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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Alves And Riley Deny United

It is now annoying the bit. City scored from their first chance at the council house and at Old Trafford yet they wasted countless openings to peg back Chelsea who, of course, took the lead via an own goal.

Now it was Alves' turn to show us that whatever he can't do against Chelsea, he can against us. He missed an open goal with Cudicini in no man's land last Sunday then headed a ball to the bar from 3 yards out but never mind, he coolly slotted home his first ever Premier League goals this time - of course against United.

Having said that, Fergie made a gamble with team selection and it did not pay off. Scholes, Carrick and Giggs were all on the pitch from the kickoff and this combination, though gives us silky passing and incisiveness, lack steel and most importantly, pace.

Up against roughhouses like George Boateng (did he have a fair tackle during the game? not much, that's certain) it was always going to be difficult. And though Boro played dire, hoof-it-up football, it was exactly the sort of thing they had to do, given that United can't deal with long-ball merchants without the Vidic-Rio pairing.

No surprise that Brown and O'Shea were relatively comfortable when Roma kept it on the ground but lost the plot big time when they hit it high into the box. It was something similar this time but of course they alone can't be blamed for the dropped points.

We started brilliantly as Giggs' corner found Carrick on the left side of the box. The midfielder brought the ball down, beat Young and passed to Ronaldo who turned it in from close range. Too easy and United were 1-0 up.

But the warning signs were there. We had troubles clearing any long ball that was hoofed up to the box. Then Young was allowed to hack down Evra from behind - and Boro almost scored from the counter-attack, despite that it was a foul worthy of a yellow card and that the Frenchman was still on the ground.

Then Rooney could have made it 2-0 having been played through brilliantly by Carrick - but the linesman, for reasons best known to himself, flagged him offside despite being clearly onside and with only Schwarzer to beat.

Then Ronaldo created a chance on his own, beating four people Giggs-1999-style before lashing it wide from the edge of the six-yard-box. He really should have fired home...

The real sickener came afterwards. Carrick's aimless long ball (he got confused as to which team he's playing in, or something like that) was hoofed back straightly, O'Shea were caught out of position and Alves pounced on the bouncing ball and coolly placed a shot into the far corner.

United should have regained the lead with a minute to go when Rooney's shot from outside the box was blocked by Taylor's hand - somehow, astonishingly, Mike Riley did not think it was worthy of a penalty.

The second half started off at great pace but United were having trouble with creating chances. Our cause was not helped by the fact that Middlesbrough players were allowed to handle the ball outside the box, too and that fouling Evra and Rooney became not just legitimate but, or so it seemed, a recreational habit.

But of course all this shouldn't have meant that Boro take the lead but they did, thanks to our comical ineptitude to deal with their long balls. It was Brown who headed one into Alves' path and the Brazilian, who could not find the open goal at Stamford Bridge and indeed anywhere else this season, produced another classy finish.

Fergie, having sensed that we are a bit unbalanced - we had no attacks going on the right side as Tevez was nowhere to be seen and O'Shea had enough defensive problems without thinking about attacking as well. Therefore he brought the Argentinian off and replaced him with Park whereas minutes later Hargreaves came on for O'Shea.

This gave us balance in attack but our hopes were seriously dented with Rio's injury: Pique had to replace him and it meant that Giggs must stay on the field for the entire game. And it backfired on us.

United upped the tempo and dominated the last 30 minutes but clear-cut chances were few and far between as Boro packed the box with men. Yet Park could beat one on the left of the box, slipped the ball in and Rooney, with the aid of a deflection, found the equaliser.

It became frantic afterwards, United pouring forward for the winner, Boro looking to do damage on the break. They had good chances missed by Aliadiere and Tuncay, the latter rigth at the final whistle. United could have scored from a Rooney header which was palmed away by Schwarzer, retrieved by Giggs on the by-line but his cutback went behind Scholes.

Ronaldo was clipped on the edge of the box on the left for a threatening free-kick but Giggs' delivery was poor and it was headed away. Scholes had a good chance to shoot but his effort was deflected wide and Rooney fired wide after Hargreaves found him with an over-the-top ball.

In the end, it was a fair result but for an astonishingly poor performance by Mike Riley, we could have won. The penalty shout and the final rally should not hide the facts though: 1) we were second best at times, 2) our back four is worryingly vulnerable without Vidic and now Rio is out as well 3) Ryan Giggs is past it.

The latter is the saddest conclusion of all. Anyway, we are still three points clear of an incredibly lucky but mediocre-looking Chelsea side and have to beat a deflated Arsenal on Sunday. It's still very much in our hands, chaps.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday April 6 2008

Time: 6:08PM

Your Comments

LOL knew man u would have something to blame it on
pulse
typical sore losers
pulse
You forgot to blame the terrible weather ;))
blueklaw
Alves, Riley and the terrible weather, then! ;)
Fan of Blues
I guess the weather changed the title race....poor you.
chelseaforever
You didn't deserve the point! We totally outplayed you and you were fortunate in the end.
Vartkes
How many penalties did Riley award in you in the 02/03season? Was it 11?
Little Dutch
pointless arrogance garbage..just the no. of adjectives that come in my mind when i read this drivel...my first and last visit to this section of vital...!!
essientric
Knew there would be some excuse from the plastic fans. You lot didn't even deserve the point, never mind 3!
marron
Essientric, you've actually read the artcile???! The title just said it all for me and was enough!
Fan of Blues
we were crap... we should have learned a lesson...
Star 3000
You were going to draw against Derby County.Ronaldo's goal came from an illegal rooney play. Less embarrassing to draw with Boro.
k_chelski
big bunch of sour grapes for you guys then!
merlin
we're coming after you;) watch out.
pulse
[img]http://www.wdtprs.com/images/SourGrapesAward.jpg[/img]
pulse
think its a bit harsh, boro were excellent today and fully deserved the point. though riley could have given us a penalty, i have seen mamy of those not given this season, so im not too annoyed, as for giggs, i felt he is past t for a while noe, but he is still a good player to ave as a sub.n o doubt countless arsenbal and chelsea scum will raid this site in the next 24 hours but lets remeber, in fergie we have the best manager, we have the best squad and as for sunday...IMO its a formality, a far easier game than today. arsenal are clearly lacking fitness and i can honestly see a repet performance of the fa cup 4-0, as we can cruise against roma whilst they will have to battle again against liverpool. but last words well done boro and well done united, had arsenal got this draw eveyone would be applauding their grit and beleif. we coud have lost this match...but we didnt, and that is the stuff of champions! c'mon united!
united4life
ps - chelsea fans...we are 3 points ahead with an embarrisngly higher GD....how is it in your hands? even if we lose to you (which i dont think will happen) we will win ifd we can win our other games.
united4life
The thing is, we are the best side in the prem, we'll take the title again, and we deserve it... (yeah, we were crap today but a single game doesn't count after all.)
Star 3000
I didn't say it was in our hands, but if you slip up one more time other than our match, then it's going to be in our hands!
Fan of Blues
clearly boro outplayed us for the majority of the game and we didnt deserve the point but we got it. but we shold of had a penalty and rooney was free on goal and offside was given. im still confident of the title and beat chlsea at stamford bridge
rooneyisgod
Will be good for you lot to beat Chelsea at the Bridge after they beat you a couple of seasons ago there to secure the title. I'm not to bothered who wins this year though to be honest.
marron
We were poor today.It's very hard to accomodate Scholsey and Giggsy in the same 11.I felt Anderson should have started.I had a feeling Wes would start in the middle.Without Vidic/Rio pairing I can see us finishing the season empty handed.I'm not worried about going to Chelski but I'm dreading going to Blackburn after today.The only team capable of taking points from the Russians other than ourselves is Everton.It's still in our hands so all those vital chavs who started folowing Chelski when Ambraovich bought them....keep dreaming beacause Man United will NEVER die!!!
java
Our plastic fans outsang you lot today Marron!!!No excuses from me mate.Pity you tossers can only perform in about six games a year when ye play United,Goons and the Russians.You only came to see UNITED!!!
java
"The only team capable of taking points from the Russians other than ourselves is Everton." Don't get your hopes up, they beat us when we were playing well in the CC semi's. We are playing terribly right now, we'll lie down, roll over and let them tickle us into submission
EvertonMike
It was Ronaldo's shot that was blocked by Taylors hand, not Rooney's. Attack today was decent, defence was brutal. O'Shea was aweful and Pique should have started. Team lacked pace and looked alittle tired from the Roma game. Pitch was slippery, hardly anyone could stay on their feet, and the ref was TERRIBLE! I hope Rio is okay!
Paulinho
Eh Java? You lot never opened your gobs after the first goal (apart from when you scored the 2nd obviously). Half of you lot dont know the few songs you sing and Yes we only came to see United, see them getting booted every 5 minutes :) Pity half your team are fannies - Ronaldo, Ferdinand, Evra etc. Try to sound less bitter the next time you post young Java, at least you have 2 weeks off school to infest this vital board with your ****e ;)
marron
jesus why do opposing fans always turn it into an argument. if any of you peopel actaully read the majority of comments from united fans you would see that we have all applauded boro and said that yes they deserved a point at minimum. why are man utd and middlessborough fans arguting like their two seasons are at all similar. i respect other teams such as coro, but it seems there is so little respect for united its bordering on the pathetic. to call ferdinand a fanny is laughable, im pretty sure he is alot stonger than you....and when is this ronaldo hating going to stop...you kicked him at every chance today and i cant see how anyone expects him to stay up...i saw not one dive today and everytime he was "tackled" (and i use that term extremly lightly") he got straight up. he is ten times the playwer any bor player can hope to be and thats not a dig at the boro, but mearly a fact. grow up you silly little armchair pundits and ******** grow a pair. as for united, lets not get too downbeat...we ARE human....if anyone knows how to bounce back its fergie and i can see us steamrolling arsenal next weekend.
united4life
"you have 2 weeks off school to infest this vital board with your ****e".............sorry marron, but this is a man uts site, and java is a man utds fan. if you dont want to talk to him, ***** off back to the boro site. im getting sick and tired of the constant haters, from now on im gonna concentrate on my team, and ***** the jelous little****s who only wish their team were half as entertainign as ours. cmon united fans, its time we make this site our own, for two long we have let chelsea, arsenal and othe rslagging teams dictate how the conversations go. lets ignore them, we have bigger fish to fry, our season is more important than squabbling withr prics from medicore fans. rant over.....from now on theres gonna be a new united4life :)
united4life
Seems i touched a nerve :) As for you calling me an armchair pundit - I have had a season ticket with the Boro for many seasons and have travelled to all weird and wonderful places with the team. Think you will find he started the arguement and i was merely replying, will go back to the Boro site now and speak to fans who are passionate about their club and are not, as you wrongly called me, armchair pundits like alot around this joint. Cya chaps, enjoy your football ;)
marron
ryt, we should have had a pen, we had a 1 on 1 givin off side when it shouldnt have been we have good reason to be angry !! we will still win prem though
fenton_01
ow and btw, chelsea have hard games left aswell, you neva know, chelsea could loose a game, all this tlking will have to wait untill end of season!!
fenton_01
Thanks U4L.Marron,I've been a season ticket holder since 1979 so my school days are long gone...lol.I'm living in the US for the last nine years and still get back for about 7/8 games a season.Probably more than you see your beloved Boro ;)
java
Good game for Boro - they were a class above what we normally see from them. The second goal from Alves was a delight. Anyway you guys can't deny that this will help make this even more tense and exciting than last years title race!
The_Legend_Of_Zola
For the nuetrals especially Zola.I think I'm going to need a brand new set of fingernails after this one :)
java
Java, I thought you were younger! ;)
Fan of Blues
Man utd fans slam arsenal for moaning about all the decisions that have gone against us lately, then they do the same thing.
This is how it will go. Arsenal to beat man utd. Chelsea and man utd will draw. Chelsea will draw with either Everton OR Newcastle. Man utd will draw with blackburn.
ian7
ian7 - every year some team will feel the decisions aren't going their way. Last season we at Chelsea felt that way. Once one decision goes against you and it proves to important, you start to notice all the little ones that bit more. Then by the end of the season, if you haven't won, you feel really persecuted. But you get over it eventually. Then the next season, you start to notice a different team moaning and laugh about it... Happens... lol
The_Legend_Of_Zola
FOB,I wish I was younger but as the saying goes you're only as old as the woman you feel,so i'm 30 ;)
java
LOL! :))
Fan of Blues
We still hold the advantage, a good result at the weekend and this draw will be forgotten!
Tosswink
One more slip-up, and it will all fall apart. You best be dealing with them gooners. Coz the Chels are right on your coattails. Not that we deserve it! But what does that matter in the grand scheme of things?
Bumps
ian dont make predictions your *****e team cant handle.
rooneyisgod
Agreed Rooney.
java
 

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