Analysis and Observations: Second half tinkering does the trick
Blackpool 2-3 Manchester United: Observations and Analysis
If there’s a better game to sum up Manchester United’s season, tell me now. A game of literally two differing halves, the first perhaps giving an indication of United’s troubles on the road, starting unconvincingly – and the second, well, United’s tendency to cranck it up a notch whenever required, coming back from what seemed a perilous position and play like worthy champions.
Under the floodlights, a classic unfolded. The first 45 complimented the bright, glowing Bloomfield Road perfectly. Blackpool, urged on by their terrific and atmospheric support, were in firm control; and United were so toothless and never really had a defined shape. The hosts, led by the ever-impressive Charlie Adam led 2-0 at half time; but were sent crashing back down to earth, thanks chiefly to Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov and some inspired changes from Fergie.
Blackpool and Adam impressive. In the first half, it was Blackpool with all the possession and all the chances. They pressed United high up the pitch; and beat them in nearly every battle. Both goals were from corner’s – and both were poorly dealt with. But it was nothing that the hosts didn’t deserve – Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell were particularly excellent. Losers on the day, but only by result, but you feel they played well enough to get something out of the game.
Rooney on the left? A no-no. United lacked creativity in the first half and that was partly down to Rooney’s position; out wide on the left. Before the game, 11 of Berbatov’s 17 goals this season were scored with Rooney on the pitch (as a second striker). The arrival of Giggs after the interval did good for United – he took up the left hand side and United reverted back to their natural 4-4-2.
Giggs for Gibson. Game changer. Readers of the blog will know my feelings for Darron Gibson – a player who doesn’t half deserve all the stick going to him. But he was forlorn and very ineffective in his central position. on came Giggs, and the game changed instantly. United had width, and showed verve and goals came of it. The first was a good move, with Darren Fletcher supplying the killer pass. The Scot was poor in the first half; but his impact in the second was priceless and ended up a contender for Man of the Match.
But it was the next goal which took everyone by surprise. Giggs, 37, hit a lovely ball in the path of sub Javier Hernandez, who coolly stroke home. It was a pass that takes some defining (you can try). And the fightback was completed in the 88th minute, Berbatov, who else, making sure United end victorious and sealing a classic comeback in the process.