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  • Hobitez Hobitez Jan 14, 2013 11:11 Flag

    United defeat in review

    Always, these things are best assessed the next day. I can't argue with much Brendan had to say in the post match interview, 'tentative' seemed word of the day and it certainly described our first half performance. There was no conviction in the first half and we showed them way too much respect, something that other teams have not of late and have given them real scares (thinking how Spurs took the game to them a few months ago).

    The passing seemed a little soft and we didnt press the United midfield in the way we have all opposition of late. As BR said, the problems were of our own making in the first half, can't argue much with the RVP finish, him and Wellbeck pulled Agger and Skrtel out of place cleverly and the finish was part of his trademark. Allen looked pathetic in the first half particularly but I thought he actually really stepped it up in the second 45 and he was putting in challenges and actually making crisp forward passes (shock horror!).

    Johnson had his first defensively poor game in a while but as usual looked a threat going forward, Downing looked very average compared to his form of late. Agger had a decent game and I don't think Pepe did much wrong other then a single wayward pass early on (something that will always come with the managers philosophy). Wisdom did ok, I was very worried for him before the game but he held on in there and made a few good forward runs. Lucas, Suarez, Sterling and Skrtel were very average but I think Gerrard maintained his recent form.

    The second half was full of positives, even before the second goal, you could see we really came out to play and with intent about us. Sturridge was a game changer, he looked quality, the finish was clean and he showed some lovely touches and I didnt really realise how quick of the mark he was before, he is certainly an exciting looking player, cant wait till he is fully fit. For all the "he doesnt track back", "he doesnt pass", he certainly seemed to be doing his fair share! hopefully the case of right manager and right time for him and us.

    Borini returned to carry on where he left off before the injury! I am saying that tongue in cheek, the poor lad is only young and has had a lot of misfortune so far, he deserves a bit of time to get to grips with his game.

    At the end of the day, history and prestige aside, they are 7 points clear at the top of the league for a reason, we were expected to lose and in all fairness, had we got the equaliser, I think most United fans would have said they could see it coming. For all the chances we mustered at De Gea's goal, I don't think too many were on target but they must have been rocking at the way we went for them in the last half hour.

    Hopefully the young lads will have learned a lot today, Wisdom, Hendo, Allen, Sterling, Borini are all still very much work in progress but it is certainly progress. We did miss a trick today, my only criticisms would be the tentative start and I think going 3 strikers and a winger was a little too gusto, I think Shelvey coming on instead of Borini would have caused more impetus. I guess going from having 1 striker for 6 months to 3 got BR a bit excited, bring on Nowich.

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    • I rest my case. We need both suarez ans Sturridge playing on a regular basis,

    • I agree on the need to play Suarez and Sturridge together when possible, but not so sure about the need to go back to basics or revert to a 4-4-2.

      Yes it has been a successful system for us, but football has moved on since then, and so must we. Also, we actually had quite a bit of success under Rafa with the modified 4-5-1 system which is not so different from what we play now. But mainly I think it would undo what progress we've made so far this season if we were to try to re-invent the way we play, which a new system inevitably would require.

      But I think the two questions now are is Sturridge fit enough to go a full 90, although I'm hoping that he can at least start, even if he has to be pulled after 60 or 70 minutes, and second where best to actually play him. Originally I would have said put him wide, with either Sterling or Downing on the other flank, and Suarez center, but now I'm wondering if it’s better to actually put him central with Suarez wide, or maybe much like we ended against Utd (when we were back on the front foot) with Suarez in the hole behind Sturridge.

    • Hey Robert

      It passed the 'Drogba' test for onside at OT.

      Miles onside :-)

      Only joking!

    • Pretty much agree with all of that. I just wish we'd come out with the same level of intent from the off. We just gave them way too much respect in the first half, and let them run the show. Although to be fair, while they did dominate the play, to be only 1 nil down at half time against a side that has been scoring for fun this season does say something.

      Another thing I will point out is how we set up second half. I agree with came out with a lot more urgency, and that was the primary difference between the two halves, but I was also pleased to see BR really go for it in the second half, with all of 3 of our so called strikers on the pitch at the same time. With Borini and Downing wide, Sturridge up top, and Suarez in the hole, no one can say we did not go for it, or that BR does not have a plan B. I'm wondering if we might see more of Suarez playing that role, and then let Gerard sit further back to orchestrate things.

      • 1 Reply to dsteer_lfc_68
      • to be honest, I think BR had the team selection perfect, it was the same side I picked myself ;) It made perfect sense to play Suarez alone (its looked ok so far) and have the 2 wingers, try and control the game or at least take out the sting with possesion play. It made perfect sense to keep 2 recovering strikers on the bench, the team had already managed 7 wins in 9 without them.

        I honestly believe he got it spot on but it was the players application that let us down, they tried to rectify it after he got in their ears at halftime but was too late. I have noticed we generally start slowly and don't often score in the first half of matches, we always tend to be stronger in second half, maybe getting out of the blocks quicker is something he needs to sort out.

    • hobs...a cool assessment from u of yesterdays game. Heres a less than cool assessment from me. br says aggression is all in the mind well obviously there is none in his mind and if there is hes NOT conveying it to the boys who have to do the biz out there on the pitch. Rarely have I seen a less animated character on the touchline ! He makes Rafa and his clipboard look like Action Man by comparison
      I have lost faith in BR as a manager I dont believe he is the right man to take this club forward....imo the only man to come out of yesterdays match deserving to hold his head up was Sturridge and why wasnt he inc in the starters ??? Enough of excuses for Joe Allen BR's fave this boy had a shocker completely out of his depth same goes for Sterling. We need to get away from this cautious approach to everything...one step fw two steps back all the time. Start Suarez AND Sturridge up front together whats BR frightened of... an injury ? Of course the squad is too thin we all know that but stop bleating and get into the owners they are the only ones can correct that but now with the gap in the top 4 ever widening its too late to address this problem; it should have been addressed before the season opened Spurs addressed the problem and look at them and look at us ! Like I said before in many a post BR is the owners lap dog a yes man of the first order and week in week out he is giving the evidence to that effect.
      Would Kenny have been so subdued on the touchline at Old Toilet yesterday ...? No of course not hes made of sterner stuff than BR. He would have had the boys out there from the kickoff full of fighting spirit ! Such a crying shame he wasnt given that one extra season to prove his point. Look how Kenny took on Wenger AT The Emirates last season no messing about can u see BR ever doing that ? I know I will be in a minority on this board with this viewpoint but can assure u that what Im hearing from friends out there maybe that minority is growing steadily outside of the confines of this board. I dont want to criticise the players on here so much as I want to call out BR for putting it on his players with his statement of AGGRESSION IS ALL IN THE MIND in effect putting it on them ...he picked his starting 11 then decides to go to three up front ...he is at fault for imposing such chaotic tactics and failing in the first instance to motivate The Boys. Paul Ince ...anybody ? .

      • 2 Replies to colin
      • Colin I understand your frustration, and trust me I share much of it. However I think we should look at this with some perspective.

        In terms of the animation of the manager, I hear what you’re saying, and maybe it would be nice if he showed a bit more passion on the sidelines. But seems to me it’s more important how much he delivers to the lads rather than dance around. Yes he obviously did not get them up enough from the start, but I think it’s fair to say whatever he said at half time worked, based on how much better we performed second half.

        I hear what you’re saying about us versus Spurs, and in some ways they and Arsenal are who I'm comparing us with to find a yard stick on our progress. However has Spurs really kicked on this term? Seems to me about this time last year they were taking advantage of a Chelsea slip, and were even being picked for an outside chance to challenge for the title, while this term its more about hanging on for a 4th place finish. So actually at best they are staying pat, but it could be argued they've actually regressed from last term.

        Yes we could not get a result, but who has at OT this season. Like it or not we're mid table, because that is where our results put us, just like they did last term. To expect us to go to OT and get a result against a side who is 7 point clear at the top, while it would have been great, would have been one of the major upsets of the season. So is not getting the upset of the season, really a clear sign of failure?

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    • I must admit we were pretty poor yesterday especially first half. could someone explain this to me. the team that wanted the 3 point fielded 2 strikers and the team that did not played the first half with one. Its all well and good BR giving us the post match nonsense because we can see that but what is he doing about it. A lot of issues need addressing at our club i somehow dont think BR is the man to do it. I hope I am wrong.

      • 1 Reply to Nour
      • Hi Nour, dont really want to get in to the nitty gritty of BR being the man for the job, that is surely another thread in itself.

        Yes United played with 2 strikers, they were at home after all and have been playing with 2 if not 3 all season.

        Sturridge was not fit to start, he has only played the Mansfield game since Sept, Borini returned 3 days ago from a 3 month absence with a broken foot so don't know why you think we should have started with 2 strikers?

    • We were robbed it was an offside and they walked away with 3 points they didn't deserve. So now they're 7 points clear. I sure hope that result doesn't determine the title outcome.

    • Pretty much agree with your thoughts there. I've no complaints with the result.

      I've said everywhere else so I might as well say it here too. I still think our midfield is a problem. On top of a sluggish start we were basically in trouble. Lucas and Allen aren't at the races at the moment. So I hope there's an area that Rodgers will look at sooner rather than later. More dominance in the middle of the park so that Johnson and Wisdom can actually push forward rather than taking the risks they currently are (Johnson especially.)

      It certainly would have been nicer to give Ferdinand and Vidic a bit more to think about. Sturridge is certainly promising. His pace is blistering at times and I thought he could have worked de Gea a bit more on the odd occasion. Lets hope his scoring run continues as well.