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Wounded United Vent Their Anger On Wigan

Well, Fergie did get the response he demanded after the pathetic defeat at Burnley: United, clearly fired up by that performance and the probable dressing down they received afterwards, thrashed Wigan at the JJB.

However, before I start praising everyone - which I will do - the mistakes, the problems must be pointed out, for it's a perfect result but not the perfect performance. United did not do everything right from start to finish and the final score is distinctly flattering.

Once again, we were not compact enough in midfield. It's my pet mania, yes, but I believe that central midfield's the most important part of any team - look how hard a mediocre Liverpool team pushed us, just because of their midfield axis which was annoyingly solid and compact. Well, we are short in this area and Paul Scholes once again showed that if United are to dominate the midfield he must not be in the team.

There was also the profligacy of the first half. We missed easy chances, we made too many bad decisions in front of goal and there wasn't enough movement in attack, we were way too static. These are, unfortunately, problems which keep coming back to haunt us and unfortunately it's because of the players' quality.

But bemoaning the lack of quality after a 5-0 win would be churlish so I won't do that. Still, it must be made clear that we didn't become world beaters just three days after a disastrous result. No. But goals change games and we scored two in quick succession while Wigan could have equalised in between. We were fortunate, we were granted the luck we had been denied at Burnley.

I'd also add that the opposition played a more open, attacking game which obviously suited us. And Fergie's team selection was miles, miles better and that was vital.

First, the selection of Darren Fletcher. Until Hargreaves isn't back, he'll simply have to play every game in my opinion. He gives stability and shape to the midfield, without him opponents just glide past that area of the pitch. He was great today, breaking up attacks regularly, harassing opponents, distributing the ball efficiently - and he deserves a lot of praise for the latter as it's one of his weaknesses, actually.

Secondly, the inclusion of Dimitar Berbatov. For me, the Bulgarian justified Fergie's faith in him so far this season: he was very good against Birmingham and he changed our football at Burnley, we became infinitely more dangerous once he was on the pitch. At Wigan, he was at the heart of our best moves, linking well with Rooney and even with Valencia and Nani. His goal was a magnificent piece of marksmanship, in a difficult situation - that's what we expect of him.

Antonio Valencia, omitted from the starting eleven at Burnley, was back and had a really good game. He does a lot of defensive work and he's courageous and skilful enough to take on defenders and beat them, to dribble past them. He also demonstrated that he's a great crosser of the ball, finding Rooney's head with a pinpoint effort, thus contributing to the opening of the floodgates.

Nani, another player who wasn't there in the starting XI at Burnley - also had a good game, assisting and scoring one. He was more direct, did not dribble when a pass would have been a better choice and his crosses were mostly accurate. His pass to Michael Owen before the fourth goal was satisfyingly precise, well-timed and penetrating - he also had the patience to wait for the right moment.

Rooney was lucky and lethal but perfectly deserved his brace; Owen might pick up some much-needed confidence after a difficult but excellently executed finish, even though it was hardly a crucial goal. Defence was relatively solid although as I had indicated Wigan could have scored a couple of goals at least. But another big positive was the performance of Ben Foster who thwarted them repeatedly, not only by pulling off excellent saves but by rushing out with perfect timing and catching crosses with confidence and authority.

And we were ruthless in the second half which is a pleasant rarity for United. We did not let Wigan off the hook, we finished them off, albeit with the aid of luck, when we had the chance. That is the biggest positive of the afternoon, considering how the last two games panned out.

Now only a little consistency required: scoring five goals is impressive any time but if we score one goal in the next two games then today's good work will matter little...

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 22 2009

Time: 6:48PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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hopefully more good things from Nani this season.
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22/08/2009 18:59:00

Well,its only going to get better if we just keep a settled team,and not follow rafa's rotation policy,then yes we can surely go places.A settled team will generate more understanding among the players,they will surely have a lot more confidence which will be reflected in their performances and whatever happens I hope we never leave out valencia,nani and fletcher as without them there is hardly any pace and steel.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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22/08/2009 19:24:00

I'm not saying that we shouldn't give the promising youngsters that we have a chance but what we cannot do is change the whole midfield and I completely agree with Zae,infact I would like to add that the whole midfield area is important and not only the central area of the midfield.Yes one or two changes is understandable but to change the whole midfield is always a huge risk.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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22/08/2009 19:34:00

The only worry right now is anderson's situation.I guess he will have to be very patient as far as his first team starts r concerned.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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22/08/2009 19:40:00

I still think anderson could partner fletcher. Anderson is young and hasn't yet learned when to play the hollywood pass and when to keep it simple. I believe he has the ability to spray the ball around just as well as carrick, but he doesn't have the same composure or decision making as carrick. As long as he remains inconsistent, he won't be able to claim a starting spot in the middle. However, its a catch 22 as I suspect that only the knowledge that he was going to get a run in the team would calm him down and stop him trying to do everything at once. That will only happen if carrick, scholes and giggs get injured.
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22/08/2009 22:21:00

okay like i had posted before... valencia is really really creativity only the one move he has he did over and over again and more often than not it didn't work as they were prepared for of the few times he got away though he did get the ball to rooney's head so he is a good crosser of the ball just needs to be inventive and have more penetration i thought berba and rooney are still not linking many time we saw berba running one place and scholes not giving him the pass he needs, or rooney trying to go one way and not linking with berba(i thought a year of playing together would fix that...i dunno) nani for me could be a big big player for us....though he looks all to isolated on the left i feel he doesn't get the ball enough....most of our attack came down the right....and when he got the ball on the left there was no evra overlapping as they did with ronaldo not sure why..... central midfield needs sorting out for sure....i liked Gibson when he came on, though he needs to learn when to shoot not just shoot at every opportunity... that was the criticism
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22/08/2009 22:26:00

the positives are when rooney and berba are actually in link they score some good good goals..... another positive for me is the look of desperation on owen's face...i truely believe he could become really really good for us.. foster looked solid is another plus hopefully in the next few matches the positives outweigh the negatives....but either way we will cheer the boys on even if frustrated at times...
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22/08/2009 22:28:00

Good game, I saw it. Bad first half, but Rooney was the difference.
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23/08/2009 09:37:00

Too bad (for you) that Vidic showed his anger too literally :) oh well, we will see what the FA says about it....really bad tv pictures.
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24/08/2009 09:39:00

Next couple of games will be a big, big test. 4 points from those 2 games and we should be in it for the long-run... 2 or 3 and we can still challenge... just the one (or dare I say it, none) and I'm sorry but even this early in the season, we'd only be playing for 3rd place (or 2nd at a push). 3 defeats in 5 games would not be good enough to challenge for the title even if this time last season, we had 5 points from the opening 4 games, so we're ahead after three and we know what happened then, so all is not lost. Basically, we can't afford to lose to Arsenal though.
Man utd champions
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24/08/2009 09:52:00

Vent their anger ? !!! all you achieved on Saturday was beating a mickey mouse club...Man Utds midfield is pathetic - valencia ,carrick, fletcher, a joke...had you of been playing a top 6 club you would have struggled like you did against Burnly...but apparently you United fans suddenly thing youre good again just because you beat a crap team.... hello ?? !!!! ....your still rubbish.. relying on a scraps from Liverpool`s waste bucket (Owen) to spearhead your entire title challenge....hehe
I Bling Red
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24/08/2009 15:44:00

well I am glad you had the first laugh....since i get the last lot had a pathetic performance against the villa.....embarrassing defeat at home.... 2defeats already ..not bad... oh btw your midfield is soo much was nice o see lucas score....oh wait that was an own goal.... before you come here and criticize take a look at your team
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24/08/2009 23:04:00


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