After-match v Portsmouth (6th Feb 2010)
With the constant chant of “Love United, Hate Glazer” in the background, United stormed back to top spot after a convincing victory over Portsmouth yesterday.
The match started with a minute silence for the Munich air disaster which was observed superbly by both sets of fans, credit to Portsmouth fans. As the norm, Bobby Charlton a surviour of Munich was in presence at Old Trafford, it must have been an emotional day for him and the other surviours and a sad day for us fans worldwide.
Two years ago for the 50th anniversary, the occasion left United flat against City, the team under-performed. Before the game against Portsmouth I was a little wary of the same occurring, but there was no need to worry.
Manchester United started on the front foot immediately, attack after attack ensued and it was a surprise the goal eventually came so late in the half. Before Rooney scored we came close with a Johnny Evans header just passing the crossbar and Berbatov missed an absolute sitter. If Berbatov hadn’t scored yesterday I’m sure there would have been plenty of criticism flying about his way. It was a poor miss but all strikers miss sitters at times. We were in fact lucky not to concede the first goal with an excellent off the line clearance from Evans. Evans is really starting to show is worth and why Fergie turned down a £12million offer from Sunderland.
A big positive was Nani continuing his good form whilst playing on the left. In my pre-match discussion I was reluctant for Nani to be selected on the left to accommodate Valencia. Thankfully Nani with his now found confidence was able to transfer his form on the left and link well with Evra. The Nani/Evra partnership has a great deal of potential; they both linked well several times and looked threatening during the match.
On the other hand there was less chemistry between Valencia/Neville; there was one or two nice interchanges between the pair but lacked the understanding of Nani/Evra partnership. Valencia had one of his poorer games (in my opinion) so perhaps is a valid explanation..? I do feel however Valencia links better with Rafael. Rafael is more willing to over-lap, which it seems Valencia prefers. At Neville’s age, he is less likely to over-lap as often.
Fletcher and Carrick were once again top quality. Fletcher set up the first goal and of course Carrick scored. Now in their preferred position (after the dreadful injury crisis) we are starting to dominate midfields, there is also improved creativity from central midfield.
Rooney scored his 23rd goal of the season and has now equalled his best goal return tally in season. The lad can’t stop scoring.
After the sitter Berbatov missed earlier in the game I was delighted for him to grab a goal, a nice strike from outside the penalty area. Berbatov needed game time after missing out recently and showed some nice touches at times with one moment especially sticking out in the mind. A quite delightful chip through ball for Valenica, unfortunately Valencia couldn’t slot away the chance. Without question would have been assist of the season. It was nice to see Berbatov receive a good round of applause on being subbed.
Portsmouth were slightly unlucky with some of the goals conceded. Having said that, United barely broke sweat and you felt we could have scored more goals if we really wanted to.
It was a good win and a fitting tribute to the Busby Babes. Top of the league now, let’s see how Chelsea deal with the added pressure during today’s big game.
United, United top of the league,
United top of the league…