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Quick Reactions To Victory Over Everton…

1. What we wanted to see today was a reaction to last weekend’s disaster. A 1-0 win at Goodison Park, a ground we haven’t won at since 2007, is a good result. Of course we all wanted to see United come out and rip Everton apart, the way we did Bolton and Arsenal earlier this season, but that isn’t necessarily a realistic expectation. We got the three points, we put distance between ourselves and the teams below us and you can’t ask for much more than that.

2. The players put in a more professional performance today and made sure De Gea was better protected. It was alarming to learn last week that we’re up there with the teams who have allowed the most shots on their goal. Today, any efforts that did get through were straight at our keeper, who seems to grow in confidence every game. He picked the ball out of his net six times last weekend, none of those goals his fault, so it was nice for him as much as anyone that we kept a clean sheet today.

3. Whilst of course we can congratulate De Gea on stopping Everton from scoring, we should not ignore the impact of Nemanja Vidic, easily the Man of the Match, who was there to sweep up any problem that came his way. Him being fit this season could make the difference between us winning the league and us not. He steadies the players around him and will go toe to toe with any opposition striker. It’s great to have him back in the team.

4. For the first 35 minutes though, the player on the receiving end of most of our praise, was Tom Cleverley. The temptation is to get carried away and lost in celebrating this fantastic youngster of ours. Our passing was crisper and faster today, we were moving the ball around with much more urgency and looked more in control of midfield than we have in a while. Can we credit Cleverley, who did play well, with this? It lasted for about 35 minutes until Everton grew in confidence and came back at us for the last 10 minutes of the half. Unfortunately, he only lasted ten minutes after the break though and United were second best for most of the second half. Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed his injury is nothing serious, just a tight hamstring, and he will be back in action next weekend.

5. Chicharito’s offsides puzzle me. Before his goal, the ball must have come through to him three or four times and he was offside every time. Is this necessary? I’m sure he will be faster than any defender he comes up against, so why play so close to the shoulder all the time? He could be a yard or two onside and he would probably get to the ball first. I don’t mean to whinge, he’s scoring important goals for us all the time, I just think he’s selling himself short by denying himself, and the team, opportunities to score more by failing to pay attention to where the defensive back line is. It was great positioning for his goal today and a top cross from Patrice Evra.

6. There was a lot of fuss about Jonny Evans ahead of kick-off, with some fans claiming they wished he was on the end of a three match ban following his sending off last weekend, rather than just the one game suspension which he served midweek. There were still a couple of errors, one which lead to Vidic heading our for a corner before tearing a strip off him, but he did alright today. I’m sure Chris Smalling would have got the nod ahead of him if he was fit, but what is more newsworthy is the absence of Rio Ferdinand. The manager is suggesting he is more angry at Rio for not taking control of our defence in injury time last weekend than he is at Evans for getting sent off. What does this mean for Rio’s United future?

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. brett1985 says:

    I think we are forgetting that Vidic is an experienced veteran and Evans is still a young pup. No disrespect to anyone here who is that bit younger but once you get to your mid to late 20s you tend to look at players who are younger than you and be amazed by what they are achieving.

    Even players who we regard as complete veterans in football terms at the age of 28-30 are still fairly young people in the grand scheme of things.

    I think Evans is a very fine defender and inevitably it is difficult for a play to be the best of the best simply because they are at united. As we aren’t really in a position to spend 30-50m feplacing very good players with slightly better ‘excellent’ players then we’ll have to be happy with what we have.

  2. Gasser says:

    His always offside cause of a slow Midfield that doesn’t reach to his movement. I seen him making perfect runs only to pass it to the side or been passed to late. Put him in Barca or Real Madrid this boy would be getting hat trick often.


  3. Jon Phillips says:

    Hi guys. How is the good ship Delusional?

  4. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 16:55: ” But with this dispute between DirecTV and Fox, I am going to lose all my coverage (apart from Champions League and whatever ESPN show) as of Tuesday.”

    Man, I feel your pain. TIme to get a better satellite dish ?

  5. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 17:47: “My problem with what he did was that it reeked of panic. What he should have done is left Balotelli 1-on-1 with DDG. Sometimes you just have to trust your keeper, and going another goal down at that point would have been better than losing a man.”

    I disagree with your argument about Jonny Evans’ red card, because:

    First, in my opinion, he actually did the right thing – going down nil-2 would have been worse than being nil-1 and down to ten men because Mancini would have shut-up-shop with a 2 goal lead.

    Second, the red-card meant that UTD didn’t concede a goal and Evans didn’t concede a scoring chance so he “protected” the keeper (and the goal).

    “Panic” is one way of explaining his response. From watching him today, I think his problem is that he’s thinking about what he’s going to do rather than just doing it. To me, this is a sign that he has lost his confidence and is just a bundle-of-nerves.

    AND, by the way, why was Evans allowed to play today after getting a straight red card last week-end ? I thought he was liable to a three-game suspension.

  6. Jon Phillips says:

    Denton Davey you are GOLD!

  7. Fred says:

    No way is 0-1 down with only 10 men against City a better position than 0-2 with 11 men. No way.

    As Scott said at the time, 0-2 down with 45 minutes to go is the exact scenario we found ourselves in at the Community Shield – and we won that 3-2.

    With 10 men, we lost 1-6. Work that one out.

  8. Jon Phillips says:

    Hence why you are gold (gold!) wavey ravey davey. How on earth could it be worse than the scenario that ended up 6-1?!?!?!?

  9. JC says:

    @Denton – He served his 1 game suspension against Aldershot. No additional 2 game as it wasn’t for violent conduct only last man back/denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.

  10. Paul Parker says:

    denton davey says:
    Paul Parker @ 15:17: “Cleverly back is a big deal, no doubt about it. ”

    I can’t – and won’t – argue with that but, for me, the key midfield-attacking player (again) was ThreeLungPark. This guy gets absolutely no credit whatsoever but he’s at the centre of the action whenever UTD play wall-passes or give-and-go.


    Didn’t see the game live, watching it now with Sara Jane Mee Lol. But MOTD showed Park in a good light. Agreed on him partnering Cleverly as an option, he does have brilliant feet and vision in addition to good stamina. Gotta say, Welbeck is looking better and better each game as well. His control of the ball is ridiculous. The way he broke into space to find Park for our first shot was class, and the way he chest the ball down when his shot was saved was a touch of something special. Aguero does it and he’s “justifying his price tag”. Wait till Danny’s a proper seasoned striker. I don’t think gets credit from the ABU media for his current ability, but pretty soon they’ll have no choice with the Euro’s coming up, he’s that good imo.

  11. Paul Parker says:

    That boy Vidic is a Gangsta!

    @Denton, gotta agree with the others about the red. Even if we’re battered 3-0 by half time, I’d still expect us to rally because its only half time. But when you’re a man down for a whole half, you’re fucked basically. I wasn’t worried in the slightest going 2-0 down last time with City, because we always look like scoring. The 6-1 was only possible with a red card mate. Chelsea today have no excuses, and Arsenal didn’t have any excuses for the first 6 goals, but we have to give ourselves credit and not listen to the OTT punditry. One too many talking heads took pleasure in the defeat, and its pathetic really, because anybody bothered enough to look up that result in 50 years will discover we played half the match with ten men against very good opposition, and we still put hearts in mouths when we scored at 3-1.

    The CL final is the only embarrassment I care to remember, and that was to the best Club in the world at the time. But the 6-1 doesn’t compare to that imo, that was just a fucked up day at the office. Evans was better off letting Balotelli take a shot, at least we had a chance to save it, or to come back from 2 down. Once he saw red so early on the tie was practically over. I hope he learns from it.

  12. Fred says:

    Exactly, PP. Not to mention that with Balotelli, anything’s possible. Remember in pre-season when he was through on goal and he suddenly span around and backheeled the ball wide? :?

    There’s no way you can justify Evans’s actions by saying he saved us a goal. As I said to someone last Sunday, he saved us one goal at the cost of five more.

  13. Fred says:

    Then again, I suppose you could say that if Sir Alex had reorganized the team better after we went down to 10 men, we could have made it a lot more difficult for City. How often do you see a team become more difficult to break down after they go down to 10 men?

  14. Fred says:

    However, I can’t remember many examples of us defying the odds to win a game with only 10 men on the field – the smash and grab at Anfield in 06/07 the only one that comes to mind.

    We’ve come down from two goals down a number of times though. So once again I’ll say that 0-2 down with 11 men is a much more retrievable situation for our team than 0-1 down with only 10 men. Especially against Mancini’s City.

    One more thing: Evans’s foul could have easily resulted in a penalty kick, or they could easily have scored from the free-kick they got on the edge of the area. So quite frankly, he could have cost us a red card AND a goal with that little moment of madness.

  15. StatesideAussie says:

    Denton … “going down nil-2 would have been worse than being nil-1 and down to ten men because Mancini would have shut-up-shop with a 2 goal lead.” Am I reading that right? City taking a 2-goal lead and then shutting up shop would have been worse than us going down to 10 men and City winning by 5? On what planet is 0-2 worse than 1-6?

    Oh, I know you’ll say that Evans couldn’t have known it would end like that. And you’re right. But Evans knew he would get sent off, and he knew it meant making his teammates play a man down for half the match when they were already behind. He knew — must have known — that being down to 10 for that length of time meant either leaving us short at the back with a gaping hole where he should be (thus increasing the risk of them scoring again), or it meant reshuffling things to fill that hole (thus decreasing the chance that we would be able to score ourselves). If we had had a lead or even been level, or if it had happened very late in the match, that would be one thing. I genuinely like Evans, and he certainly isn’t the first to have made this particular mistake. That doesn’t change the fact that he did fuck up.

  16. Paul Parker says:

    @Fred – yeah, Balotelli is known to be off with the fairies. Evans just had a rush of blood to the head, but if he thought about it, De Gea had half a chance to keep it out. Next time he’s in that position, lets hope Evans does his best to put the striker off and nothing more. Vidic and Rio make those same decisions all the time. Still, Evans was faultless for most of the match today. More experience under the belt.

  17. Paul Parker says:

    @Fred – re: Alex, I know he said it was cray football afterwards, but look at his substitutions on the day. Personally I think Alex said fuck it. Fair enough he claimed our experienced heads should’ve known better, but he did keep us set up to attack, and I really didn’t mind that. I’d much prefer a 6-1 to 4-0 against CIty, even though the goal difference is worse. Bottom line, if we sat back with 10 men they would’ve battered us eventually. They ain’t that shit, so once the 3 points were gone we may as well gone out swinging imo,

    Laters RoM

  18. theredderdevil says:

    Am really pissed by the blind loyalty exhibited by some fans, damn! They’d still be singing silvestre’s praises if he was still around. My point is this is the second season running with poor performances from Evans, sometimes it pays to be not so hopefull that you’ll turn a corner and see the light at the end of the tunnel, what if all u get is a wall at the end of the tunnel? Remember fergie almost costing us the league trying to be hoefull about Ben foster. With Evans in the side the opposition are already guaranteed a goal, they only need to turn up in the box to claim it.I say Evans is a lost cause, Fergie cut him out before he causes a disaster. Oh, and while at it you could give a similar thought to Gibson too.

  19. denton davey says:

    Jon Phillips @ 22:56: “Denton Davey you are GOLD!”

    Either you’re being ironic or else you are disproving the old saying that “no man is a prophet in his own land”. Either way, thanks.

    Fred @ 22:10: “No way is 0-1 down with only 10 men against City a better position than 0-2 with 11 men. No way. As Scott said at the time, 0-2 down with 45 minutes to go is the exact scenario we found ourselves in at the Community Shield – and we won that 3-2. With 10 men, we lost 1-6. Work that one out.”

    OK. Bring it on.

    The Community Shield was an exhibition match played at a neutral venue and the only thing at stake was bragging rights.

    Last Sunday was an EPL match – an away match for ManShitty – and, like I said, Mancini would have had his players “turtle” to protect their two-goal lead AND take all three points from an away match. A derby match – and let’s not forget that ManShitty have lost at least three of the most recent derbies to last-minute goals (LittleMikey three years ago [ "4-3,mate !"], Scholes, two seasons ago and TheWayneBoy last year). With a two-goal lead in a derby match, an away match at OT, and with “six” EPL points at stake, ManShitty would have “played-for-time”, knowing that they could probably keep UTD at arm’s-length and maybe even hit UTD on the counter.

    Finally, at nil-one – with ten men – Ashley Young had a great, great opportunity to even the score. Then, SAF would have probably shut-up-shop and played for a respectable draw. I should have mentioned this in my reply to StateSideAussie (@ 21:34).

    Paul Parker @ 0:16: “I wasn’t worried in the slightest going 2-0 down last time with City, because we always look like scoring. The 6-1 was only possible with a red card mate. ”

    This statement smacks of special pleading. “we always look like scoring” – but TheLads didn’t before the red card and actually could have afterwards (see above). Besides, what led to the embarrassing 1-6 scoreline was not the red card but, rather, a complete defensive breakdown from the 89th minute onwards. THAT display of defeatism by Rio/Evra was truly embarrassing – and that’s what SAF said afterwards.

    StateSide Aussie @ 1:01: “Am I reading that right? City taking a 2-goal lead and then shutting up shop would have been worse than us going down to 10 men and City winning by 5? On what planet is 0-2 worse than 1-6?”

    There’s no problem with your reading ability. But the nature of your response is myopic, to be charitable. Like I wrote above, eight/nine minutes after the red card – and down to ten men – AshleyYoung could have/should have levelled the scored. Then six minutes later ManShitty scored two quick goals to essentially end the contest. When DarrenFletcherinho got UTD’s first (and only) goal that made the score 1-3; the floodgates only opened in the 90th minute – and THAT was “worse”, THAT was embarrassing.

    The notion that Jonny Evans red card INEVITABLY and INEXORABLY LED TO the 1-6 trouncing is the worst form of revisionism. It’s a line of thought that mixes up sufficient and necessary causes. In no way was it “necessary” that TheLads would go on to surrender five more goals when they were one man down. Indeed, considering the chance that Ashley Young missed (actually, a double-miss !) in the 54th minute, it was hardly inevitable (or even inexorable) that TheLads couldn’t have gained something from the match.

    From my vantage point, it’s better to be down nil-one with ten men than down nil-two with eleven. Sure, I know that there have been instances (famous ones against Spurs) when TheLads have rallied from a two-goal (or even a three-goal deficit) but if you look at the precise situation then I’d wager that against a very well-organized ManShitty defence the odds of doing that would be very close to zero. Not impossible – but much more difficult than getting one goal and then hanging on for a draw.

    In any event, thanks for the critical comments. I enjoy exchanging opinions – in the sure-and-certain-knowledge that mine are “GOLD!”.

    ps in response to StateSide Aussie (“he [Jonny Evans] certainly isn’t the first to have made this particular mistake. That doesn’t change the fact that he did fuck up.”) OK. But he was not alone in fucking up – whoever (Rio ?) marked Aguero didn’t close him down and so he was able to make a pin-point pass that cut Evans out of the play by allowing Balotelli to run a circle around him. If we’re going to apportion blame then not all of it can be landed on top of Evans – the other guy (Rio ?) didn’t exactly assist Evans in playing team-defence. And, where was the left back ? Gone walkabout again ? or playing so far away from Evans that he was alone on an island ?

  20. Paul Parker says:

    @Denton – clearly we agree to disagree on this one Pal, but your wrong to assume that our chances of beating this City side at 2-0 down are “very close to zero”. Come on mate thats bollocks, we’ve already done that within the last few months ffs! We can come back against anyone with 11 men on the pitch, because thats ingrained in the Club AND thats who we are. Very close to zero my arse, thats why everybody expected a comeback even at 3-1 down with 10 men and 10 minutes. And thats nothing to do with rose tinted anything, its everything to do with the Club’s tangible history. Its really not rocket science to know that, with 11 men on the pitch, Manchester United always stand a chance against anybody, so we can disagree on that one all day long. We were much better off going 2-0 down and keeping Evans imo. It was only half time after all.

    As for us shipping those goals after the red card – once we lost a man with a whole half to play, the worst thing we could’ve done was sit back and defend. I don’t know what sports you can do that in, but against quality opposition you can’t do that in football for 45 minutes. Your lucky to hold on for the last 10 minutes of a match once you see red. Even with 11 men on the pitch, if you curb your attacks and keep all your players behind the ball, you’ll gradually be worn down by top teams if you gift them possession, and you’ll eventually concede goals.

    At 1-0 down with 10 men we couldn’t defend against City for 45 mins without conceding again. Thats just being honest mate, and if it was any other derby, less biased punditry would admit that a sending off just after half time will decide 9 out of 10 matches. Defending deep and gifting a team like City possession would be suicide with 11 men, let alone 10. Imo our only chance to last the half was to give them something to think about, and that was reflected by us bringing on Hernandez and Jones instead of 3 defenders. There was no chance of keeping this lot out for 45 minutes, maybe against a lesser team and with a lot of luck, but not against this seasons leading goal scorers. Expecting us to defend for that long without conceding is a rose tinted opinion, imo.

    All im saying is, the card can’t be over looked or down played Pal, because in EPL against quality opposition you are pretty much fucked once you go one man down with a whole half to play. The only people I know trumpeting the 6-1 are City fans, because everybody else knows full well the match was over after a sending off so early in the game. Chelsea conceded 5 with 11 men, and Arsenal conceded 6 with 11 men. We only conceded 1 goal with 11 men, and the only reason a further 5 came was due to the card and the quality of the opposition. Could we have defended better for the last few minutes? After chasing sky blue shadows for 45 minutes with 10 men, I think I can forgive our knackered team for conceding those final three goals, esp considering Dzeko was fresh off the bench and our defenders weren’t. Thats how I see it anyway mate, and its not rose tints. I’d be much more disappointed if we sat back and defended after the card, and lost 3-0 without putting up a fight. Im happier we attacked and scored with 10 men, and lost 6-1. Still gutted with the result, but if we went out without a fight I’d feel worse, so im glad Fletcher scored an absolute belter that shut them up. Some might not agree with the logic but we’ve all got our own outlooks and opinions.

  21. Shimo says:

    Not read through all the comments but, regarding Rio – need to realize we have a CL game coming up for which Vida is suspended. Having at least one of Rio or Vida is very important for us. I very much doubt that SAF was more angry at Rio than anyone else and more to do with making sure Rio is available for our mid-week game.

  22. YorYor says:

    Unless we have Cantona in the team. How many times have some of us seen him mastermind absolutely incredible turn-arounds with 1 man down, unless it was him that’s off to catch an early shower? Those years, commentators all like to say that United play better with 10 than 11. And those years instilled that belief into United that yes, even at 10-men, we are capable of doing it.


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