Manchester United - Script Suggests Chelsea Have Won The Title At OT
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Script Suggests Chelsea Have Won The Title At OT

During the course of every season there are pivotal moments. Sometimes they are recognized only in hindsight, on other occasions they are immediately obvious. Yesterday's United v Chelsea game at Old Trafford was one of the latter moments.

Logic suggests that United are still in with a shout at the title after the 2-1 defeat at the hands of their strongest challenger but the script of the season and the dramaturgy of football suggests they have all but won it.

I happen to believe that this defeat is comparable to that we suffered in March 1998 when Arsenal reeled us in. We surrendered the initiative on that afternoon and though we fought hard in the remainder of the season we could never recover. In theory, we can still win it - in reality, we are unlikely to do so.

I would feel otherwise if it was a scrappy, undeserved win. But unfortunately, it wasn't, even allowing for the gross incompetence of the officials who denied United a stonewall penalty and failed to spot that Didier Drogba was about a million miles offside when he scored the second goal. The truth is United would not have deserved a point anyway because we weren't good enough.

We looked jaded, we were overrun in midfield, especially in the first 25 minutes when it looked like it could be a real thrashing - kudos to Rio Ferdinand who was excellent in holding the defence together and repelling Chelsea's constant attacking menace. When they deservedly went ahead, you could see that we would struggle to muster any kind of response and so it proved.

Berbatov looked uncomfortable playing as a lone striker and the pitiful support he received from midfield made things even worse. We could never really get a foothold on the game, we had only a brief period between the 50th and 70th minute when we dominated and pumped crosses into the box and looked capable of scoring the equaliser. In the last 20 minutes, though, even this little momentum has disappeared as tiredness and lack of confidence took their toll.

So, even with the incredible mistakes of the officials, this can't be compared to the Stamford Bridge game even though Fergie's quite right in saying that in both games against Chelsea we've been royally screwed by the officials. But in November we were the better team and would have deserved the win - this time we were vastly inferior to a disciplined, organised, fresh Chelsea team.

In theory, they could drop points, yes. But their imperious performance at Old Trafford showed supreme confidence which should net them maximum points at the two tricky games they have left: Liverpool and Tottenham away. As for the home games, they are up against Stoke, Bolton and Wigan. Surely they just have to turn up for these games and get the points...

So, congratulations Chelsea. You are worthy winners of the game and if you keep your cool in the last 5 games you'll be worthy champions, too. If not... but that is so unlikely, I won't even go there now. As for us: it's been an unexpectedly good season, we put up a real fight for the title and we still have a chance of reaching the semi-final of the European Cup. Bayern won't have the advantage of being fresh, they'll be just as tired as we are after playing 60 minutes with 10 men at Schalke - we have a chance of going through. Bring them on!

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

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday April 4 2010

Time: 6:25PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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04/04/2010 18:40:00

You weren't "royally screwed" by the officials yesterday. Maybe Park should have had a penalty, and maybe Drogba was a couple of yards off, but you're obviously forgetting that the ref robbed us for a clear-cut penalty when Neville completely trashed Anelka in the box, and the fact that Macheda used his arm to score. 2-2 in the ref-bloopers department as far as I'm concerned.
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04/04/2010 18:44:00

I am still not convinced the title has been wrapped up! This will go down to the last game or two. I hope Berba puts in a better performance in Europe, god knows we need a goal scorer! And I am not sure Neville against Ribery/Robben is something any United fan wants to see, not three big games at his age!
Report Abuse
04/04/2010 18:52:00

I wish it could be as easy as it sounds.
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04/04/2010 19:23:00

Sad thing to accept. We got some good youth coming up unlike our rivals(Except Arsenal Of course). If Hargo comes back as the same person, and we buy a good central mid and left wing we are in good shape for next season. Still something tells me Its not over till its over. Anfield s a hard place. Lets see if our worst enemies can do us a favour and we will return them the favour by winning at wastelands.
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04/04/2010 22:18:00

Our midfielders are tired, Rooney will need a little time to return to form and can expect still more baffling team selections from Fergie. So I think that it won't matter a lot what happens at Anfield - we have hellish fixtures coming up and I can see us dropping points at least twice.
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04/04/2010 22:54:00

Good article, although Chelsea won, and yes I totally agree the ref's dicisions were useless, I mean awful, Man Utd looked past it. Fergie relied on his old guard, and made chelsea's quite old itself look quite sprightly. So we controlled long parts of the game with no pressure to force us into mistakes. I felt that if it was not Man Utd we were playing we could of won very easy. Rooney is a fine player, one I pray is fully fit for the world cup, but he will never be able to make up for Ronaldo and Tevez, 2 players that helped u beat us to the league and champs league. As 2 teams based on money, and yes you have always bought the best till we came along, we need to look into the future and realise this way of football is not right, bring back the old times, passion crowds and fun, I did loved winning, I dont enjoy the event that much.
Kick my ball
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05/04/2010 00:56:00

Well, i agree about buying the best, but we do have quite a few youngsters who have been racking up appearances in the last two three seasons, I am not too worried about our future at all.In fact, I can't wait for some our youngsters to start!
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05/04/2010 05:12:00

I don't think Drogba was offside, he came at the last minute and the linesman was quite correct. We have to be magnanimous in defeat and not blame the officials.
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05/04/2010 11:18:00

It is completely excepted by every person who has eyes that Drogba was offside. But like Zae said, it made no difference in terms of what we deserved from the game.
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05/04/2010 17:27:00

tuscan3000 - are you sure about the offside - surely if it was clear cut the linesman would have given it and these commentators will say anything to create a sensational issue.
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05/04/2010 17:51:00

Wswully3 - it was offside, but linesman didnt give it, so goal stands....
I hate Drogba, I would rather have anyone score agasint us other than him or Terry....
Must admit Coles goal was fantastic, might see him putting them in for us next season lol
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05/04/2010 22:49:00

NW - hopefully Carlos Tevez will oblige your wish on April 17th. Repeatedly ;)
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05/04/2010 23:11:00

I shall support Man Utd for their 90 minutes against Bayern but only because it'll distract you guys from the EPL.
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06/04/2010 05:25:00

Why has everybody written us off? Chelsea, like us, still have 2 very difficult matches in Liverpool and Tottenham. We have city and Tottenham. What i'm trying to say is that, they still have very tricky fixtures. Why put our guns down? A win on Bayern could galvanize us.
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06/04/2010 08:37:00

That's about as gracious a piece as one could expect in the circumstances, i.e. huge. Yeah, there is some selective blindness as regards the officials (Mike Dean more or less cancelled out his blunders by making errors for both sides), but it's big of you to concede that that doesn't (or shouldn't) alter the result, which was clear. Extremely sporting. Good for you.
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06/04/2010 10:04:00

Well I'm still not sure it was offside, the camera angle was not exactly in line and the experienced linesman was. We always make a scape goat of the officials.
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06/04/2010 11:18:00

good to see it going down to the wire, makes it more interesting. Same as the battle for 4th (which in the bigger picture I hate, used to be 3rd loser!) which still has plenty of twists and turns.
The Fear
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06/04/2010 11:29:00

Fair article Zae but if either of us slip up the kids will have it in the bag,like they proved,its a long way from being over.Share the same sentiments with Seabourch,hope you beat munich.
Report Abuse
06/04/2010 14:19:00

Fifth - Tevez aint gonna score against us, and that comment I made I meant Chelski scum playing in the match
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07/04/2010 21:44:00


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