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United: It's Officially A Wobble Now

United lost the big battle at Stamford Bridge. That is the cold, hard fact. No matter how we rue the linesmen's peculiar decisions, our bad luck and other things, the most important is that we are now ahead of a usually desperate Chelsea side only on goal difference. That is a shame.

Let's get the referee out of the way quickly. We were robbed of two great chances because of wrong offside decisions. Vidic's tooth was kicked out without any punishment. And of course there was the penalty: I have yet to see a replay that would convince me that it was a deliberate handball. Carrick's arm did not move towards the ball, it wasn't above his head, it was in a natural position - he just could not get out of the way.

But still, United should have taken at least a point. In the first half, we were way too cautious and responded very badly to Chelsea's pressing. Vidic's withdrawal did not help, it appeared to strike a blow to our confidence. Therefore we couldn't have had a complaint if they had taken the lead in the first 25-30 minutes.

They hadn't and we regained our shape. Fletcher and Anderson were quite good and it helped us to keep the ball better, only for Nani and Giggs to lose it almost instantly. Nevertheless, we kept them out for the rest of the half - almost. The goal was disappointing to lose, especially as Brown was drawn so far out of position by Drogba and his subsequent cross of course found Ballack unmarked.

Still, I liked the way a Ronaldo-less United responded in the second half. We took the game to Chelsea, pressed them, retained the ball - though it's true we did not create much. We did not need to: Ricardo Carvalho provided the perfect pass for Rooney who raced clear of Terry and struck a sweet shot into the bottom corner of Cech's net.

Of course fate felt it had to deal another cruel blow: Rooney got another knock to his hip bone and had to come off. Ronaldo replaced him which might have been a good move had then Giggs came off for Tevez. The goal obviously shocked Chelsea and we came stronger and started to create. Anderson was particularly impressive by running at the defence at pace - so it was a big surprise when he was replaced not by Tevez but O'Shea...

It knocked the stuffing out of our attacks and Chelsea came back to exert pressure. It still could have been withstood but for the decision discussed elsewhere. Then United threw off the shackles and actually created more than anything during the previous 85 mins: a Ronaldo shot and a Fletcher effort was cleared from the goalline as Chelsea's famous and apparently neverending luck came to their aid yet again.

But it's getting my goat really: if we can play like that and cause them as much trouble then why we had to be so bloody conservative again? Fergie sent out the wrong message by apparently settling for a draw: Chelsea, unlike Barcelona, have the luck and the killer instinct, to punish us.

Anderson's substitution might have been down to a minor injury, I don't know. But even if it was, it should have been Tevez who came on. We could have ended Chelsea's unbeaten home run: we were the better team after the goal. Until the two quick substitutions, that is.

Still, cheer up everyone. We're still in pole position to win this goddamned league. I was looking forward to finally celebrating a league title at Old Trafford (we haven't clinched it at our own ground since 1999) but so be it. Beat West Ham, cheer on Newcastle and beat Wigan. That's all.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday April 26 2008

Time: 10:24PM

Your Comments

Typical sour grapes ! Since when has a handball to be deliberate to be given as a penalty ? You have RedNose (the Moron) to blame for your debacle, come clean & admit it !
ZeeNut
Arrogant team selection & poor substitutions ! And RedNose has the gall to blame it on the refs ! You should run a poll for your supporters to see if they really want RedNose back next year !
ZeeNut
It isn't United that went of the rails, it was your manager who went of the rails. As an article put it, a lessor mortal would have been sacked for this disasterous team selection.
ZeeNut
Of course, if rumours are true that his brains are in his squeaky b--, then his bizarre behaviour is understandable.
ZeeNut
1st penalty against Manure the whole season, carbon copy of the one against Gallas at OT, and yet you still moan. And if refs did their jobs properly you'd be fighting the Chavs for 2nd place now.
G4L
This article sums it up superbly : http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,13320_3480395,00.html
ZeeNut
I think we deserved to win. We were simply the better team. Still, the title is yours to lose, but it's not over yet!
Fan of Blues
We'll do it the United way...the hard way.Fergie has nothing to commplain about today,I think he got it all wrong.Ronnie and Tevez on the bench and O'Shea for Anderson????? I'm trying to remain positive but it's hard especially after flying 3000 miles.Back to Boston toomorrow and lock myself in the bedroom until Tuesday.The wifes a Gooner so I can imagine the *****e I'll have to listen to tomorrow :(
java
I can imagine her rubbing it in your face, java! You lost to Chelsea and stuff like that! ;)
Fan of Blues
You know, even as an Arsenal fan, I wanted United to win the league because they play good football, but to blame today's defeat on the penalty is ludicrous. It was a clear pen, the ball travelled miles before striking his arm. Arsene Wenger gets labelled as a whinger, and quite rightly sometimes, but Fergie is pathetic ...... to say that it's disgraceful for a big game to be decided by the linesman because of his "say so" when his says so is so completely and blantently correct is a disgrace in itself .... but I bet the media don't make too much of a big deal out of it....because he aint French.
Rocky7
Fergie and Wenger are born winners.They hate to loose.I love the ground Fergie walks on,he's won so much for us but he got his team selection wrong today but it's still in our hands....Bring on Barca.
java
You Mancs should stop kidding yourselves. No matter which team Fergie puts out, you guys would have still lost. Chelsea were absolutely dominant, especially in the first half. Even in the dying minutes, it was us who were doing all the attacking. It amazes me how hypocritical you Mancs can be. How many countless time have you guys salvaged points through penalties this season?! If it wasn't for penalties, you people would be nowhere near the first pace.. You beat Arsenal through a penalty caused by a handball and the same goes for the Barca match, but when people find yourselves at the wrong end of the stick, all that can be heard is whining and complaining! How pathetic.. Admit, Man U got owned by Ballack and Essein! Oh yeah... we packed Aresenal and sent them home, we packed you and sent you home, and this week, we'll pack Liverpool and send them home... Welcome to Fortress Bridge.
supersheva
To quote a very famous saying, "I'd just love it" for ferguson and the scum to end the season trophyless. Even chelscum in their josie days were not as detested as this obnoxious whiskey soaked old tosser and his team of cheats, divers and bullies
bseymour
supersheva WE are still in the driving seat.Come back here in two weeks when the trophy is given out you ******** tosspot.***** off back to vital chelski and stick your ******** ruebles up your arse.
java
STILL CHAMPIONS ;)
java
i think the decider will be vs WHam... that team i believe is ye boogie team aite? same goes with Boro.
Cretivo
I see Tevez spat his dummy out after the game HAHAHA!
JonLFC
i also thought o shea for anderson was strange.. think SAF was trying to be smug and beat us without ronaldo/tevez, and it backfired on him. it was a handball, nobody can have any complaints about it tbh, on the day, the better team won.
pulse
lets be honest, if we cant beat west ham and wigan then we dont deserve the league. im still very cvonfident.
united4life
i know im digging deep here, and probbaly is just an exuse....but in th elong run this result could be just what we need to make sure we do the business at west ham and wigan, otherwise we could have had this performance (and team) later on in the season when we had no chance to turn it around. in short, this result basically means we MUST paly our best team against west ham and wigan, regardless of whether we get to the chamipions league.....or at least you woiuld hope so.
united4life
You ARE digging really deep. But i must say you guys are either really really loyal. When Avram Grant made similar blunders we have practically KILLED him, but Sir Alex does the same & nary a squeak from any ManU supporter !
ZeeNut
The ManU managers' comments post match were pathethic. Handballs should not be given unless we Ok them, seems to be the management line.
ZeeNut
Even from a neutral point of view, Fergie's comments are disgraceful really. Can he even hear what he's saying? That Carrick's hands weren't above his shoulders or head? How many penalties in the world of football have been given when the hand is below your head? A MILLION! Were they all wrong? Then he says... that the ball was going straight to Rio Ferdinand? And the linesman should've seen that? Thats as pathetic as it could get. Wouldn't even want to elaborate on that.
raaid
And... please update your site people. The new poll should be... Did whino Fergie get his tactics/line-up right against Chelsea?
raaid
raaid... the poll should read... 'Should Fergie retires now?' :P
Cretivo
Before it is too late the poll needs to be changed to "Did Fergie get his tactics right at Chelsea" ? No, the answer is TOO obvious. Better one will be "Can we trust Fergie get it wrong again v/s Barcelona" ? I'm betting , Yes !
ZeeNut
Have a look at Fergies record ZeeTit.
java
The problem with Fergie is he's getting overzealous in winning his second CL. I mean more than 20 years at OT and ONLY 1 CL... that must drives him crazy.
Cretivo
Speaking as a chelsea fan I have to say it would be a very pleasant travesty if we won the league this season. United have been the better team throughout and whilst I think our players could match those of United, this season just they have'nt. Having said all that I think we were well worth our win on Saturday. I don't think it would have mattered if United were at full strength or firing on all cylinders we were just too strong. It's also a bit rich United fans having a go at other fans who they perceive to be glory hunters. As someone who has been going to Chelsea regularly since the early 70's I'm delighted to see new Chelsea fans springing up all over the place. It got a bit boring going to the far reaches of the world and seeing United shirts pop up even in the most remote of areas.
tjay
 

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