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Aston Villa Pay The Price For Cowardice

Before kick-off, United fans were rightly worried about Aston Villa’s attacking threat. The idea of Ashley Young tearing strips off John O’Shea following our two defeats on the trot left us cold.

Upon walking on to the concourse and learning that Rio Ferdinand was also missing, my heart sunk. These have been testing times for United of late and after already knowing we’d be without three of our best players in Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic and Paul Scholes, as well as Dimitar Berbatov, the thought of Neville playing centre back alongside the impressive, yet still inexperienced Jonny Evans, was fairly terrifying.

Aston Villa showed early on their potential to score goals. They broke our back line with ease time and again, the linesman flag for offside saving us on numerous occasions. Our defenders didn’t have the speed to keep up with the likes of Young and Abonglahor, or the height or strength to cope with Carew. Whilst it was frustrating to see our defence take a battering, there weren’t many criticisms directed from the crowd in the direction of these players, because we knew that simply our defenders couldn’t do any better than they were doing.

Still, despite the amount of time they spent in our half, particularly during the first 45 minutes, they only created six chances all game, scoring two of them. Time and again one of their speedy forwards would be first to the ball in our half but their attack had to slow whilst they waited for support, which rarely came in strong numbers.

If Villa had gone for the kill today, they could have put the game to bed long before Federico Macheda was even subbed on. However, they were too reserved. They showed the potential, they had us on the ropes, but they kept bottling the knock-out punch they needed, too fearful that we may pounce on the break.

From a United perspective, obviously I am over the moon these were the tactics they employed, but I imagine many neutrals would be disappointed. Maybe it was a lack of confidence following recent results or maybe Martin O’Neil was showing us too much respect, but whilst Villa will bemoan their luck, or maybe they’ll blame the referee like their manager, the fact remains the result was there for the taking and their players just didn’t seem to have the bottle for it.

Our defence were second best consistently throughout the match and our attack wasn’t anything too special, despite creating fourteen chances, yet we still came away with the three points and could have scored a couple more in those remaining few minutes, Darren Fletcher’s effort the best of the lot.

Now we can look to Porto with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand returning to the starting line-up. Edwin Van der Sar, who made two cracking saves today, will be glad to have his first choice defenders in front of him after a shit-yourself display from the players he had attempting to keep out the opposition today.

We’ll Never Die!

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Red army says:

    United showed class despite d scrapy display. This match as just given us dat slight edge in winning d league.

  2. Red Dave says:

    about damn time

  3. gotta hate tiny tears says:

    we’ll never die

  4. gotta hate tiny tears says:

    out of 10 outfiled players i think united missed half that amount today that im sure would of started

    but tuesday they;ll have 4 out of that 5 back+the team today

    this is a fantastic time for things to start clickin again

  5. corea says:

    doesn’t matter/
    remember everton 2006-2007. two gifted goals. luck ? fuckoff.
    today we scored goals.

  6. alpha_rs says:

    Where the fuck was Ronnie in that celebration today? Cnut.

  7. Mic says:

    No Rooney, Scholes, Brown, Rio, Vidic, Hargreaves, all players we needed today! How many teams can say can still play without 5 if not 6 key players!?

    Tell you what, what’s happened to Nani, i’m still behind him but I watched the double review from last season and he was amazing, had it not been for his headbutt he may have started against Chelsea in the CL final he was just that good! I want Hargo at right back though for games where we need to attack, Brown is solid but he’s more defensive whereas Hargo has more to his game!

  8. corea says:

    Imagine what have we done without the heart of Fletch ?
    the team without the passion of Rooney, leading skills of Rio, guts of Vida.
    and of course we had Macheda. 17 year old lad who said fuck off and executed. it just meant to be.

  9. TonyBee says:

    Magic display from the lads….. fucking brilliant comeback….. and well done the crowd for getting behind them, you sounded awesome….
    The Old Trafford roar…….. Come on you fucking reds….

  10. costas says:

    Oh,yeah.Well done to the crowd.They were fantastic today.And personally,i felt O’Shea had a great game as a centre back.I just hope that Rio and Vida reunite on Tuesday.

  11. corea says:


    O’Shea has the technique. ;)

  12. ancha says:

    today for the last 10 mins I thought ronnie showed some real will to fight…just look at his burst to the villa corner flag after the macheda goal…he was seriously pumped and wanted to win…definitely in the last 10 mins or so…I haven’t see him show that much fight the entire season…(quote from MAHESH s post..)

    he fuckin….defended…at out goal post…and got us goal kick..there…..anyone remember that…NO…they wont….these cunts only fuckn remember…the one silly error he made…fck off….if you cant appreciate..his attitude …today….he was there to win things for us…atleast today i saw that in his actions….if u still cant get it fckoff..

  13. inmoscowwemadeit3 says:

    cunts deserved Kiko’s hitman strike especially if you consider the way they played against us and the way in which they bent over for those scouse faggots.

  14. gotta hate tiny tears says:


    where allthe liverpool fans that love this site

    prob went to bed early ,sunday night and all

    alot of them have work in the morning

  15. John Ferry says:

    Fletcher was amazing. Its popular to say he doesn’t have great skills, but for a man with mediocre skills he kicks ass. The boy may not have been up to par in the past, but now he is one of our more solid player.

  16. gotta hate tiny tears says:

    Fletcher has really over the last nearly 3 seasons has told me to shut the fuck up with all the things ive said about him

    he has turned a corner and its only for the best

    Mr. Fletcher my name is James and i say with my hand on my heart I’m sorry for anything i may have said before

    and thank you

  17. king george the switzer says:

    Spot on James. SuperFletch was amazing today – chasing everything, getting stuck in, passing the ball, driving forward and geeing up his quieter team mates. I used to slag him rotten but he’s a real united player now and I love the lad. Man of the match

  18. costas says:

    Fletch and O’Shea(especially the former) showed true United spirit today.SAF has said that the 3 suspended players will be back and probably start on Tuesday.He just needs to assess Giggs’ fitness,although i doubt he would have appeared anyway.And with Park back,that’s 4 changes to today’s team.Unfortunately Rio and Ando will probably not make it.Shame.

  19. five says:

    Wait after he scores two goals, actually shows some passion an idiot actually still comes in amongst all the celebrations and a blog post about villa tactics finds a way to call him a cunt?

    Fuck off

    Magical stuff today, someone posted on the forums “arise federico macheda” a few days ago…well I think he’s just hit the fuckin ceiling mate!

  20. haha says:

    gotta hate tiny tears – what you mean scousers getting up for work early? surely you know they’re all dole scroungers and junkies, who never work a day in their hilariously pityful lives. we’ve got the momentum back in the title race, i screamed myself hoarse at the game today, the fans really played a part today. now i need to go to bed to get up for work, i’ll probably have to step over some scouse tramp in my door way in the morning.

  21. Kings says:

    alpha_rs – first rule of supporting a football club, never slag off your own players. He scored two goals and showed enough passion afterwards. Just because he didn’t jump on Macheda after scoring means fuck all. Don’t read anything into that. Just celebrate the 3 points and look forward to the next game. One love, One United.

  22. Colbert says:

    I think Villa were punished by the Vermin for playing too open a game, notwithstanding the manner that the Vermin got their goals. They may have been mindful of being stung again.

  23. NicoQB says:

    I just have to vent a big rant of frustration. People here have been calling Tevez great and so too Fletcher?
    Wake up guys!
    Fletcher got eaten alive by Barry for 70 minutes and Tevez for all his running and tackling did fuck all in terms of attacking play. The fact that Welbeck had a goal scoring opportunity denied and Macheda scored weighs more than all the tackling and courageous stuff he can do.
    I’m not dissing the man – his commitment and attitude towards us is admirable but some of you guys have to wake up and smell the coffee.

  24. seanmc26 says:

    I have defended Ronnie all season but here goes Boys your not going to like this Cr7 was shit for 70 mins yes he scored 2 but he couldnt be bother nearly all game except for just b4 he scored his second he wasnt even fouled that much in game. If he could just show his passion for 90 min instead of 10 every1 would have little doubt of his commitment, it just pisses me off that he does nothing most of the game and still scored 2, imagine if he had a fraction of the desire that Fletcher had today nobody could justify Ronaldo bashing maybe even ABU’s, i dont know i just hope today he woke up and gives his all for our club instead of looking like he’s going through the motions. I just a shame that players with not even fraction of his talent can play better rhan him

  25. sanj says:

    also think pat deserves a lot of credit, he seems to have turned the corner after two subpar performances. his tackle in the box right before macheda’s wundergoal could have potential saved the game for us… he also won the ball to start our move for the goal.

    i can understand slagging ronnie on other occasions, but how could you today? the lad kept us in the game- think he showed why he is the best in the world. the best only need one chance to change the game- ronnie did it twice in one game. he is not tevez, he is not rooney- he is not going to track back, he is going to pout, he is going to stay on the ground for too long. get over it. i cannot understand why everyone expects all the players to play exactly the same way. you have to take the good with the bad. i’ll take his shortcomings in exchange for his class and composure in front of goal. when we need goals, he is capable of scoring when no one else is… tevez didn’t even get a sniff of goal today. tevez was tracking back and winning the ball, but couldn’t score today- like i said before, you take the good with the bad. ronnie didn’t track back but scored TWICE. you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    get off his back- the boy dreams of playing for madrid, there is nothing we can do about it. seems to me like people are just looking for reasons to dislike him because he wants to go to madrid. whether or not you like him, in my opinion, he has done enough to put his name alongside some of the best to wear a united shirt.

  26. NicoQB says:

    seanmc26 – wish that everybody could see what you and I can see.

    sanj – For 70 min he couldn’t be bothered. Yeah, and that attitude stunk. We all know that if he wants it he can be the best player on the planet, ahead of messi even. He’s that bloody good. But suppose his shot was a little bit off by a a foot or two. Picture it: No goal.
    Would have Ronaldo been exempt of criticism? Most people agree that he couldn’t be bothered for large parts of the game.

    And just to show my point of view, I’ll take a Ribery capable of providing twice the number of assists instead of the one man show Ronaldo. Many people agree that we were over reliant on RVN when he played for us and it hurt our teamplay. Well if Ronaldo continues to play like that, we’re going to end up with that same situation.

  27. sanj says:

    nico- totally agree with what you said about ribery, actually. i appreciate what ronaldo has done for our club, but i think selling ronaldo to madrid and getting ribery would be ideal considering another transfer saga is inevitable.

    i don’t think we are over-reliant on ronaldo, i think he has quality players who are unselfish, constantly provide him opportunities, and let him take his chances (even when they are terrible and speculative). and how many times do we see one too many passes or flicks instead of a simple finish? we would have more goals scored as well as goals from our other midfielders (carrick especially) if they just took more shots at goal when presented the opportunity and stopped being overly fancy (though i do love the fancy goals). rooney will learn to bring the poaching aspect a little bit more into his play with time, i think. he’s got it already, actually, but the lad runs all over the damn field and always wants to be on the ball.

    also, i hate to say it, but i think nani needs to go. he really hasn’t made any progress, in my opinion. he gives away possession, his crosses are terrible, i don’t know how many times he crossed a ball directly to a villa player- even carlitos didn’t move. you know it’s a poor cross if carlos isn’t attacking it like a rabid dog.

  28. dazjoe says:

    Take your point, not every player’s the same and not every player plays like Rooney does, but I don’t think people are asking that Ronaldo races all over the pitch like a headless chicken ( not that I’m comparing Rooney to a headless chicken by the way!) but that he STOPS this hands on hips, pouting lips, sulky, 3 year old, look EVERY TIME somebody takes the ball off him! Yes he gets fouled sometimes, and yes sometimes the fouls go un-noticed but when you have lost the ball do not just turn and look at the likes of Park and Fletcher with a “slaves! Go retreive my ball!” look on your face. You don’t have to have the work rate of Tevez or Rooney, but at least try to be like Beckham or Giggs. As talented as they were, if they made a mistake they went back to make up for it. Ronaldo sits on the grass looking upset!
    It can’t be good for team morale that we have a player who clearly thinks the nitty gritty of running without the ball, and tackling, is beneath him. This isn’t just a dig at Ronaldo, he is an amazing talent and his contribution to these last 3 seasons is out of the world, 85 goals in less than 3 seasons, 65 of them in the Prem, for a guy who isn’t even a striker?! Awesome. But he has got to lose some of the arrogant streak and accept that people are allowed to tackle him!

  29. sanj says:

    i agree with everything you said, dazjoe, i just think some people are too harsh on the lad and are ungrateful for all his massive contributions to united. he is what he is- a cocky and arrogant, but he is deadly. i just think it is naive to say he needs to do this, he needs to do that… he isn’t going to. ronaldo goes on the pitch to do one thing- score. that’s what he does best. i agree that it can be poor for the team morale, but i think everyone on the team understands that ronaldo is who he is and they are willing to make up for his shortcomings (tracking back, winning the ball back when he loses it).. just another testament to the balance sir alex has amassed in our squad. what ronaldo lacks is always made up for by multiple players. however, few can match what ronaldo can do in front of net or in the air. he seems to want to be a perfectionist with his technique, hopefully he can start doing the same for his personality!

  30. Thereddevil17 says:

    Great comeback…loved the match…we will never die…

  31. Marq says:

    for this week, jus for this week, can all of you stop critisizing Ronaldo? If you can critisize someone who jus scored us 2 goals to bring us back into a game, I cannot imagine what you can say if we are on a barren run. Be a proper fan and appreciate what we have. I’d take a petulant player who scores us 30 goals a season anytime

  32. denton davey says:

    “Be a proper fan and appreciate what we have. I’d take a petulant player who scores us 30 goals a season anytime”

    It’s not like he’s the first – Cantona and Cole were hardly “model citizens”; they were individuals and their individuality was appreciated. It should be the same with Ronaldo – he’s an individual, and a bloody good footballer.

    Sanj – “I don’t think we are over-reliant on ronaldo, i think he has quality players who are unselfish, constantly provide him opportunities, and let him take his chances (even when they are terrible and speculative)”

    I think that your denial of Ronaldo’s unique goal-scoring importance is off-target. He does score goals, the other guys don’t score as often.

  33. NicoQB says:

    denton davey –
    Cantona and Cole were hardly role models but you can’t compare their attitudes to that of Ronaldo’s. Ronaldo is the cream of the crop when it comes to acting spoilt. The only one that can give him a run for his money for me is Antonio Cassano. Of course I’m not talking about footballing talent.


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