Date:Tuesday May 2 2006
MAN UTD: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Brown, Silvestre,Park (Ronaldo 56), O'Shea, Giggs, Evra (Richardson 56),Saha (Rossi 81), van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: Howard, Vidic.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Jones, Parnaby, Riggott, Bates,Queudrue (Taylor 64), Morrison (Christie 72), Cattermole,Boateng, Rochemback, Downing, Maccarone (Parlour 80).
Subs Not Used: Wheater, Knight.
With Middlesbrough having played 26 cup ties this season, and the biggest still to come, perhaps they were seen as 'easy meat' ... just like relegated Sunderland. But for whatever reason, United couldn't get a goal - at Old Trafford - against either!
This was stark evidence of exactly what Wayne Rooney means to this club. Sir Alex has lost Rooney for only two games, not, as seems possible, an entire tournament ... like Sven-Goran Eriksson.
But, when the chips are down, you would at least expect Ruud van Nistelrooy to score from 12 yards. His missed penalty ensured United failed miserably to get the win they needed to tie up an automatic place in next season's Champions League group stage. And Sir Alex was NOT a happy man.
A victory on Sunday in Alan Curbishley's last game as Charlton boss is now required to stave off the renewed threat of Liverpool, who visit Portsmouth on the final day.
Although England manager-elect Steve McClaren can take yet more plaudits for gaining another decent result in a succession of mini-triumphs against his old club, Sir Alex left Old Trafford fuming.
Louis Saha and Van Nistelrooy, partnered together rather than going head-to-head, never looked like breaking down a youthful Boro defence until Lee Cattermole's brainstorm provided Van Nistelrooy with the spot-kick opportunity he wasted.
Without the assurance of Rooney by his side, Saha looked half the player he appeared during United's recent nine-match winning sequence. All the fluidity had gone, as had the forcefulness in his play.
In fairness, Van Nistelrooy has more reason to look sluggish, having spent so much time on the bench recently. But the Dutchman's first touch was poor and on a couple of occasions he was caught on his heels when crosses fizzed into the Boro box, notably when Matthew Bates failed to make contact with Park Ji-sung's driven ball across the six-yard area.
Park was the one man exempt from criticism, save for the fact he kept spoiling the good work his industry generated by continually letting himself down at the vital moment.
With Patrice Evra mystifyingly preferred to Cristiano Ronaldo on the left wing - and doing little to justify why - all United's attacks came down the right, with Gary Neville gamely overlapping at every opportunity.
Fabio Rochemback brought by far the best save of the opening period from Edwin van der Sar, who kept out the Brazilian's shot with an excellent low stop.
It took 10 minutes of the second half - and Ronaldo's introduction - for United to find their spark.
The Portugal winger had already sent a couple of long-range efforts dipping wide when Cattermole inexplicably stuck up both hands to prevent Ronaldo reaching a Giggs corner.
Normally so reliable from the spot, on this occasion, Van Nistelrooy's shooting boots failed him as Jones turned his effort away.
A poor result ... and in all honesty a poor game.
Date:Tuesday May 2 2006
Centre Back Slipping Away? (Monday November 24 2014)
United Linked to Hull Defender (Monday November 24 2014)
United Line-Up Keeper Swap deal? (Sunday November 23 2014)
Should United Make an Exception? (Sunday November 23 2014)
Midfield Swap Being Championed! (Sunday November 23 2014)
Rooney`s Views on Arsenal Win (Sunday November 23 2014)
Shaw Added to Lengthy Injury List (Sunday November 23 2014)
Van Gaal Delighted at Arsenal Win (Sunday November 23 2014)
Stats: Arsenal v Manchester United (Saturday November 22 2014)
Arsenal v United - Team Sheets (Saturday November 22 2014)
|Man Utd||1||-||0||Crystal Palace|
|Man City||1||-||0||Man Utd|
|3. Man City||12||7||3||2||11||24|
|4. Man Utd||12||5||4||3||4||19|
|6. West Ham||12||5||3||4||4||18|
|Chelsea Linked to Young Italian Striker
» Chelsea : 24/11/2014 17:38:00
|Diame Now An Injury Concern
» Hull City : 24/11/2014 17:35:00
|Bruce - Disappointing Red Changed The Game
» Hull City : 24/11/2014 17:32:00
|Centre Back Slipping Away?
» Man Utd : 24/11/2014 17:32:00
|United Linked to Hull Defender
» Man Utd : 24/11/2014 17:26:00