Vital Football

Latest Manchester United News

The Dreaded 'R' Word

The Dreaded 'R' Word

Manchester United are forced to play another game as they failed to beat an aggressive Middlesbrough team at the Riverside.

I'm sure Fergie and Gareth Southgate are unhappy that the game between United and a European XI had been arrenged for this week because it means Middlesbrough and United will have a replay on March 19 - 2 days after the teams' league games.

The Reds will have important fixtures in the Premiership and prepare to face Roma in the Champions League so I'm sure that on thing Fergie wanted to avoid above all was a replay. He fielded his strongest team but for some unknown reason he once again deployed Rooney on the wing and Giggs in the middle, off the solitary striker, Larsson. This system proved to be ineffective several times in the past but yesterday the lads made the most of it.

Larsson, Rooney and Giggs swapped positions repeatedly and Boro failed to cope with our attacking play for much of the first half. Rooney's goal was excellent and Giggs hit the post. Near the end of the first 45 minutes we learned that the FA had introduced a new role: any Manchester United player who is fouled will receive a yellow card. Rob Styles did not hesitate to apply this strange rule to Larsson, much to the striker's dismay.

Sir Alex's disgust must have been even more serious when thanks to some glorious misunderstanding between Kuszczak and Ferdinand, Boro equalised at the end and when they scored another goal due to our ridiculous defending at the start of the second half, United were suddenly struggling despite being the better team for 40 minutes. Styles once again took centre stage when he failed to award a penalty for a push on Rooney but to be honest, United looked like as if they had lost the plot and would not score until tomorrow morning. Boro were defending like demons and their agreesive style caused us serious problems. Thankfully, one of their most impressive performers came to our rescue.

I believe Boateng should have headed that ball away; I simply cannot understand why he decided to handle it. It was a clear handball so not even Styles could have denied us the penalty which Ronaldo coolly converted.

The rest of the second half was played at great speed but as the minutes ticked away it became increasingly obvious that our players would settle for a replay. Boro could not revert to attack though they had a last go at us at the final minutes but it ended as a draw and neither side can have complaints about that.

We have to take the positives: O'Shea played very well, just as Carrick and I was satisfied with Giggs, too. Rooney did not like life on the wing but managed to score a delightful goal. Cristiano Ronaldo was a bit quiet and I would have expected more from Larsson in his swansong. Tomasz Kuszczak showed he has talent in abundance but his confidence and aerial ability must be improved. Let's hope Edwin's injury is not serious...

Gaby Heinze was often exposed in defense but his attacking work can't be criticised while Ferdinand and Vidic played one of their worst games of the season. Both picked up knocks and are unlikely to feature against the European XI on Tuesday. Paul Scholes will play and the replay means he will miss only one league game, against Bolton, due to his three-match ban.

Should we be happy about the draw? Well, we obviously can't win every game and we won't win 15 matches in a row. If we accept this, then I must say the draw is good: we are still in the FA Cup and the inevitable stumbling did not occur in a league game. The Premiership is the priority and the most important is not to drop points in that competition. Everything else is secondary.


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

Writer:Zae
Date:Sunday March 11 2007
Time: 9:56AM

Comments

0
The price of success Im afraid, you should have had another replay against the Villa.
col8
13/03/2007 05:49:00
0
At least it'll be at Old Trafford. Boro caused us plenty of problems recently, no matter where the game had been played but I'm always more relaxed when we play at home.
midlothian99
13/03/2007 10:57:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Manchester United Articles

United Win EFL Cup Final - Fascinating Facts

Some intriguing facts for you to enjoy!

Red Card Winners - Whose Better With Ten Men

Ever wondered which team tend to have the best response to going down to ten men?

Herrera In Team Of The Tournament (27/2/17)

Manchester United are represented in the latest League Cup Team of the Tournament that was selected ahead of Sunday's show piece Final.

Ibrahimovic In Team Of The Week (27/2/17)

Manchester United are represented in the latest Premier League team of the week that has been selected by BBC pundit Garth Crooks.

Archived Vital United Articles

Vital United articles from

Site Journalists

Red Boy
Editor email
Profile
Charlie Bacchus
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

MOTM in EFL Cup Final?
Suggested By: Red Boy
De Gea9%
Valencia0%
Smalling0%
Bailly0%
Rojo0%
Herrera15%
Pogba2%
Lingard0%
Mata2%
Ibrahimovic65%
Martial7%
Rashford0%
Carrick0%
Felllaini0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 26 20 3 3 63 36
2 Spurs 26 15 8 3 53 32
3 Man City 25 16 4 5 52 22
4 Arsenal 25 15 5 5 50 26
5 Liverpool 25 14 7 4 49 24
6 Man Utd 25 13 9 3 48 17
7 Everton 26 12 8 6 44 15
8 WBA 26 11 7 8 40 4
9 West Ham 26 9 6 11 33 -9
10 Stoke 26 8 8 10 32 -10
11 Burnley 26 9 4 13 31 -9
12 Watford 26 8 7 11 31 -13
13 Southampton 25 8 6 11 30 -3
14 AFC Bournemouth 26 7 5 14 26 -15
15 Swansea 26 7 3 16 24 -25
16 Middlesbrough 26 4 10 12 22 -9
17 Crystal Palace 26 6 4 16 22 -13
18 Leicester City 25 5 6 14 21 -19
19 Hull City 26 5 6 15 21 -27
20 Sunderland 26 5 4 17 19 -24
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Write for Vital Football

Recent Manchester United Results (view all)

Manchester United Fixtures (view all)

Mar 4 2017 12:30PM : AFC Bournemouth (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 12 2017 1:30PM : Southampton (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 19 2017 12:00PM : Middlesbrough (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 1 2017 3:00PM : West Bromwich Albion (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 4 2017 8:00PM : Everton (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 8 2017 3:00PM : Sunderland (a)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.ForeverUnited1
2.Arthur Frog1
The Vital Football Members League