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Aston Villa STILL Can’t Beat Us… And We’re Still Eight Points Behind

With Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all dropping points earlier today, the pressure was on us ahead of our trip to Villa Park. It was a great opportunity for us to claw some points back on our rivals, with a win seeing us six points behind with a game in hand.

But it wasn’t to be…

United just didn’t show up today, in a performance that was going to see us struggle to get three points against most opposition, let alone one as organised as Aston Villa. Martin O’Neill has done a good job with his team and whilst we didn’t see much of what earned them a win at the Emirates last weekend, they hassled us on the ball and did enough to stop us from scoring… not that they needed too much help in that department.

Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez had their worst performance in some time. Carlos Tevez had two strikes go out for a throw-in, failing to test the keeper before he was subbed off, where he had the nerve to shake his head. I only hope it was with his own disappointment, rather than with the manager’s decision to take him off.

Rooney had a great chance to put us in front during the second half, but booted the ball miles over from a few yards out under pressure. Where is the Wayne Rooney of October, who would have buried that ball in to the roof of Friedel’s net with ease?

We had 63% possession, happily passing the ball around in our own half and pushing it in to theirs, yet Villa easily harried us off the ball time and again when we got closer to the goal. Park Ji-Sung gave a good account of himself, getting in to great positions on occasion, whilst Nemanja Vidic made a couple of crucial tackles at the back, but other than that we were left wanting for a performance from our players.

Cristiano Ronaldo huffed and puffed today, but never really got going. He reverted to his straight-into-the-wall technique for his freekick and whilst Villa’s tactics certainly included kicking the crap out of him, his dramatics every time he was fouled are becoming infuriating. Get a fucking grip, Ronnie.

“We all agree United are better than England!” boomed our away fans, in response to the pathetic booing of Rooney and Rio from the home crowd. “You scouse bastard!” was the chorus that greeted Gareth Barry whenever he fucked up, a tad more creative than the bitter jeers Ronaldo received every time he was fouled or lost the ball.

Whilst today was certainly another missed opportunity, it is also another tough game out of the way, with a result that wasn’t the worst. We’ve played most of our hardest games now, meaning if we win our game in hand, we’re certainly in a good position.

It’s only November so I’m not massively concerned about points, but I do worry about performances. So far this season, I can’t think of a match where we’ve been on top of our game for a full 90 minutes, and I certainly can’t name two great performances in a row. This needs to change and fast!




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38 Comments

  1. SRAB says:

    We were awful. Passing was awry, and absolutely no hunger displayed, extraordinary considering the opportunity presented to us. No player comes out of that match with any glory, though Vidic probably tried the hardest. They had better buck up for next week’s derby.

  2. Anant says:

    now we can see what berba brings to the side . seriously missed his creativity . also , ando and fletcherinho would have been ideal for this game with their physical presence . pity . park and tevez were good in the battling aspect though their game really lacked the final ball and the finishing touch .
    also , how good was ashley young today ?! next united left winger ,anyone?

  3. Eli Shares says:

    Nice display of football from both sides. It’s clearly that Villa is now much more better then before. But anyway, it was a waste that United didn’t win the match. *pouts*

  4. Kings says:

    Just didn’t turn up today. Wasteful in the final third. I cannot for the life of me understand how Rooney didn’t score when clean through. Ronaldo took the bait today by showing 1 finger to the loser Villa fans. Tried too many flicks that irritated me. Park had a glorious chance too but unfortunately dithered rather than smashing the ball first time when clean through. Bad day at the office, but at least we didn’t lose and it’s another tricky away fixture out of the way. Gutted we dropped 2 points especially as the rent boys and dippers dropped points as well.

  5. n667 says:

    hate to say this, rooney n tevez looked like headless chicken running arnd the pitch… we shld have made a meal outta this match with pool n chelsea droppin points..

  6. Abhay_Red devil till death says:

    i think this draw is a big let down especially considering the fact that this was a late kick-off and we knew that all our major rivals had dropped points today. what was most apalling was that there was a lack of hunger….I mean even Sir Alex looked in inertia….when ronaldo got injured/taken off, he could have surely sent on Welbeck….with his great goal fresh in the mind and the lad full of confidence i ont think a 10-15 mins run out would have done any harm and i would have put some money on the young lad at least testing Friedel out coupla times and maybe winning it for us.

    I think this result is more dissapointing than the Arsenal one in some ways. To win a title we need to be consistent, but the only thing we seem to be consistent in at the moment is dropping points every other game and saying we’ll come good later on. It’s like watching the dippers from a few years, dropping points against teams we should be beating….. The lack of hunger was the biggest letdown, you can be quite sure that the HAIRDRYER is gonna be working overtime tonite..

  7. n667 says:

    i used to somehow try to understand people playin 4-5-1 away.. villa were looking for a victory,they played 4-5-1 at home… ridiculous that all teams come alive wen it comes to us!!!play 10 man behind the ball and then say they deserved it…. they got those chances cos of counter attacking.. v man utd were trying to create atleast!

    villa doesnt deserve the 1 pt.. v don deserve 3 pts[ no chances taken]..

    this match deserves applause only for the entertainment

  8. jhunt says:

    “Whilst today was certainly another missed opportunity, it is also another tough game out of the way, with a result that wasn’t the worst”

    You’re joking right?

    You post an article showing in great detail how we’ve slaughtered Villa for the past so many years and then have the nerve to say that it was a tough game?

    Granted, the Villa of years past was not the side that showed up today, but we looked shite and would’ve struggled against any side in the league.

  9. villa1 says:

    n667, villa quite often play 4-5-1, be it home or away. It seems you are a little bitter because so far this season chelsea & pool are better than you. Man City will have the hunger to win next week too.

  10. Scott the Red says:

    JHunt – Villa are currently a top four team who have drawn with Liverpool and beaten Arsenal this season, of course it’s a tough game.

    The article showed in great detail how Villa have failed to beat us in so long, which is still the case.

  11. n667 says:

    @villa1
    you sure mate? do visit this space in may and do remind me if pool and chelsea are still ahead or not and when ur team is rightfully back to ur mediocre 5th 0r 6th…

  12. Failsworth Devil says:

    Villa seemed more interested in stopping us rather than playing football..

    Thats why i respect Hull a lot more than VIlla.. at least i admire teams that actually have a go at us..

  13. Scott the Red says:

    Failsworth Devil – I agree with you… and Hull played like that at Old Trafford, I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like that at their place! You’d think teams on their home turf would feel obliged to play their own game in front of their fans.

  14. OTRed says:

    I’m quite disappointed in Villa, though they’re not known for free- flowing football but they’re not known to park the bus either. Disappointing but effective tactic from them today.

    @Villa1: on the contrary, you seem quite bitter yourself, no offense, but if you couldn’t beat us while playing us off-form with two off- form strikers playing upfront in your own home with your players looking scared to attack, then seriously, when can you guys beat us???

  15. mourinho says:

    rooney should have been substituted instead of tevez. that is now the second time he has missed a sitter and he hardly did anything in the game.

  16. Failsworth Devil says:

    Rooney subbed?? Are you mad??

    If CR7 hadnt got injured… i would have subbed and replaced the following :

    Park – Nani

    Tevez – Welbeck

    Giggs – Anderson

    I dont know what it is with our away form… we have defo missed a real chance to close the gap today..the only plus point is that we drew away, and the dippers and chelski drew at home, so they will be the more dissapointed teams.

    Villa were very negative… very agressive in fact….and i think thats the way a lot of teams are gonna go against us..

    Teams like Villa etc etc… are too scared to come at us.. and have a real go..

    What they seem to be doing is kicking lumps out of our players as they cannot compete on a level keil.

    It must be embarrassing as a player if your manager sets you these tactics.. coz this clearly was the case.. as it was against Celtic away..amongst others.

    Like i said earlier and what Scott agrees with.. you see the likes of Hull… no fear.. total committment, yet still wanna have a go and walk off the pitch with there pride in tact… after all look at us… we are giving them credit 3 weeks on…

    I feel sorry for the likes of Villa’s fans and the others who have to pay for there season tickets to watch there team scared to play football… coz surely the game of the season for all teams is when we visit town…and when we do… all they can do is try to stop us, and not to beat us..

    Well i can just imagine these fans going home telling there kids and grandkids just what villa were like today… “How did they play Grandad??”… “Well Timothy, we stopped them scoring”… “Oh right Grandad, i think i will support Hull”… lol

    Just shows ya…what different levels we are on from the rest..we go to win, no matter where no matter what.. Villa played us and could hardly manage a shot”..

  17. AJ says:

    Only 2 away wins for United this season. Awful away record.

    Wasted a great chance of closing down the title challange.

    I think all the mid fielders and attackers were awful in today’s game, no one had a good game apart from the defense.

    Tevez had a really bad game, so did rooney and ronaldo with lots of sloppy passes from players and no real attacking flow.

    With city next in the league am getting worried.

    but i hope the lads can prove me wrong and bounce back.

  18. Pedro the villan says:

    Listen guys , we know at villa that we are no where near as good as manutd yet , notice i said yet. We are currently less than 2 & half years into a 5 year plan to establish ourselves as a top 4 club. We are seroiusly lacking in a 20 a season goal scorer , maybe next year we’ll give you a game , but , for now our main aim was to stop you guys scoring. You guys would do the same in our position so stop the bitching!!!! Can you honestly say that you have not played for a draw anywhere in Europe?? I notice you all respect Hull , i wonder who will finish higher in the league , us or them ??

  19. AJ says:

    I dont understand your point pedro?

    it doesnt make sence.

  20. Pedro the villan says:

    AJ , my point was that people on this forum are criticising Villa for putting 10 men behind the ball for most of the game. my point is that Villa are slowly building a good team , but as yet we are nowhere near the standard of Manu , so our main objective was to defend well then try and catch you on the break.when we get a couple of proven goalscorers , we’ll give you a better game.It was important to our morale that we did not lose the game today.

  21. denton davey says:

    Villa played like the away team; UTD played like headless chickens – why were Rooney and Tevez BEHIND the midfielders so often ?

    This was a match that cried out for some sort of an ALTERNATIVE striker – a big guy who can cause havoc in the opposition box and let the rest of the team feed off the scraps.

    This was a match that could have ended nil – three IF Park had put away his two chances and Rooney had scored on his five-yarder. Of course, it could also have ended up 1-nil IF the referee had given the penalty against Vidic, whose clutching and grabbing was worse than what Rio did against Hull a few games back.

    Considering that a victory would have closed the gap on the RentBoyz and LiverPoo, this was a most disappointing result for TheLads.

  22. john says:

    giggsy was pure shit, shud b used onli to come off bench!! ruined our whole attacking play!!

  23. Patrick says:

    I don’t know about the performance. I guess we could’ve asked for more out of the lads. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, I found that second half of football one of the most enjoyable 45 minutes of the season. Good, hard-nosed tackles. An official that actually let play continue. Barely broke out any cards. The middle of the pitch was an absolute warzone and some of the tackles that took place in the final third from both sides were impressive. Surely I would’ve preferred it had we won, but I’d rather see a hotly contested draw than an unenthusiastic loss any day.

  24. furrball says:

    i think the common consensus of us not showing up says it all, and no disrespect failsworth but honestly in my opinion i think all that talk about aggression and negative football just doesnt do it for me, we’re champions and i dont think im being a biased fan here when i say that our team’s the best in England, we just havent played like one. We havent showed the kind of urgency and hunger like we have in previous years. In games like that, in away games, teams would definitely clam up and park their bus in front of goal and try to rattle us, but are we arsenal? no we’re not, it’s up to us to break them down, and if we had played like we could, we would have blown liverpool to smitherens much less villa. the problem’s in our attitude though united have been said to be an arrogant club but ive never found that true till recently, when we sauntered into anfield and the emirates thinking we could pick them apart, but they’ve shown us up in the battle, i want my fighting, not whinging and moaning united back.

  25. w says:

    Ronaldo tried hard to play today. It’s just he was getting double or tripple teamed. The reason that was happening was because he had no outlet, rooney slept through the match, and tevez has lost his confidence – trying to do too much – ending with doing nothing at all.

    Attacking wise the only person I saw trying was Ronaldo. Vidic had a great game, park okay – he got into some good positions, but clearly not enough.

    Our wingers almost never got behind their fullbacks. We played really narrow, Ronaldo getting pushed inside all the time.

    I would’ve liked to see Fergie be more agressive. If rooney and tevez are stinking up the joint, put ronaldo at striker, bring in nani and anderson for both of them – have nani, anderson, carrick, park in the middle, with ronaldo and giggs up front.

    It feels this season as though fergie has lost it too, no more passion – he’s getting senile maybe, also the tactics are pretty poor – need queiroz back.

    Bring in Morinhio – that’s the only solution I see for next year. We are almost at the end of November and United are still in preseason mode.

    Exteremely poor performance, this match started at 1:40 am Singapore time…..

  26. Tom F says:

    Villa seemed to be happy holding on to a draw, which suprised me! Considering they are playing well this season and taking big points from big teams, I guess it was good that we drew against them after the other 2 title challengers only won a point each to ‘lesser’ sides. Had they both won, as expected and we picked up a point they would have been miles in front.

    All is not lost.

  27. Failsworth Devil says:

    Furrball mate, i agree with what your saying.. and yes we are playing shocking football at the minute.. and we are the best team in england and europe and you are right we should be beating these teams regardless of what they do.

    But… what i am saying is that teams are setting the stalls out in a negative fashion just to stop us.. and yeh i know everypoint is a golden nuggett to some teams.. .but i just prefer the cavalier approach by other teams to have a real go at us..

    I know im going back to the Hull game.. but i loved it.. it was proper end to end stuff… and yes i was biting my nails a fair bit in the last 20 mins..

    “I had felt that i had been to a really entertaining football match”… just glad we won in the end..

    my argument is that the lads who travelled down to villa park yesterday, and do so all over the country and europe week in week out spening all there hard earned dough to watch us, must get really frustrated when they see teams just trying to stop us… these lads with booze tickets travel etc etc are spending about £150-200 a match… so i know what type of game id prefer to watch… United V Hull or United v Villa.. hope you see where im coming from..

    Then you gotta look at it the other way.. ive read some comments by villa fans on here and they are pretty contempt and happy it seems that they nullified us and put 10 behind the ball… well all i can say on that one is… if your prepared to pay £700-800 per season for that… then you either got money to burn… or you got rose tinted specs on… coz there is no way i would ever be proud to say that we played with 10 behind the ball or that we played for a draw… “it just isnt the united way”..

  28. Gary says:

    I have been hearing all season how Aston Villa are a good footballing side who are direct!? They set up for the draw from the start. That was the most boring game I have seen United in since Aston Villa away in the fa cup last season, something about Villa and their boring tactics at home. I almost fell asleep watching this match, a terrible advert for English football.

  29. Failsworth Devil says:

    I agree Garry mate… Villa were shocking.. and as per a comment by a villa fan… that they are 2 1/2 years into a 5 year plan… does that mean in five years, you might actually sustain and attacking presence against us in our vist to VIlla Park??

    I also gotta say… that WE need to pull our fingers out coz we look clumsy and a little lacklustre at the moment..

    Think we missed Darren Fletcher yesterday… and i never dreamt the day i would be saying this… but this season he has been full of energy… be an awesome midfielder for us… and Giggsy, does not do it in the centre of midfield..

    He is the most decorated footballer in English Football History.. and do not want us to remember him for faltering displays…

    I think he would be a good impact sub for the last 15 mins in games.. when his brain and experiance is invaluable, …

    What we gotta remember is Giggsy has based his game on pace.. .and there comes a time in all players games who depend on this quality that the pace starts to go..

    Would still be a good squad player for us.. and is a LEGEND in my eyes..

    I would have also preferred to see Raphael at RB today rather than Johnny Oshea… no offence to him… i just love the little brazillians approach.. NO FEAR… “IM GONNA HAVE A GO AT YA WHETHER YA LIKE IT OR NOT”… and teams do not know how to handle the little whizz kid..

    I also thought that game today was crying out for Possebon… this lad could have put a stamp on the game… and what i have noticed is that his passing is exceptional (Paul Scholesesque)… and our middle of field play was very sloppy… no penetration hence the reasons why Wazza and Tevez were dropping deeper and deeper to try and get the ball… so when we did get the ball wide and in the final 3rd.. whoever was crossing the ball had to drag the ball back to buy a second so people got in the box.. we just wasnt clinincal in the final 2/3rds of the pitch.

  30. Failsworth Devil says:

    The spark needs to come back for next weekend thats for sure.. as derby day…may just me the game for a certain little ginger wizard to get back into the forefront..

  31. Gary says:

    Agree with failsworth Devil, Rafael should have got the nod ahead of O’Shea. Sure Rafael has alot to learn, but why not stick him in the side yesterday? He would have given us so much more going forward than John O’Shea who turns slower than a boat.

    I think its fair to say Tevez is going to be leaving United this summer, he didnt look at all happy at being substituted and I dont blame him. He is clearly lacking confidence in himself, and taking him of all the time isnt helping him. Rooney was just as non exsistent last night as Tevez, why was he not taken off instead for a change?

    Fergie said he looked into the player eyes at the start of this season to see if the hunger was still there after last year. Judging by alot of the players displays this season, I think you have to question them. Vidic, Evra, Fletcher are a few of United’s stand out performers this season, and I think Carrick has done well since his return. Rio who was an absolute rock last year has lost his way a bit, with 2 awfull displays against Arsenal and Everton away.

    I have no right to question Fergie, because he obviously knows best for our club, but I think he has made a couple of mistakes this season, with the main one being fiddling about with our right back position. I know Wes isnt fit right now, but at the start of the season when he was fit he should have been there every game, he was brilliant for us last season and didnt deserved to be dropped after the Liverpool game.

    Looking forward to the return of Paul Scholes, who I still rate as the best player I have ever seen in the flesh, I cant speak highly enough of him. I cherish every time I go to Old Trafford and see Scholesy play, he is the most technically gifted player this country has produced since Gascoigne. It will be a sad day when Scholesy calls it a day :(

  32. swapnil says:

    surely something’s missing in this year’s side.for all our possesion we don’t know how to play the final penetrating ball.to many passes go horizontally into the wings where the player is already marked and thus won’t be able to put a cross in.its become a steady pattern this year that teams play 5 in midfield against us and get all their men near the edge of the box and we can’t find a way through.as far as tevez’s poor form i believe fergie is himself to blame for this.at the start of the season when he was so confident and hungry fergie never gave him a single start.surely that would have an effect on any player especially you are the one who had the best pre season of all players.ronaldo did try very hard yesterday i felt but he was double teamed everytime.rooney always scores in patches but still that miss was unbelievable.we failed to crate even a single good chance.surprise for me was that EVDS looked pretty good.he handled crosses very well.our substitutions were bizzare.andy shud have come for giggs a lot earlier.i think fergie needs someone with better tactical brains.more i see united play this season more i believe they’re not nearly as good as last 2 seasons.

  33. SteRDLK says:

    I think one fault is our squad rotation. We are rotating way too much, and no players can settle with too much change. We need to find a lineup that plays week in-week out.

    Last season we had

    Edwin Van Der Sar

    Brown – Vidic – Ferdinand – Evra

    Ronaldo – Scholes / Anderson – Carrick / Hargreaves – Giggs

    Tevez – Rooney

    Now we are changing too much, one week it’s Carrick and Anderson, the next it’s Fletcher and Giggs, the next it’s Carrick and Fletcher.

    Giggs has been extremely disappointing this season, he should be a sub in most games, as much as I love the guy.

    But, there have been a lot of injuries which may explain it.

  34. furrball says:

    failsworth, absolutely spot on there mate, and i do see your point now especially amplified with the away fans paying huge amounts of money, not just for the tickets but travelling as well, not to mention the time, to see such negative football’s just rubbish.

    and quite frankly, the comparisons are there, if hull’s having a go at us while away what more villa, at home?

    but i guess coming from my end, it was just frustrating not seeing us being able to play like we could and sticking it to them no matter how many buses we parked in front of goal. back to the team,

    i believe we’d all rather see rafael in the side, he’s our right sided evra! he should have at least been brought on. fergie’s been having inhibitions about the younger ones these days though.

    right on about giggs as well, in the centre of midfield he’s a player of similar mould to carrick i dont understand why they were paired together they were over run and frankly speaking fletcher’s been our player of the season thus far in my book, he’s looked like a revelation he’s been popping up everywhere getting stuck in spraying quality passes (picked that up from scholesy/carrick i’d think) and sticking it into the net i’d say if we had him on for arse and for villa we would have won those easily!

    and you’re right, failsworth i could see possebon doing that job as well, he’s still young though but he’s that kind of player and i’d give him a go in the team, or anderson too i think that’s what we bought him for actually to be a box to box midfielder

    i felt park should have been taken off instead, not tevez, for nani, youre going for the win, he’s worked hard but youve got to leave both your strikers on there if you want to go for the jugular i saw no good in bringing tevez off at all and as gary mentioned, it does zilch to his confidence and i was absolutely astounded when he was brought off, remember the days when we had 4 strikers on the pitch?

    we really have to step up next week for the derby, it’s just one of those games that get our season rolling i hope we come right off the blocks, get stuck in and pound them for 90 minutes, bus in front of goal or not.

    32 years!

  35. Failsworth Devil says:

    Furrball mate…”Nail On The Head” buddy… totallly and utterly agree with your comments and with what u suggested we should have done..

    We have gotta give these young fella’s a chance… why the hell not… they have no fear… they have the ability… and it brings sommat fresh and new to our game…

    Both what you and Ste say are bob on… we need a consistent side.. we have been taking the piss out of the dippers for the rotational shite.. no we are at it.. and it shows we are getting nowhere with it..

    Yes we have a big big squad… yes you have to keep players happy.. BUT… i honestly believe that players should be playing on merit and not on name..

    If players are on top of there game.. then for gods sake SAF dont rest them.. dont get me wrong i would never doubt Fergies decisions..but think he is going a little bit soft….. and think that if the senior players are playing to the level required, then give the likes of Ben Foster, Rodrigo Possebon, Rafael, Johnny Evans, Danny Welbeck, Anderson, Nani.. a real good crack at the whip… in fact i would play them all this week in europe… Why not?? We only need a point.. and it isnt exactly a cauldron which they are going into… throw them in and let them play… whats the worse thing that can happen… we would have to bring some senior players on from off the bench..

    I always got told the best to learn and see how good you are is to go in at the deep end….. well lets push them in and see how they go.

  36. Daniel says:

    I really think that a lot of our problems revolve around Berbatov. I am not saying that he is a bad buy. I think that he is a great edition. I just don’t think that his price tag should have meant automatic selection.

    He has been good. However, the forward line last year was three pronged with Rooney, Tevez, and Ronaldo. I believe that Berbatov should have had to earn his place from either Rooney or Tevez instead of sacrificing Tevez. I don’t like to bad mouth any SAF does because there is a reason he is so successful, but I am kind of the belief that if he had as much faith in Berbatov as suggested, then the he should had the faith that Berbatov would have won his spot on merit rather than price. There are a number of good arguments other than price to substantiate his automatic and constant selection that I am not going to get into.

    Besides making players win spots from the team and formation that brought us success last year, I think the slight change in formation has hurt us too. United seem to have to reverted to a more traditional 4-4-2 because of the signing of Berbatov. That, in my view, as pushed Ronaldo out wider. Yes he is a wide player, but I don’t think that he necessarily played the traditional winger role last year. Now he is back in to more traditional winger slot, but he tends to cut inside quite a bit. This along with the lack of a outright left wing players seems to have deprived us of width in my view.

    Evra does get down the left consistently. The only player that gets down the right flank consistently though is Rafael. SAF only seems to play him against teams that I think SAF expects us to get a result in. Some suggested he should have been selected yesterday, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that and I would have liked to see him. With Agbondlar and Young’s pace though, I can understand why he was not. Rafael gets up the line and at times seemingly leaves that right flank a bit exposed. Exposure that the two pacey Villa men would most likely haven’t great advantage of.

    I do believe we lost a great opportunity. All is not yet lost though and there is time for improvement. In my view though, in order to have a good chance to win the league, we need to gain two points on our rivals before the end of the new year fixture congestion (not considering the game in hand that we have and will gain).

  37. PossePossebon says:

    W, you watched it at 1.40am Singapore time too? Did it piss you off big time too? I felt so annoyed staying up and only watching a goalless draw with Villa placing ten men, sometimes eleven, behind the ball each time we got it. I think ‘frustrating’ doesn’t even cover it. Why on Earth didn’t we start with Rafael and Fletcherinho?

  38. suhayl says:

    Gary. Sterdlk = spot on…..centre mid too much chop and change…ofcourse without the first choice pairing scholsey and hargo that was going to happen….Too much rotation too…

    As for the only game we’ve played brillaintly for 90 mins this season = only the blackburn game

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