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It Wasn’t A Penalty…But Ronaldo Didn’t Dive and We Deserved To Win

With the sun shining down on the East stand, Bolton took the decision to allow United to attack the Stretford End in the first half, something that rarely happens at Old Trafford.

It was because of this I didn’t get a good view of the penalty incident, although, even from my poor view, I could see that it wasn’t a penalty. The ball was won, and whilst there was contact on Cristiano Ronaldo, it never should have been a penalty. Since getting home, the replays show that Ronaldo didn’t dive, much to my relief, but that the referee made the wrong decision.

However, there seems to be this idea that United were gifted the win because of Rob Style’s incompetence, which quite clearly isn’t true.

“It was a nonsense decision,” said Bolton boss, Megson. “When Rob Styles blew the whistle I thought he was going to book Ronaldo for diving. He did not seem to be sure what he was going to give. My thoughts on the tackle were the same as everyone else’s in the stadium apart from one man. When the referee sees it again, he will have the same opinion, too. It really sticks in the throat.”

Aside from the fact United scored another goal, completely fairly, we were by far the better team on the day. We had a massive 16 shots on target in comparison to their 2, we had a further 10 shots off target to their 4, as well as 11 blocked shots to Bolton’s 3. That works out at 34 shots for United against 7 shots from Bolton.

We had an impressive 90% passing success rate to Bolton’s 65%, as well as 75% possession to their 25%.

Last week City beat Portsmouth 6-0, yet had 7 fewer shots on target, and enjoyed just 58% possession.

United bossed the game, deserved the points and the reaction to the penalty decision only enforcing the ABU stance this country has.

“Bolton were fuming as Cristiano Ronaldo’s controversial penalty handed Utd the win” read The Sun.

“Instead of booking Ronaldo for simulation, referee Rob Styles gave him a penalty” read The Times.

It makes you wonder whether these journalists, who are paid thousands of pounds for their write-up on the game, even bother to watch them. Whilst certainly not a penalty, it was never a dive, and it certainly didn’t hand United an undeserved three points.

Bolton were awful and United created chance after chance. A draw would have been a ridiculously unfair result, and thanks to the inclusion of Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes, who added so much to the attack after they came on, it was never something we had to worry about. The press of this country are so blinded by their hate for Manchester United that they can’t even give a close to fair summary of the match. Ooh they’re so fucking bitter. 

UNITED > England.

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. Sully [South Africa] says:

    Fuck them press guys… Its not like we read too much into their bullshit headlines! They all anti-United… Its all the more reason I fuckin LOVE United… RED BLOOD FOREVER – MUFC

  2. Jim says:

    Styles has screwed us so many times, so we were due. This will hopefully spark United who need to inject some grit into their game.

  3. nagraj says:

    It was more than fair redress for the two penalties that weren’t given against villareal..

  4. james f says:

    Bolton should consider themselves lucky to have avoided a thrashing. Everything else is rubbish.

  5. wiuru... says:

    I agree with what your saying but as the stats show we should of pulled of a more emphatic win . Im not saying the ABUs and hacks would not of been on our case but it would of helped. Still its another 3 pts in the bag,

  6. Par says:

    Yeah, well those stats pale in comparison to Liverpool vs Stoke last week. The point is that Liverpool couldn’t break them down, and neither could United break down Bolton today. You were probably good value for your win, but the truth is that the penalty changed the game, Bolton had every chance of coming away from that match with a point. You can’t argue that the second goal would have been scored anyway, because you can’t predict what would have happened had things played out differently.

    Those two newspaper quotes are bullshit though. I’d expect better from the Times (if not the other one)

  7. Tom F says:

    Scott – most of them really do not pay attention to the details. I remember reading a match report on United last year. There were loads of errors but the one which stood out said something along the lines of “… United were awarded a free kick after a late challenge grounded Nani”

    When in actual fact, it was Anderson who was fouled. Oh, well, as the Sun would say. Both the same.

    It’s embarrassing. I cannot believe that there was no praise for our performance yesterday. Had it been Arsenal or even Liverpool or Chelsea, they would have been falling over themselves to say it was a good performance.

    Oh well, I guess it is all about what is ‘hip’ at the moment and praising United is not. At least we, the fans, know what is happening and we know that United are nowhere near their best, yet still playing very well.

    Every game that is around the corner is exciting. To see our boys have the chance to gel more and more with each match is promising and it won’t be long until Berbatov is in the goals as well.

  8. A MAN UNITED FAN says:

    how many corners where won in the match for united it was unreal

  9. Kings says:

    That’s why I haven’t purchased a newspaper for more than 10 years, bunch of fucking cunts. We definitely deserved the win, and Bolton only had one clear cut chance in the whole game. Totally agree that was never a penalty, but we would of won without that decision anyway, especially after the introduction of Rooney and Scholes. United>England.

  10. jsos says:

    bolton were lucky not to have our scholesy embarrass them with his stepping onto the pitch as well. our ginger prince had a stellar coming on as well! we clearly outplayed bolton and penalty or not – the stats don’t lie, we were looking at a win

  11. denton davey says:

    I can’t believe these comments – Bolton were incredibly unlucky not to go into the half leading 1-nil because Muamba missed an absolute, complete sitter. It was like watching a Diego Forlorn highlight reel !

    The “penalty” changed the game because, up to that time, Bolton’s park-the-bus tactics were working – UTD were static and sterile, butting their collective heads against a packed box. The so-called “statistics” about passing efficiency are bollox – how many went backwards or sideways ? The fullbacks overlapped but who else was running off the ball, trying to gain a bit of space ? After the “penalty”, Bolton were less coherent and the game opened up to UTD’s advantage; the last twenty minutes were incredibly one-sided.

    But, let’s be fair – and not one-eyed about the first seventy minutes. The old, old problem of attacking the packed box is still there – Berbatov did little to resolve that issue and, in fact, his presence seems to have induced a more static form of attack.

    I know that it’s still early-days, but so far the addition of Berbatov (at the expense of Carlitos or TheBoyWonder) doesn’t look like a great strategic advance. And, I’m not sure how Ronaldo’s selfish me/me/me approach is helped when Tevez/Rooney aren’t working tirelessly to open up space for him. Of course, SAF really, really wanted Berbatov so he must have some ideas about how to accommodate him – without disrupting the wonderful rhythm and flow that brought TheDouble last year. Sitting on my couch, I don’t see much alternative to trusting in the OldFootieKnight.

    By the way, what’s up with Wesley Brown ? He’s been absent for three games in a row; Gary Neville has not exactly inspired confidence.

  12. Wiggsman says:

    Agree with Par – Scott ur a true Red, but our headline is the type of comment that makes me cringe and makes opposing fans think bias Manc straight away. Bottom line is that shots and corners dont win games and you can 100′s of those, as long as a team defends well then theior doing their job. Remember some teams set themselves out so that we end up having the majority of play/shots etc but also that we dont score…..point being that if a penalty is award (we or you cannot say if Ronnie dived, neither of us are mystic meg) in this situation then it alters the game and affects the negative team, ie the one defending and doing teh decent job of shutting us out – thats how teams play against us and we need to find a a a way round it , yesterday we were lucky! Deserved bt lucky

  13. Tom F says:

    The fact is we did deserve the win, yes, Bolton were unlucky but we did deserve it. Bolton didn’t deserve to go a goal down after a dodgy penalty decision but they hardly deserved a point from the game.

    Davey – agree with your comment about Wesley, can’t believe he’s being left out. Gary is experienced and ultimately deserves a chance to come back after years of reliable service as our Captain and before, however I think Wes has been excellent for us over the last 18 months and I consider him as a starter.

  14. Anant says:

    i dont know about the rest of you but i was delighted by our passing yesterday , especially after the introduction of scholesy . it was by far our best performance this season . though not necessarily awe inspiring , there were definite signs of us starting to gel as a team . anyone else notice the similarity to barca’s style of play – pass after pass after pass till the oppsition just caves in – ball watching . sheer poetry in motion . 75% posession , now no one can fault that . cant wait for the next game !

    on another note , agree with wiggsman , scott – we could do without the in- your -face headline . as soon as the penalty was awarded yesterday all the liverpool fans ganged up and started swearing – diver , cheat…etc . you know what really gets their goat ? just agree with them and say theres nothing in hell they can do about it . then see the look on their faces . priceless!

  15. Anant says:

    by the way , how was the crowd yesterday ? …any songs for our new man up front ?

  16. Gapi says:

    The title is spot on Scott.

  17. Tom F says:

    Anant – Ronaldo has dived in the past, he didn’t dive yesterday. You should just ask the Dippers if they’ve never seen Gerrard diving? Hmm… he does is for his club and country.

  18. FailsworthDevil says:

    Ronaldo was losing his footing just before he went over yesterday… so it wasnt a dive… and it wasnt a penalty… but who cares.. like some of ya have said… we have had lots of decisions against us… look at the ex blue nose Distins challenge on CR7 in the fa cup… that was blatant and we never got it … so i suppose it evens itself out over the season..

    Lets be honest… bolton got mullered by us… and should be keepin there gobs shut coz in all honesty… 2-0 really flattered them, as we spent 90% of the game in there half.. and the only real chance they had at the end of the first half was all they did in our last third.

    Good to see CR7 and Wazza linkin up like they was last season that is promising … and i think Berba did some good touches… which is what he needed… i reckon in about 3-4 weeks we will be seeing some good football out of united… slow starters… which means plenty in the tank for us… and with the game in hand will mean only 3 points off top…

    Dont think there is too much for us to worry about.. do you??

    We aint been playing well… not really… and we are in touching distance..

    The scouse, and chelski will have a bad month… always happens… thats when we capitalise on it… and back to the top we go… where we belong… after all … “It is our trophy”.

  19. Unitedblogger says:

    I’m probably the only person who thinks it WAS a penalty. Or rather, it wasn’t as bad a decision as it was made out to be. Ronaldo was impeded, he didn’t dive, the “contact” happened well inside the penalty area and Styles had to make a call – we’ve seen them given for less. So don’t know what the fuss is about.

  20. Par says:

    Yeah, you’re the only person. The rest of us understand the sport.

  21. Drew Vader says:

    Once again Denton Davey, I agree with you 100% man….

    Ive been too fucking frustrated to comment on anything, and have been avoiding some of my favorite sites. That was a terrible, shocking performance. I could list 25 things that drove me fucking nuts, but Im going to limit myself to just this one, and excuse me for using the all caps, but thats the point where I find myself now….


    Sadly, that didnt make me feel any better. Im just more fired up now.

  22. Stephen says:

    Drew thats pretty much sums it up mate!

  23. suhayl says:

    Agree that we werent great. And yes drew vader…our failure from corners hitting the first man or short corners frustrate me loads too. worst sin you can commit is taking a shite corner..when you have a chance to pin your opps down.

    The performance wasnt as great as people make out. we huffed and puffed alot pre goal. And no doubt the dodgy pen did help us….seeing after it we played some better football with more touch guile and rythm.

    But saying that what do you expect. My take on it is. We are not firing on all cylinders. Because SAF doesnt know his first 11.

    I mean its great having soooooooooooooooooooo many great players. But he just doesnt know his first 11. Hence chopping changing game in game out. Players arent settled and havent formed proper partnerships. I mean apart from the back 4. There would be 20 different opinions on formation for the midfield and attack.

    Carrick andy
    andy scholes
    scholesy fletch
    andy park
    hargo carrick
    scholes carrick
    nani park
    park giggs
    giggs ron
    ron park

    tevo roona
    manucho roona
    berba tevo
    berba roona
    tevo manucho

    SAF doesnt know his best 11 bar the back 4…hence we re not firing.

    3 points though…hopefully we wont drop anymore until we find that first 11

  24. OTRed says:

    How’s the headline “in your face”??? Ronaldo didn’t dive, it wasn’t a penalty and we deserved to win. Where’s the bias there??? As far as I’m concerned, all three points are true. Besides Muwamba’s chance and a clear-cut free-kick, how many chances did Bolton create? Theres nothing biased about it, the decision changed the game, but we fully deserved to win.

    @Par: You’re obviously not a United fan, so wtf are you doing posting comments on a United blog?

    @Failsworth devil, i agree with every point. The only thing besides the penalty that is unfair here, is the final score, 2-0 doesn’t do Bolton justice, it should have been more. Penalty or not, we’ve had a sh!t start to the season, a sh!tty summer and its about time some luck started coming our way.

  25. OTRed says:

    @Suhayl: Its not just about having choices, its about which choices work and frankly, about half the choices you listed would get us a loss or draw.

  26. suhayl says:

    OT RED…thats what i said..many choices….but finding the right combo and mix is essential. Yes great to have choices as you can chop and change during the season..taking into account games, fatigue, competition, injury. But for consistency…the ultimate pairings have to play and play together often. That is what i said and half the choices i listed are some that saf has tried and still cant pick the right one. I mean so far he’s found out andy cant play with scholsey and fletcher a bit part player has been a revelation.

    So you figure..or anybody else for that matter..what our midfield partnership would be…same goes for strike


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