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Small Details Make All The Difference

To finish the opening game of our Champions League title defence with a 0-0 is always going to be disappointing. Whilst missing a few players, we had enough quality on the field yesterday to beat Villarreal, especially based on the way our Spanish opponents played.

However, it was just ‘one of those days’. Had we won 1-0 and played the way we did against Liverpool, I’d be far more worried to face Chelsea than I am on the back of our performance last night.

The ball came to Rio Ferdinand by surprise in the opening minutes, giving him an opportunity to bury it in the back of the net.

Ji-Sung Park had his ankle trodden on by Capdevila in the box as he was chasing down the ball. The referee had a poor view of it, but the linesman looked at it clearly. Amazingly, he saw nothing wrong.

15 minutes later, Park is again fouled by Capdevila, who sticks his leg out in front of our Korean as he charges in to the box. Gets nothing on the ball and a goal kick is given.

Capdevila avoids a booking all match.

Cristiano Ronaldo hits the ball in to the ground, similarly to the tactic Ryan Babel used against United at the weekend. Unlike Babel’s effort, Ronaldo is straight to the keeper. A lucky bounce in either direction (as we saw at the weekend) would have resulted in a goal.

With eight minutes to go, Jonny Evans diving header comes back off the woodwork. A few inches to the right and it was a goal.

When luck is on your side, you win a game like tonight by at least three goals. When luck is against you, your side finishes the game with a point.

What I was looking for, more than anything tonight, was a performance, and that’s what we got. If you create good goalscoring opportunities, then sooner or later you’ll get the right result. United created 16 opportunities last night. If we create 16 chances at the weekend and score 2 of them, with Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov playing from the start, then we’ll be very happy indeed.

After some poor football from United over the past few weeks, it’s encouraging to see us play some great football and look like scoring again. Of course it would have been nice to get a win, but I’ll settle for yesterday’s draw if we pick up 3 points at Stamford Bridge!

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. Tom F says:

    Park was excellent last night, if he was a regular in the starting XI I would be happy.

    As for Chelsea, we are known to break records and ruin current records… so maybe it’s a sign?

  2. OP says:

    The speed with which United play their football means it always takes a a few weeks of competitive matches before they are firing on all cylinders, and last night looked like they were back.

  3. Fuglis says:

    Have to agree Scott, the perfomance last night was pretty good, the goals will come.

  4. Anant says:

    maybe chelseas big win and good recent form will work to our advantage with them getting overconfident

  5. Drew Vader says:

    We will have to just match their effort/desire. Last week, pool just wanted it more than us, simple as that. So if we come out flat and its clear to the world who is playing harder and winning the 50/50 battles, then we could very easily get beaten. If however we come out with some fucking fire in our eyes and equal or better their passion, then I think we’ll be just fine.

  6. Gazzaro says:

    I think last night match against Villareal we played very well. The pair of Hargreves and Fletcher in the middle show more desire to win battle and get the ball back. Evans play quite well alongside Ferdinand. Nani and Evra combined very effectively when we attack on the left hand side. In the second half, especially after the introduce of Ronaldo and Anderson, our speed of play and attack is very much quicker and better. Overall, I think the addition of Berbatov and Manucho up front, we have a strong quality enough to win both trophies again this season.

    Of course, we have to hope that a little bit of LUCK will stay with us again this season. However, the only thing we need to improve is to find the perfect pair up front who can score goals for us.

    In my opinion, I think Berbatov and Tevez could be a good choice. However, physically, Manucho pairing with Berbatov could be effective. Anyway, I think Wayne Rooney, with his present form, should be the one that SAF make him sit on the bench.

    We all love United and we all want our team to win. We all hurt when our team lose. Of course, Rooney is a great fighter. He keep running and chasing the ball. However, what do you really expect from a 27 million pounds striker????….

    Some may argue that last season we’ve losted many matches when Rooney didn’t play. However, this season we’ve already losted twice (against Zenith in Super Cup and against Liverpool which Rooney play full 90 minutes for both matches and didn’t play well at all). In my opinion, based on his current form, Rooney is no where near a so called Top Class Striker. His form is no where near his best when he first joined us. He has no sharpness, lack of penetration, and above all, lack of confidence to shoot when the team is needed (Last night match is a great example. On the 72nd minute, Ronaldo played a SUPER BALL to Rooney which he should has scored or at least hit the target. Rooney, however, SELFISHLY choose to pass that big responsibility to Tevez which finally failed. How can he did that???)….

    It’s not good enough for a 27 million pounds striker to just keep running but refuse to take a shot when the team is needed…..

    It’s not good enough for a 27 million pounds striker to just keep saying that I’m not selfish but never score a goal for the team….

    Lack of sharpness, lack of penetration, and lack of confidence… IT”S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!!….

    Working hard but never score goals is not enough when you play as a striker, especially when you play for Manchester United and the team pay 27 million pounds for you. With his present form, I think no one, including SAF, will pay 27 million pounds for his signature.

    With the Return of Ronaldo, Berbatov, and Manucho, I think this is the best time to DROP Rooney and give him more time to re-discover his best form again…

  7. Tre says:

    From SAF’s words, I wouldn’t expect Ronaldo to start Sunday, maybe not Berbatov either. Regardless, we looked good tonight and I think we can get a result at Chelsea.

  8. OBBO says:

    I agree with Gazzaro, Anyone knows what happen to Rooney???

    He’s not the same player when he first joined us. To be fair to him, may be he’s not fit enough??? or not good enoug???

    He missed a great chance against Zenit and missed a great chance against Villareal again last night. Those 2 chances I think for a world class striker, that must be a goal. Unfortunately, none for Rooney. Maybe he’s not good enough.

    Anyway, Dropping him is a good alternative. Though Tevez should be a certain strat, I would love to see the big Macucho playing alongside Berba.

  9. Wakey says:

    The annoying thing with Rooney being unselfish is that I personally believe his biggest weakness is his simple passing, he screws them up all over the pitch on a regular basis and 9/10 when he is unselfish it requires a relatively simple pass to setup the other player which then goes astray.

  10. Theo De Ray says:

    The time is right for a change.

    I think Gazzaro make a good point in the dipping form of Rooney.

    I personally believe that United will be better with a bigger and taller striker. If we have to choose between Rooney and Tevez, the current form of Tevez is much better. So, let’s try Tevez with Berbatov.

  11. Patrik says:

    Isn’t Berbatov out for three weeks? And btw, the first foul on Park wasn’t Capdevila, it was without a doubt Eguren. Anyway, many players got a first real game(Neville, Evans, Park, Ronaldo, Hargo, Nani) and we played quite well, so I’m very pleased. Evans was better than I could’ve hoped for and Nani actually looks smarter this year.

  12. Arsene wanker says:

    I dont believe that a player could lose his skills in year or my humble opinion i think Rooney’s problem is that he hadn’t had a Long run since 2006-2207.he was superb back then,and what is making the problem more complicated is that he’s not playing tha same way he did couple of years ago,let alone scoring goals,that’s way he’s trying to create chances as much as he can.
    i think we need to drop him for few games and then hopefuly the REAL Rooney will be back.


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