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This United Side Is A Mystery

On Thursday I launched a defence of our unfairly criticised team as I felt that our performances merited the first place we currently occupy in the league. I maintain my position that so far we've been doing quite well, unexpectedly.

However, it looks like we have a penchant for disaster time and again. After a very professional display at Stoke and a good win over Wolfsburg United plunged into despair: today's game against Sunderland was as bad as they get.

Granted, we got a point in the end. But to be frank it was barely deserved: for long periods Sunderland were the better team. They did not park the bus, passed the ball well and created chances while easily holding us at arm's length. They were impressive, no doubt.

But that does not excuse our desperately poor performance. So many players were below par that it's difficult to decide where to start. First, Ben Foster had another howler, coming out to challenge Jones with the worst possible timing, costing us a goal and the momentum we had been building up. I think he and Vidic were actually fouled by Jones but that does not excuse Foster.

Vidic is also culpable for the goal even though he probably expected his keeper to be more decisive. Jonny Evans had one moment of madness late in the second half but he was otherwise flawless, Patrice Evra had a poor game but the equaliser is a credit to him and O'Shea put in a pinpoint cross to Berbatov for our first equaliser but his lack of pace and technique is a problem in these games.

Midfield. That was a complete disaster. Scholes looked blind in the 45 minutes he spent on the pitch, failing to complete the simplest passes. Fletcher was nowhere near his usual authoritative self but he had to do too much covering for Scholes. Earned himself a booking but could not stop Reid before the second goal.

Danny Welbeck failed to live up to his potential: looked ponderous and slow in thinking. And don't even get me started on Nani who was shocking. Again. No wonder we could not get a grip on midfield.

The Scholes-Anderson substitution at half time was a good one, it seemed: Anderson injected some energy and pace, we began to control the proceedings, equalised and looked like we would swamp Sunderland. But then they scored again and we fell apart. Anderson and Fletcher lost the harmony that looked like developing, Nani and Welbeck disappeared again and Rooney simply refused to do anything useful: he could not even beat a defender or create a shooting opportunity or pass the ball...

So yes, apart from Dimitar Berbatov, who scored a spectacular equaliser, was usually available and passed the ball well, it was a complete disaster. Bringing on Carrick changed nothing at all and only when, with about 7 or 8 minutes remaining, defeat began to look like a real possibility, did we start actually pressing and harassing Sunderland for the ball.

Richardson's sending off helped: bless him, he never had much brains and kicking the ball away was so incredibly silly that I actually laughed even though the situation was pretty grim. Finally we managed to exert some pressure, got the equaliser and almost snatched the winner with a late flurry but it would have been absolutely undeserved and horribly cruel on Sunderland.

Why were we so poor? I just don't know. The same Fletcher-Scholes partnership totally outpassed Stoke and Spurs yet they were horrible today. How do you know whether Scholes will be brilliant or won't be able to complete the simplest passes? Really, just how should we guess which face of the team will be on display? How is it possible that a team that's brilliant at White Hart Lane, totally batters Manchester City, puts in such a desperately poor performance against Sunderland? There is no rational explanation for today's appalling display.

We'll be in for some ride this season. We'll see a few scintillating performances, that looks certain - but these will be spiked by the occasional inexplicable disasters like today. The big fat joke is that we could have won this game, even with a display like this but for some heroic defending by Sunderland at the end. I guess it's no surprise they could throw their bodies in front of every shot though: they had a quite easy, relaxing first 90 minutes, they were well rested...

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday October 3 2009

Time: 10:00PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Lucky win at Arsenal, Lucky (no, legitimate "UUS" or "Fergietime" goal) agaisnt Citeh, lucky win at Wolfsburg, Lucky equaliser yesterday. Oh yes, your league postition presently is purely down to luck. You deserved naught yesterday, but escaped with a point. Well, guess you lot are just lucky! But hey, it's got to run out somewhere..
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 08:16:00

Lucky, very lucky - poor display by everyone.
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 10:08:00

When will the manure fans wake up and see what everyone else can? You are poor this season and are very unlikely to win anything.
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 10:17:00

You were great against us in that second half. I think games like this though is where youl miss Ronaldo - hed have scored a couple yesterday and snatched you the game.
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 14:47:00

yesterday's performance was awful considering the fact that there are seven changes brought into the team.... match fitness, it was like near 100 but the level of performance wasn't up to the expectation level..... Foster was the very indecisive not commanding in his own area... Welbeck wasn't having the game as he's use too. Rooney looks dried... both the wings were dead... Nani had a mixed game... at times he perform but largely disappointing. But it's wasn't fair to criticize him as he tried to recover from his horrible outing at Stoke... He was on d bench against Wolfsburg... It's time for him to step up to the plate... Patience should be d key for him to produce the form that he should in his first season...
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 17:05:00

Lucky? No WE MADE OUR OWN LUCK! We were the only team attacking in the second half and got what we deserved. We were admittedly poor the first half but we've score 90% of our goals this season in the second half! Just because Sunderland defended and played on the counter doesn't mean we were lucky! No I think it would've been harsh to have lost that game based on our performance in the second half!
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 18:20:00

JT - Lucky win aginst Hull at home, lucky against Porto, lucky at Stoke and lucky at Apoel. Let's just compare the standard of the teams you've been lucky against to ours. You were saying? And in any case, how were we lucky against Wolfsburg? Is that joke? Do you remember their shots on target or saves Kuzczak had to make? Lucky win against Citeh? NO, lucky that Citeh were even in the game when we hit 90 minutes!
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 18:24:00

Hows it lucky if you do it time and time again, flukes happen every now and then not everytime your losing so there goes that theory of luck. JT you're a hypocrite and fifthcoloumn you're just a sore loser as well as a wannabe.
One United 92
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 19:19:00

One U***ed 92 - is that the year you were born? The cracks are showing mate, it's only the manure fans that don't realise it.
Report Abuse
04/10/2009 23:42:00

fifthcolumnblue I do realise that we will most probably not win this year and perhaps even next year, I believe Chelsea are too much of a threat but I fail to understand how a couple of poor perfomances has lead to our undoing? Granted we lost Ronaldo but we had lost so many great players before him and still recovered, why is this time so different? The only time I may admit to an undoing of the club is when Fergie retires I can only imagine a few managers being capable of stepping out of his shadow a bringing us to the level we can and have been at.
One United 92
Report Abuse
05/10/2009 18:13:00


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