Sitting in my seat, scanning the latest edition of Red Issue before kick-off, we were shown the new Hublot scoreboard. Manchester United 0 Blackburn Rovers 0. What the fuck?
A few moments earlier, as I’d climbed up the stairs I’d been confronted with one of the things I detest most.
Having a look around, it’s something Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool also sell, amongst other teams I imagine, but I find it so cringey. I’m not in to the NWAF business. I know enough birds who know their shit where football is concerned and these women also wouldn’t be seen dead in this pink crap. Why the fuck does our club sell it? Embarrassing.
So, the day didn’t have the greatest beginnings…
…but then the team-sheet was read out and Tim Howard got a clap whilst Phil Neville got a cheer. Things were looking up.
Within the first fifteen minutes, you had to hope United were going on to win this. Park had a goal-bound cross/shot brilliantly saved by Howard, before a shot from Tevez minutes later resulted in a goalmouth melee. Another few minutes passed and Tevez ran the ball 20 yards down the field, only for his shot to be blocked. With 25 minutes played, Ronaldo’s shot from distance didn’t look as though it was going to trouble the keeper, however somehow it beat the keeper and came back off the post, Tevez flagged offside as he got to the rebound. Two minutes later Ronaldo had a shot saved by Howard, then out for a corner. Half an hour played and Ronaldo neatly flicks the ball over the defender’s head, for Carrick to control on his chest then volley goalwards. Sadly, it finishes on the wrong side of the post.
Then, finally, the break through. It had to come sooner or later following our dominance and Arteta was the man to help us. Initially missing his tackle outside the box, the Spaniard turned and could Carrick with his trailing leg. Slow motion replays make it look more sinister than it actually was, but it was a definite penalty.
John O’Shea, who wasn’t as bad as he has been, cringingly ran over and hugged Carrick in celebration. There’s something so classless about celebrating the winning of a penalty, particularly when you’re not desperate for a goal. We weren’t losing, it was the first half, so there was plenty of time.
Ronaldo scored for the 11th time in the league this season, making him the second highest scorer, despite missing the first month of the season and not playing particularly well yet. He managed to track back a total of zero times yesterday. On the odd occasion or two he’d pretend to track back, chasing the player who’d just taken the ball off him to the half way line, before giving up and letting Fletcher or Carrick have a go. Yawn, so tired of him irritating me.
Wes Brown on the other hand, playing at Old Trafford in the league for the first time since the opening day of the season, showed fantastic grit and determination. I think it’s safe to say that after his 56th minute substitution, Brown won every challenge, whether he was favourite for it or not. In the air or on the ground, he put 100% in to everything, including bombing down the wing and knocking in a ball or two. Great to have him back!
Everton rarely, if ever, looked dangerous. Unlike Liverpool, who allowed Tim Cahill to roam around the box from corners and set-pieces in all their recent games over the past fortnight, Nemanja Vidic, who has arguably been the best player in the league so far this season, took it upon himself to man-mark the tricky Aussie. From the few corners and free-kicks Everton won, Vidic stuck to Cahill and that was Everton’s goal-threat dealt with. Van der Sar, who claimed the English league record for minutes without conceding a goal, after breaking Petr Cech’s Premiership record earlier in the week, had little to threaten his record.
All in all, a very good day in the end. Having played the same amount of games as Chelsea and Liverpool, if only for a day, United have found themselves five points clear. We’re an impressive 10 points ahead of Arsenal, who have played a game more than us.
Carrick was interviewed after his Man of the Match performance, questioned over whether he’d prefer a Chelsea or Liverpool win on Sunday. He nonchalantly responded by saying he didn’t really care, that it didn’t effect us. Whilst most of us will be hoping for a draw today (preferably through Liverpool taking an early lead, only for Chelsea to equalise in the last ten minutes), it is nice to see the confidence in our lads.
Don’t forget about the Denis Law t-shirt competition!