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United resist Liverpool’s attempted pickpocketing.

Championship winning teams build their destinies onto world class players, teamwork ethic and the virtue of weather through a storm and come out unscathed, scarred and bruised perhaps but, ultimately, winning. Manchester United definitely possess all of these requirements and showed it once more today.

It would be a very premature exercise to compare Robin Van Persie to Eric Cantona, but the Dutchman’s second goal in as many games against Liverpool will only increase his aura that many compare to the one the talismanic Frenchman held in his playing days.

A marked man before kick-off, it took the Dutchman barely 20 minutes to mark his second game against the arch-enemies from down the East Lancs Road in fashion, converting Patrice Evra’s cross with a superb left-foot finish, having left Daniel Agger in no man’s land with some brilliant movement. It was the sort of goal young kids should watch over and over again, for it came after some excellent sharp passing between Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa.

The trio, together with Van Persie, Ashley Young and the outstanding Michael Carrick were charged with providing grit, guile and craft in the final two thirds of the pitch, while Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic started together for the first time since September, with Patrice Evra and Rafael patrolling the flanks ahead of David De Gea, the Spaniard making his 60th appearance for United in all competitions.

United started the game on the front foot, as Liverpool’s five men midfield meant Luis Suarez was left isolated up-front, allowing them to dictate the tempo with Carrick and Cleverley combining effectively and Kagawa and Welbeck floating off Van Persie as United tried to open Liverpool’s defence up.

Following his first goal, Van Persie could have doubled his tally six minutes later. Young spotted the Dutchman’s run and fed him with an excellent ball through, whose trajectory was upset at the very last moment by a wobbly bounce meaning that even Van Persie’s magic wand of a left foot could only sky the ball over the bar.

United came again close to double their advantage before halftime. With 40 minutes gone, Agger headed Young’s cross towards Tom Cleverley, whose sweet strike was inches away from Reina’s far post. Five minutes later, Carrick picked out Rafael with a superb lob bass and, having beaten Glen Johnson to the ball, the Brazilian full-back managed to toe poke the ball towards Van Persie, whose back heel flick was cleared off the line by Skrtel before Kagawa failed to apply the finishing touch.

For all Van Persie’s brilliance, it would be terribly short-sighted to describe United as a one-man team for in Carrick and Rafael they have arguably the best right-back and one the best defensive midfielders in the league. That they’re both underrated even by some United fans, goes some distance to tell the story of how much people know about football these days.

United reemerged after the break with Valencia replacing the injured Ashley Young, while Daniel Sturridge made his league debut for the club he considers to be the biggest in the country.

18 months on from the racism row that engulfed most of last season, Patrice Evra got the sweetest of revenges as he headed home Robin Van Persie’s free-kick in front of the Stretford End, albeit via a deflection off Nemanja Vidic. At 2-0 most would have considered the game to be dead and buried but, three minutes later, Daniel Sturridge immediately reduced the deficit after poking home from close range as Gerrard’s effort was parried by De Gea.

The former Chelsea striker, obviously keen to endorse himself to the Liverpool fans, celebrated with the five finger salute. Considering he hasn’t had anything to do in any of Liverpool’s five European Cups, his actions just proved how far the – once – mighty have fallen. From title challengers to the likes of Bolton and Stoke, teams that treat a trip to Old Trafford like a cup final.

The goal put a spring in the visitors’ step as they pushed on to for an equaliser, heaping pressure on United. Kagawa forced a great save from Reina midway through the second half, but that was as close as United would get to a third goal as they reverted to a more defensive approach with Jones and Smalling replacing Kagawa and Vidic.

Sturridge had Liverpool’s best chance with five minutes to go, but he skied his effort hopelessly and United held on to the secure their first league double against their arch enemies since the 2007-08 season.

Dan (@MUFC_dan87)



  1. Opti

    January 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Our playing style this season is “outscore opponents”, which requires quality finishing from our personnel. RvP, Chicharito, Rooney, Evans, and Evra have all chipped in to outscore our opponents.

    However, when our finishing lets us down, we set ourselves up for difficulties. Case in point Welbeck and Kagawa missing multiple chances that should have been goals. Welbeck especially was crimininally poor in final third despite his clever touches, speeds, and movement….


    • Moscow

      January 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      @Opti: Agreed. Rooney can’t come back soon enough. RVP was fantastic yet again, that left foot is like a magic wand.

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  3. Ian

    January 13, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Did Welbeck deserve MotM?

    • Redrich

      January 14, 2013 at 2:35 am

      @Ian: That would mean that United, overall, had no other better players on the field today.
      Hmmmm! 😯 😯

    • The_Philosopher

      January 14, 2013 at 6:53 am

      @Ian: Welbeck definately did not deserve man of the match.

      Carrick and van Persie played much better.

      Welbeck qualified for donkey of the match however because all he did was run around like a donkey.

      He was completely toothless inf ront of goal yesterday. He was always affraid of taking a shot or even trying to look like he was about to maybe think about taking a shot. No goal threat what so ever.
      Sturridge was much better than him. We should have bought sturridge from Chelsea.

      Welbeck was the epitome of useless yesterday. Completely utterly useless. I striker’s role is to score goals.

      Rant over.

  4. Moscow

    January 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

    A shout out to Michael Carrick, who I felt was imperious in midfield. Cleverley did OK, but just imagine a truly world class midfielder alongside him. I felt that we should have played RVP as the lone striker with Kagawa in the hole, two of Valencia/Nani/Young occupying the wings. Welbeck getting MotM is mind-boggling, we should have been out of sight but he conspired to waste a lot of easy chances in the 1st half. It’s no wonder that he has only scored ONE GOAL this season.

    • The_Philosopher

      January 14, 2013 at 6:55 am

      @Moscow: Michael Carrick was superb yesterday.

      He is totaly fine wining it right now.

      Getting better with age.

  5. Redrich

    January 14, 2013 at 2:17 am

    Kagawa is a United enigma. He seems like a good player but when he plays he takes away about as much as he adds. It’s almost that SAF has to change his system to accommodate him or is it that when we don’t have much width, he likes the extra man in the middle?
    It seems to work to a point, but you know, in every game I’ve watched him he fades dramatically in the 2nd half and when he does, he seems more like a passenger than a contributer.
    He contributed to RVP’s goal and then when he became a non-factor, later in the game, Liverpool took hold of MF, and we were on the back foot.
    This man belongs in a 3 man CM, but his contribution with us can only be limited to efforts on goal. His efforts on goal right now, are non-existent!
    Without trying to racially profile him, he is our new Park. A specialist – used sparingly and only when we really have to.
    Ferguson is a traditionalist at heart, 4-4-2 is what works for him, mostly – where is Kagawa fitting in here? I just don’t know!

    • AndyCR7

      January 14, 2013 at 5:52 am

      @Redrich: another Berbatov.

    • The_Philosopher

      January 14, 2013 at 7:19 am

      @Redrich: Kagawa had a few good games at the start of the season.

      He is still recovering from injury so I would expect his form to pick up.

      During the first half he was great. Second half he lost his way and thats when I htink it have been good to bring fletcher on to partner Cleverley in the middle while Carrick played the holding/quarterback role.

      Fletcher efforts would have been a lot more fruitful than Kagawa’s I believe in that three man set up when Liverpool were putting us under pressure.

      My one major concern and question about the game yesterday is this: Why did Ferguson not sub Welbeck for Chicharito when we were 2-0 up? I don’t understand why when we have such a real goal threat in Hernandez he left him on the bench in a game where Welbeck was sucking!?!(in a season where Ferguson himself stated that goal difference is important?!?!?)

      Why Ferguson? WHy?!? WHy let Liverpool back in the game when a third or fourth goal were on?

      I am baffled 😯

      • The_Philosopher

        January 14, 2013 at 7:31 am

        @The_Philosopher: Maybe he did it for Welbeck’s confidence.

        But the team’s goal difference is more important than Welbeck’s personal development. Most of the times Ferguson plays Welbeck I get the feeling that he is just trying to keep him happy more than playing him because we need him.

        Welbeck can’t have too many more games like this one.

    • The_Philosopher

      January 14, 2013 at 7:33 am

      @Redrich: Kagawa again.

      I hope we can find a place for him in the squad. He is a quality player and Ferguson is gonna try his best get quality performances out of him.

      I don’t think his another gifted flop like Berbatov.

      Give him time he will come right.

  6. Redrich

    January 14, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Oh dear De Gea, didn’t you realize that the Holiday season is over and you don’t really have to give gifts away anymore.
    Shocking mistake for a £17m baby – or maybe not!!

    • Opti

      January 14, 2013 at 3:05 am

      @Redrich: Yes, De Gea gave away the ball in midfield, didn’t chase back, and was asleep on the rebound… 🙄

      Gary Neville said it was a good save from De Gea and Rafael who fell asleep and allowed Sturridge to score. I’ll take his words over yours 😀

      • Redrich

        January 14, 2013 at 5:14 am

        @Opti: Sounds like the whole team let the poor baby De Gea down. 😉
        Lets keep him and sack the rest of them.

        • Opti

          January 14, 2013 at 5:52 am

          @Redrich: United were great at stupid defensive errors yesterday. Evra, Cleverley, and Rafael were crazy yesterday with their decision-making…

      • Vida Dollar

        January 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

        lets not forget Gary Neville also named Welbeck MOTM so he is not infallible. If Rafael and the other defenders have to trek back for such tame shots like Gerrard’s yesterday we should as well play with 6 defenders. like all of us our defenders were anticipating a counter attack from that speculative effort by Liverpool.Only the spaniard had other ideas.

  7. JARaven

    January 14, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I think sir Alex is playing kagawa on the left to allow him to get used to the english game. When he starts central, he gets bullied off the ball. Here’s hoping he will have more of an impact against Real Madrid

  8. The_Philosopher

    January 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    How good is Michael Carrick. He just keeps things ticking away in midfield.

    And his passing game is taking on some nice touches. He intercepts a lot of balls, breaks up a lot of play. Carrick is finding people with short passes, long passes, lobs into the box, through balls, you name it. He is a real solid presence in midfield.

    Ferguson plays him all the time. He’s the best we’ve got right now. And he doesn’t get enough credit. Least of all from me.

    So I would just like to credit him now. He really is good as our midfield anchor.

    But against the really great clubs like Real Madrid He needs a quality partner to back him up.

    I would like to see Anderson get a chance to play with Carrick in the middle. They formed a formidable partnership at some poit before Anderson and Cleverley hit it off.

    • Opti

      January 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      @The_Philosopher: Against Real MAdrid, I cannot see anything but a 4-5-1 line up:

      ——- De Gea ——-
      —— RvP———

      Real Madrid has exquisite pace (i.e. no Ferdinand) on the counter attack and top class finishers. If we go out and “outscore” it will be a Pyrrhic victory… on the other hand, Madrid facing similar prospects.

      Absolutely mouthwatering game… cannot wait!!! 😈 😈

  9. Warzycha

    January 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    To anyone who goes against Danny Welbeck, criticizes him in an unfair way and says that “a stirker’s job is to score goals”. (sorry for my english)

    “Pippo Inzaghi was born in an offside position.” (Sir Alex Ferguson on Pippo Inzaghi after finding out that Pippo is the most offside player in the football ever.)

    Do you know how many goals he has scored in the European Competitions?
    UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup

    70 goals in 114 matches

    How many chances has he ruined so as to score them?
    He was not great. Ruud was great. Batistuta was great. Vieri was great. Ronald was great. Van Basten was great.
    They scored goals. They didn’t ruin chances.

    Let the boy become the player who is to become. He is not exceptional but he is not shit. He is good and unexperienced.

    • AndyCR7

      January 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      @Warzycha: Well you are in minority if you think Welbeck is even half as good as Inzagi at the moment.

      And I for one do not like players who will do nothing but just run up and down the pitch like a mad dog.

      • Warzycha

        January 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm


        Nop, he is not half what Iznaghi is. He is not even that kind of player.
        BUT , as I said , a striker’s purpose in the field is to come out of it as a winner.
        If he is to create 5 chances in every match and not score a hat-trick against the like of Hellas-Verona, that’s good for me.
        He needs to score more but he is not experienced and not confident at this moment. Last year, where he wasn’t played as a winger, he was a serious threat, scoring a little bit more than 1 goal per 4 games.

        • Moscow

          January 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm

          @Warzycha: You mean last season when he was played as our first choice striker, he scored 12 goals all season. Berbatov was derided in the season when he scored 12 goals. He needs to score more? Yes he does, to compete with Evans and Evra. He’s not confident? Do we need to sugarcoat him and leave RVP out of the team to revive him? Lame excuses for a poor/mediocre striker.

    • Opti

      January 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      2012-13 League stats (so far):

      Name GS SB SH SG G A Accuracy (SG/SH) Impact [(G+A)/(GS+0.5*SB)]
      Welbeck: 8 8 26 5 1 3 19% 0.33
      Chicharito: 5 8 30 16 8 2 62% 1.11
      van Persie: 19 3 82 35 17 6 43% 1.12
      Rooney: 12 2 52 23 7 7 42% 1.08
      Evra: 21 0 15 8 4 4 53% 0.38
      The Rat: 21 0 126 43 15 3 34% 0.86
      A Carroll: 9 1 23 5 1 0 21% 0.11
      Berbatov: 17 1 49 20 7 3 40% 0.57
      Sessegnon: 21 1 39 14 3 2 36% 0.23
      Dzeko: 8 11 47 20 10 1 42% 0.81
      Torres: 20 1 47 23 7 1 49% 0.39
      D Ba: 20 1 89 37 13 0 59% 0.64
      J Mata: 16 3 45 17 7 8 37% 0.86
      E Hazard: 19 2 43 14 5 6 32% 0.55
      Ronaldo 18 0 138 59 16 3 43% 1.05
      Messi: 18 1 99 50 28 8 50% 1.95

      Welbeck is not the worst striker in the league, but the gap between Welbeck and our other strikers is HUGE and should mean that Welbeck should not start a game. His accuracy is embarrassingly bad, but his impact is OK with 3 assists. Perhaps a winger role is better suited for such low accuracy.

      Also, Messi is out of this world. Over the last 5 months, Ronaldo is worse than RvP, Rooney, and Chicharito (highest accuracy) according to these metrics. Torres is average and Demba Ba is an improvement. Hazard and Suarez have a pretty poor shot accuracy as well.

      • Dr S

        January 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm


        Ok, Messi’s stats are way off. But everybody and his dog expects that. The crazy thing about the stats is how accurate Chicharito is! His accuracy is better than Rooney’s and van Persie’s and Ronaldo’s… and Messi’s!

        No wonder an analytical coach like Mourinho wanted him.

        We have all been drooling for a three-pronged attack of: Rooney, Kagawa and Van Persie, supported by a three-man mid of Carrick, Anderson and Cleverly, with the wingbacks (Evra and Raphael) doing the overlapping, and the fittest/most in-form two out of Vidic, Rio and Evans holding central-D, with de Gea in goal.

        The stats though seem to suggest that if we want to have a really scary frontline, its Chicharito who should lead the line, doing his near-offside runs, with Roo and Van either side of him.

        That forward line would probably even freak Barca.

        It looks like Sir Alex, as we slept, has built a side that is 2 or so quality mids (though Vidic’s injury may mean adding a CB) away from being a fluidly flexible team that can play 2-3 formations real well: 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, and 4-3-3.

        Here’s hoping that one of the centre mids he gets is… Jack Wilshere! (C’mon Jack, we’re calling you-u-u!). Where can one order his clone?

        (BTW, what were Falcao’s stats?)

        • Opti

          January 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm

          @Dr S: I did not want to add outside-EPL players except the two Giants (Messi and CR7). Easy to add:

          Falcao: 17 0 62 29 18 1 46% 1.12
          Z Ibra: 17 0 90 39 18 4 43% 1.29

          Chicharito has a stunning (Euro leading?) accuracy and looks like he should indeed lead the line with RvP + Rooney in support… Europe’s best attack? I think so.

          Of course, if you analyze our midfield/Defense, you probably see major deficiencies so we must sacrifice our holy goat (attack) to shore up weakness.

          We are not far off being serious heavyweights again. Is a CM all, perhaps?

        • Warzycha

          January 14, 2013 at 8:32 pm

          @Dr S:

          where did you find the stats? give source please… thanks

        • Opti

          January 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm

          @Dr S: I compiled that numbers and made up the “Impact” category from ESPN Soccernet data.

      • Warzycha

        January 14, 2013 at 7:57 pm


        It’s copy-paste from another comment I wrote in this blog.

        You mean he doesn’t score many goals in the 2012-2013 season?
        Let’s take a look on his EPLeague stats.

        I will give you the average time he came in as a substitute :

        … which means that he comes in as a substitute on the 78th minute of the match.
        Average 12 minutes of playing time in each of the 8 matches… Which means that he played 96 minutes in 8 matches… What could he possibly produce? Well, he produced 1 assist in these 96 minutes, the one against Wigan (January). He played as RW.

        He also played the whole match against West Brom and the one against Wigan (September) . He also played 4 more matches in which he came off on 79,78,61,68. In these 6 matches, he produced 1 goal and two assists. All of his end products came when he played as a winger.

        So ,

        A. as a late sub, average 12 minutes playing time: 8 matches, 1 assist
        B. when starting the game : 6 matches, 1 goal, two assists


        Not bad, not good enough… cause you know, HE IS NOT A WINGER!!!
        431/669 > 2/3 A little bit more than 2 times out of three, he is played as a winger!!!

        Sources : 1. my point of view 2.

        Just have faith to the YOUNG lad and let him do what he does. We ‘ll see if he is great or bad. For the moment he is a very good young striker. Remember what RvP was at his age? Yes, he had the technique but he was bad at finishing and had bad decisions. Let’s see how he does for one or two more seasons. I don’t want another Rossi. In fact, Rossi maybe was never a EPL player cause he has no strength, but for one time, let’s keep faith to a young striker. Chicharito has already had a massive improvement since we brought him to the english football.

        • Opti

          January 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm

          @Warzycha: Nice. But Welbeck is 22 international not 12.

          Chicharito is 24. Is their age difference that big of a difference? Their outputs however are VERY difference, despite Welbz starting more games.

          Welbz is a good 4th striker, but shouldn’t start games in EPL and Champions League, imo.

        • Warzycha

          January 14, 2013 at 8:25 pm


          OK. We need 5 players for the two positions upfront. Chicha, Rooney, RvP + the “youngsters” Welbeck and Kagawa.

          I like this compact group of players. None of Welbeck and Kagawa can be dissapointed because they don’t start regularly. As for Chicharito, I think he is the SUPER SUB type of player. He is not THAT physial so that he can start game after game.

          If we talk based only on goals and accuracy we should start RvP and Chicha. …letting a fit Rooney out of the team is just lame!!!

          Everyone of the five lads has his role in the team and I want them all. As long as we win the Premier League, I don’t care who plays more or less. They will all be happy in the end. And I think that in the end of the season, Chicha and Welbeck will have the same opportunities and the same playing time.

      • Opti

        January 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm

        @Opti: Stats are from ESPN soccer net

      • The_Philosopher

        January 15, 2013 at 6:27 am

        @Opti: Would we ever sign Welbeck as a winger?

        If he was at another club and we were out looking for a winger right now, would his name be up there in the top three choices for purchasing a winger?

        And even if we went out to buy another striker imagine Welbeck was on the market and wasn’t playing for United. Would we buy him based on the performances he has had for us since he broke into the first team?

        We would definately buy van Persie, Rooney and Chicharito

        I don’t know if we would buy Welbeck.

        So Ferguson is doing Welbeck a favour by playing him. Ferguson is hoping that Welbeck will improve. But if he doesn’t improve, then what?

        Welbeck needs to find his shooting boots fast.

    • Redrich

      January 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      @Warzycha: Like it or not, strikers are judged on their goal scoring abilities and sometimes more than that. Bottom line for a striker who doesn’t score goals – find a new job!! 👿

  10. ForeverRed

    January 15, 2013 at 3:07 am

    A few thoughts on yesterday’s game. First half we looked really good by controlling midfield – Carrick and Cleverley looked in total control. Second half – a different story, particularly the last 20-30 mins when Liverpool belatedly adjusted their tactics and formation. Carrick and Cleverley were nowhere near as comfortable when pressed and not given the same time on the ball. As a result we ceded control of the game and were in not for some poor finishing/decision making from Sturridge, we could have come away with a draw or worse. Concerning that a team of Liverpool’s limited capabilities could boss the midfield when they got their tactics sorted out.

    Up front once again RvP showing all how to finish. It would be very interesting to see how we would be talking about our season to date if we didn’t have him. I suspect worse than last. I just hope Welbeck is watching closely and learning from the master. Time will tell. I think Fergie’s playing Welbeck in large part for the selfless work/harrying he does, keeping the opposition defence and midfield under pressure – a bit like Park used to do. I think we all would agree that his composure, decision making and finishing in and around the box is certainly not world class and that gets highlighted all the more by having a player like RvP in the side. Strangely though, I still think he offers more to the side than Young or Valencia in current form, even if it’s not goal scoring or traditional wing play.

    With Kagawa, I can’t help thinking that Fergie addressed our least important MF need with his acquisition. He’s clearly got great talent but plays a similar role to Rooney and to a lesser extent Cleverley (with Powell hopefully coming through also). Added to that, it’s going to take him a season or 2 to adjust the the Premier league’s pace and physicality. So I can’t help thinking that getting a mobile & physically imposing partner for Carrick should have been a much higher priority (Wanyama?).

    Young huffs and puffs but lacks true quality – certainly not 18M worth. Puts in a decent stint every now and then without looking like a game changer, which one would expect for that kind of transfer fee. Plus he doesn’t have the grit to be a Utd player imo. Valencia is clearly way off the boil; almost sad to watch at times. You just have to hope that he can play his way out of his slump or give Nani a run again. Either way, our wide options are not as strong as they usually are, and we’re only getting bailed out because we have two of the best attacking fullbacks in the country on current form.

    Finally, does anyone know if Vidic suffered recurrence of the knee problem, or was it the bang the head that caused him to be subbed? I’ve seen both reported in the media. It will be very worrying if it is the knee again – could spell the end of his career for all intents and purposes. Let’s hope not.

    • The_Philosopher

      January 15, 2013 at 7:29 am

      @ForeverRed: Thank you so much for saying it! “Young huffs and puffs but lacks true quality” 18m can buy better.

      (Spare a thought for Liverpool who spent 35m on a player they were to later loan out and roughly 20m a piece for Downing and Henderson)

      But I do also think that in today’s market you’re not gonna get too many game changers for 18m.

      Ashley Young is so average its unbelievable. And its been hard for me to criticise him because I just felt like he is still relatively new.(I think he has only been around for one season and hasn’t won the league yet if I’m not mistaken) And so I don’t want to criticise Ferguson for a bad purchase just yet.

      When Young started out at United his form was good enough to compete with an off form Nani. So Nani took to the bench while Young took his left field position. Ashley Young scored a few good goals and after his brace in our 8-2 win over Arsenal (on the 28th August 2011)he seemed to be a good addition to the squad. Even then I felt as though he was more suited to being a striker than a winger. He could take good free kicks and and had a solid shot on him but he didn’t have the natural guile of a winger. What he did have was an energetic hustle about him.

      But as time has gone on he looks less like a winger and more like an attacker without portfolio ala Welbeck. His energy going forward and his form and confidence aren’t there at the moment and he looks so average. NO where near United quality.

      Part of me just wants him and Welbeck to go. They both test my patience with their average don’t look like they’re gonna get much better performances.

      Welbeck still needs to prove that he can shoot. When he’s in the box he isn’t convincing. I’m not saying he won’t get better. I’m just saying he hasn’t proved it yet beyond reasonable doubt. Our other three strikers have proven it time and time again. And Chicha has done it with even less chances than Welbeck has had.

      Surely we can find a better striker than Danny and a better left winger then Ashley. Giggs is playing better on the left than Young right now.

      You’re so right when you say that our wide options are not strong at all. I will be very happy to sign Wilfred Zaha. Young is useless as a winger. Giggs is old. Valencia was never the most talented winger he just had crazy energy and out ran folks. He is a good winger though. He can cross and he can shoot. On his day is deadly. Nani our most talented and gifted winger is not consistent and his mentality at times is a bit soft.

      Ferguson should buy Zaha to replace Valencia, sell Ashley Young and buy a left footed left winger to replace Young. Nani can stay. Or he can go if he wants, I wouldn’t want an unhappy player in the squad.

      And I’m not raving about Zaha. I’m just saying if thats who Ferguson is considering and the gaffer thinks he’s good enough then buy him because our wing department needs a bit of work.

      I would like to see Nani come back into the squad in the West Ham replay. I hope he can stay fit and find his form in time for the Madrid game. I would prefer to go at Madrid with an in form Nani than an in form Young on the left.

      I fear Madrid will easily deal with our uninspired Valencia if he keeps playing like this. Apparently he has a back/hip injury that isn’t going away.

      Don’t know about Vida’s knee. I hope its nothing. We need him so badly.

  11. Jay wire

    January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Sometimes I come off as an arrogant know it all, but maybe I try to be objective against my own personal bias. The relevant voices of football are rightly singing Welbeck’s praises. RvP, pundits, analysts, number crunchers etc. When people do this it doesn’t mean they are right but in this case they were spot on. Meanwhile we have people here calling it mind boggling that Welbeck was not taken off. Some even calling him a donkey. The unfortunate thing about words like work hard, is they give an impression of a simpleton, donkey like performance. Welbeck worked harder than anyone out there but he was also very productive. We complain that we don’t press high up the field but when someone actually does it he’s labelled a donkey. We complain about predictable movement and disoriented passing upfront but when Welbeck manages to get it right, we’re baffled by the praise he gets. Any Liverpool player would have told you after the game that the biggest nuisance was Welbeck. They struggled to handle him and his teammates were able to find space due to his strength on the ball and movement. The only thing baffling thing is why Welbeck has to be defended anyway because his performance was so good and easily stood out. The bias is just too damn obvious. Same problem Evans has. When he makes a mistake, all the imperious work before that is dumped and people start moaning about exotic centre back names around the world. It’s clear some people don’t know football beyond Old Trafford. Thiago Silva,Vermalaen,Kompany,Vidic,Pepe,Chiellini,Puyol,Pique are some of the very best defenders on earth and I’ve seen making numerous fatal errors. Red cards, conceding penalties and dangerous freekicks, chief culprit being the shirt pulling Vidic. But when it’s Evans all hell breaks loose despite the fact that he actually makes less errors than Rio and concedes less fouls than Vidic. Let’s not forget how Torres seems to always get the better of him.

    Welbeck’s only problem is not being clinical in goal attempts. It’s not even composure. It’s too much confidence. Apparently a striker’s job is simply to score goals. What is this? 1913? Really? You don’t even have to look at outside examples like, Aguero,Tevez,Benzema,Ibrahimovic. Look at the assists table right now and if you see a certain Wayne Rooney somewhere significant maybe it’s time to reasses our comprehension of football. As a matter of fact, the new term in football is “forwards”. This includes the false 9 operatives like Messi,who play the creator and finisher in equal measure. The drifting forwards like Aguero,wide attackers like Ronaldo and Pedro and traditional central players like Falcao and Drogba. It’s not just goals. It’s about creating chances, effective movement and link up play. It’s natural that with game time he will get more clinical and more efficient as a goal scorer. But as for the rest of his game, he is definitely on the right track.

    As for Kagawa,I think we should be more sensitive to realities of professional football. The start stop nature of his life in Manchester is naturally inhibitive. Besides this, Ferguson and his bench have really struggled with narrow systems which are Kagawa’s strength. Try playing Iniesta or Silva in a wide system and it’s a tough ask. It will only work if you play him centrally behind the forward or striker. It was the same against Spurs when they beat ur at home. 2nd half we had play behind RvP with Rooney wide and the game changed. This is the problem we had with Berbatov. There are some players who are not versatile in terms of roles but are excellent in what they do.i’m not too worried about him right now, seeing that, Ferguson is beginning to get the attack side of narrow systems right. It’s still not good enough or fluid but it’s improving in my opinion. Off the ball we’re still terrible. If Ferguson and everyone else can give Nani a chance, Kagawa will come good because of Nani’s habit of joining the central party which makes Kagawa’s role of orchestrating the attack with short rapid passing and movement possible. I’m just saying, if we dropped personal bias eg the fact that the players we want were not bought, we would be less prone to falsehoods and obstructed perceptions. When we bought Carrick, the truth is I wanted Mascherano or Gatusso,and had never seen Carrick before. I’m relieved now that we got him.

    • The_Philosopher

      January 15, 2013 at 11:31 am

      @Jay wire: Well said Jay.

      I called Welbeck a donkey because he ran his socks off yes. 10 points for that. But when he had the ball he wasn’t a threat to their goal.

      He lost the ball on a couple of occasions in advanced positions because he had no clue what to do next. He was fresh out of ideas. And presented zero threat to the Liverpool defence. He turns his back to the opponents goal when he gets the ball on the wings. He doesn’t shape himself to make a cross or look for an incisive pass. No, this guy is trying to pass the ball backwards. Because he has no ideas. Thats why I called him a donkey. Only thing he did was work hard.

      A striker’s role goes beyond just scoring goals ofcourse. But how long will a striker last in a team if he doesn’t score goals?

      When Chicha was scoring goals every chance he was given off the bench earlier this season it eventualy led to him being given a few starting roles. Why? because he was scoring goals. Goals are a strikers currency. Thats what we look at when we’re considering buying a striker. “How many GOALS did he score last season?” we ask.

      Rooney works hard as well. Rooney plays a similar game to the one Welbeck put on at Liverpool. But put Rooney in some of the positions Welbeck was in and he would have presented Liverpool with a threat.

      Moving on to another issue. Nick Powell. Where is he? He’s been so quiet. I suspect that Ferguson has got him doing extra work preparing for a big up tick in form just like Cleverley did earlier this season.

      If you recall Cleverley was not involved at all for a while and Scholes and Giggs were getting all the playing time in midfield (alongside Carrick) and then boom! Out of nowhere Cleverley was back and in form!

      The next time we see Nick Powell he might be ready to challenge for a first team spot!

    • Warzycha

      January 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      @Jay wire:

      Spot on man! You speak words of truth my dear… whatever.

      I ‘ll say once again, that when Rooney scores one goal per month, people say he is crap. But then he gets injured and we can’t create the amount of chances we create when he is in the team. In the end, if we win a trophy everyone goes like “my god! rooney had a storming season!!! he was great!” and if we don’t win a trophy they say “my god! rooney has to be more creative and accureate!”

      That’s for Rooney who is a fcking great talent. Welbeck, who is not THAT gifted has to do even more so as to be aknowledged.
      But, you know what? I can see that sometimes people judge based merely on stats and highlights. Welbeck was the winning factor in our win against Liverpool. When he ran out of energy, the team was crap. The midfield had no passing choices, the space for the wingers was less and they couldn’t dribble anybody and the ball was back to defense where the defenders made silly mistakes, that could cost 2 points.
      So, who played better than him? NOBODY.

    • johnsom33

      January 16, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      @Jay wire: I have long given up hope of realistic discussion on this site. The fact that people are saying “this is the worst United side in years” really makes me lose faith in humanity. This team has so much under appreciated quality its insane. Do people realize rooney just came back from injury and nobody was worried during his absence? What about Nani who cant even get a game until today, and he is a world class winger.

      People have long cried about our MF but its also very good. Its no surprise that as soon as fergie stopped picking giggs and scholes for big matches we stopped getting over run. Carrick flourishes when placed alongside energetic and mobile teammates. funny enough players like Young, Anderson, Cleverly, kagawa thrive surrounded by each other but are deemed “not good enough” when ever they play with less mobile and dynamic players(giggs, scholes, fletcher). Its not that those players are bad but they are incredibly static and 1-dimensional players at this stage in their careers. Scholes can place a pass anywhere he wants, buts that pretty much where his contribution ends. He cant bomb forward anymore, nor can he track a energetic MF. Giggs losing posession more than Nani and he no longer ha that electric pace which made him a Great in the game. Fletcher is a incredibly hard working destroyer but he lacks the technical ability to play tiki-taka style football. Attacking plays often die at his feet similar to Park.

      I come back to this site from time to time hoping to hear from some of the old time regulars, but unfortunately this site is stuck in a negative rut where nobody is good enough unless they are banging in goals every week regardless of position. the fact that Carrick and welbeck are two of our most derided players on this site speaks volumes in my mind.

      • Ian

        January 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm

        There’s a fair bit of sense in there Johnsom but a fair bit of unfair nonsense too. The stuff about the team is spot on but the stuff about the site aint imo. There’s no negative rut at all, there’s peace, harmony and a whole load of positivity most of the time. You say you only return ‘from time to time’, if that’s the case how do you know it’s stuck in a negative rut etc? And as for realistic discussion…’s far better for ‘discussion’ than it was in the past when discussion quickly turned into abuse and derision on a post that was 4 weeks old.

        • johnsom33

          January 16, 2013 at 11:38 pm

          @Ian: “it’s far better for ‘discussion’ than it was in the past when discussion quickly turned into abuse and derision on a post that was 4 weeks old”

          Your not wrong about that. My comment was directed at the last of the “regulars” and not at the site or you, as far as Im concerned you rescued a site in dire straits.I frequent the blog on a largly weekly basis, mainly to check and see what my old Internet friends are up to. Sadly I rarely comment anymore because the discussion rarely rises above the “Hes not good enough, end off” sort of discussion. Nuance and reasoning are usually lacking, and players performances seem to happen in a vacuum. No mention of formations or lineups, players are expected to perform at a perfect level regardless of the tactical set up.

          I still value the opinion of a number of regular posters, but largely the comments match those of the Sky hacks. I hate to bring up Alan Hansen again but his halftime contribution was lazy and typical of the average football fan. “Suarez was poor” was basically all he had to contribute. No mention of Fergie getting the tactics right and rodgers failing to adapt until it was too late. no mention that Suarez spent the entire first half with zero service because United bossed the game and never gave Liverpool a chance to actually play. but hey Suarez is a forward and he failed to score, so therefore he must have been poor right?

        • Ian

          January 17, 2013 at 9:17 am

          Thanks, and I get your point but put yourself in a pundits shoes. Limited time to give opinion, producers grooming your words before and after shows, they’re for the money. It’s difficult unless you’re given a proper platform like Gary Neville’s given.

          Joe’s back soon hopefully with his tactics board after illness, hopefully that’ll inspire the intelligent minds to get discussing again.

          Have to admit tho, it’s a disappointment there’s not many of the original group still commenting.

      • Redrich

        January 17, 2013 at 3:52 am

        @johnsom33: Why don’t you add to the conversation instead of critiquing it. You obviously have clear and different views – lets here them!!

  12. Redrich

    January 16, 2013 at 2:53 am

    It’s not a false philosophy that strikers have to score goals, nor is the notion that GK’ers cannot make mistakes. These are truths that should be held as self evident.

    Players in these roles are charged with very definitive roles. In the case of strikers, they are the most expensive of all and it’s simply because the act of scoring goals is the most cherished art in the game. They must add this quality to a team or their place in the team will be filled by someone else (except if your name is Torres and you cost a whopping £50m, and the teams owner’s hubris overwhelms the the desire to win games). The pressure is on them to perform (score goals) and after that their other contributions will add to their legacy.
    Goalies have the next most important role, which is to stop the other teams strikers from scoring. They’re not paid as much because they are specialists and do not have a full skill set. But as specialists and when they are called on to perform (save goals) they are expected not to make mistakes. Making mistakes is not allowed for Goalies, they need to be almost perfect almost all the time – if they’re not, someone else will try to be perfect at saving goals.

    History, while a lot of it is old-fashioned, has a funny way of making you learn about what could be relevant in the present and a pretty good beacon for the future too.

    If we talk specifically about Welbeck and De Gea, they may prove to be good at their respective positions in the future, however one is not scoring and the other is making mistakes, and if history proves me to be correct, they will both be doing it with other teams.

  13. Ian

    January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Anyone want a ticket for tonight? Courtesy of RR of course.

    Tweet me if you can or reply here

  14. The_Philosopher

    January 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Completely off the topic:

    For the Real game this is the line up I would like to see;


    St: Robin van Persie

    Lw: Nani

    Cm: Anderson

    Cm: Wayne Rooney (doing a lung busting box-to-box job)

    Cm: Michael Carrick (providing cover at the back)

    Rw: Antonio Valencia

    Lb: Patrice Evra

    Cb: Nemanja Vidic

    Cb: Jonny Evans (or Ferdinand)

    Rb: Rafael

    Gk: David de Gea

    If we set up like this against Real I would be very happy.

    • Moscow

      January 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      @The_Philosopher: Agree with everything, except play Rooney in a strike partnership with RVP like at the Etihad. We need to score at the Bernabeu, because you can bet your mortgage they will score at Old Trafford.

  15. Moscow

    January 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Guardiola will join Bayern Munich for next season. You know what this means for us 😈

    • Opti

      January 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      @Moscow: Interesting he picked Bayern… I think it signifies that he is waiting on Fergie in 3 years time (if he does well at Bayern).

      Mourinho back to Chelsea then? Or PSG?

      • RMJ

        January 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm

        @Opti: I think Bayern will be a good indicator of where he stands. The league has decent competition right now and we might see his true mettle.

    • AndyCR7

      January 17, 2013 at 5:18 am

      @Moscow: thank god he is not coming here!

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