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United Were Cruel And Cold-Blooded

I don't want to sound patronizing but even I felt sorry for Portsmouth while enjoying our third 5-0 win of the season. I mean just how unlucky a team can get?

Pompey came here to defend and though it looked like a good opportunity to rest a few players ahead of the demanding fixture at Villa, Sir Alex opted for a full-strength side: Nani and Valencia flanking Fletcher and Carrick in midfield with Rooney and Berbatov up front.

United were well on top throughout the game of course, dominating possession and territory but it has to be acknowledged that Portsmouth defended well enough for long periods and they could have taken the lead twice in the first half, with Jonny Evans clearing from the goalline on one occasion.

But they eventually crumbled at the other end under constant pressure: it was that man Wayne Rooney who headed in Fletcher's pinpoint cross from close range. Right before half time United doubled their lead as Nani's attempt of a cutback deflected into the net off Vanden Borre.

Pompey looked totally deflated in the second half after these quick hits and United comfortably bossed the game. But you had to feel sorry for them: we missed some real howlers - Berbatov, Valencia - and perhaps it would have been easier for them if we had scored those, as opposed to finding the back of the net via wicked deflections, as Carrick did on 59 minutes.

And it got worse: after Berbatov scored a classy goal Pompey went ahead and actually put the ball in their own net yet again! This time Evra's looping cross was turned in by Wilson.

By that time Fergie substituted Rooney, Fletcher and Berbatov, introducing Diouf, Owen and Gibson. It mattered little: we were stroking the ball around comfortably and looked to create chances whenever there was a lapse in concentration on the Pompey defenders' part. It was all cruel and cold-blooded: Portsmouth looked every bit a side haunted by off-field problems and bereft of confidence and the goals we scored were typical of their season but United were in no mood to let them off the hook out of compassion.

Of course goal difference might actually be important: ours is now three better than Chelsea's which means that a draw at Stamford Bridge tomorrow would keep United top at the expense of the Blues. So I'll be an enthusiastic Arsenal fan for tomorrow though I can't really see them getting anything at Chelsea, not after the horror show they produced against us in their own backyard. But hope springs eternal and it would be brilliant as well as unexpected to actually lead the pack going into the last third of the season.

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 6 2010

Time: 9:40PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I agree with you, from the first half I felt real bad for pompey, and I don't know if they play like they did today all the time, but surely there is no hope for them to stay up this season. you didnt mention the howler by biop...but its okay he did well to give himself into that position.. but yeah it was a good night, we didn't get out of first gear at all
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06/02/2010 21:51:00

We were just too good for them - 3 OGs though - very unlucky....
Report Abuse
06/02/2010 22:12:00

It was nice to add to our goal difference and we're finally starting to play as team now that we have a back four who've played a few games together. I think playing Nani on the left causes him to cut onto his right to often - this slows his game down, allows him time to think and then makes him screw up. On the right - he can just put a cross in without the needless messing about. I'd really like to see carrick, fletcher and Valencia in the middle against villa. It was also interesting to see how quickly diouf got into the game. He missed that shot quite badly, but you can see he is a completely different type of forward to what we have. His pace, strength and height will cause teams problems - even if he doesnt always have the technique to punish them clinically. Hopefully, he'll continue to develop his game and turn into a useful player for us.
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06/02/2010 23:48:00

Diouf is hungry for games and goals - he will be a decent striker next season, but I would like to see Macheda back in the first team banging them in
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07/02/2010 01:22:00

This was i think the third time that Evra caused an opposition player to score an own goal. I feel sorry for pompey as well, when i think about how good they were just a few seasons ago.
Report Abuse
07/02/2010 04:29:00

The bannerline and first words seems a bit misleading since the first three decent chances went to Pompey, and they did score more goals than you. Still yer catching up on chelski now.
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07/02/2010 12:43:00

Dont feel sorry for them! If they allowed themselves to get overwhelmed they deserved it.Be grateful smaller teams respect & fear man u thus getting walked all over.When it comes to us their hate causes them to throw respect out the window & dig into us.They gave us hell in our 2-1 win.They couldve mustered the same if they'd shown the same aggression.admit it,there's no other team you would love to shove it up than chelsea,its the same for other teams.How can wigan be thrashed by you 5-0 then beat us 3-1.Its all about desire...
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07/02/2010 13:53:00

I feel sorry for them as they are in financial dire straits - how a premiership club can get in this position is worrying to say the least!
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08/02/2010 21:47:00


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