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Quick Reactions To United Victory Over Fulham

1. For whatever reason, Craven Cottage has been a difficult place for United to get a result in recent years. Tonight we more than made up for that, thrashing Fulham 5-0 without even looking like we were trying hard. This was the form of the start of the season again, blowing the opposition out of the water without even having to get out of second gear. There was some lovely passing and great finishes to set everything up nicely for the festive period.

2. Ryan Giggs scored that all important league goal to continue his record as the only player to score in every Premier League season. It wasn’t his best, with a deflection taking it over the keeper, but his all round contribution was good and he got an assist for Nani’s goal.

3. It’s rare for a team to score five goals and for each one to be a different goalscorer. After picking up so many 1-0 wins this season and being wasteful in front of goal, it was refreshing to see our players put away their chances.

4. Another costly game in terms of injuries, with both Phil Jones and his replacement, Ashley Young, being taken off. Reports have suggested that Jones has fractured his cheekbone and will be out for six weeks (I’ll go for four, because it’s Jones) which is a massive loss for us, given how well he has played in the centre of our midfield. On the upside, Dimitar Berbatov returned to the team tonight and scored a lovely goal which hopefully will help his confidence.

5. Wayne Rooney has upped his game recently and it was great to see that rewarded with a top class goal. He rarely scores belters like that these days so I was really happy to see that go in.

6. Our away fans were in great voice tonight. Ironic chants of “justice for Evra”, mocking the supporters in Pity City for forever playing the victim, followed by Luis Suarez’s chant with his name replaced by “racist bastard” were the best of the night. “Giggs, Giggs is going to Amsterdam” also got a fair airing tonight too.

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. Mr C says:

    @ denton:

    The ‘he can’t fit our style of play line’ was exposed for the bullshit it is when Berba ended up as EPL scorer last season, despite limited opportunities. Ronnie and Tevez had long gone, while Wayne was playing both bollocks and money driven mind-games with the club for long periods of the season. To their credit Berba, Chico and Nani ‘stepped up to the plate’ to borrow your phrase and were instrumental in the delivery our 19th title. For Berba to end up EPL top scorer and yet not fit our play is illogical and suggests that he is an better player than even I would give him credit for.

    Yes, much of the trouble with Berba lies with fan expectations. When Berba was bought some United supports thought that we were getting another Cantona, when in fact we had bought a ‘Bergkamp’, another great player whose game is very similar. Looking back it was all bit of a nonsense. There was and always will be one Cantona – IMHO the most important player ever in the history the club, even if not the ‘Best’ :)

    Pecking order? Dangerous nonsense. No shoe-ins has to be the order of the day. You have to mix and match upfront depending on form and opponents. Chico’s a top class goal poacher but other aspects of his game need work to deliver effectively against top opponents. Danny’s a good EPL level striker with great potential and runs about a lot (too much for my liking). By comparison, Berba’s talent is simply at another level altogether – world class. However all strikers need decent playing time otherwise their game will suffer. Berbatov – unfairly in my view – has not been getting his fair share of game time.

    The ‘who plays with Rooney’ hegemony, which is trotted out regardless of how well Wayne is actually playing, is reminiscent of the ‘who plays with Gerrard / Lampard / whoever tabloid nonsense that blighted Scholes’ international career despite Paul being a far better player than any of his contemporaries.

    It’s the nonsense and double standards of some shallow, small minded fans that annoy me. Berba misses a sitter against City and variously he’s single-handedly ‘put us out’ of the FA cup, shit and not fit to wear the shirt. Wayne misses sitters against Basle whic, by the same logic cost us our place in this year’s Champions League, and he gets a free pass…

    Anyway, I’m happy that SAF is playing Wayne, who despite my ranting is a top class player, in a deeper and hopefully more creative role this season. Wayne’s a better ‘footballer’ than ‘frontman’ and playing him deep frees up places for our out and out strikers – Chico, Berba and Welbeck. You cannot build a team around any one player and Wayne’s game is neither good enough nor consistent enough for that. In fairness, no single player has a game that good at level United aspires to be at. We aren’t Southampton.

    Suffice to say if Berba leaves us soon he’ll go to another top club and will do well. Class is permanent. But I don’t think SAF will let him go. United cannot afford to acquire a reputation for not being able to accommodate or bring on world class players properly (think Forlan) as this risks failing to attract others in future or holding on to those we bring through.

  2. smartalex says:

    Mr C speaks the truth with calm conviction and considerate care at 13:43

    Cudos, Mr C!

  3. denton davey says:

    Mr C @ 13:43: “Berba misses a sitter against City and variously he’s single-handedly ‘put us out’ of the FA cup, shit and not fit to wear the shirt. Wayne misses sitters against Basle whic, by the same logic cost us our place in this year’s Champions League, and he gets a free pass…”

    Very good point – and I concur.

    The only rejoinder that can be made is that SAF seems to have “made a decision” about Dimmy after his two misses in the FACup semi-final. As you argue, even that argument would seem to suggest that SAF’s decisions are illogical since TheWayneBoy’s misses were even more costly.

    If we deny the argument that SAF “made a decision” – or that he is illogical – then how do we explain Dimmy’s exclusion from the CL championship-final team-sheet or his subsequent marginalization from the first-team in this year’s EPL/CL season so far ? That’s where the issue of “pecking order” is relevant.

    This is, I think, the question that hasn’t been answered – and – whether you are a BerbaLover, a BerbaSceptic, or a BerbaHater – it’s a puzzler.

  4. smartalex says:

    denton davey – When Berbatov has just returned from injury and has scored a great goal, it’s more considerate to resist your urge to deflate excited Reds with your favourite puzzle. Poor timing, as has been said many times without your recognition.

    Anyway, I have enjoyed your non-Berbatov posts today, they have reflected views much more aligned with mine (and others, no doubt), but that is not why I have enjoyed them. They were not a buzz-kill, which is a real plus! Even your most recent Berbatov comment is far friendlier. Keep it up sunshine!

  5. Mr C says:

    “I how do we explain Dimmy’s exclusion from the CL championship-final team-sheet …”

    Simple. Berba’s exclusion from even the bench at the CL final was a mistake. A rare one by SAF, but he’s human and sometimes we all make the wrong calls. We got pulled all over the place by Barca and had no plan B to offer anything different up front. Having Berbatov available would have at least given us a different option in terms of holding the ball up or adding some guile. Has Berba been ‘marginalized’? Perhaps. He certainly deserves more game time. Regardless, those preferred to Berbatov fared badly in the CL final. They disappointed again in most of this years Champions League campaign, which precisely defeats the point you are trying make.

  6. denton davey says:

    Mr C @ 22:11: “Berba’s exclusion from even the bench at the CL final was a mistake.”

    Absolutely – I wrote that after the match; similarly, not starting Nani was odd – to say the least. By keeping Dimmy off the bench and Nani on the bench, SAF limited his options. A serious pair mistakes that precluded Plan B.

  7. Mr C says:

    @denton: Merry Xmas and Best Wishes for the New Year- We will never agree on Berbatov but a a Red is a Red.

  8. denton davey says:

    MrC @ 9:44: “Merry Xmas and Best Wishes for the New Year – We will never agree on Berbatov but … ‘


    And, of course, it’s better to be red than dead, too.

  9. Sheppertonni says:

    Happy Christmas Alex fergusons red and white army…., utd4life


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