1. After several players talking about making amends for Saturday’s disappointment, we didn’t see any real urgency until the last 15 minutes. We’re still in the driving seat but a win last night would have put all the pressure on Arsenal and Chelsea today. Now they’ll be galvanised, knowing they can get closer to us with a win tonight, and a game against United yet to play. We didn’t put anywhere near enough pressure on their goalie and it’s so disappointing to look as though we had run out of steam with just a handful of games to go.
2. Ryan Giggs missing that sitter and then laughing seemed to sum up our attitude. This isn’t a Giggsy bashing time. It goes without saying what a legend he is, not just for his contribution as a lad, but for his great performances this season as a 37-year-old. But he should have been furious with himself for missing the opportunity to put us 1-0 up, not smiling about it.
3. It was confusing as to why Giggs was on the wing at all though, given that his best performances of late have come from the centre of the park and he’s admitted himself that he prefers a central role. With Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia on the bench, why did the manager think Giggs would be most effective from the wing? Strange.
4. We weathered a storm at the beginning of the game, with Newcastle looking far more likely to score than us. The defence was solid enough but Evra yet again had an off game and John O’Shea doesn’t provide what Fabio would on the attack. I can’t wait for the season to end for Evra’s sake. He needs a summer off to get his head sorted.
5. The referee was a soft arse, giving away freekicks for any contact, but why didn’t our players cotton on to that sooner? Whenever there were two players challenging for the ball, the Newcastle player chucked himself to the floor as soon as he felt contact, and the ref gave a freekick every time. We gave away advantageous situations to our opposition time and again. Joey Barton can be dangerous from a set piece and it looked as though our players hadn’t been briefed on this at all.
6. With Wayne Rooney missing our FA Cup semi and previous league game, I was expecting a lot more from him. He tried hard, no doubt, but I thought he was going to boss the show but he played a peripheral role in what a disappointing night.
7. There were three penalty shouts and the ref got all of them right, regardless of what the managers say. Chicharito didn’t dive and booking him was ridiculous, but trying to look at the situations neutrally, I would have been annoyed if anything like that had been awarded against us.
8. Maybe this will be a point we’ll celebrate in May and I have total faith in us winning the league. I don’t expect United to win every game and I don’t expect us to always play well. But our performances on the road have been dire and it’s so frustrating to see this apparent shift in attitude away from home. Do we want this title lads? Yeh? Well now is time to bloody well show that!
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