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It Smells Like 2004 - United Aren't Good Enough

It Smells Like 2004 - United Aren't Good Enough

OK, so after a workmanlike win over Birmingham, United slumped to a pathetic 1-0 defeat at newly promoted Burnley in only the second game of the season. Doesn't bode well, does it?

I've said all along that we won't win the league with this squad unless... well, there are thousands of criteria, I won't list them all. However, it looks fairly clear now that most of them won't be met.

For a start, we should have bought a central midfielder. Neither Giggs nor Scholes can be regarded as good enough for that position, Anderson seems to go backwards - he was pathetic tonight even though his role was less than clear to me and Hargreaves is unlikely to be a proper player ever again - which leaves us with Fletcher and Carrick.

And if one of them is absent and the other is having an off day - as we saw it tonight - then we're in big trouble. As we were tonight. It's nothing new: most United fans have been saying since the end of last season. While I can understand the faith in Anderson - he's still only 21 - only my immense respect and admiration and affection towards Giggs and Scholes prevent me saying that they hold the team back.

I'm trying to avoid knee-jerk reactions in the case of Michael Owen but it's difficult as I was against the idea of signing him from the start. He looks slow, unambitious, he seemingly lacks courage and confidence. He was invisible and when a ball found him he missed the chances.

Park is an honest tryer and a good tactical option - but it was utter madness to start him when skill and inspiration, rather than hard work was necessary. He offered very little and therefore the only real width came from Patrice Evra who was our best player by some distance.

My other problem is that we only woke up in the second half - more precisely, after 70 minutes. The arrival of Berbatov and Valencia helped a lot but we lacked the quality, the creativity, the imagination to weave our way through the solid wall that Burnley created.

And in that sense this game smelled like the 2003/04 or the 2004/05 season. Those campaigns saw the least creative Ferguson sides and I'm afraid we could be in for a repeat this season. This performance was every bit as pathetic as the Wolves defeat in 2004 January, against a team we should have beaten easily. It's not a knee-jerk reaction: it simply looks like that we won't get away with the lack of significant strengthening. As we've suspected ever since Ronaldo departed.

And before I finish this, one more thing. Burnley deserves credit and they deserve the three point. They scored a wonderful goal, defended brilliantly and their keeper Brian Jensen made a magnificent save from the penalty. Well done to them; shame on us.

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

Date:Wednesday August 19 2009
Time: 11:04PM


Are you all sure this isn't a bad knee-jerk reaction to just 2 games?
19/08/2009 23:17:00
Even as an Arsenal supporter, the comment above makes me laugh. He must have forgot the past three years....
19/08/2009 23:29:00
You guys historically start slow,so may be you should wait for about 10 games to be over before you start your pessimism. You are right about your midfield being old and light weight
19/08/2009 23:57:00
Yeah,sack Ferguson,gut the squad,hahaha.
20/08/2009 00:54:00
I don't mind that Giggs and Scholes are in the squad, but its annoying that everyone bar Fergie can see they should not be relied upon. We don't yet have the right balance in midfield. Park, Scholes and Giggs should not get near the team without injuries. Its annoying to keep talking about hargreaves, but his abilities perfectly complement all of our other midfielders. He has the quality on the ball that fletcher lacks, he has the pace and the determination that carrick lacks and he has the positional sense and consistency that Anderson lacks. The only way I can see us making up for his absence is to play all three together somehow. I think at the moment our best bet is to play 4-2-3-1 with carrick, fletcher, anderson, rooney, valencia and berba with Nani and owen off the bench to change things up.
20/08/2009 00:56:00
I say not to get all worked up yet. Its 2 games. Although based on United's performance, they really lacked the penitration in to the penalty area that Ronaldo brought to the team. I agree with the fact that United should have made a midfield signing. Maybe it was a game for Gibson to play in? Like you said before though Zae, this is more then likely a "reformat" year.
20/08/2009 03:47:00
Although coming from a Chelsea fan. you can never write off United. They always start off slow and speed up especially in mid season till the end. But i would just like to say that I remember at least 4-5 games like the ones last night. you guys go 1 down in a game. And you know who it was that gave that extra magic, threat, and a little luck that put you guys up or brought that extra spark to come back. Yup you said it Ronaldo and Tevez.
20/08/2009 05:51:00
but really. you got to admit that was a cracker of a goal scored. and no keeper could have saved that
20/08/2009 05:54:00
ronaldo, tevez, for valencia and owen {who} thats the prob...
20/08/2009 07:00:00
The team that was on show just did not have any pace,thats why its so important to play valencia and nani and atleast put tosic on the bench.Playing park and giggs on the flanks was risky and it was proved in the end.
Antriksh (abmtd)
20/08/2009 07:16:00
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