United Simply Cannot Play Worse Than This
Wow. I'm still reeling from the performance that United served up last night at Derby County; who would have thought that the European Champions can reach such levels of patheticness.
I might be overreacting - this is only the Carling Cup, there's still the second leg at Old Trafford and it was a second-string line-up - yet I feel I'm not. Quite simply, no Manchester United team, and especially not one that aims to retain the Champions League trophy, can allow themselves to play so badly.
The line-up - Kuszczak; Rafael, Vidic, Evans, O'Shea; Gibson, Anderson, Scholes, Nani - Tevez, Welbeck - looked strong enough and I was reasonably optimistic that we would be treated with another performance like that at Southampton. I could not be more wrong.
In the first 15 minutes, the defense was in disarray and we could have conceded three; in the last 15 minutes, we could have conceded another three. Fortunately, Derby are an enthusiastic but limited side and could not take their chances.
In between these two periods, it was a real scrappy game which of course suited the opposition - I'd even say they were in control. Though I hoped that after Kris Commons's - who was a real handful all night - brilliant goal, we would finally wake up and start playing, I was wrong once again.
To put it simply, EVERYONE played terribly. We had not one performer on the pitch. The defense shamed themselves in the aforementioned two periods and the attack and midfield were embarassing throughout. I can recall only one 'shot on target' and that was substitute Carrick's weak header that caused no problems for the not-so-sweetly remembered Roy Carroll who had a very easy evening.
Not creating a single chance at a mid-table Championship team? It's not possible to play worse than this, I'm certain. However, there's no reason why we could not repeat this performance in the coming month, in which case we should prepare for long weeks of screaming frustration. I just hope the lads pull themselves together for Sunday.