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Can Ronaldo Be Forgiven For Penalty Miss?

Ronaldo Penalty MissManchester United have moved back down to second in the table after losing to West Ham today. Whenever United lose there is a temptation to start pointing the finger. We surely can’t have lost because we weren’t good enough, so what can we blame it on?

I had a go at playing the blame game earlier, but I’m sure the popular culprit for today’s loss is Cristiano Ronaldo, after he missed a penalty which would have put us 2-0 up. Darren Fletcher, who I don’t believe should have started today, has stood up for Ronaldo, saying after all he has done for us, he shouldn’t be blamed. “Ronaldo missed his penalty but that can happen,” Fletcher said. “We’re still in a comfortable position 1-0 up and then it comes down to set-pieces. It’s not him to blame, he’s been fantastic for us and won us many games and many points. We were still in a winning position, so it’s nothing to do with the penalty that lost us the game today. It was individual errors at set-pieces that have cost us.”

Fletcher’s statement poses a difficult question for me. Whilst there can be no doubt Ronaldo has been instrumental to our place in the table this season and last, does that make it acceptable for him to screw up today? There are certain things I can turn a blind eye to where Ronaldo is concerned, most notably, his inability to show up in the big games. Now, I can forgive his selfishness on the field, even when it doesn’t pay off, because he has given us so much. I can even forgive him for not turning up in the big games, because he usually turns up week in week out in the small games. But can we forgive a penalty miss?

I’d have bet a fair amount of Ronaldo putting that penalty away, and whilst usually some anxiety comes with being awarded a penalty, I am far too used to finding myself very relaxed when they come our way these days. Ronaldo seems to always score penalties, and at a time when he is experiencing the goalscoring form of his life, there seemed no doubt he’d wrap up the game for us. To not even force a save from the West Ham keeper is rather unnerving. What was he thinking about?? There are certain things we should be able to expect, and getting penalties on target should be one of them. We can look at the rest of the team as much as want, talk about the lacklustre performance and the poor tactics from Ferguson, but essentially, a penalty is a gift of a goal, and there is no excuse for not at least working the goalkeeper.

Essentially though, as much as I was swearing and shouting at full time, as much as I was cursing Ronaldo, everyone is entitled to make mistakes, and this is a mistake we can deal with. We’ve lost out on the points today, but if we’re honest, they’re not points we deserved. United need a kick up the arse, they need to be reminded this title is theirs to work to hold on to, not theirs just to keep regardless, and hopefully today will have served this purpose.

So, he may not be our favourite person right now, but he’s the highest scorer in the Premiership, he’s a United player, and I’ve every confidence he’ll bounce back for Birmingham. The added desire to make up for today can’t do any harm either!

How do you feel about Ronaldo after his penalty miss?

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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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18 Comments

  1. Taehr says:

    Hes is human.It happens.

  2. Tom F says:

    Maybe Saha should’ve taken it, because if he missed he would be an easy target to blame. Ronaldos penalty miss wasn’t to blame, our performance before and after our goal was. We didn’t give enough.

    I’m sure Ronaldos penalties against Boro and the like more than make up for a miss. He wanted to take the penalty when Tevez was on a hat trick which I wasn’t really happy with, but if you are nominted you ave to deal with the consequences both ways.

    As long as he scores the next one! :O)

  3. Nick says:

    No ones going to hit 100% penalty’s throughout the whole of their career, he missed one today, he’ll miss others in the future. Fletcher shouldn’t have started ahead of Anderson, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing, also I think Tevez let the situation get to him, he tried to be involved in everything, he was running round like a headless chicken for much of the first half, a little composure and discipline would have gone a long way.

    All in all it was a bad day at the office, WHU deserved to win, Arsenal beat a difficult team away 4-1 and although it leaves a bitter taste to admit, they fully deserve the number one spot this evening. Still a long way to go yet though.

    Come on United.

  4. me says:

    wtf if it wasnt for ronaldo we wud probs be half way down the league we wudnt have beat blackburn, everton, fulham,Sporting Lisbon home nd away he has scored 2 in 5 different games this season. So far he has 18 goals for united for a winger thats great. Ok wayne rooney didnt play today but hasnt be great since coming bk for injury carrick hasnt been great nd with saha always injuried too much is put on ronaldo and it seems we have becoming more of a one man acttive force in the last couple of weeks man utd need a new stricker and fast cos if ronaldo gets injuried badly our season is over

  5. United on Fire says:

    What’s this about constantly wanting to find someone to blame?

    This is a team game, and unless Ronaldo somehow manages to dribble the wrong way down the pitch and launches a spectacular own goal past the keeper, he can’t be blamed for the goals we concede. No one scores every penalty, ever. Even Ruud started missing them, and I’m sure I remember Eric missing one.

  6. Eddie says:

    Which one would you rather choose: 1.Ronaldo missed it today and now he knows how it feels to miss a penalty. He will practice even more now and be more determined than ever every time he gets one.
    2. Its a cup final and the score is 1-1 when Ronaldo gets a penalty. He has never missed one and is over confident. While not fully focused he strikes it and the ball goes wide.
    I think missing the penalty today was a good experience for him actually. I am sad to spend the last hours of 2007 in second place after such a great year. But we may be on top 2nd January 2008 cause Arse play west Ham and they proved that they are a difficult side to play. Still Ronaldo will always be a hero and I will defo forgive him for today. If it wasnt for him we would have been 4th or 5th and not qualified for the CL.He is only human, though a marvelous one! :-)

  7. Tony Montana says:

    No Fletcher is 100% right. This defeat should be a wake up call for all united staff. Firstly, man utd have been heavily relying on Ronaldo to produce all the goals lately and the magic. When he has an off day they do not win. The teams morale went down when Ronaldo missed the penalty. In my opinion, Ronaldo has not rested in the xmas period and should have played alongside Rooney today. Rooney is on form and would have taken some of the pressure off ronaldo today.

  8. michael says:

    How can you even think of blaming ronaldo??? He is just as human as Giggs or cantona, C,mon that was just a poor display by all players

  9. UnitedRay says:

    i think scott blames lady luck and the team more than he does Ronnie. We are all dwelling in the ‘what could have been..if…” phase now. It sucks so much to know we could have won 2-0 but ended up losing 2-1.

    Everton sucks…

  10. IndianManc says:

    Come on guys….the lad is only human….since when has missing a penalty started being counted as a “failure” of any sorts…credit to west ham..thewy battled hard…got utd thru 2 set plays…just a bad day at the office….the only bright spot was saha..thought he played really well…

  11. busingye says:

    scotts favourite.ever to be negative when it comes to ronaldo.we are only in the title chase because of him.not even rooney can do what he does.the real problem is giggs,giggs,giggs.when u look at arsenal,fabbregas is off form,but hleb,or rosicky take over.what do we get?blame ronaldo for everything coz lets face it.HE IS THE TEAM.

  12. denton davey says:

    The very worst penalty miss of the last decade was RVN’s cross-bar rattler that led the Gooners off the hook a couple of years ago. Ronaldo’s was “just one of those things” – he’s been very, very good from the spot and seems to have ice-water in his veins. Besides, the whole team was simply terrible yesterday and that, too, was “Just one of those things”. I’m sure that SAF will have some really, really, really choice words for TheLads and expect that B’ham will pay the price on NewYear’sDay.

  13. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    Hasn’t he scored every penalty since van Nistelrooy left? The only one I remember him missing was against Wigan and he tapped in the rebound. Ronaldo should remain our spot kick taker because he’s so calm. He was simply unlucky.. we’ve seen Beckham blast them over the bar as well!

  14. john says:

    Without Ronaldo .. Manchester would be probably almost 0… This makes me think if Manchester deserves such a player. And YES, he can be forgiven. (he scored the other goal , remember ?) If you look at how he was rated for this game by the visitors on cnn(I think),he has the highest rating from man.

  15. CinCin says:

    Jeez, all these people believing that Ronaldo makes up our entire team! Sure, we may struggle more without him, but people said the same about other players and united went on from strength to strength.

  16. Sumu says:

    We played poorly today… WHU were by the the best team.. the chances they had in the both halves were amazing.. but we did try to come back after the WHU goal.. Its football and it happens.. just a day off…

  17. Szczepanek says:

    Hasn’t he scored every penalty since van Nistelrooy left? The only one I remember him missing was against Wigan and he tapped in the rebound. Ronaldo should remain our spot kick taker because he’s so calm. He was simply unlucky.. we’ve seen Beckham blast them over the bar as well!!

  18. Nikelesh reddy says:

    I agree with scott on many issues but i think ur being a bit too harsh here by saying that “ronaldo doesnt show up in the big games”.Obviously,the teams do mark him better and make it more difficult,but theres a positive said to that too.As they mark ronaldo and concentrate on him,that leaves the space for our other players to play.

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