1. After telling the press we need to cut stupid mistakes out of our game, Patrice Evra wandered far from the post he was supposed to be protecting to let Zat Knight put Bolton 1-0 up 6 minutes in. Paddy’s diving header to get back to where we should have been already was in vain. Simple defending fail.
2. Nani picked the ball up from his own half, running past a handful of Bolton players, before putting the ball away in the corner. He also got the assist for Michael Owen’s equaliser. In 6 games, he’s assisted 6 and scored 2.
3. Between them, Nani and Berbatov has scored or assisted 12 of our 16 goals this season. Berbatov was very impressive in the first half but went AWOL in the second.
4. Wayne Rooney reminds us what a class player he is with the odd inch perfect 30 yard ball. But then spends the rest of the game letting the ball bounce off his shins, letting defenders catch him unaware and pinch the ball, and giving the ball away. When I was critical of Rooney for his off field behaviour, I was told that it was none of my business and we should only be bothered about what he does on the pitch. Well, I am very bothered about what he’s doing on the pitch. Or is the word I’m looking for ‘concerned’?
5. Manchester United are unbeaten in all competitions for 15 matches, a run stretching back to 3 April 2010. Which is great. But going unbeaten is not a massive aim of mine. I want us to win. I’d rather win four games and lose one, than go unbeaten for five whilst dropping points in draws. We want points on the board not unbeaten records. Today was a chance to make an impact on the difference between us and Chelsea, but we blew it.
6. Our set pieces need serious work. After failing to beat the first man on so many occasions from corners already this season, clearly the lads set to work on the training ground. Nani kept passing the ball to O’Shea on the near post, who kept trying to flick it on. He pulled it off once or twice but it amounted to nothing. Giggs isn’t any better, so I’m not singling out Nani, it’s just a general flaw in our game. Beat the first man, put it in the danger area, and see what our taller players can do.
7. Has Rafael made a move on Cathy? I can’t for the life of me work out how John O’Shea is in the starting XI every week. Whilst we can’t ignore that he got the assist for the third goal in Berbatov’s hattrick against Liverpool last weekend, it’s hard to think of the positives he brings to our game. He supports the winger on the overlap but when he gets the ball he doesn’t know what to do with it, and just gives it back. Defensively, he gives his man far too much room. Within the space of 30 seconds today he gave away the ball then gave a foul throw. Is this serious?? I like having O’Shea in the squad, he’s a nice enough option to have when we’re playing well and don’t need a lot changing, but if Rafael is the future, it’s a travesty he’s been kept out of the line-up by John.
8. The return of Anderson and Carrick (and Hargreaves?) can’t come soon enough. Darren Fletcher is missing something and competition for places will hopefully snap him out of it. He still gives 100% but is nothing like as effective as he has been over the past two seasons.
9. Well played Michael Owen. 90 minutes in the League Cup, 19 minutes today, but a total of three goals (36 mins per goal). This is why we signed him. He gets in to good positions and stopped us from going home with nothing today.
10. We’re generally playing some pretty good football and are creating chances. Giggs and Fletcher both had efforts from good positions sent straight to the keeper and on another day they could have been goals. We’re heading in the right direction. It’s been another frustrating day but at least we didn’t let Chelsea’s dropped points yesterday totally pass us by.