Manchester United have played patient football throughout the season, particularly at Old Trafford, when the opposition come and park the bus. Breaking down teams who are clinging on for a 0-0 draw for dear life is a difficult task and something Sunderland, Bolton and Middlesbrough have almost proved successful with against us this season.
This means our ability to take our time and wait for the right moment to pounce has to be at it’s highest.
Our second goal against Fulham last night showed our patience at its best, completing 22 passes before putting the ball in the back of the net.
The nicest pass of them all came from Paul Scholes, a lovely flick with the outside of the boot which landed perfectly for John O’Shea to stab across to Dimitar Berbatov for the tap-in.
Pass 1: Dimitar Berbatov intercepts a loose Fulham pass and stabs the ball back to Nemanja Vidic.
Pass 2: Vidic plays the ball wide to the left, where Patrice Evra controls with his chest.
Pass 3: Evra has space to take his time and pick his pass before playing it to Berbatov, who calls for the ball.
Pass 4: Under challenge, Berbatov runs with the ball before playing a 10-yard pass to the flank where Park Ji Sung is waiting.
Pass 5: Park dummies his marker before cutting back, and lays the ball off centrally to Paul Scholes.
Pass 6: Scholes passes to Michael Carrick, who is wating for the ball in the centre circle.
Pass 7: Carrick continues to play the ball to the right and slides a short pass to Rio Ferdinand.
Pass 8: Ferdinand pokes a short ball quickly forward to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Pass 9: Ronaldo in turn lays it instantly back to Carrick, who has found space in the middle of the pitch
Pass 10: Carrick runs forward before sliding the ball to Berbatov’s feet 10 yards from the Fulham penalty area
Pass 11: Berbatov is under pressure from the Fulham defence and plays the ball back to Carrick
Pass 12: Carrick goes the aerial route and fires the ball out wide to the right where John O’Shea controls instantly
Pass 13: O’Shea plays a slightly loose pass to Carrick, who manages to get there ahead of a Fulham player
Pass 14: Scholes makes himself available in the centre and Carrick plays a neat ball to his fellow central midfielder
Pass 15: Scholes instantly lays it on to Vidic
Pass 16: Vidic plays the ball up the middle along the ground to Park
Pass 17: Park plays a quick ball in to feet to Scholes
Pass 18: With the outside of his right foot, Scholes bends the ball out wide to O’Shea
Pass 19: Instead of crossing into the box then and there, O’Shea plays it back to Carrick
Pass 20: Carrick slips the ball to Scholes
Pass 21: Without taking a touch, Scholes clips the ball over the Fulham defence into the box for O’Shea, who had made a run from the right
Pass 22: O’Shea stretches for the ball and manages to make contact with the very tip of his toe, deflecting it across goal
GOAL: Berbatov, waiting patiently on the left of the box, surges forward and reaches the ball before defender and ‘keeper for a simple tap-in.
Whilst Berbatov’s quick feet made the finish look easy, it was anything but, however it is Scholes who our Bulgarian thinks deserves the praise.
“Nobody else in the world can play the way Scholes does,” said Berbatov. “The passes he produces all over the field and the way he changes the game is brilliant. Every manager would like him. But luckily, he is here and playing with us.”