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Reactions To Victory Over Sunderland

1. Can you imagine being told in May that the next time we came to the Stadium of Light we would finish the game 18 points clear? I don’t think anything could have brightened our mood that day but it certainly would have helped. If there was to be any silver lining to the painful last minute of last season it was that Sir Alex Ferguson could use the hurt and disappointment to our advantage. When you consider the difference between us and City now, it is clear that Ferguson has used last season as motivation for this season, with us only dropping points in 5 games, compared to the 12 games they’ve failed to win. We will be at least 15 points clear of them on derby day next Monday.

2. Michael Carrick was rightly named Man of the Match after he bossed the midfield, particularly in the first half. He kept playing the ball forward and was repeatedly in the right place at the right time to make an important interception or tackle. In the first half he completed 46 of his 48 passes (96%) and over the 90 minutes completed 83 of 91 (91%), over 30 passes more than any player on the pitch. He has been such an important player for us this season and none of our other midfield options come close to matching him for influence.

3. Shinji Kagawa had a great first half too, with only Carrick seeing more of the ball than him, as Sunderland foolishly gave him lots of time and space on the ball. I love watching him play. He is filling the Berbatov shaped hole in my heart, with his silky touches and great vision. He still struggles to have the same impact on the game in the second half though and like usual was subbed off. Still, you think this year he’s just been warming up and next season we’ll see the best of him.

4. The away fans were on good form, like usual, and thoroughly enjoyed rubbing Sunderland’s noses in it after their behaviour last season. “Where’s your famous City songs?” they mocked. There were also a few rounds of “going down” and “we’re having a party on derby day” too. If Wigan beat Norwich today and Aston Villa beat Liverpool tomorrow, Sunderland will find themselves in the relegation zone.

5. Too often this season we’ve been left to complain about the players on the wings. Antonio Valencia’s fall from grace after last season’s brilliant form has been painful to watch. Today he had more about him than usual, although that probably says more about Sunderland’s defence. Ashley Young was poor though. After a good few games when he first signed he’s really struggled to show that he’s anything like the quality you would expect from a United players. It’s fairly shocking we spent £18m on a player of his ability in the last year of his contract. Patience in wearing thin. Maybe he can put in a good performance against City, as he did away from home, but I’d much rather see Nani in the starting line-up when he returns from his hamstring injury.

6. The last time we conceded a goal in the league was January which is a brilliant achievement and says a lot about our defence. The difference we’ve seen since Nemanja Vidic has returned has been fantastic, but that’s not to take anything away from Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans who have also been great. It’s great for David de Gea’s confidence too. Unfortunately, Rafael da Silva went off injured and that is a concern ahead of Chelsea. Phil Jones is probably a better option at right back than Chris Smalling, if he is to return as Ferguson suggested, because of his crossing ability. Patrice Evra will likely come back in to the starting team but Buttner put in a good performance. He’s probably better going forward than he is defensively but he looked decent enough today.

7. Robin van Persie claimed the goal but I doubt the dubious goals panel will be having that. Whilst he certainly deserves the credit for making the goal, after somehow managing to get a shot away from an unlikely position of the edge of the box, his effort was off target. Titus Bramble kneed it in and Van Persie celebrated like he needed it. In the dying seconds of the game he had the opportunity to make it 2-0 when Ashley Young put it on a plate for him but he ended up making Mignolet look good. He’s lost his spark in front of goal over the past few weeks and you imagine that it will be Rooney and Chicharito (with his 7 goals in 10 games against Chelsea) who will start on Monday.

8. Another game crossed off and another week closing to claiming that 20th title. It’s painfully close now. I really hope the lads give a good account of themselves against City, give them a good beating, and put it beyond any doubt that the title is ours. There isn’t the excitement or tension of seasons gone by but I genuinely couldn’t care less about that. We want our trophy back!

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. kanchelskis says:


    Do we know for sure Rafael is out?

  2. King Eric says:

    Just ignore Daniel. All he does is fucking moan. Fuck me it is three points and united breaking records. Fifteen points clear but half you cunts are never happy.

  3. King Eric says:

    Costas. Spot on mate. As tiresome as “AshleyBLOODYYoung”

  4. samuel - united WE stand says:

    On a positive, carrick just continues to show how influential he’s become. Short and long passing is delightful, he continues to make clever angles in order to give his team mates an option to pass, his intercepting and reading of the game is top notch, barely bursts into a sweat yet more often than not gets into the right position to snuff out danger, a last ditch tackle is michael’s last option, never dives in but gets the ball with intelligence. His passing has purpose, continues to put the attacking players on the front foot, he’s basically the anchor on which the attack is built. All the experience he’s gathered, against the very best players and the long time he’s spent at the club, he’s now filled with more belief, he oozes calm and command, conducting the orchestral from a deeper role, he’s got better with more dynamic players scampering around him. Top player carrick.

  5. Costas says:


    Nothing is certain at the moment, but it doesn’t sound to good at the moment. It’s a groin injury and the Chelsea game is too close. I hope he can make it because we have no other right back with his pace. We have no other natural right back at all, actually.

    Fergie also said that Evans was struggling with an issue. Picking a fresh strong back 4 for Monday’s game could be a challenging.

  6. Costas says:

    I sait “at the moment” one time too many. :roll:

    @King Eric

    Hi mate. From DentonBlimeyDavey you mean? :lol:

  7. kanchelskis says:


    If no Rafael, I’d hope to see Jones at RB. Has the pace to deal with anyone they might put there, plus good crossing.

  8. King Eric says:

    Absolutely costas!

    I mention the moaning cunts because its only a year ago Carrick was shit according to some on here. Another masterclass today.

    I realise Bale is in great form but fuck me he irritates me with that spiv barnet and that fucking cringeworthy Bieber heart celebration. Grow up you ape cunt.

  9. King Eric says:

    Samuel. Spot on regards Carrick.

  10. vinnyacardo86 says:

    @fletchtheman I agree with the formation change bit affecting the wingers. The last time we adopted a fluid pattern in 2006, 2007 and 2008…we had giggs and park (you may even add solkjear before his injury) who could adapt freely. I just feel young and TV7 are limited to an extent. Valencia is just too traditional to adapt and fergie knows it. Obviously big decisions will be made next season to sort this issue. I trust fergie to make the right one

  11. zigoo says:

    itll be unfair to put the burden of zaha being our main winger next year on his young shoulders…he should be walked in to the team considering he is coming from the championship

    for that reason,i think we should go all out and buy one of james rodriguez (which fergie is looking at) or di maria>>>>we need a left footed winger …period.

    selling valencia or young to accomodate zaha and rodriguez(for example) along with nani and one of young/valencia will be a great combo.

    our wingers are just too inconsistent and cant beat a man,we cant rely on nani who has one good game in 5 and we need a winger who can perform week in week out…relying on young zaha would be unfair on the lad.

  12. WeAreUnited says:

    a bit off topic and i am going t o sleep, but after watching the goal bale agains scored and assisted, surely we have to buy the lad, if the price would be around 40mill

    imagine him playing for us and what kind of service he would get


    top of the league baby!

  13. matrixvampire says:

    1-0 is not so comfortable I would say. And, always struggle on the second half. Always. This need to sort out.

  14. drv3011 says:

    i agree that 1-0 isnt comfortable but the team didnt exactly struggle in the 2nd half.they just eased up a bit because most of the players,probably 5-6 of the players in the line-up that started yesterday might play on monday.anyway,man utd are known for their ability to grind out wins.relax,we’re very close to the title.there is no need for panic.

  15. Theradlegion says:

    Hazard? Easy, throw some money on the ground, he’ll stop and pick them up

  16. MansionOfTheReds says:

    with evra finding form again at the back, I don’t see why buttner can’t be tested out at left wing? once the 5itle is in our hands I’d like to see the fringe players getting more of a look in. Buttner has a mean right foot like he showed today and he’s got bags of space. If he is relieved of defensive duties, he may blossom into a good winger, a la bale

  17. Marq says:

    People who moan about this kind of 1-0 results are people who don’t watch United often I suppose.

    Seasoned followers will know this is the kind of results we get at this time of the year, after year, after years.

  18. Ash says:


    Well said. Last season we didn’t manage to finish the game and thats the reason we couldn’t win the league. Remember everton home we should have defended in last five mins but we were trying to be over smart and we paid and drawn that game. We are professional this season and I am loving that. Young Players will learn alot from this.

  19. Costas says:


    Normally I’d also go with Jones at right back, but if Carrick is set to miss out, we’ll need him in midfield. If he’s even ready for the Chelsea game that is…

    @King Eric

    “Ape cunt”. :lol: He’s still doing that thing? I remember Klinsmann always doing the dive after scoring for Tottenham. At least that was fun. The heart gesture is just stupid.

  20. wabs says:

    “theosauraus”? some kind of dinosaur? how apt, try a dictionary first ‘mate’

  21. Lee Martins Winner says:

    I think its fair to say that the challenge of other teams this season has not been of the quaility of other seasons, BUT and its a big but (think kim kardasian). United have broken point records for this stage of the season. With a developing team and injury problems at the start. Not to mention our “shit” goalkeeper.

    If anyone would have offered me this position before the season started, I would have cut off my left arm and sold my left testicle! We should be loving life, yet some people will and often do only see the negative in every situation.

    Next season teams will raise thier games, chelski will improve and I can see city blowing thier load again this summer, but for now, sit back and enjoy this season. If we win the league, no matter what the situation, who plays on the wing, who is passing better and who is scoring the goals, it is a special achivement and ALL players who have contributed should be thanked….

    There will come a time when titles and glory are harder to come by, for now just chill and enjoy the ride!

  22. Daniel88 says:

    @ kanchelskis

    ” Why you’ve got it in your mind that Kagawa should just be skinning people all over the place I have no idea ”
    - I am just as perplexed as you.

    “I expect Kagawa to be skinning people and scoring from long range all the time” – said by me NEVER.

    You accuse me of not watching a great deal of football which is nonsense but we can all see you are unable to read a simple comment.

    ” And as for scoring from long-range. Again, a bizarre luxury to insist on in a player ”
    - Did I really say this ?. Lets go back and see what I actually said.

    WHAT I ACTUALLY SAID : ” I’d also like him to score from range although he wont ”

    You will notice at no point did I insist. I actually said he wont. It is puzzling why somebody MIGHT expect an attacking midfielder to score some goals outside the box though.

    ” RVP has scored, what, one long-ranger this season? And that was deflected. Guess he’s ‘very average’ too is he? ”
    - Fuck me sideways. You are now just arguing with your own imagination.


  23. denton davey says:

    Costas @ 23:59: “Don’t know why every single game has to turn into a test about whether Young deserves to be at the club or not. It’s gotten extremely tiresome.”

    I completely agree about it being “extremely tiresome” – he’s just not UTD quality and anyone with an open mind watching his performances would find it hard to defend his presence. Add to Young’s incompetence the fact that his presence usually turns into Nani’s absence and it really does defy logic. Like I wrote earlier about him (and Valencia) “no goals tells a story”. In fact, he’s been so spectacularly-lousy in most of his performances that it makes me wonder whether he has pictures of SAF !

    What’s especially troubling is that in addition to his ridiculously-large transfer fee, UTD seem to be paying Young 120K/wk (for two/three more years !) whereas they seem to be trying to “low ball” Nani.

    Overall, I’m hoping for the best but expecting the worst from “AshleyBloodyYoung” – so there, King Eric, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  24. TheCANTONA says:

    U missed the boat danielcunt. People has long gone to another thread.

  25. Marq says:

    Nani’s absence due to Young? Why was it that for the chunk of the season that Young was out and Nani was fit, he didn’t play? Like I said, if you think you know better than Sir Alex, you are probably delusional

  26. Daniel88 says:

    Nice argument CANTONA. Oh yeah. Great way to prove your point about people moving on by commenting. Forgetting Denton posted a long response to Costas after my comment and before yours.

    You fail.

  27. Costas says:


    Sorry mate, but you talking about an open mind made me chuckle. You didn’t give the guy his props even after his very good display at Reading in December. :lol:

    Obviously I am not trying to convince anyone about something they don’t want to see. It just makes me wonder if some fans (not just you) ever get tired about making the same critisism every single week. Why Young passes that way and not that way, why he doesn’t take on his man more often, why he never crosses with his left, why did he cost so much, etc etc.

    But to be completely fair, I fully agree with you on the comment about the Nani/Young wage comparison.

  28. denton davey says:

    Costas @ 19:55: “you talking about an open mind made me chuckle”

    Glad that I amused you. I try to give guys the benefit of the doubt – e.g., I was no fan of Dimmy but I was willing to give him credit for his silky skills.

    With Young, I was challenged by Marq/Wayne in January – after I had written that Young had missed three “sitters” in one match (against Newcastle ?) and another in the match following – so I watched him carefully and provided a minute-by-minute analysis of the next match in which he laid on a beautiful pass to RVP but did sweet-fuck-all for the other time he was playing. They didn’t quite agree with my assessment but I have continued to watch him carefully – with the hope that he can be a positive player rather than a negative contributor. Unfortunately, he’s been atrocious – and he’s not getting any better.

    With Young, it’s not just the high wages and absurd transfer fee, it’s also the way that money was spent on an unnecessary addition rather than bolstering the midfield with a powerful, energetic box-to-box guy to partner MC16. So that’s one element in the subtraction-by-addition equation; the other one is the essential unfairness that he’s getting so much more than a truly-skilled AND proven player (Nani). AND, finally, the bloated contract means that he’s essentially un-sellable unless MUFC just eat his contract or ask the purchasing team to only pay his wages without paying a transfer fee.

    I have to agree with you about the tiresomeness of making the same criticisms week-after-week but this guy is getting playing time he simply doesn’t deserve and then he does nothing to change my opinion about his lack of contribution or, in the case of his perpetual back-passing, he blunts the attack.

  29. King Eric says:

    Denton. No ta mate would rather put a bud in my pipe and smoke that. If memory serves me correctly which it does its only a couple of seasons back you weren’t Carricks biggest fan. To be fair though at present he is in the form of his career. Furthermore you didn’t like him partnered with Scholes and since 08 09 I agree. They were excellent together circa 06 – 08. Since Scholes absence over the months Carrick has stepped out his shadow and is now running the midfield and bossing games.

  30. StatesideAussie says:

    Hopefully, O’Neill’s sacking, and his dismal record with Sunderland, will finally shut up those who think he’s a candidate to succeed SAF when the Boss retires.

    Gotta say I don’t rate Young either. I do usually try to criticise the performance rather than the man, but when a player is so regularly mediocre or downright poor, that gets difficult. Last season, Young was frequently the best of our wide men at crossing the ball in: it was the one aspect of his play that stood out. But even that seems to have vanished this season, and what else is there? He doesn’t have the trickery or creativeness of Nani, nor is he as effective as TonyV at traditonal run-past-your-man wing play.

  31. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 23:45: “what else is there?”

    Maybe it’s a blessing-in-disguise. Very few teams play with “wide men” or “wingers” and in a lot of matches UTD’s persistence with this style of play has led to the central midfield being over-run without a ManchesterTerrier like DarrenFletcherinho in his “football genius” mode. So, maybe SAF will be more willing to play Chicharito up-front in an attacking-diamond with RVP/DannyTheLad/TheWayneBoy as the inside-forwards and TheWayneBoy/KagawaBunga as the deep-lying playmaker/link-man.

    I’m not arguing for a wholesale shift away from wingers so much as an alternative since the players who are now tasked with playing on the wing are – for a variety of reasons – not as good as what there was a few years ago.

    I reserve the right to change my mind if CR7 really does return………

  32. MarkoWire says:

    I have to admit I`m greatful for the 3 points but it was again another game that wasn’t pleasing on the eyes. This team isn’t half as good 99.. No way!!

    Lets just hope they put on a pleasing performance against City and seal the title.


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