With United somehow managing to mount a title challenge, despite playing for weeks with no defence, the media has really been scraping the barrel to find ways to criticise Manchester United. The Cristiano Ronaldo angle long disappeared with Wayne Rooney scoring more goals by January than Ronaldo did all of last season, so they had to find something new.

Own goals.

Diaby’s header at Old Trafford early on in the season was an own goal and we were truly lucky to benefit from his moment of madness. But I’d argue every other goal that has gone in the back of opponent’s net under the name “own goal” is anything but lucky.

The brilliant skill that saw Nani get past two Arsenal defenders before flicking the ball over Almunia should not be classed as an own goal, and certainly entailed no luck, with Ji-Sung Park unmarked and ready to put it in the net regardless. The goals Nani and Michael Carrick scored the following week against Portsmouth were deflections, not own goals. The goal that was attributed to Scott Dann against Birmingham came in from a brilliant ball in from Patrice Evra which Rooney would have put away if Dann didn’t. The same applies to Wilson’s own goal against Portsmouth, that Diouf was ready and waiting for.

Regardless, the media couldn’t get enough of it, and made a big song and dance over how many goals “own goal” had scored for us this season.

The whole concept seems bizarre to me, particularly when given how many goals Frank Lampard has to his name every season. Don’t get me wrong, of course it’s frustrating when a team you hate scores with a deflection, but at least they get to claim their goal as their own.

So, last night, in United’s 3-2 victory over Milan, “Own Goal” struck again. A good ball in to the box was delivered, Patrice Evra made a hashed attempt at clearing it, before it fell to “Own Goal” just inside the box. However, instead of aiding us, “Own Goal” put the ball in to the back of our net to see us 1-0 down.

Oh no wait, when Ronaldinho shoots and finds the back of the net because of a deflection, it is Ronaldinho’s goal, just as it is with Lampard. Despite the fact his effort was going wide or straight to Van der Sar who was covering that post, and that the deflection from Michael Carrick was the sole reason for a goal being scored, goes by totally unnoticed.

It’s a shame really, as after scoring in both United vs Arsenal games this season, grabbing one in the Milan vs United match really would have bumped up “Own Goal”‘s transfer fee…