units.
    1. The defence,which is practically 2 centre backs and the keeper.
    2. The right channel of Rafael and Valencia,which generally stay as close as possible to the linesman and terraces and as far away from goal as possible
    3. The left channel,which seems to be our best attacking option, because they do try to get closer to goal whether it’s Nani and Evra or Welbeck and Buttner.
    4. The central midfield in the centre circle or behind it. Normally playing the ball out wide because there are not enough central options because
    5. Kagawa is literally in no man’s land. Running across to the right, then frantically back to the middle then to the left where he seems to find the only joy. He’s supposed to play behind the striker but where’s the striker?

    As you can see I.ve not included Rvp in this team because he is not in it. Look at the title “Rvp sinks 10-man Liverpool”. We always play with 10 men too because Rvp is invisible only appearing for brief seconds to score from nowhere and to celebrate. Then he walks off the pitch again. So here is Nani, after Kagawa has dropped into midfield to help retain possession. Possession retained but ball played out wide to Unit 3 into Nani. The closest player is Evra behind him, but that’s a dangerous pass. So he has to wait for Evra to advance into a passable position or to wait for the heavily tracked Kagawa to move back into that central advanced position. Rvp is probably getting a soda off the pitch so that’s not an option. The central midfield is overcrowded. So who does he pass to? Whoever it is, is bound to have at least two players around him and if he holds the ball too long he himself is doublemarked. No wonder he keeps dribbling into trouble. There’s very little chance of any one touch football working. Because the players are so far from each other.

    As for Evra,if he doesn’t attack as much as he does,that makes it worse. But if he does that creates more problems at the back should Nani or Giggs fail to find him and lose possession because noone will cover for him because we have no holding midfielder. If Carrick advances to support Kagawa upfront,he leaves a massive gap behind him. This is hardly exposed by a defensive or counterattacking team especially at home, but away to a pressing attacking team we’ll be blown away. But if he doesn’t support Kagawa from the middle,who will with Rvp MIA. I’m just giving practical examples of how tough the tactics make it for players to perform even without the disorienting rotation.

    Ferguson is not completely clueless when it comes to football in general. But when it comes to tactics and techniques on the pitch specifically, i can’t declare the same. If you can then prove it. By the way, the fact that we narrowly lost the title on goal difference exactly proves my point. The technical gap is beginning to have consequential results. No one can justify the midfield pair of Rafael and Park no matter what. That’s an example of poor tactics. 3 points deservedly lost. Lack of 1. A holding midfielder and 2. Pressing, directly resulted in a 4-4 scoreline which lost us the title. How about the poor tactics at Wigan? Or the amazingly stupid crossing we did the night we were deservedly knocked out of the Champions League. We still do that crossing today and we continued to do it throughout last season regardless of the early success we had playing short quick one touch football. Hence my declaration that Ferguson has learnt nothing. Prove it otherwise. Mourinho was thrashed once by Barcelona because he tried to match them in possession. He regrouped, introduced a more physical approach, tried to be more direct and pressed like crazy. At first it cost him a few red cards in the following derbies but gradually they got it right and have refined it. Now you don’t expect any thrashing but a tight game. That’s called learning and technical advancement. Give me one example of this with Ferguson and his team. Just one. Only then can you argue that Ferguson knows something about tactics.

    • @Jay wire: How about this one from Fergie to highlight that he intends to evolve United from archaic 442 to something else:

      “After selling Berbatov to Fulham last Friday, Ferguson claimed that the 31 year-old had become the victim of United’s evolution into a team more reliant on fast, counter-attacking football. ”
      — source: DNAIndia

      This sounds familiar to Real Madrid’s style you mentioned. The question of course is: can Fergie do this successfully with his current staff. Also,

      ““Shinji’ll play further forward. We shouldn’t be looking at one player changing the way we play but he could make a difference. He can give us that extra in the final third of the field.” – Ferguson (source: Tumblr!)

      So, maybe Fergie is not looking at changing the WAY we play, just the speed at which we play… I am confused, but so are a lot of us. 😕 😕

  14. @ Moscow

    Unfortunately the interview you posted just about shows why we’re in trouble on the pitch. I’m not sure why the manager opens his mouth to talk about things way above his head. First of all “we’ve never had a holding player”. Wow. What role does he think Carrick was playing between 2008-2010? Clearly noone talks to him about these things. Well the rest of the world was debating who was the better holding midfielder, Carrick or Busquets. Articles were written, apparently in error, about how Carrick’s holding role helps the team in possession. Forget the clueless, players like Alonso,Xavi or coaches like Martin Jol describing his holding role. We’ve never had a holding player. Okay how about this:

    “People say I should get more(goals) but it is about the position you play in,” he
    said. “You look at other defensive
    midfielders around Europe and they
    don’t necessarily score a lot of goals. “In an ideal world I’d like to score
    more but I am not really around the
    box that much.”

    That’s Carrick himself on Wednesday night, shortly before former Liverpool holding midfielder Hamann declared on Twitter that Carrick is the best holding midfielder in England. But they’re all clueless. We’ve never had a holding player. Btw, defensive midfielder and holding midfielder are the exact same thing.

    Then you have the bit about Cesc,Xavi and Iniesta and how that proves you don’t need a holding midfielder to have an effective midfield. Then people get angry when I say Ferguson doesn’t know about these things. How many times have we played Arsenal and Barcelona for him to remain this clueless? Do the names of Gilberto,Alex Song or Busquets ring any bells Sir? Take a wild guess as to what they have in common besides having played alongside the players you mentioned Mr Ferguson. Then he talks about how small they are. So the holding role has to do with size now? There are actually people who simply call it the “Makelele Role” in tribute to his popularization of it. How big was that guy again?

  15. It’s interesting that it’s up for debate about the ability of SAF, when of course his ability has been proven time and time again.
    I find it pompous of the ranters, who, unless I’m missing something, have no experience at all at managing a pro football team, to actually use their own opinions to not only question him but clearly, and in Jaywire’s case, feel that his own tactics are better than SAF’s.
    I don’t wont to dis anyone’s opinion but Jay, you are not in a position to question Ferguson with such authority.

    I get the distinct impression that this has become a mania for you. You have a passionate idea, and good for you, but please don’t try to drive your point home with a campaign of political, popular opinion.

    You are a very elegant poster, and I enjoy a lot of your technical analysis, but for you to suggest that you are more qualified than the man that’s won as many trophy’s as Ferguson has, is just way over the the top.

    Perhaps your frustration are getting the better of you, and that’s understandable, but do understand that this is not your own personal whipping post for Ferguson’s back!! 👿

  16. Tactics are very strategic, they are also best when served up before the game!!
    I challenge all you arm-chair strategists to come up with a a winning game plan for our next game against the Spurs.
    Your thoughts, please, your best ideas for preparing for the game rather than tearing apart someone else’s with the luxury of clear 20/20 vision.
    Lets see if we have the same courage to predict, and with the same confidence as we do when we slay the technical team after the fact.

    • @Redrich: Tactics or no tactics, design or no design, SAF still has an overall winning percentage of over 60% with united in over 1000 games and loss percentage around 10%! To me this says more often than not, he wins! And that matters the most.
      Some people do not give him enough credit but I have read lot of places and from lot of very knowledgable names (e.g the likes of Capello, Mourinho etc) that SAF has very very very good knowledge of the game (including tactics). It is not like he is oblivious of the shortcomings. But thats his way of working – league is a marathon and every game has to be planned such that the end goal – ie winning the league – is achieved. And that has happened 12 times in last 19 years. Thats a pretty high success rate. you have to play with certain players to bring best out of them (sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt). Look at Ronaldo’s case. who knew when he joined he would become what he became. of course now with the benefit of hindsight many can claim they knew beforehand. but in his first 2 seasons ronaldo was very inconsistent and frustrating to watch. lot of people in britain even said David Bently was better than ronaldo or that spurs fella (lennon) was better!!!
      thats the problem with fans. they see only the present. thats why we cannot become like SAF. somebody is todays flavor of the season and everyone would clamor that he should be playing for united. groggy was so sold on arshavin! look at what he has achieved at arsenal. people here wanted to bring that serbian winger (forgot his name. hes with juve i think) as ronaldo replacement when we bought valencia. similarly people wanted to buy gourcuff, melo, hernanes so many names! where are all these guys at present??

  17. @ Redrich- Let’s make this simple. I have an opinion that I just say straight up. And that is, we have the worst technical set up in Europe. That’s what I see and Ferguson continues to give the evidence. You probably disagree, and the key word here is probably. So can you just state your opinion. Is Ferguson or whoever else a good tactician? Do you believe we have a great or even above average technical setup? Simple. No need to explain. Just state your opinion. And by the way, no logic in challenging anyone about next game. How will you disprove it? Besides, the reason we tear into the bench is for total inability to learn. These are the same guys who played Rafael and Park in midfield. Anything is possible. Even Valencia becoming a CM is not beyond them. Also, I do stand by my opinion. We need to press intensively from high up. We need to screen the defence. We need to play through the middle. We need some consistency in team selection. Players need to play in their best roles. If we do this we’ll be in a much better position. Is it because I’m a better tactician? No. This is because these are very elementary and proven things. Madrid press. Barcelona press. City press. Juventus press. South freakin hampton press. Someone figured it out already, not Jay Wire. We don’t press. How has that been working out for us! How logical is it for Valencia to keep wide crossing when we bought two attacking players whose game is based on quick, close interplay. Gary Neville,and pretty much every other analyst has criticized this. Kagawa himself complained about it. Only difference is I’m simply pointing out who’s to blame

    @jos
    You’re pointing at winning percentages. Hopefully that’s not your indication of good tactics. Can you honestly attribute the last win to good tactics or even say good tactics played some role? Who has actually pointed out Ferguson as a good tactician? I do remember Del Bosque taking a very subtle dig at Ferguson whilst he was at Madrid implying his is more an “anarchy” based approach. You could also attribute the wins to the quality of the players as opposed to saying “Ferguson has a 60% win stat”. Like Sunday. The defenders were in top form. If you play against Barcelona, you first have to defeat their tactics before you can even think of players. The same as Real. With United, anyone can defeat our tactics easily,because they clearly make no sense. But they do find the players have quality. So again, just state, in your own opinion, what do you think of our tactics and general technical setup. Because I think we can go on arguing when deep down we all know we have a serious technical shortfall. Maybe you guys find it a bit rash the way I talk about Ferguson and his bench, but I don’t dwell in diplomacy or nostalgia when it comes to football. Do I think I have better tactics than the great Ferguson? I think anyone who has questioned Rafael and Park in midfield can come up with better tactics. But managing human emotion and motivation, there’s not yet an equal in football.

    • @Jay wire: tactics or no tactics, what ultimately matters is a win. And that the old man does more often than not. rest is all academic. you are attributing his wins to better players (while lot of people even here as well attributed our run in the league to fergie and fergie alone (even Alan Hansen also said that) and said the same squad would not have last the distance under any other manager!!!) you are saying we have better players while many here maintain that we have continuously regressed!!! What has your technical guru, the venerable CQ has achieved outside of manchester??? he has gotten himself fired from every job!

      anyway whatever you are saying is just in hindsight, the benefit of which is not htere with fergie before a game.

      I would try digging out the quotes on saf’s knowledge of the game in my free time. till that time enjoy your little charade.

    • @Jay wire: Jay, I don’t think that Ferguson is beyond reproach, and I will continue to be critical when I believe he has made an error in judgement. But my overall opinion of him is still very positive.
      I am not on a quest to turn every poor game, result or player dissatisfaction into a witch hunt for his head. You seem to do that. The fact that United are still generally the best team in the PL proves that not too much is wrong with it’s leadership. So the idea of blaming Ferguson and his technical team for all our missteps goes against the grain, and really it’s plainly illogical.
      Connecting the dots can be a dangerous past-time, especially when we don’t have all the information. It leads you down a path of paranoia with an opinion that is, clearly, only focused on proving what is so, so fixed in your mind.
      We are now trying to discuss the conspiracy theory that he is now responsible for player injuries! That’s how embroiled the chatter has become in gossip and here-say.

      Not all roads lead back to Ferguson and you should know that. The success and failures of Football teams are complex in nature and tend to be cyclical. SAF has done a fine job of bringing continued success without allowing extended periods of dismal failure – something that no one has ever done at this club before him. And for that I’m grateful.
      I don’t think he is capable of bringing together a truly great side that would be dominant in Europe, though – perhaps for that we have to wait for a successor, but we have a great manager already, who is flawed in many ways. If you hope for someone better than him, you should be careful about what you wish for.

  18. BREAKING NEWS

    Vidic ruled out 8 weeks with knee injury 🙁

    Get well Vidic!!

    PS: Who thinks Vidic was over-used after coming back from serious injury? Or are our physios doing a poor job? Or is this just bad luck (again, again, again)??

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