Date:Sunday September 30 2007
The Reds won their fifth straight Premiership game by defeating Birmingham City with a thoroughly unconvincing display.
It just doesn't seem to click. I still hope that we will hit top gear and start to play decent football but hope is dwindling away with another hard-fought victory.
Birmingham City were worthy of a point as only their profligacy kept us a clean sheet and some good saves from Kuszczak who replaced the injured Van der Sar at half-time.
The first half was terrible. At one point I felt that one more misplaced pass and I will turn my back on the game. United could have conceded in the first minute thanks to Scholes' loss of concentration and kept on giving the ball away stupidly. Up front we sometimes created chances but got no further than Rooney's attempted chip that was blocked by the keeper.
It seemed that our players simply don't know what's their job on the field. Our lads' lack of understanding was baffling as there was only one new boy on the field, in Carlos Tevez and he actually gave a decent performance so we can hardly blame him.
The second half was no better but at least it started perfectly. Ferdinand's long-ball was let to bounce by two defenders and Ronaldo got between them, stole the ball, rounded the keeper and scored. It was an undeserved lead but seeing that we should have had a penalty in the first half Birmingham can have few complaints.
The rest of the second half was pretty poor. Birmingham came forward but lacked penetration and could only trouble substitute Kuszczak at the end. With the minutes ticking on, they became increasingly brutal. One particular tackle by ex-Arsenal boy Larsson, on Evra, would have been worth a red card for any referee but Steve Bennett who still seems to have that anti-United stance.
Every dubious incident was judged in Birmingham's favour and he was quite lenient with their aggressive, even brutal style. Not to mention the penalty... But of course the most important is that we survived a Bennett-game without a serious injury and won the match.
Yes, we won it but the level of performance is worrying. I just can't understand what's the problem. Our players are individually great, they had all proved that during their career and last year they were able to work as a team. This time we are defensively quite good (though they were shaky sometimes yesterday) but up front, we can only rely on set-pieces and individual brilliance. Will it change?
Date:Sunday September 30 2007
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