SEA’s Player Ratings & Match Thoughts: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United
Midfield Problems Rears Its Ugly Head
Not for the first time this season our central midfield has struggled when the opposition have looked to exert pressure.
In the main Sir Alex has preferred a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation (due to the excellent form of Berbatov), which is fine for matches at Old Trafford, but is fraught with danger for away fixtures and so proved the case against Spurs. Fletcher and Carrick (first half only) had little influence on proceedings due to the pressure and the pressing game Modric, VDV and Palacios exerted on Man United’s midfield two. VdV fulfilled a slightly deeper role leaving Fletcher and Carrick outnumbered and we lacked control as a consequence.
Options at Fergie’s disposal are limited for a two man midfield. Fletcher and Carrick have shown previously they are capable, but one is badly out of form and has been for some while if truth be known. The Anderson and Carrick partnership has recently excelled at Old Trafford, but Anderson’s lack of work rate in tracking is limited and would leave the defence exposed. 4-5-1/4-3-3 is the way forward with a central midfield consisting of Carrick, Fletcher/Scholes and Anderson, with the Brazilian pushed forward supporting Berbatov , with Rooney on the left. To drop Berbatov would be overly harsh considering his form this season.
The back five plus Carrick (in second half) were once again superb. Vidic – not enough superlatives to describe his performance. I’m not sure why Modric was awarded man of the match? He had a cracking game, but surely Vidic’s performance was the more influential. Oh and why is Edwin retiring? We have our defence to thank for earning a point, their seventh clean sheet in ten games.
The encounter was Manchester United’s toughest remaining away fixture and would have accepted a point beforehand. Spurs are a top team and genuinely deserve their place in the top four. I’m delighted with the outcome especially after Rafael’s sending off. The first yellow card is probably justified in the modern football we live in, while the second was very harsh.
Happy with result, but concerned with performance, midfield struggles are a worry, not for the first time this season.
SEA Player Ratings
Edwin – 7.5
Rafael – 7.7
Rio – 8.1
Vidic – 9.6: Rock solid, nothing getting past him, still the odd moment of panic e.g. shirt tugging in penalty box. But despite that was my MotM, he’s got a magnet in his head. (JSNFRMN_MUFC)
Evra – 6.4
Nani – 4.4
Fletcher – 5.2
Carrick – 6.4: Sloppy first half, looked more assured in the 2nd half and looked as if Fergie had woken him up at Half time. (JSNFRMN_MUFC)
Giggs – 6.4
Rooney – 6.6
Berbatov – 5.4
Anderson – 6.1
Hernandez – 6.1
SEA’s Man of the Match: Vidic
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