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United Were Meek But The Ref Decided The Game

Predictably (at least I have predicted) United lost at Liverpool. However, the champions weren't undone by a superior fighting spirit but by a very, very generous referee, called Andre Marriner.

By and large, Liverpool were the better team. The basis of their control was simple: the nonstop hassling and harassing done by all of their players but particularly by Lucas and Mascherano, the two central midfielders who were allowed to get away with just about everything by Marriner. Several niggly and some ugly fouls weren't enough to get at least a yellow card for Lucas and Mascherano should never have been on the pitch by the time he got himself sent off for an ugly and unnecessary lunge at Van der Sar.

So, with United punished whenever trying to use a little force themselves they had difficulties in getting the ball back while Liverpool, trusting to the leniency of the referee set about to unsettle us physically which is all too easy to do with a midfield containing Giggs, Scholes and Carrick (it is no coincidence that Valencia was our best player - he refused to be sidetracked by their dirtiness).

So, Marriner generally leaned towards Liverpool which was very, very difficult to overcome. Yet United could and should have taken the lead from the penalty spot when Jamie Carragher slid on Carrick recklessly, without any care for his opponent. Yes, he got the ball - and everything else as well, risking an ankle break for Carrick.

The media, of course, won't pick up on this as it was committed by courageous Carragher and he 'got the ball'. Does not really matter chaps: rules state that if a player attemts to tackle an opponent in a manner that is careless or reckless a direct free-kick must be awarded - inside the penalty area it's a penalty, no doubt. But Marriner did not give that.

A quick yellow card for Evra's first, not serious foul meant he had to be very, very careful and that took some of the edge off his game - well done Mr. Marriner again. They riled even Berbatov with countless fouls that went unpunished and he also got a yellow after he had been kicked and pulled back by Mascherano and Insua respectively. Strange refereeing.

So while United's overall performance was disappointing, the mitigating circumstances (i.e. the referee) mean we actually held our own rather well. We even created a few chances (Rooney's header and Valencia's attempt rattling off the bar) which is difficult to do when the opposition is allowed to stop you by whatever means occur to them.

Jamie Carragher who should have been on a yellow after his reckless challenge on Carrick, committed another serious offence near the end of 90 minutes: he brought down Owen who would have been clear on goal otherwise. Marriner, for reasons best known to himself, failed to send him off, presenting him only with a yellow card. Was it in any way different than Vidic's foul against Gerrard at Old Trafford in March? No but Carragher survived.

Vidic, on the other hand, got his marching orders again. His second booking was justified but the first - that was for a fair tackle. Why he was booked is beyond comprehension.

With all these things going Liverpool's way it would have been a big surprise had they not won the game but they did, with an admittedly fine goal by Torres breaking the dreadlock. United responded well but the crossbar and the referee prevented us from equalising. The performance prompted Fergie to say Liverpool deserved to win but he's as wrong as he was in March when he suggested United were the better team for most of the game.

Liverpool did not deserve to win this because it was not a level playing field. They could slide in recklessly without fear of punishment, their destroyers in central midfield could commit series of 'tactical' fouls without earning cards (Mascherano got his first for his third bookable offence). We have to record this because the next few days will be all about a Liverpool love-in.

Of course it's no use complaining about the referee: it must be expected at Anfield as Liverpool are always strongly favoured there. What we can control is our own aggression and response and once again, we were too meek. We definitely missed the bite of Fletcher and of course Hargreaves who performed so well at Anfield in December 2007. With them, we might have got a result even against Marriner. Without them, it was an uphill struggle against Liverpool and the referee.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday October 25 2009

Time: 8:49PM

Your Comments

In my opinion i think we just didn't show no drive nor looked like we wanted to win perhaps if we made ourselves more of a fuss it might have been a different result shame football doesnt deal with 'ifs' or 'would'ves'
One United 92
Cuckoooooo... Do you not think you should be gracious, look at your own team's failings and accept that the (far) better side won. But then again, you're a Man Utd fan and Man Utd have never lost a match simply because they were outclassed, have they? Keep on whinging, we love it!
Aamir
In Jeff Stelling's words it would have been referee "Andre Marriner was all at sea", but in all seriousness everybody gets them and my team have had a prat in charge for 3 of the last 4 matches.
Kevinho
Oh, do be quiet Zae (lol)
Tudor
Yes you lost, and deservedly so, but you can't blame the actions of a ref when you didn't warrant the win in the first place. City had a real poor ref today, but I'll be buggered if I am going to blame my teams failings on him. We threw away a perfectly good lead for no other reason than because we were poor. Get over it, and stop looking for others to point at, when all you need to do is look in the mirror. Pathetic.
BlueWolfie
LOL. Talk about tinted glasses.
JohnDoe
I have it on good authority that the Rags only lost today so that Rafa could keep his job. Guess we owe them a big thank you for that! ;)
fifthcolumnblue
In that case, so do we, FCB. Rafa is a brilliant, brilliant manager. There's no-one in the world who would come in and be able to cope with the Americans as well as Rafa has done. Losing him would be a disaster.
Aamir
Tongue in cheek Aamir, did you not see their article on the subject from a few days back?
fifthcolumnblue
Sad attempt Zae, I don't remember you complaining about the ref when you’re team beat city. Liverpool were the better side and your team played with no heart. $30 million on berbatov and most of his passes went to no one. Hey thanks for losing today so Rafa can keep his job, you should do it more often…O wait you have been, 3 losses in a row now ;)
Klutch
Shameless whining, Zae. You can't possibly believe this garbage. And, let me point out the copious amount of stoppage time that United always seems to get when they're chasing a win or draw. It just didn't work for them today! Show some class and admit that you were beaten. It doesn't mean they're a better team; just that they were better, today!
Teddy_KGB
For Carragher's foul on Carrick which should've been a penalty, see Fletcher's "tackle" on Arshavin. For Lucas and Mascherano's constant fouling with no bookings, see Carrick and Fletcher's at Old Trafford that day. And for an absolutely terrible, biased refeering display by Andre Marriner, see Mike Dean's at Old Trafford that day. You definitely got robbed yesterday, no question. But what goes around comes around, and it sure came around hecticly yesterday.
Patresc Vieiragas
I cant believe this article zee(or whatever u call yourself), complaining about the referee?pls can u explained to me why the match went into 97mins other than the ref waiting for utd to score? Was anyone shot during the 2nd half? Good for you cheating****s l'pool took the liberty of adding another in 'fergie time'. Yes on another day carragher would ve seen red but live with it...a taste of your own medicine, huh?
blueogre
Zae, you are dissapointing.And the fact, you dont answer the posts here makes it even worse.
German Blues Brother
CRISIS at Old Trafford, lost to Liverpool what next a slow slide down the Table
Tiny T
Outplayed on the day, simples. No one other than arrogant rags supporters will see it any other way.
bluesnozza
Who's this guy? do u anything about the game? Referee this & referee that. Go soak yaself in liquor & stop talking trash. OR go get a blo job & be relived of d pain.
curiousguy
Sorry about that, FCB. :) I can't keep up with Vital Utd's obsession with Liverpool. :)
Aamir
Either you want consistent refereeing or you don't. There's no point just whining selectively. When Vidic took out Torres in the seond half it didn't even attract a whistle, let alone the yellow card it deserved. Few refs ever have a perfect game and Manyoo must be the biggest net beneficiaries of dodgy decisions. You lost to the better team on the day. That's it.
RedShanks
I understand that the experience, intelligence and quality of giggs and scholes can be very valuable in a high pressure situation. I understand that giggs has had a good season so far. I understand that Anderson is inconsistent. I understand that scholes is one of our best passers of the ball. What I don't understand is when faced with a midfield consisting of Kuyt, Mascherano, Lucas, Aurelio and Benayoun how anyone could think giggs, scholes and carrick could do anything but watch as they run past them? Seriously its a joke to select a midfield that has zero chance of winning a tackle or closing down the ball against a team that is renowned for its drive, stamina and endeavour. I knew we'd lose as soon as I saw the midfield. Playing all three together is a guarantee that at some point either your back 4 will be exposed or the front two will be isolated. You cannot have three players with such little mobility playing in a 4-4-2. The sad thing is, we'll probably play the same midfield against chelsea where essien, ballack and lampard will run us into the ground as well.
tuscan3000
Trouble is Tuscan, I don't see how fergie can improve on that midfield with the squad he's got. Proven players who are too long in the tooth to run around for 90 minutes or unproven tyros who may or may not be able to cope with the likes of the Essiens and Mascheranos of this world. That's the reason why many of us keep harping on about how we think this is the weakest united squad for years. Not having a go, just stating the facts as I see them.
fifthcolumnblue
Just wondering what Utd fans think of Rooney not being sent off yesterday? The rules of the game state that if a player shows disrespect/dissent to the referee, he should be booked. There were several cases of Rooney doing this so why was he not sent off? Hmm...
Aamir
Fergie sounds like a broken record. His moaning about refs now transplants to fans. You make it sound like Ovrebo was match official and you just lost out on 3 clear penalties.. The fact is, United couldn't cope with unfit Torres... good sign for those whom do not support red devils. :)
emigre
referee!!!! awwww cmon, i expected you to be more creative with the excuses (since graciusly accepting defeat is never in your book). come to think of it fergies 'grass was higher' rant at least made for good copy. you guys were taken apart by a struggling side that's more worried about a uefa place now than the title. clinically ripped apart, face it! and while on the topic of ref decisions, i think i understand now. the way the refs are normally biased towards you guys, when one of them has a fair game, it seems unfair. also, if one considers the number of added minutes in all games when you guys are behind, am sure at the end of the season that'll total to a full 2 games. the 7 minutes vs citeh was really plumbing the depths of blatancy. hey well, if at all the refs were bad on you, justice has finally been done.
johnny come lately
It would be interesting to hear the opinions of some of your more regular front page posters on the Anfield loss, but they seem to be conspicuous by their absence at the moment. Anyone know where they are?
fifthcolumnblue
Fifth - If you are talking about FU, he has form for this. Went underground after the 1-4 last year only to emerge again when they won the league. And he wonders why we don't take him seriously... He spends his time on VL shouting the odds about how much better they are than us, then when the proof is there for all to see the contrary, he disappears like Berbatov in a Utd shirt. Laughable.
KB1
Veni Vidi Vidic: I came, I saw, I crapped it.
RedShanks
It's called being at work fcb don't tell me your on the dole queue like the dippers. We were crap yesterday specifically in the 2nd half if we actually tried to play football instead of playing on the counter attack then something might have happened. Easy to blame Berbatov but Rooney wasn't at the races either, I thought Vidic actually played well. Tuscans point about midfield is right, don't mind them starting but start of 2nd half one of them should have come off. Yes decisions went against us but thats football. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth that carragher wasn't sent off for exactly the same foul Vidic committed at OT last year (and they say United are the only team who get decisions for them at home) but it wouldn't have changed the game. Interesting to see more cit-eh fans on here (AGAIN) than the dippers didn't watch MOTD (for obvious reasons) pray tell how did your "title challenging team" let a 2 goal lead slip to the mighty Fulham same question for l'arsenal regarding West Ham.
NotoriousRedDevil
this article is sooooo utter RUBBISH!!!DID u c chelsea against barca??CL??SEMIFINAL??OR ur sorry team against Citeh??Seven effing minutes!!Accept they won you and stop blaming the refree,a couple of your players should have left as well(rooney)
alex6
ref decided the game - come on, that'd be a first!
Merlin
This is what another senior official said about the Carragher incident in thje Guardian,"Ferguson clearly doesn't understand the law about the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity," he said. "The fouled player has to have full control of the ball and has to be moving towards the goal but Michael Owen did not fulfil either condition." "Andre Marriner was absolutely right to award a yellow card and a direct free-kick," he added. "It would have been totally wrong for him to have sent Jamie Carragher off" You lost because you weren't good enough on the day, not because of the ref.
JohnDoe
Bull *****e. Zae, I dont know who made you a f(cking editor. What tosh! The ref sided Liverpool? Boll crap. I watched the game and was absolutely surprised by the bias you lot were getting at Anfield. Stupid fouls, always flagged by the linesman, coupled with your gross inability to create a decent chance, meant that YOU had the better playing field. And tell me, why was the 2 extra minutes, after added time played? Hah. I loved that one, which backfired so grossly, that Liverpool scored! FULL marks to Liverpool for beating you lot fair and square. You had luck in the Arsenal match, you had the ref in the Citeh match. But here, your luck and refree support ran out. Deserved defeat. And bull*****e article.
JT_daniel
And Owen's bollox. Haha...
JT_daniel
Zae - Have Utd ever deserved to lose against Liverpool? I mean even when you got diked 4-1 by them you said you were the better team. You were outfought and outplayed totally against them, even old red nose whos usually mr sour grapes even admitted this. Zae out of all the good folk on Vital Footy, there are non as bitter and twisted except maybe that pr1ck at Bolton
HuddersfieldYiddo
And sort your poll out!!!
HuddersfieldYiddo
Whats up with the poll, its outdated yes but does it affect you?
One United 92
HuddersfieldYiddo - I even ran a poll in their forums to come up with a new poll! LOL
Kevinho
 

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