United lack fluidity against dogged Blackburn

Blackburn 0-0 Manchester Utd: Observations

The above picture suggests everything. A jubilant Dimitar Berbatov that is not. Manchester United came to the fortress that is Ewood Park looking to fire themselves back to the top after a miserable week, however, the Red Devils could only fire blanks. Away to Blackburn was never going to be easy, but you feel now it would take a miracle to overcome this latest setback in the race for the title.

The judgement fingers, long and crooked, will pointed at Dimitar Berbatov (again) for this poor show. I thought I was Berbatov’s biggest fan but after this performance I’m not so sure any more. Berbatov was guilty of some dreadful finishing in this game and some of that magic he’s capable of was simply not on show. United seem to struggle without Rooney and need him back fully fit for the Manchester Derby next week. Yet, victories in all four remaining games may not be enough.

With Rooney, things just seem to tick. It could have been Blackburn’s stubborn defending but United lacked fluidity and verve. Macheda was largely ineffective, as was his strike partner, but the biggest disappointment was from the flanks where potential match-winners Nani and Valencia were very inconsistent. At times, they showed a glimpse or two of their quality but ultimately it was nothing other than frustration for the duo.

United’s 4-4-2 simply could not find a way through a resilient Blackburn Rovers, and even the introduction of Park and the 4-3-3 did little to the scores. Berbatov had one great chance but wasted it when he shot straight at Paul Robinson. In the end, it was a well deserved draw for the home side. They blunted Chelsea a few weeks ago with a dogged display and that was again the case here. This, in truth, felt like a defeat and it may have well been had Gary Neville not superbly blocked Steven Nzonzi’s effort in the dying moments.

In a way, Berbatov symbolises this season’s Manchester United. A player that has some magic moments but is mostly frustrating. The magic moments for the club this season being the League Cup triumph over the Noisy Neighbours and winning the trophy at Wembley a month later. The frustrating times? Well, the failure in Europe and the FA Cup, and maybe now the league itself.


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