United v Celtic - Ten Talking Points
United beat Celtic 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Champions League last night. We are now firmly in command of our destiny and should make it through to the knock-out stage.
United played well and deserved the three points. We played our football at a very high tempo and constantly troubled Celtic's numerous defenders. Here are the ten main talking points of the game.
1. Berbatov showing his class: The Bulgarian is starting to deliver. His performances improve with every game, as shown by two clinical finishes and lovey touches. His passing and mobility - oh yes, he was running a lot up front - really gives us an extra dimension.
2. Rooney's hot streak continues: Once again, the 23-year-old Englishman was United's best player on the park. Constant movement, tireless running and lots of creativity. His goal was a marvellous finish at the end of a sweeping move and it's now nine goals in the last seven games. Long may his form continue!
3. Ronaldo's getting poorer every game: His performances are not improving and he looked quite flat. Dispossessed too often, his trickery led to nowhere, his shooting was wayward - though he must be given credit for the second goal. When brought off with ten minutes to go he did not even applaud the fans - however sulky or frustrated he was it wasn't a nice thing to do.
4. Clueless officials, again: This season it seems that a Champions League game at Old Trafford is not complete without refereeing mistakes. United were denied two stonewall penalties against Villarreal - now the visitors, Celtic, paid the price for the officiating: Berbatov's goals were scored from offside positions though I admit that only watching the highlights today made me realise that. The linesmen, proving that they are really totally clueless, went on to rule out Rooney's perfectly good goal. That's the third perfectly good Rooney goal that's been ruled out this season, a certain kind of hat-trick it is.
5. Gary Neville's mediocre display: His crossing is awful, awful. I don't know what's it with him but looked less than confident on the ball and though got to all the promising positions he could never deliver a really telling cross. Sort it out, old man.
6. Nani's lack of intelligence: It's nothing new but it's very frustrating. He's got fantastic pace and great skills, often dribbled through two or three defenders before simply giving the ball away or crossing it behind the goal... his decision-making must improve, drastically.
7. Fletcher's sustained form: The injury problems of Hargreaves and the ageing of Scholes should really hit us harder but it doesn't because the thin Scot delivers every time he's asked to. He's not the greatest player but disciplined, hard-working and possesses great footballing intelligence, strange it may be for many.
8. Jonny Evans is adequate cover for Rio: The Northern Irish youngster came up with another assured performance. You may argue that Celtic did not provide a great attacking threat but he was just as confident and solid at Stamford Bridge. His intelligent defending, his good positioning and anticipation means he's certain to have a bright future, injuries permitting.
9. Brown getting the armband: When Gary Neville was brought off, his replacement got the armband. A nice touch by Fergie and I'm sure Rooney will forgive him for not getting it this time. Brown deserved it I thought.
10. United are now unbeaten in 16 CL games: Don't wanna tempt fate but we are only four games away from the longest ever unbeaten record in the Champions League. It's held by Ajax who went 20 games unbeaten in the mid '90s. United haven't lost since May 3 2007, that fateful game at the San Siro and the sequence is now 16 games old...
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