Date:Sunday September 28 2008
United dominated Bolton from start to finish and deserved to win by many more then the eventual 2-0 scoreline. Yet the focus of the post-match talk was always going to be Rob Styles.
But let's focus on our own team first. Fergie opted for a Berbatov-Tevez pairing up front with Park, Fletcher, Anderson and Ronaldo lining up in midfield ahead of our usual defensive line.
It worked quite well: Bolton rarely crossed the halfway line during the game and were in fact pinged back into their own area for long, long periods. But Jaaskalainen was equal to everything we threw at him - but most of these were pretty feeble.
And this is my major complaint about this game, and this season as well. We defend well, bar that one dismal game at Anfield. We can dominate teams in midfield as well. We create chances and good ones, gilt-edged, golden ones too. The problem? We can't finish.
The amount of mishit, deflected, weak shots yesterday was staggering. Often we had great chances but our players were unable to force Jaaskalainen to make a brilliant, difficult save as their shots were weak or mishit or something. Why is that? Not enough shooting training? Substandard boots? We should find out soon because it's costing us.
And for these reasons precisely became Styles the major talking point. With 60 minutes gone Ronaldo dribbled his way into the box where Samuel made an inch perfect tackle on him. If you watch the replays, you'll see that Ronaldo fell forward without any sign of his usual theatrical self, he just landed and hasn't even looked at Styles. Berbatov who was standing nearby looked at the incident and remained perfectly calm, hasn't even raised his hand as if he wouldn't have thought in his life that it was gonna be a penalty.
But Styles for some reason pointed at the spot and Ronaldo is not one to miss it deliberately: he rammed it home. We richly deserved this goal and after what Riley did to us last Sunday we should not feel guilty but it's hardly Bolton's fault that Riley wanted Chelsea to win at Stamford Bridge...
Oh well. At least the second goal was absolutely fantastic. Rooney who came on with 20 minutes to go to replace the slightly off-colour Carlos Tevez finally opened his account and in style, too. Ronaldo was the architect as he broke clear in the box then backheeled the ball to Rooney who beat his man with a brilliant feint then curled the ball into the far corner. Not quite Geovanni at the Emirates but still a very very fine goal.
Another major positive we can look at is that in the second half Dimitar Berbatov actually looked like a Manchester United player. He displayed that sort of passing and technique, both of the highest calibre, which we had signed him for. Hopefully the goals will soon come too and then we'll finally become the force we should be.
Date:Sunday September 28 2008
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