“Relieved” is the best word to describe how I felt after the victory of over Wolves. Our performance was poor, sloppy and we lacked any real attacking threat. As I said in my pre-match discussion Blog, I would have taken a scrappy 1-0 victory at this stage of this season, which proved to be correct.
On hearing the starting line-up I was very confident of victory. What a great fillet to have the return of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic back at the heart of defence. With Evra and Brown as full backs it was our strongest defensive line up in a long long time.
Having said that Wolves had a couple of decent chances. Doyle at one point burst past Vidic with greater pace which eventually required a superb tackle from Carrick. Ward also had a free header but could only guide into the hands of Edwin Van dar Sar and the less said about the chance missed by Sam Vokes in the injury time, the better…
I wasn’t surprised to see Fletcher rested; I was a tad surprised Park started on the bench but obviously Sir Alex Ferguson values the importance of his work rate for the second leg against AC Milan next Wednesday.
Without Rooney and Owen available we played a 4-5-1 formation with Berbatov as the alone striker. I had my concerns before the match regarding Berbatov as the alone striker but I think he did okay, not brilliant but not poor. Berbatov is unaccustomed to playing the alone striker as Rooney is so we lacked a focal point in attack. Rooney now understands the role so we mainly see him in central area of the football pitch. I felt Berbatov roamed around too much in the formation for it to work. At times we saw Berbatov in wide areas on the right or the left which resulted in a lack of numbers in penalty area… I thought Berbatov was quietish for the first thirty minutes or so but after that he grew into the match and become a more dominant factor.
We saw the best of Berbatov when Fergie switched formation to 4-4-2 by bringing on Diouf. Although Diouf didn’t have the best of games in the thirty minutes or so he was on the pitch missing a couple of decent chances his arrival allowed Berbatov to play in a deeper role which is where I think Berbatov is at his best – allowed to pull the strings. We saw some quality touches and one sublime piece of skill with a back-heel to Valencia (?).
Berbatov wasn’t helped in the 4-5-1 formation by the performance of Nani. Nani had an absolute shocker; he just isn’t the same player when he plays on the left. A couple of things didn’t go his way early in the match and you could see his confidence visibly disappear from his body. I feel for Nani in some respects, he has all the ability but I think it is obvious now he is playing out of position. Nani was eventually replaced by Park. Park along with Valencia was impressive yet again. Both will no doubt start the bigger games that reamin in the season.
Last but not least Paul Scholes.
I could write pages and pages on how much I love Paul Scholes (embarrassing? Yeah 🙂 ) my favourite Manchester United player. Fitting his 100th Premier League goal is so vital like many of his previous goals. The goal was similar to a chance Scholes created for himself against West Ham United last week, that time he ballooned the ball over the crossbar. Not yesterday though, when it mattered he buried the chance.
Two points ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal now. Which club is our main contender? Cracks are widening at Chelsea… Arsenal are looking strong… Going to be exciting, great stuff!