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Fergie's Blunders Cost Dearly Against Villa

Fergie's Blunders Cost Dearly Against Villa

It was one of those days, I'm tempted to say: United lost 1-0 to Villa in a game where the damn ball just wouldn't go in, despite our best efforts. However, I cannot help but feel that we were handicapped by the blunders of our own manager.

First and foremost: fielding a Carrick-Anderson central midfield pair is very risky against any team. Carrick's positioning and anticipation is excellent but his lack of pace and aggressivity prevents him from being a really good ball-winning midfielder. So our effectiveness in retrieving the ball rests on Anderson: if he's got a good day the midfield is working, if he's off his game then we're chasing shadows when the opposition has the ball.

And Anderson had an off game yesterday, no doubt. He was ineffectual and that meant the gap between midfield and attack was way too wide, especially in the second half when Villa did a great job of packing the midfield and not letting anything go. Carrick wasn't bad but he would have been a lot better with Fletcher alongside him and considering how woefully Darren did at right-back, Ritchie de Laet could not have been any worse.

Then there was the withdrawal of Giggs. The old man, admittedly, had a horrible first half by his own standards as nothing he tried came off but at least he stretched the defence with his runs, with his passing, he gave them some work which allowed Rooney to excel up front. To replace him with Owen was madness: Owen is good when we are A) looking to hit the opposition on the break or B) in absolutely total control, when there's a relentless pressure on the defence. But Villa kept us at arm's length for most of the second half, precisely because Owen's introduction totally screwed up the shape of the team.

It was somewhat rectified by the introduction of Berbatov and then Gibson but by then Rooney's efficiency was eroded by frustration (a mental weakness, yes) which was characterised by a very sluggish, overhit pass when he could have put Berbatov through on goal. By then he was playing on the left - but he always cut inside and drifted towards the middle which deprived the team of any width we had.

It would have been better to make two substitutions at the break: Obertan for Park, Berbatov for Giggs. That would have given us a really good attacking four and we might have got something. Another possibility would have been to send on De Laet for Park, move Giggs to the left, and Fletcher to the midfield to dominate Villa in that department with the Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson trio which played a massive part in outplaying Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Fergie did neither and thus we never looked like getting a goal in the second half - and this after a first 45 minutes when we defended horribly but carved Villa open time and again only to miss every single chance that came our way. And it would not be fair on Fergie if, as a conclusion, we didn't admit that luck played a huge part because despite all the tactical blunders, we could have won this game. We certainly had enough chances - but it was one of those days. Congratulations to Villa while we're left rueing a golden opportunity to close the gap on floundering Chelsea... it seems it's simply not gonna be our season.

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

Date:Sunday December 13 2009
Time: 7:42PM


You didnt have that many chances and We (villa) were always dangerous on the counter. Give villa some credit
13/12/2009 20:21:00
Can't judge the rest of the season on this on game you forget that Chelsea will soon be missing two of the their best key players: Drogba and Essien, not only that but there's still quiet a bit of the season.
One United 23
13/12/2009 20:39:00
villa completely deserved the win they defended well and took their chances unlike united so good on them
14/12/2009 04:31:00
nice to read khoder, think it is crucial as a fan, player or manager to show some grace in defeat. It isn't as if we didn't wait a long long time for it either!!!!!!!!!
The Fear
14/12/2009 09:31:00
The Fear, Did you actually wait a long time to win at OT? I mean were you alive the last time it happened I certainly wasn't! If Martin O Neill can get Leicester to win here then it was always going to happen with the best Villa side I've seen since the start of the Premier League. We had a good run against you it was bound to end sooner or later just wish we weren't so negative. Fair play to Villa and for once we could hear your fans ;-)
14/12/2009 10:26:00
Don't be too down hearted guys, we smashed Liverpools 30+ unbeaten run at home, we smashed your 30+ unbeaten run at home who says we can't beat Chelsea at their ground we have already beaten Chelsea at Villa Park this season. We are normally very good against Chelsea so you never know we might just help you guys out in the future.
Villa 4 Ever
14/12/2009 13:38:00
Haha NotoriousRedDevil. I have to say, Man United have the quietest home support in the premiership, especially considering the numbers there! The away fans have always made more noise than the United fans in the 7 or 8 times I've visited OT. Utd away fans are usually good though.
14/12/2009 14:13:00
To be fair, with Villas form we were always gonna struggle. As we're not even half way through the season yet, I dont see where all the pessimism about are title chances is coming from. I don't think chelsea will struggle all that much during the African cup, as their fixtures arent that bad. However, all the top teams will drop points before the end and we have just as much chance as everyone else.
15/12/2009 21:34:00
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