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Nani: We Were Better Than Chelsea

Nani, who put United 2-0 up against Chelsea this afternoon, has claimed that the result was fair, after both sides squandered lots of chances.

“I think everyone saw a game with a lot of opportunities for both sides,” Nani, said. “Chelsea created a lot of chances to score as well, but I think our performance was better than them and that’s why we scored three goals. We deserved the win.”

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. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 22:46: “The Berb’s contribution in the last 10 or 15 minutes indicates that sometimes, there’s still some value in a more patient approach. There were moments of good passing/interplay earlier in the match, but that aspect really improved when he came on.”

    Are you Doghouse in disguise ?

    When SAF took out Anderson and Chicharito and replaced them with Michael Carrick and Dimmy it signalled a “more patient approach” but it also meant that there was only one more scoring opportunity – and I don’t need to comment about THAT do I ?

    The Berb is going to get some playing time now because both Danny Welbeck and Chicharito will be missing through injuries which kinda speaks to my (too-often repeated) point that he’s now fourth-choice. Like Costas wrote in one of the other threads, the Berbagasm spunked out today. I reckon that he’ll get into the starting eleven against LeedsCum and next weekend at Stoke. It’s going to be time for him “to shit or get off the pot” – and there’s no way to say that in a more polite manner.

  2. StatesideAussie says:

    Denton … nope, I am not biting. Say what you like, I am not “debating” Berbatov with you. On this issue, your mind is closed. Sir Alex Ferguson described Rooney’s pass to Berbatov as “a terrible pass, a really bad pass”, yet even though Berbatov still got it on target and was only denied by a desperate lunge on the line, for you the only possible verdict is that he fucked it up. I’ll discuss other topics with you, but not this. Piss off.

  3. WillieRedNut says:

    Denton – And? In terms of scoreline is pretty conclusive…. Don’t get all Bill Hicks, fella. ;)

  4. Dragonslayer says:

    Congratulation to Man Utd for winning against Chelsea. and thank you to Fulham who has done a wonderful job holding the Man City at bay. And lastly, Spursssss who made a 4-0 victory over Liverpool.

    The match against Chelsea saw us getting 3-0 before wasting about 3 chances and 1 penalty to make the match 6-1, if it does happen. In term of game play, I agreed with Doghouse, United was performing quite good in the first half, and at the second half, we were playing very badly though we did create some good chance. Chelsea pop our defenses with relative ease compared to when we try to open up their defensive weakness. Luckily for us, fate was not in both teams. United 3 goals were denied by crossbar, a slip by Rooney, and Berba weak shot. Chelsea is given plenty of chance only to be wasted by Torres and co.

    This match shows how much United needs to maintain the consistency in game play. United need to step up their midfield and last four defense. Although Carrick-Fletcher makes some accurate pass, but what I was left frustrated is not much support in our attack by the central midfielders. The difficulty in bursting the bubble was too much. It is like watching 3 person Nani- Rooney- Ashley trying to attack at the second half. The other were so much behind that not much support can be given and at times ball were passed back so far that we are like back to square one. For midfield, I would prefer a new player during transfer window who can solidify our defense and push the attacks. A player that can support like old Roy Keane would be nice.

    De Gea has made some great save but still, I kinda hate it to see him standing like a statue at times. Some keepers moved forward to pound the ball away, De Gea usually just stand there. Though there are still about half a year for him to improve himself before we go and face most of our opponents in their own ground, he must really make a very big difference in his approach. At times like this, I always hope we can fuse Lindegaard and De Gea to make one ultimate keeper.

    After the match, I told myself, we were lucky to have managed to keep the scoreline, but if this is Barcelona, perhaps we have been punished by them with easy goals just like what they did against Osasuna. In any case, hope the players will honed their skill and being more versatile at doing offense and defense. A match against teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man City might not be so forgiving.

  5. King Eric says:

    Dragonslayer. A short post as off to bed but the rentboys when performed like today are considerably better than City and certainly osa who na. We don’t need to worry about Barca till Feb if at all and we can play considerably better than today.

  6. Sparkz says:

    Peculiar game, error strewn yet entertaining. We’re just really ruthless going forward atm!

    Thought they found way too much space between the lines when Fletch and Anderson pushed really high up. Shows the value of Carrick IMO- coz yeah, he doesn’t charge forward, but he sits and protects that space.

    We’ve had 100+ shots against us in 5 games, that’s 20 per game, which is kinda ridiculous, especially as 3 of them have been at home! Obviously that stat is skewed a bit coz teams have been taking hopeful pot shots at De Gea, but its still a slight concern (the only one atm). I’m sure Fergie will wanna tighten it up, wouldn’t be surprised if Carrick starts vs Stoke.

    I suppose you could say its a consequence of this new gung ho style of play we have, where even the defenders regularly charge forward. Plus Rio & Vidic haven’t been in the side much. But as the season goes on, I’d hope we sort that out somehow.

    That said, thought the wide men plus Jones, De Gea & Evra were top draw. I really wouldn’t swap Nani for any other winger, he’s got the potential to go really fat IMO, frightening talent. Right back may be Valencia’s way of getting back into the first team if it carries on like this!

  7. Sparkz says:

    Really far* lol, not fat! ^

  8. Dragonslayer says:

    RE: Sparkz

    What will Nani look like if he is fat? Will he look like The Ye Old Ronaldo? A big round tummy?

  9. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 0:36: “Sir Alex Ferguson described Rooney’s pass to Berbatov as “a terrible pass, a really bad pass”, yet even though Berbatov still got it on target and was only denied by a desperate lunge on the line, for you the only possible verdict is that he fucked it up.”

    It’s about results: TheWayneBoy’s pass got the ball to Dimmy’s feet, Dimmy didn’t put it in the net.

    So what if the pass wasn’t “put on a plate” ? According to you and some others Berbatov is supposed to be a “world class” striker. World class strikers sometimes miss such chances, I get that BUT world class strikers also put the ball into the net when the service isn’t first-class.

    AND let’s not forget that Dimmy has previous.

    “I’ll discuss other topics with you, but not this. Piss off.”

    Sticks-and-stones….and like that.

    I’d expect better from you. If that’s the best response you can offer to having it pointed out that Dimmy has again missed an open goal then it’s pretty clear to me that BerbaLove is truly blind.

  10. denton davey says:

    Dragonslayer @ 2:24: “What will Nani look like if he is fat?”

    Did you see the guy’s physique when he took his shirt off after the match ? “Ripped”, “chiselled”, “laser-etched” hardly do him justice.

  11. Marq says:


    Like what statesideaussie said, your mind is closed already on Berbatov, so don’t go into that. The pass from Rooney was overhit, that is a fact. What do you expect Berbatov to do other than hit the target, which he did? Control the ball, do a spin, flick it over his head and backheel it into the net?

  12. Doghouse says:

    I would have liked to see Berbatov bury his chance, we all would, but it was never that easy a chance. Yes, doable, but it looked a lot easier than it was. And that was partly due to the pass and partly due to the speed it had to be taken at and the pace Cole arrived at. Sir Alex was right, the pass let him down. Rooney’s pass asked a lot more than it looked like it would, and Cole worked a small miracle.

    What I noticed about Berbatov was him winning the ball in the right back position at one point, then getting back up the pitch to get stuck into the attack. Because that’s what he does. And now, when, inevitably, circumstances have stretched the squad, he’s there for us, and everybody except City fans wants him to score millions of goals for us, naturally.

    Criticising the patient approach is ludicrous when you’re talking about defending a two goal lead against a team that is absolutely tearing through you. Anderson gave us the dynamism through the middle, but he was vulnerable to losing the ball and Fletcher was not enough on his own to plug that hole that Chelsea were exploiting, but we always had the wings to go down. So Fergie made the call, put Carrick into that role in the centre, deny it to Chelsea, and then work the wings. And it worked. As I say, I love Anderson, but I think he is better suited to getting at teams that are trying to button up. Had Chelsea come to Old Trafford and tried to keep us at arms length and shield their back four I think Anderson would have taken them apart, but there he was, surrounded by attacking midfielders, and he could attack, sure, but it needed somebody with a bit more defensive guile to stop them.

    If Fergie had any inkling what Chelsea were going to throw at us I think he’d have played Carrick from the start but I think Villa Boas played some really brave, really unpredictable cards, and if he’d been luckier he’d have looked like a genius. I don’t think anybody expected Chelsea of all teams to rock up to Old Trafford and just come charging at us in waves like crazy people. Carrick can deal with that, and he doesn’t have to apologise for it. He looked like a man among boys out there at times, so composed, so aware of what had to be done and so capable of doing it.

    I hope Villas Boas sticks around, because if that’s the sort of tactics he wants to bring to the premiership that’s all good (as long as we still win). He’s is definitely not just Mourinho MK2. Jose would have had a fit to see a team come to OT attacking like that.

  13. Anand says:

    Nani, Jones and to an De Gea stood out in the match, from the 22 players that were on the field. I thought Evra was shit for most of the game, save a couple of good moments.
    We need better ball control. Our first touch is not great, and we tend to give away the ball cheaply. We still need to work out when to accelerate and play a ‘one touch pass’ game, and when to hold the ball with us and bid our time.
    What is satisfying is on our worst day, we beat a strong team playing terrific football, convincingly. We just need to fuck up the blue dickheads that claim that Manchester is anything but red. Once we’ve cut and sliced them, they’ll know that even THEY BLEED RED.

  14. kel says:


    Im so shock to know this statistic. I been supporting Nani and knew he has the potential to be a big player. He has been playing good for the past 2 years. Still remember the Arsenal game where he lob over the keeper till now.

    Unbelievable stats. Stats cant be wrong. I wont swap any player for Nani. Look at his control. I believe yesterday game he only makes less than 3 mistakes. Others he has been controlling and passing, crossing, dribble and lastly score and “Assist” a goal. Haha

  15. mahadev says:

    i thought anderson had a great game ! he played some scholesesque balls out wide to the wingers, drove forward with the ball and kept it well. the only mistake he made that i can remember is when in the 1st half he misplaced a pass to torres who scuffed his shot (though that might have cost us).

    did any one else notice evans’ frustration when he passed the ball to carrick and he passed it back to de gea ? that had me lolling that now even his team mates are frustrated with what he does :P

  16. King Eric says:

    Mahadev – Disagree mate about Anderson, I love the kid but he was poor yesterday. There may well have been frustration at Carrick’s back pass but at least he can retain posession and plug the hole that Chelsea were running through ie the middle.

  17. Mr C says:

    I disagree with denton on almost everything regarding Berba. However despite Wayne’s pass being overhit I think Berba should have scored, albeit like Berba I was probably surprised to see Cashley Cole appear in time to get it off the line.

    Whatever. It doesn’t make Berba or Wayne shit though. Berba held up the ball well when he came on.

  18. smartalex says:

    At times we didn’t have any midfield. They were nowhere to be seen. That is not a criticism, it’s a fact. A by-product of youngsters determined to attack. Chelsea exploited the space because Boas was not as reticent as expected, so they counter-attacked quickly and in numbers.

    Sir Alex recognised the very apparent danger and brought Carrick on, who was outstanding.

    It is disgusting and unforgivable that so-called supporters loudly, rudely and collectively express dismay at a player, especially when he is competently and effectively performing exactly what the manager has asked of him.

    Inexcusable behaviour from plastic fans that are totally selfish.

  19. smartalex says:


    You claim to enjoy seeing United players expressing frustration at Carrick.

    Are you a United fan?

  20. smartalex says:

    denton davey

    It saddens me that you waste your ability to contribute to this forum by tarnishing everything you say with childish anti-Berbatov snideness. The last month or so at long last you seemed able to express your views without seeming nasty and one-track-minded. Please return to that fair approach.

    We have seen that you are able to logically show Berbatov’s shortcomings and failures without being derogatory or mocking him. A fair manner is palatable, a contemptuous demeanor is not.

  21. inhouser says:

    @ Doghouse completely agree with you. We were luckier than better than them. Also I think our confidence lead us to win this game.

    Does nobody still think that we require an experienced midfielder???? Did we not see what happened in the Chelsea game. God forbid this fuck had scored, we would be shitting our pants. Would we see such a tormenting attack on us if Keano / Scholes was still present?? We would have killed the game of at 3-0.
    I know that we managed to win 3-1, but the score is not an accurate picture of the match. Our defence was all over the place. We got lucky with the Torres miss.
    Our game is so reliant on pace right now, although I love it, I think that we need to put in a experienced head in the middle who can control the ball, keep possession and break up all the attacks.
    Yes, The Premier League may be a cakewalk right now, but eventually someone will find a way to break our game. In my opinion, AVB had figured out a way to break it (his players just didn’t deliver).
    Champion’s League will be a completely different ball game all together. For the difficult away games we will not be able to outrun them. We need a calm head in the middle, and ball possession (one of the reasons I think Fergie started with such a midfield in Benefica).
    I love the way we are playing right now, but I would be more assured if there were another experienced world class midfielder in the middle of the park.

  22. King Eric says:

    inhouser – No we will be fine when Fletch gets back to his full fitness and Carrick does his role perfectly . We will be fine.

  23. denton davey says:

    Marq @ 5:06: “The pass from Rooney was overhit, that is a fact. What do you expect Berbatov to do other than hit the target, which he did? Control the ball, do a spin, flick it over his head and backheel it into the net?”

    Nope; I expected a “world class striker” to put the ball in the net.

    You write that “The pass from Rooney was overhit, that is a fact.” Actually it was “underhit” so that it was slightly behind Dimmy. Go back and take another look at the pass from TheWayneBoy – it wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t “terrible” (like his “penalty shot”). The game is played at speed – and the best players can make instantaneous adjustments. Dimmy didn’t do that.

    I don’t understand why some of you guys are so insistent on “protecting” Dimitar Berbatov. Sometime, he fucks up – he’s human. What’s the point of denying the obvious ? The real issue that I’ve argued – to the irritation of many – is not that he has had some terrible misses (yesterday and in the FACup semi-final in May) but, rather, that he doesn’t fit the gung-ho style that is now seemingly favoured by SAF. It’s not Dimmy’s “fault” – he’s a different kind of player, who plays at a different speed/tempo. To me, that seems obvious but some of you don’t want to acknowledge that.

    Anyhow, over the next fortnight TheLads have four matches and I’d expect that Dimmy is going to start all of them because of the injuries to Chicharito and Danny Welbeck. This next fortnight is his big chance to reclaim his role as the number-two striker and I’ll try to be dispassionate and see how Dimmy does in this four-match sequence. I’ll be open- and fair-minded in considering how – and in what ways – the team’s attacking style adjusts to his presence. Perhaps some of you guys might want to do the same, rather than defending Dimitar Berbatov “on the beaches, in the fields, and in the streets” as Winston Churchill said in 1940.

  24. denton davey says:

    SmartAlex @ 11:59: “The last month or so at long last you seemed able to express your views without seeming nasty and one-track-minded. Please return to that fair approach.”

    I didn’t know that I had deviated from a “fair approach”. Clearly, some of you think that I have been “one-track-minded” but I only respond to other people’s comments – I don’t initiate the discussion. I will admit that I have been frustrated by what can only be called BerbaChauvinism – an inability to acknowledge that he is a square peg in a round hole.

    ScottTheRed has written an entire article devoted to TheLadyBoy’s miss; I wonder why there isn’t an entire article devoted Dimmy’s miss or TheWayneBoy’s missed penalty. Our guys aren’t perfect – is it somehow “one-track-minded” to point out their deficiencies ? Is it “nasty” to have an alternative point-of-view ? Is it “unfair” to point out that there are differences of opinion ? Is it reasonable and “fair-minded” for others to call me a “cunt” and a “muppet” or to be told to “piss off” (by StateSideAussie yesterday) or to “bore off” (by Kings a while back) for advancing my different opinion ? Do you want RoM to be a StalinistCult ? or some sort of LiverPoo-like, narrow-minded blindness to reality ? I don’t. What I want is a respectful exchange of opinions – and that includes tolerance and open-mindedness. Without a doubt we are going to disagree but, surely, we don’t need to descend into the gutter or to personalize those disagreements.

  25. wiuru says:

    Why did you have to mention that FA cup semi final ?! point taken though …

  26. smartalex says:

    denton davey

    Torres has scored 2 goals in 20 odd games after a 50 million pound transfer. Also, he plays for the enemy, used to be our nemesis, and regularly shows hatred for United. He missed a sitter.

    Berbatov is our reigning Golden Boot holder. Also, he plays for United, and loves our club. He did well to get the attempt on target.

    Rooney has scored 9 goals in the first 5 games, a EPL record. Also, he plays for United, and drives our club forward. The turf under his planted foot gave way.

  27. mahadev says:

    i ‘understand’ what carrick brings to the team, i just dont like the way we play when he is on. this is a personal opinion.

    @king eric
    regarding anderson, just as people have been stating about carrick being given a role, so has anderson. i think the shackles are off this season and he will play his best football in a more attacking role. this will obviously leave holes in the middle if we play a 2 man midfield but with the form our forwards/wingers are in at the moment i would rather we do that than plug the midfield with fletcher/carrick/park type player. you score 2, we score 8 kinda mentality and that excites me :)

    again, this is just an observation and smartalex FYI if i dont tow the party line it doesnt mean i dont support United.

  28. smartalex says:

    denton davey

    You are a valued contributor on RoM. We all appreciate your intelligence and passion.

    At times you appear scornful of Dimitar Berbatov. This is upsetting.

    You do not deserve to be called a c**t, although being told to bore off is not unfair. I think it means “switch off the boring patter”, although I may be mistaken.

    It seems the dye is cast. Anytime you say anything even vaguely against Dimi, I feel aggrieved, and apparently so do many others. It’s not fair, but it is evident. Surely it is an over-the-top reaction induced by any reminder of your previously incessant Berba persecution. All other topics discussed by you do not bring out the worst in us. It is therefore clear that it is not you that is being addressed as a c**t, but the reminder of your previously painful persona!

    What to do? I suggest you continue being you! You add value to our United experience.
    The rod you continue to provide us with may beat down unfairly, but it is the rod you chose.

  29. smartalex says:


    I do not know if you “tow the party line” or not. Neither do I care. What I said was:

    “You claim to enjoy seeing United players expressing frustration at Carrick.”

    This I stated because you said:
    “did any one else notice evans’ frustration when he passed the ball to carrick and he passed it back to de gea ? that had me lolling that now even his team mates are frustrated with what he does ”

    It seems to me that enjoying our players frustration is not about “towing the party line” it is about taking pleasure in United’s pain. Not what a supporter should do.

  30. denton davey says:

    SmartAlex @ 14:43: ” I suggest you continue being you! You add value to our United experience.
    The rod you continue to provide us with may beat down unfairly, but it is the rod you chose.”

    Rest assured, I will continue to tell it as I see it. Thanks for the compliments, I’m chuffed.

  31. Doghouse says:

    Let’s not make a big deal about the Evans thing guys, it was kind of funny at the time. Plus I think it showed a side to Evans we don’t usually see, that he’s confident enough to express obvious frustration like that, and also that he wants to be moving the ball forward. In a game like that, with the game we’d been having, to see him of all people wanting to get the team going forward I think really reflects well of the lad. We’re always talking up Jones, and before that it was Smalling, and Evans was something of a scapegoat. However he’s shown this season that he is anything but. So I say let the boy rage if he wants to. :)

    Regarding what’s been talked about by way of Gung Ho style, frankly, that’s loser talk. No team ever won a damn thing with Gung Ho football. United are a team with style, flair, swagger and passion, but we’re not the sort of clownshoes operation that could be described as Gung Ho. A team like Blackpool, or Keegan’s Newcastle fit that description. “You score four, we’ll score five!” is an attitude that gets you beat four nil by any team with a really good defence. And Sir Alex knows that as well as anybody. We have brilliant players, full of talent and attacking instincts (even our goalie is looking to get assists) and they are gelling together beautifully, but we’re not Gung Ho, nor should we aspire to be.

    What United need to be, which we have been largely this season, is clinical in front of goal, creative in getting to the goal, solid in midfield, implacable at the back and heroic between the sticks. We’ve seen all that, with the players we have we ought to see that. It’s a recipe for beautiful football. But that doesn’t mean that every game should, even can, be successfully played at a thousand miles an hour with chances at both ends. That’s not a title winning style, because it demands too much luck.

    Specifically what we have yet to face, and what I dread facing, is a parked bus. All the pace in the world will not break down a wall of scrunters, especially if it’s on their own manor. You can’t use pace against players who haven’t come forward. So we want the guys like Berbatov and Carrick for those games to unpick the defence and stifle the opposition respectively. Berbatov in particular is one of the best players in the world for this, as his record at Old Trafford last season indicates. Teams came to us intent on defence, and he destroyed them.

  32. mahadev says:

    United’s pain ?! i just stated what i saw (evans’ frustration) and i thought it was mildly funny.
    by ‘tow the party line’ comment i meant that people on here say that if you bash carrick it means you dont like/support United. this is clearly not the case. i would rather he not be on the pitch and someone else in his place be there but if the manager plays him .. well what you gonna do, eh ?

  33. King Eric says:

    Doghouse – Once again spot on. Its laughable that some think we can play this breakneck football all the time. For example the last 20 minutes yesterday we needed calm and assurance and possesion of the ball. Both Berbatov and Carrick provided that. People even slate Carrick as he points to positions alot. Err what the fuck? Its called organising and telling players where he wants them so we can pass our way out of spots. Xavi does it alot.

  34. StatesideAussie says:

    Doghouse … top post at 15:25.

    Denton, sure, I told you to piss off. I didn’t call you a cunt, and I don’t think you are, but your constant baiting of Berbatov is over the top. In your latest response to SmartAlex, you ask, “Our guys aren’t perfect – is it somehow “one-track-minded” to point out their deficiencies?” And the answer is: No, it isn’t wrong to point out *their* deficiencies. The trouble with you, though, is that so often you do not point out *their* deficiencies, only Berbatov’s deficiencies. And on the rare occasions where someone else’s blunder or slip-up does get a mention, the amount of space it gets, and the degree of criticism it gets, are insignificant by comparison to what you lay on Berbatov. And that’s why it comes across as unfair. And I don’t believe I am the only one who thinks so.

    If you want to spread it around evenly, then by all means do it. But time after time, the focus of your attention seems to be on one guy. Now, I get it that each of us will have his favorites, and each of us will have players he doesn’t care for much as well. And I will say that at times, you have explained and argued your opinion about Berbatov reasonably and with some skill. But for the most part, it seems over the top. Even now, in your response to SmartAlex, when you attempt to portray your criticism as being even-handed by belatedly mentioning Rooney’s penalty miss, still you cannot bring yourself to mention Rooney’s two other misses in the same match. One occurred right after Torres’s horror miss, when Roo received a nice “free” header a few yards out and just butted it weakly into the arms of Cech. The other was right before Hernandez got hurt — this was an easy tap into an open goal which he scuffed into the post instead (it was that shot bouncing out that Hernandez was attempting to pot home when Cole did his dastardly deed).

    As for Rooney’s pass to Berbatov, you are wrong: it was overhit, not underhit. You are judging it by the fact that Berbatov hit it with his heel, but you need to rewind the sequence and look at from a different angle. At the start of the move, Rooney is about six yards in front of Cole (I can tell, because the “lawn-mower stripes” visible on TV are 6 yards wide at OT), and Berbatov is a further 3 yards behind Cole. As Rooney controls the ball and starts forward, the other two give chase. Berbatov, incidentally, does an excellent job of catching up to Cole and over-taking him, which wasn’t too bad for an old fart who supposedly can’t get above walking pace.

    When Roo passes the ball, Berbatov has caught and gone past Cole by about 2 yards, and is about to streak into the penalty box. The angle of his run is taking him directly into the goalmouth, just inside the near post. But Roo’s pass is too hard (not too soft) — you can tell this because it forces Berbatov to adjust the angle of his run. Either the pace of the pass was too strong, or it was angled too far out in front — either way, it was overhit. As a result, Berbatov can’t run straight onto the ball. Had he been able to do so, Cole would have had no chance because he was already behind. Instead, Berbatov has to change his line and run wide to catch up with the ball, actually veering outside the goal before trying to hook it back. In doing so, the ball catches his heel, which robs the shot of power.

    But most significant of all: it’s that deviation in Berbatov’s line that wastes a valuable instant and allows Cole to catch up and go past Berbatov to the line, where he makes the clearance. You can see this clearly from the replay taken from the near-side camera: when Rooney hits the pass, Cole is a clear yard or two behind Berbatov, and if the pass had been laid on so that Berbatov could run straight onto it, Cole could not possibly have caught up. At that point, Berbatov really did have an open goal. But when Berbatov is forced to change his line and run wide, Cole keeps running straight and is thus able to make up the ground (which he had lost earlier) and get to the line in time. Cole doesn’t speed up (he was already going full pelt) and Berbatov doesn’t slow down — but he does have to change his line and that makes all the difference.

    By the time he catches up to the ball, he himself has now goine wide of the post. In fact, when he kicks the ball, he is just outside the top near corner of the goal area, and therefore well outside the goalmouth (making a longer and more difficult shot). You can see that Cole actually draws level to Berbatov just as he kicks the ball, which is a mark of how much time was lost because of that pass. It cost him his lead over Cole, which was about 2 yards.

    And let’s not forget too that if Dowd had done his job properly, Cole would not even have been on the field at that time.

  35. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 23:23: “your constant baiting of Berbatov is over the top.”

    Let’s be clear about something – I’m not baiting Berbatov who, I doubt, could give a flying fudoo about me or my opinions. Indeed, I rather doubt that Dimitar Berbatov is an assiduous reader of this forum.

    I am “constantly” responding to claims made on his behalf by others on this forum. I really don’t see how this is OTT – he commanded UTD’s largest transfer fee and, whether he likes or not (or whether he set the fee) he came to OT with expectations commensurate with that fee. He was therefore expected to be a huge contributor and, in my opinion, he has been largely disappointing.

    So, what I usually respond to is the “failure” of others to share my opinion. I am trying to teach them something but they don’t seem to want to learn from my “wisdom” !

    That refusal befuddles me but, of course, it is their right just like it’s my right to state my alternative viewpoint – should I just tolerate arguments with which I disagree ? Or should I try to “educate” others ? If they don’t want to be schooled by me then that’s their prerogative. If those other people have constructive criticism then I welcome it . Isn’t that the purpose of this forum – to share our opinions ?

    With regard to your long and closely-argued analysis of the Berbatov non-goal, I defer to your version because I haven’t had the opportunity to review it that closely as only snippets are shown on the replays in the highlights on FoxSportsWorld. However, it would not surprise you if I said that I am not totally convinced by your analysis because the pass wasn’t “terrible” – I don’t believe that SAF’s off-the-cuff remark needs to be considered as the gospel truth. Furthermore, the ball was unselfishly passed by TheWayneBoy to Dimmy when it’s arguable that he should have taken the shot himself. No doubt, TheWayneBoy could have made a better pass but, really, the ball wasn’t shanked nor was it sent so far out of Dimmy’s path that no shot was possible.

    Like I’ve said many times before, footie at the elite level is a matter of “what have you done for me lately ?” The ball was there for Dimmy to bury. He didn’t.


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