As a loyal-but-hopefully-not-biased-when-it-comes-to-logic Red Devil fan, I have to admit I had my hearts set on grabbing an unexpected win at Etihad Stadium against our noisy neighbors. But after watching the match for just 5 minutes, I'd changed my mind for just a draw. United was totally helpless and played, if not too harsh, very lousily. Seriously SAF, what did you guys trained at Wales? Well apart for the defenses who were quite steady (shaky till during approaching the end of the game), the other sectors looked terrible, not even threatening City's Joe Hart.
What went wrong?
SAF always have the knack of fielding Ji-Sung Park when it comes to big matches. But excuse me, fielding Ji-Sung Park at big matches, when it really did work, was just 2 seasons ago, mind you, against Liverpool and Arsenal. And plus, fielding Ji-Sung against Barca in the finals of Champions League was also a big mistake, where Nani should have been fielded.
So yesterday's match saw SAF again favoring the South Korean. Not that I have a grudge against this guy, but seriously guys, I wouldn't field Ji Sung who hasn't been playing regularly and again, with unknown form. And another surprise was Nani got the nod ahead of the on-form Valencia... The line up itself has already shocked me. And playing a make shift defense that differ from the one's that leaked 4 goals for Everton does seem a bit unexpected too, cause in terms of form, Evans certainly got the edge over Smalling.
When a team plays lousily, it's always the mid-field's fault. Rule of thumb. United's midfield were all over the place. Nani had no freedom down the flanks, crosses were nullify; plus playing only Rooney as a lone striker means only he himself will be in the box to accept feeds from wingers. Park was dispossessed most of the time. Even though Scholes controlled the midfield quite well, Park and Nani are the one's to blame for United's dispossession in mid-field.
Fielding a lone striker just made job easier for City. Just man mark Rooney and threat gone. Man Utd barely troubled Joe Hart, and were always scraping to defend once they were dispossessed. Practically, I'd just say I wasted my time, my precious sleeping time watching a lousy performance by United getting beaten by their rivals, and saw a big blow towards our 20th title chase.
Maybe the approach of the game was wrong. Maybe what SAF had in mind was to hold against City's firepower, who come into this match with the mentality to attack. But then again not having a good defensive midfield and Vidic at the back, devoting full time defense is not going to work against City's attacking squad. The best defense is always to attack and hold possession.
Another thing that should be noted was, City players come into this match with hunger. Their attack was lively; Nasri was causing havoc with his dribbling, and so was Yaya Toure and co. United players were playing for a draw, but things did not went well and they were buried by their own defensive tactics when Kompany rose and headed in the solitary goal of the match.
What to do?
Like it or not, this season may seem over. Unless City slip up, which is quite impossible from my perspective. United may end up trophy-less this season. I hope being trophy-less would actually wake SAF up to really splash some cash on the transfer market and getting rid of under-performing players. Chelsea have already signed Marin just for 7million pounds while Arsenal bagged Podolski for a fee of an estimated 11million, which for me both are really bargains too good to be true.
I had an argument with a Man Utd fan on a Man Utd page earlier, where he opted for SAF to acquire another defender while I was all in for a new mid-fielder. Well obviously if you can see things right now, we do really need a mid-fielder, if not 2. Shinji Kagawa of Borrusia Dortmound have already rejected an offer to stay, and from reports he'll leave for just a mere 5million pounds is even better than buying Podolski for 11 million or Marin with 7 million. Carrick's form is erratic and there should be a good replacement or plan B (maybe Carrick should just be plan B).
And please no Goatze or Hazard. Both of them are way too expensive. Plus, we have more than enough wingers already. We just need a solid playmaker and a good defensive mid-field. And if the news on Berba is leaving, then we should invest in another striker.
Regarding current crops of players, sorry but Anderson has to go. He's been injured most of the time and although he's really crafty, but it's no use having a player who can just give you 10 matches of essence a season and then get carried off to the injury room. Fletcher may not be playing for United again means the list of our central midfield grows ever thin. Even Cleverley is a long term absentee. Players like Giggs and Scholes should not be made to play every match at their current age, although they still can contribute.
Hernandez should be groomed into a goal poacher rather than a super-sub. I'd rather see Hernandez as Van Nistelrooy's shadow rather than Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Fielding him beside Rooney is better than having Rooney partnering Welbeck, who also looses possession quite easily. Seriously I really don't understand why Fergie would favor Welbeck over Hernandez...
Chelsea and Arsenal have already started preparing for next season. SAF should proceed too. And hopefully he does it right this time. *prays hard.
There is still a mathematical probability that Man Utd can end up as champions. I haven't given up. But it's already time to plan for next season... :)
Dear god. I just want Kagawa. Is that too big a wish to grant?
Seriously this guy is GOOD!