Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Rooney injury sounds the death rattle for United? Bayern 2 MUFC 1

There's nothing quite like a last minute mugging to give you the biggest kick in the pants...and its even worse when you know you've deserved it.

The night of the 30th March, and specifically 60 seconds of football at the end of last nights match, could well be THE turning point in this season.

All week leading up to the game i have had the jitters. Yes, i know i normally have this anyhow, but i was more concerned by the lack of brain by my fellow United fans. Twitter and the interweb in general have been full of United predicting German slayings, showing total disrespect to a team that has won four European Cups. Treating them like a club with zero tradition and generally wondering which French team it would be better to face in the Semi. That sort of arrogance, fuelled by the idiotic British press, has always worried me. I understand why so many hate the supporters of Manchester United. 50% is pure jealousy. Founded on the notion that our trophy cabinet is actually a fully fledged museum. But the other 50% i feel is justified. Arrogance that we have a divine right to win everything..that we are 'better' for want of another word, than everyone else. Its a very childish way to support a team, but different strokes rule the world. I still very much remember when these big European nights were not even on the agenda. Where a 3rd round cup win at Nottingham Forest was as good as it got. So every game like last night...i respect. I respect the opposition, I respect the occasion and in Fergie i trust.

The team performance last night was in sync with what alot of the fans base deserve. It wont make me popular saying that, but you personally will know if it applies to you or not. It was a disgraceful performance. No real energy. Playing well within our capabilities without ever stepping up to the plate. It had smatterings of last years final against Barca, where several players forgot to actually turn up for the biggest match of their careers. Last night Michael Carrick was awful. For a ball retaining midfielder, he didnt....erm...retain the ball. Ji Sung Park also got completely over ran on the left. At half time i was begging Fergie to bring on Giggs for him to solidify the formation and result. Overall the defense did OK, until the last kick of the game. For an old dog, Gary Nev kept up well with one of the true marquee players in world football, but he will have countless nightmares about a handball you would have expected from a kid, not an experienced pro.

The lack of energy in the team last night was indicative of where we are at the moment. We are not blowing teams away with silky football this season, but we are showing huge amounts of application week in week out...and that may now start to tell on our stamina for the run in. For Fergie, he will have to trust his squad, but I'm not sure i do. By that i mean Berbatov. Its made me laugh the last few weeks how the 'Pro-Berba' lobbyists have been in full flow, after he has had several decent games (and yes i mean decent! he hasn't been world beating by any measure) The main saving grace for me is that when he plays central without Rooney he looks a better player. As he proved once again last night, when he is Rooneys support function, he is a pile of complete ball-bags. He has neither the workrate or desire to function at the top of a midfield. He's a glory boy..stick him up top and he may just sniff out a goal...but that's where his limitations dictate what he does. He is never gonna come on and do a 'Tevez', is he?

Tactically, the substitutions in the second half to push us to play more of a 4-4-2, were a total disaster. As i said, the manager trusts these lads, but that tactical change left a team who were hanging on by the skin of their teeth to being pushed over the edge of the cliff. In the cold light of day, an away goal may just be enough, but the fact that Bayern will start with Ribery, Olic, Gomez and Robben next week scares the life out of me. We haven't played against a front four as good as that in the Prem this year, and even though they have flattered to deceive in the Bundesliga this year, in a one off occasion, where they will be allowed to play counter attacking football to defend their doesn't look good from where I'm standing.

Lastly, Rooneys injury was the cherry on the tripe cake. Without him, i simply don't believe we have the firepower to win any silverware this season. So if he is out for 4 weeks, as stretching your ankle ligaments badly normally means, i have little hope. Im not one of these United fans who believes in football miracles..the great nights of my football team have come from perspiration and brilliance, not some script written in cloud-cuckoo land. Its up to Fergie to get the rest of this team to play as if their lives depended on it now..getting knocked out of the Quarters in the CL and third in the league would dictate that it has been an awful season. We walk this fine line now. Its up to the team to prove they have what it takes in the face of cruel adversity.



  1. So you suggest, that the United team maybe just shouldn't turn up because they may end up loosing? Always had the greatest respect for that kind of mentality where you fear in advance. Its hard to believe that United can play as badly in the second leg, and the fact that they almost won the game despite that, tells you, that its United more than Bayern that hold the greater reserve for improved performance. We competed for honours this year brilliantly without Ronaldo, now we can do it without Rooney. Believe first, cry afterwards.

  2. Tonight didn't matter, Saturday does. We all know what OT is like on European nights, that will hopefully make up for it. Time for Berbatov to really show what he is made of, Kiko to step into some mighty big shoes and show us he is worthy of the praise he gets.

    Chelsea are easily beatable, we know this. They have Liverpool to play still which could work in our favour no matter what the outcome on Saturday.

  3. In the main I agree with you Rob. There were way too many people on Twitter predicting a 4-0 scoreline, and those fans annoy me too as I've watched us lose titles on the last day of the season, and crash out of Europe in the last minute, and I wonder if these people were supporting our club back then, or if they've just blotted the memories from their minds.

    Its the same with Sky and all this 'revenge' nonsense. Bayern will never fully avenge losing two goals in the last minutes of the European Cup final (remember they were going for a treble of their own). They did however knock us out of Europe in 2001, so if any revenge was to be had, they had it then, at the first opportunity they got.

    Where I disagree with your blog though is your faith in the squad. I read an interesting stat on Twitter this morning saying that without Rooney we've won 10 of our last 11 games, drawing the other.

    Now I'm not sure if those 11 games were against teams of the calibre of Chelsea or Bayern, but still, the squad is strong, and we should still be expected to win our next two home games (actually a draw with Chelsea would be acceptable).

    Looking back at the game, Bayern could have made it much worse if they'd taken more of their chances, and Nani, Rooney, and Vidic all had chances to make it much better for us. I think this tie and the league will be settled by the finest of margins, and for me the meaning of being a fan is believing in the team against all odds (including Berbatov, who I've still not fully forgiven for that awful penalty in last seasons FA Cup semi).

  4. anon first comment...where did i suggest the team not turn up?..and if u put Robben in the mix and Roo out then i dont see ur point about which team hold the "greater reserve"

    Feel Bad Hit...yeah this result is turnaroundable..but there is repercussions for the chelsea match. I don not believe that Chelsea are "easily beatable" as u put it..not one bit

  5. Mike i get everything u commented. many thanks.

    I do believe in the team, and more importantly Fergie. What i dont believe in is having blind faith that just cos we are Man Utd that we will overcome this. I will be there for the Bayern and Chelsea games. I will support my club with my heart and with my song. But if you break it all down and micro analyse things (as i unfortunately tend to do) the numbers dont add up too great. I hope Berba comes through for us truly, but for the 20 mins he was on last night he was a passenger and ive seen him in the flesh do that way too often. Saying all that when have Utd ever done anything the simple way?

  6. Again apologies for taking so long to get round to commenting but I was still annoyed and upset by Tuesday's game that it's only now I feel I can say anything.

    I was at the game. Words cannot express how I felt at the end, as usual we got told to stay back and of course I wallowed in the defeat and believe me that isn't good!

    Too much has been said about the team performance and of course Rooney's injury but I totally agree with the fans thing that quite a large amount of fans thought this game was going to be a walkover! I was not one of them

    During the day I had avoided so many fans who were believing that United would win. Don't get me wrong I don't want them to lose, but this isn't a team to not respect. The result showed that.

    I had managed to get a nice little group of like minded United fans and luckily they were sitting near me through the match as I needed some sanity. Thank goodness for them!

    As for the last part of your comment Rob, United never do things easy; and to be honest although it can be absolute hell watching them pull their way through, would you want it any other way?

    I wouldn't! Glory Glory!