Manchester United - Surprisingly Easy Win - Possebon Shines
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Surprisingly Easy Win - Possebon Shines

Now the season has started in earnest. It seems we managed to avoid the desperately slow start of the last campaign as we picked up three points at Fratton Park, something we failed to do last season.

As I had predicted, United started with a central midfield of Scholes and O'Shea but Fergie included Anderson as well, possibly to give us more authority and greater passing range in midfield.

It worked quite well and though Portsmouth's muscle men tried to harass us they had no idea how to stop us stroking the ball around comfortably. Their one-dimensional football caused very little trouble, as both Vidic and Ferdinand dealt comfortably with Crouch who was reduced to complain every time a decision went against him.

Set-pieces were Pompey's main threat and from a corner after a defensive cock-up they almost snatched the lead, with Kaboul heading just wide. But it was Portsmouth's only real chance while they had serious difficulties with containing a quite mobile United team. Rooney came close in the 4th minute, Distin's last-ditch tackle prevented Anderson from tapping the ball in and finally, in the 32nd minute, the breakthrough came.

It was little surprise that Tevez was the orchestrator as the little Argentinian was once again a thorn in the Portsmouth side nad his brilliant siderule pass found Evra on the left. The Frenchman's low cross wasn't bad, it found Fletcher who scuffed it towards the goal. James tried to beat it away but failed and Distin made a desperate attempt to clear off the line but ended up firing high into his own net.

United should have added a second at the start of the second half but were denied. Of course, I can't say it was because of the referee or his assistant because, as we all know, they ALWAYS help Manchester United. Therefore, it must be Rooney's fault that his perfect piece of finishing was worthless because the assistant, for reasons best known to him, flagged him offside. He was nowhere near offside.

United did not try and rest on their laurels, we tried to add a second goal to completely knock the stuffing out of the lacklustre opposition. A penalty would have been a perfect chance for it but the referee, who, on FA instructions, ALWAYS help United, failed to see that Campbell simply hacked down Rooney in the area after Evra's scuffed pass. Oh well.

As the last 15 minutes were approaching, Fergie introduced Rodrigo Possebon, hauling off the tiring Anderson. The youngster went on to play brilliantly: he retrieved the ball from Crouch within seconds of his introduction and he made some really elegant tackles and always distributed the ball calmly and precisely.

With two minutes from time remaining, Chris Foy once again showed how far he's prepared to go to help Manchester United who are always supported by referees: he failed to produce a second yellow card for Bouba Diop who, out of sheer frustration, hacked down the excellent Tevez from behind. Oh well.

Still, we can take great comfort from this victory. We played well, created chances and reduced Portsmouth to long-range efforts (Jerome Thomas' and Diop's weren't bad but easy for Van der Sar). The midfield's lack of width was evident but unsurprising as all four of our wingers were absent. And it was still a relatively easy win.

Rooney is approaching full fitness again, Possebon is definitely a bright talent and now we have almost two weeks until the next league game (who cares about the European Super Cup?) and we'll have more players fit, we'll have Nani back from suspension and, hopefully, we'll have Berbatov in our ranks. Things suddenly look much brighter for the English and European Champions, don't they?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday August 26 2008

Time: 9:33AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Thankfully, yes, things do look a bit brighter, but it could all be worthless if we pick up two defeats at Anfield and Stamford Bridge. I could not believe Rooney was called off-side - it wasn't anything like it and it should have been 2-0, game over. A good performance by United and hopefully one we can build on for the rest of the season.
Man utd champions
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26/08/2008 09:49:00

'Surprisingly Easy Win'... are you taking the ***** or what?
clearly you were watching a different game then? maybe it was 'easy' as we didnt have that many - if any - clear cut chances, but it was far from easy for you...
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26/08/2008 10:29:00

I don't think he was actually saying it was straightforward for us, just that we were expecting a tough game, and in the end, it was easier than we expected. Come on, pompeyrug, you didn't play well, and certainly once they were ahead, there was only ever going to be one result.
Man utd champions
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26/08/2008 11:30:00

I agree; the composure and positive passing that Possebon has shown in the opening two games is a huge bonus for us. The really exiting thing is that he's training day in day out with the best creative midfielder around in Scholesy. Not to mention the best young box-to-box player there is (Ando), a stellar talent like Carrick, and two of the most committed and hardworking players in the Premiership in Der Harg and Fletch. Possebon and Ando to make up Brazil's Engine room by 2010?
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26/08/2008 11:35:00

well it was a bit easy, u had 2 shots on target, we got a goal given offside when it wasnt (no change there) and create alot of good chances. should have won by more
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26/08/2008 12:33:00

Yes, fenton_01, we should have won by more simply because of the Rooney goal wrongly ruled out for offside, apart from all the decent chances, and brilliant play we had. It would have been an injustice for Portsmouth to even get a point.
Man utd champions
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26/08/2008 13:03:00

great performance, disgraceful ref and linesman (respect for them? ***** OFF!!), Rooney produced some magic at times and Anderson and Tevez coming back REALLY helped us
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26/08/2008 14:54:00

Can't agree with you more there, Reddevils4ever89, absolutely spot on. And by the way, by the next Premier League match, most of our injured players should be back again (apart from, of course, Ronaldo). Things aren't looking too bad after all ;)
Man utd champions
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26/08/2008 15:24:00

I honestly for the life of me cant find a single good thing to say about Popmey at the moment...apart from their Goalie. If i was a fan, i would be ashamed of the performances in the last two games let alone the results. Anway, we were awesome.
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26/08/2008 17:50:00

I would not say we were awesome :-) the lack of width, as I said, is a concern but not surprising. And of course I meant it was a lot easier than expected - that's why I wrote that it was a "relatively easy win".
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26/08/2008 19:24:00

I would say it was an easy match. We weren't troubled.
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26/08/2008 21:09:00

We did lack width, but Pompey had the same problem to a worse degree so it wasn't so noticeable (or costly). By the next match, Giggs should be back from injury, Nani will be back from suspension, and Park Ji Sung might be back (or at least nearing a return) too. Oh, and that other player, what's his name, um... Cristiano... oh, yes, Ronaldo, will be edging back into training, so we should be okay. Having said that though, Evra looked encouraging - some of the runs forward he made were outstanding.
Man utd champions
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27/08/2008 18:25:00


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