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Uninspiring Victory Sees United Top Group C

Manchester United are top of group C in the Champions League, after goals from Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney secured a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.
It was a largely uninspiring performance by Fergie’s men and, with the greatest respect for Galati, against a slightly better organized United could have paid the price for their mistakes.

These days it’s basically impossible to guess Sir Alex’s starting XI, and the United’s manager obviously likes to keep people guessing, for if the back 5 – De Gea in goal, Jones, Evans, Ferdinand and Fabio – weren’t exactly a novelty, and the same could be said for Owen and Berbatov up front, the midfield threw some surprises. Valencia and Nani were chosen on the wings, with Anderson – the Brazilian seems to have lost his form, much in a way that United fans are becoming increasingly accustomed to expect – in midfield. The fourth midfielder? Wayne Rooney. Yes, that Wayne Rooney. United’s problems in the engine room have been well documented over the last few seasons, but what does this mean for Carrick and Fletcher? Was Ferguson really only happy to give them a breather or does he really trust his best striker in the middle of the park more than he trusts two of his midfielders? For United fans the answer can be only one: Fergie knows best.


A fortnight ago United started very slowly against the Romanian champions and Fabio did his best to ensure a different start this time around, by launching into a wonderful run with barely three minutes gone. United were ahead five minutes later: Rooney played a wonderful cross-field pass to Berbatov (50th Champions League appearance for the Bulgarian tonight) who fed the overlapping Jones whose cross was met by Valencia at the back post after Owen had just missed the ball. The former Newcastle player lasted on the pitch only other two minutes before succumbing to the latest muscular problem and being replaced by Hernandez.


United failed to keep up the tempo and actually slowed the game down, looking in control but, somehow, vulnerable. Singling players out is a tedious and pointless exercise but you have to wonder whether, in years gone by and with other players making the calls in midfield, United would have put this sort of teams to the sword instead of simply trotting along the pitch. Rooney was excellent deployed in a deeper role, but Anderson and Nani were sloppy and slow.
Rooney’s distribution and Jones’enormous qualities going forward were definitely the brightest notes of United’s first half, with Galati testing De Gea after 41’, with Neagu firing at the Spanish goalkeeper.


Berbatov and Anderson both had decent chances at the start of the second half, with the Bulgarian blasting a shot over the bar while Anderson saw his shot cleared off the line after he had beaten the keeper following a clever one-two with Berbatov.


United’s best move in the second half came after 62 minutes, when Jones exchanged passes with Berbatov before delivering a brilliant ball in the box, only for Hernandez to head over. At last the fans had something to get excited about on an otherwise rather dull night. Nights like this in a way define Manchester United: playing at home against a far from glamorous opposition – again no disrespect intended to the hard-working Romanian side – and yet they sold more than 74.000 tickets, while the “Noisy neighbours” struggled to fill their ground for their first ever home tie in the competition.


Berbatov wasted another good chance on 74th minute when, after intercepting a sloppy backpass, he could only hit the side of the goal from a good position.
With Galati coming forward seeking a famous equalizer, Rooney put the game beyond them when,with only three minutes left, his long-range effort took a big deflection off Sarghi before ending in the back of the net. Thanks to UEFA’s dubious laws on deflections the goal was attributed to Rooney, which means he’s only one goal short of overtaking Ryan Giggs as all time British top-scorer in the Champions League.


A far from vintage performance from United but one that, combined with Benfica’s draw at home against Basel, is good enough to put Ferguson’s men in pole position for winning group C and qualifying for the knockout stages.

Dan

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Grognard

    November 3, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I feel like I have been in a coma for a month and while in that state of sleep I had this terrible nightmare that we got smoked by Manchester City while just floating around and doing nothing in all our matches. OH WAIT!!!!! AHHHHH, it’s not a dream and I’m not in a coma. It’s reeeeeeeaaaaaaallllll!!!!!! 😯 😯 😯 😮 😮 Fuck me it sucks being a United fan these days.

    Right now I feel nothing but embarrassment over the team I support and I also feel like not bothering to watch any more games live. Be picky and select the ones where I don’t need to use toothpicks to keep my eyes open and that don’t require me to use blood pressure medication. Shame on United for feeding us all this plate of crap.

    • Moscow is my heaven

      November 3, 2011 at 1:05 am

      Grog, you’re SUCH a whiner, like Craig and Tony have said we got the 3 points and that’s what matters right?!

      We WON!! I AM SATISFIED!!!! 8)

      • tonymontanna4united

        November 3, 2011 at 3:27 am

        😆 Not sure that was me that said that moscow buddy, i was being sarcastic. Whilst im not exactly pissed about this game (there are bigger games i will vent my spleen at) im just disappointed that its 2, yes 2, bloody months and counting since we saw anything than mediocre performances.
        I think i was joking when i said the 3 points was all that mattered, because its clear that for alot of us, its not the be all an end all, we do like to see a bit of football too from time to time, especially against dross like this.

        • Moscow is my heaven

          November 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm

          I was being sarcastic mate 🙂

      • Grognard

        November 3, 2011 at 4:00 am

        And you should be dying of Diabetes from all that sugar you intake and then spout out in our direction mate. Seriously mate, would you consider cancer a positive way for losing weight? I am what I am mate and if it’s not to your liking that’s your cross to bare, not mine. So sit back, relax and have some cheese with my whine. 😀

        • Moscow is my heaven

          November 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm

          I guess it’s difficult to convey sarcasm on the internet :mrgreen: I was taking the piss out of the guys who posted after the Everton game.

        • [OPTI]Madschester United

          November 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm

          Everton was about three points (it’s a long season). Olegati should have been entertaining — 3 games to go, 2nd in league and leading 1-0 at home. We should have stepped up a notch and had fun. Instead we ground out a 1.5 – 0 victory.

          Shame!

        • Craig Mc

          November 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm

          Shame on you Moscow mi man – shame on your pisstaking 😉 😉 😆

        • Moscow is my heaven

          November 3, 2011 at 8:54 pm

          😈

  2. Fergie25

    November 3, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Top of the group having played like shit and with half a team injured
    Playing teams more and more obscure by the year. The champions league is a joke until after xmas. Give me a carling cup game any night of the week.

    It pays the bills I suppose

    Respect to Galati they ran there hearts out in there champions league final

    • Craig Mc

      November 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Mmmmm top of our CL group, BUT BOTTOM OF THE FOOTBALL RESPECT group. Top of the non performance EXCUSE group, and top of BORE team list surely mate? We must be top of football’s list of the opposition always turning up against us – its their cup final right, and us not being able to find a way through the ops amazing defending – yeah right? I must admit that the lady who always seems to turn up to play a blinder for us is our greatest performer – I am talking about LADY LUCK! Anyway Fergie 25 you are very positive if nothing else, and it is good to me to have debaters on both sides of the arguement – makes for a bit more equalibrium which is always good – tho we may little agree about some things, I can respect yours, Opti’s and Moscows different viewpoint! 😀

      • tonymontanna4united

        November 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

        It shouldnt really matter what team we put out, we should be convincingly thumping this team, or atleast giving a decent performance. Over the 2 legs though, we can most definitely say that the score line flattered us, with the performance over 180 mins being nothing but garbage. And all that with a pretty full strength team an all.
        As craig says, there are fans here who are paying good money to see this, the least they deserve is a good all round performance, even if they are not to be treated to a nice 5/6-0.

  3. Yang

    November 3, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Well, Brazil is always poor at group stage of world cup games so …

    Too many players are injured. Bit worry about line up at the start of game but it turns out good enough to win the game so no complain from me.

    • Craig Mc

      November 3, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      We are not Brazil supporters, so what is your point mate?????????

  4. colver

    November 3, 2011 at 2:41 am

    I don’t care so much about this game. Job done and against minnows like Galati we can afford to just grind out a win.

    However we do need to finish top of this group. As I really do not fancy our chances second round against a strong side because we haven’t really gelled as a team yet this season despite the promise our start to the season showed. Maybe Ferguson will get it right by then. But I’d prefer us to meet the strong side in Europe later in the competition once we are firmly in the groove.

    • Craig Mc

      November 3, 2011 at 10:20 am

      That’s fine for you Colver – you don’t have to stand on the terraces and be fookin frustrated kick after kick from our lads. Not having a go at you mate, but non performances have become a habit for us, and I don’t believe where this is the case you can just turn up for the big games and suddenly out of the blue start turning it on. Mate I am not happy turning up for games and never knowing what comedic team sheet we will be faced with, formation, etc. Its bloody good fun jesting pre match with other United fans what THE SHAKE of the FERGIE KALEIDOSCOPE for team choice will rustle up 😀

  5. gator

    November 3, 2011 at 3:35 am

    didn’t think anderson have that bad of the game. just a couple misplaced passes, so did every other red today. and is positive play more than made up for it I thought

    Berba and the wingers for most disappointing for me today. Neither winger could get anything going today barring the goal from valencia

  6. Grognard

    November 3, 2011 at 4:02 am

    I seriously think that a number of you are so in denial that when this club gets knocked out, it will take you months before the reality registers in you deluded minds.

    • Fergie25

      November 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

      So when do you think we will get knocked out?

      • Craig Mc

        November 3, 2011 at 10:26 am

        Perhaps against the 1st big team – Barca Real M Bayern M but then perhaps not because Lady Luck seems to be residing with us, and maybe we will come up again against the minnows in the knockouts, you know those whose cup final it is. Hope Lady Luck doesn’t decide she is bored and move on, but then we go can back in and get OWN-GOAL-INHO who was almost top scorer for us couple seasons ago. 😆

        • Grognard

          November 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

          We can’t afford OwnGoalinho. We couldn’t afford his wage demands. 😉 😉 😀 😀

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      November 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      you mean, like 2004-05?

  7. Jonny

    November 3, 2011 at 4:28 am

    wonder how long Owen is going to be out for. either way, if it leads to Berbatov getting his CC games, then so be it.

    is Welbeck injured again? I really like welbeck and chicharito as a top two with Rooney just in behind them. I’d put Young and Nani on the wings, with Rio as a defensive mid.

    I think Rio could find new life as a defensive midfielder, but then again I’d like either of the DST in that role as well.

    • Fergie25

      November 3, 2011 at 9:52 am

      I don’t see Rio making it as a defensive mid now or any time soon. Considering his legs are going he is lucky to get a game in defence

  8. Stephen

    November 3, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Very disjointed display, positives where Jones I thought he had an excellent game, Rooney shows yet again what a World Class player he is. There are not many out there who can chop and change positions and still be the best player on the pitch. Negatives where yet again Anderson, but what is new there, I prayed and hoped Berba would take his chance, but he failed to do so. Nani for me was either very complacent or very much off the pace, but De Gea looked a lot more like the part.
    A win is a win, but we really need to get a settled side and a system which the players can get used to. Please stop experimenting and play players in their natural roles. Evans is by the way playing quite well, but he still looks like an accident waiting to happen.

    • Fergie25

      November 3, 2011 at 9:55 am

      Its the same as it always is. Get through the group stage and get to xmas at or around the top of the league. Get as much of the squad playing as possible, get every one sharp for the business end of the season and then hve a bloody good go at it.

      Classic Fergie, Classic united

      • Stephen

        November 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

        Agreed, Fergie treats every competion and every game on its merits. Rather going pardon the expression “balls” out in evey game, he just does what us necessary. Some of the fickle fans seem to be unhappy if we fail to win 5 nil every game, flog all our players to death and collapse in the final run in. We are always strong in the business end of the season and last night is the reason why.

        • tonymontanna4united

          November 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm

          Forget a 5-0 win, id just like to see a 5 out of 10 performance. If that makes me fickle though then so be it.

        • Stephen

          November 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm

          One defeat all season, we are second in the league and top our Champions League group. Many would give there left nut to be in our position. As fans we have been spoilt, Fergie has lavished us with silverware. Mate somtimes you have to accept the fact we are going to not perform in every game, this is reality, yes bro you are being fickle. You like many seem never to be happy, you blame Phelan when we loose, but neglected to praise him when we stuffed Arsenal.

        • tonymontanna4united

          November 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

          Thats all very true mate, and i do agree we have been spoilt, and in terms of results, we are sitting pretty right now.
          However, my point is that our form has been pathetically average for nigh on 2 months now since our win over bolton.
          Is that something that should be overlooked just because, SO FAR, it hasnt resulted in us dropping points yet?
          Our football has been absolutely atrocious now since the start of the season, weve literally resorted to playing long ball football, and having to defend for our lives being played off the park to everton, norwich, basle and liverpool. Should that be ignored too?

          Im sorry mate but your absolutely right, we have been spoilt rotten the last 20 years, and with that we have set the standard incredibly high.
          Of course its always going to be hard to consistently stay at that level forever, impossible maybe, and there may well be a time when, like liverpool, we do start to see a decline as a new dominant force starts to lead the way. In my opinion thats already happening anyway.
          But i can accept all that. I can understand that the good times come and go, and that we wont win every league title, every cup, every game.
          I think most of my anger though, comes with the way we approach games these days, more so than the results.
          Playing negatively, home and away, doing nothing for long periods of the game, looking content with a 1-0. Rarely giving one of those sorts of performances that makes people sit up and take notice.
          I dont know if its just me but i genuinely do not get the same buzz anymore watching this team. I do not feel the excitement or the thrill anymore where i always used to before.
          None of this though takes away the fact that i fucking love this team and im a red for life, i want to make that clear, nothing will ever take away my love for this team, but in my time as a united fan, in my whole life, ive always been able to depend on this team being able to entertain me most weeks, even if the results dont go right.
          I guess then, that probably means i do have some arsenal blood coursing through my vains, as it does seem i am very much a man who likes to see “pretty football” (although with our own style rather than tippy tappy).
          But then thats just what ive always expected being a united fan, its just the way weve always been.
          So 2 months now of dire, unimaginative, bore fest football really doesnt leave me best pleased, especially as most of those games have been against average opposition, who in years gone by we would have played off the park (even if we didnt end up turning them over).
          A win is a win and i do get that, but as i said after the everton game, the day this club just overlooks bad performance after bad performance because we picked up the points, is the day this club loses the very thing that once made it so special.
          So an over exaggeration to some maybe, but nonetheless thats how i feel.

          As for being negative all the time, come on now mate, thats not fair. There were many games last season where i was highly complimentary of the team, where we really were fantastic. Hell i even praised carrick 😯
          At the start of the season too, before a ball had been kicked, i still predicted us to walk the league and have an overall successful season.
          After our first few games an all, i think all of us were going stir fry fucking crazy with the way we started the season, and i mean all of us.
          I speak my mind though at the end of the day. I love this club, i have my own personal faves as players, youth teamers etc, but that doesnt stop me laying into them when and where i feel it is needed.
          Thats just the way i am mate. Id like to think that i was fair, but maybe thats not how im viewed by most.

        • Craig Mc

          November 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm

          I wouldn’t give my left nut or my right one for that matter to be 2nd in the PL to that lot over at wastelands. I might give a seeing too of Lady Luck if in exchange she agrees to stay with us all season!

  9. Craig Mc

    November 3, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Mate you just contradicted yourself in your last two posts! You said we need to get A SETTLED SIDE, and system and then you go on to say about flogging players to death??? Those two statements oppose each other – right? Are you sober from your pre game drink up with your mates down the pub 😉 :lol:. I’d personally settle for a SETTLED TEAM until we get a string of good performances, and then tinker here and there, but not wholesale tinkering that reminds of steptoe and son. I remember when we played the same defence nearly every game apart for CC, and Ronaldo, Rooney, Tev etc every game almost until Berba came and messed up the system for a while. Course I make some reasonable concession because we are a team in change – a lot of our older players having to be slowly phased out and younger one trying to be established – but REASONABLE should be the optimate word. Aaagh you know what I mean mate! 😀

    • Stephen

      November 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

      😆 😆 Nobody likes a smart arse mate 😆 We need to rotate, but seven changes from the Everton game is excessive. The spine needs to have stability, but Nani, Young and Chicharito all need breaks. We rotate the midfield and play square pegs in round holes too many times, try new systems then change them. Truthfully the midfield is our Achilles heal, until we move out the deadwood there and reinvest we are never going to win the Champions League again in my view. All we need to two top quality centre mids and the squad looks very healthy.

  10. colver

    November 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Agree. It is all about the core. There is no real issue with rotating full backs and wingers and strikers. Although I would argue that Rooney and Nani are simply too good to drop. But you need a solid central defence and a solid central midfield.

    Central defence we look too vulnerable with two youngsters in the middle. Even our mid 90s youth movement was underpinned by a vastly experienced backline. Vidic is key. If we keep Vidic fit we can play one of Evans or Smalling with him (my preference is Smalling) and do OK. Our hand is always forced when it comes to defence. I have no idea why we have more defensive injuries than any other team.

    Central midfield is a nightmare.

    I’ll tell you who should not be a regular.

    Anderson. As Schmeichel used to say you judge a player by his bottom level. When Anderson has a bad game he is dreadful.

    Fletcher. Notwithstanding the fact he is coming back from injuries etc. I never rated him as anything more than a dependable squad player who can do a job.

    So that pretty much leaves Carrick and Cleverley as our first choice pairing who should play every game.

    Cleverley sadly cannot seem to stay fit. He has missed half of our games already. I hope this is not a trend. And Anderson is a poor substitute and contrary to what Ferguson thinks Fletcher is not an attacking midfielder. That is the real worrying thing for me. Say what you like about Carrick but he can at least give you 30-40 games a season and has done for ages.

    In an ideal world I would like a commanding defensive midfielder in the Toure/Keane/Viera mould. But players like that are gold dust. Tiote seems like he could do a job though. But until we get a player like that Carrick can stay and while he will be found lacking on occasion he is reasonably solid and dependable and offers our defence some protection.

    I still see a lot of merit to selling Anderson and bringing in Sneijder. He’d be a huge asset in Europe. He’d give us the option of playing an extra man in the midfield against teams like Barcelona and City. And if Cleverley gets injured he’ll give us an attacking threat through the middle. He wouldn’t be cheap but how often is a player recognized as one of the top 20 players in the world available for transfer?

  11. Craig Mc

    November 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Stephen – I would give both my nuts and then have transplants – in exchange for us getting AND DOING the wastelanders in the CL. Oh what sweet revenge that would be eh? My missus would have something to say about that though – but hey 😆

    • Fre the Red

      November 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      Hows it going Craig, just thought Id drop in and see what the Red Ranters are making of Uniteds current performances, which to me are borderline garbage. The performances are getting worse with each passing game and are incredibly difficult to watch at the minute.
      Which is surprising since I think that United are relatively strong in most positions, except one, and that is the cause of all the problems. The centre of midfield is playing with almost zero control and is putting pressure on every other position on the park. United got away with in the first lot of matches but are now starting to creak under the burden of having what would best be described as a functional midfield that is too one dimensional and pedestrian. Two players are required that can pass, move and manipulate the football, not in Uniteds half like Carrick and Fletcher, but in the oppositions half like Modric and Sniejder. This will help the other positions to flourish instead of flying by the seat of their pants every match. Thats my opinion any way mate. Two swoops of the Cheque book is all it needs. 🙂

  12. Fred the Red

    November 4, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Hows it going Craig, just thought Id drop in and see what the Red Ranters are making of Uniteds current performances, which to me are borderline garbage. The performances are getting worse with each passing game and are incredibly difficult to watch at the minute.
    Which is surprising since I think that United are relatively strong in most positions except one.
    The centre of midfield is totally one dimensional and pedestrian and is putting too much pressure on the rest of the team. They dont play with any kind of control or tempo and United were lucky to get away with it early season and are now getting found out. They need one or maybe two players that can pass, move and manipulate the football in the opposition half of the pitch like Modric or Sniejder, not in their own half like Fletcher and Carrick, who are not bad players, but certainly far from great.
    This will allow the rest of the team to flourish, instead of flying by the seat of their pants as has been the case in most of the matches this sesaon. Thats my opinion any way mate.

    • Craig Mc

      November 4, 2011 at 2:37 am

      Woah – Hi Fred, glad you dropped in mate – long time no hear. I think nearly all United fans would agreee that they would like to see Fergie strengthen our MF, but Fergie says he won’t be bringing anybody in in January. I am not sure why our beloved team have the low performances, but I do hope that improvements will come in our level of play. The thing is apart from the FREAK 6-1 result from Wastelanders – the team are still one of the few in PL who can be off the boil and yet still pull off a win to keep us up there in all competitions. I am not happy of course with off the boil team performances, but I have to say that I am glad that we somehow manage to get the points that keep us in with a shout on all fronts. I can’t fathom the choice of players and the positions they are asked to play in sometime, and it does concern me Fred that we may lose viewing figures for United games because other teams are playing more of the type of football excellence than our lads at times. I wish we played fast flowing, exciting football all the time, but alas. Still it could be worse, we could be Italians who always play this slow plodding stuff. At the end of the day Fred – I am Man United fan to the uttermost, and I never hardly watch let alone follow any other team, though I don’t begrudge those who do follow other teams as well as United. You and I Fred will be die hard reds until we die – though we moan a lot on the way 😆 😆 . I personally believe that Fergie DID go after other class MF’s last summer, but for one reason or another he didn’t get the ones he wanted, and wouldn’t settle for anything less. So I trust he will seek to re=enforce next summer. We seem to have an awful lot of continual injuries amongst our players – and I am wondering what the reason for that is? I mean you can’t play your best team if they are out with injuries. I wonder if our lads are kicked to death by opposition teams more than other teams. Because refs sure seem to allow opposition teams a lot more latitude to rough up and continually foul our players – or is that just me?

      • Fred the Red

        November 4, 2011 at 5:48 am

        I think you are right Craig, if the rumours are to be believed then talks were held with Samir Nasris agent and I think there was some movement towards Sniejder, so it appears that SAF did try to get people in. I also remember him saying that he was happy with the options that he had apart from the midfield were he recognised the depth was not as great as the other positions. But the problem is that the midfield is so devoid of real genuine quality that it is putting severe pressure on every other position. United are having to defend more than they have had too in years, which is causing some to make more mistakes than usual, keep allowing teams to knock at the door then eventually it will open. The main men are Fletcher and Carrick, but neither of them control the tempo of a match, and both pose very little threat going forward. They are neither true attacking players or true defensive players, which means the attckers get very little help from them, and the defense gets very little physical protection from them, this situation is not good enough for a club like United and SAF must address it sooner rather than later. If all the squad get back fit again them its possible that they could grind it out and win the league, I genuinely believe that. But it wont be done with the same measure of control as previous years and I would think a right few tense matches are on the horizon.

        • Craig Mc

          November 4, 2011 at 11:33 am

          Yeah Fred – Fergie did sound out Nasri and Schneider but they both didn’t materialise for us in the end, because Fergie will not be held over a barrel by agents to pay more money than he thinks players are worth. I believe he tried for Modric too didn’t he? But Modric and his family wanted to stay in London.

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