Toothless United fail to break down Rangers’ 9-1 system
“These figures are stupid,” Fabio Capello once said after being asked what formation England were playing after a qualifying game. “In the modern game, the only formation is 9-1.” Of course, that is all nonsense. Nonsense, unless you’re Rangers however. At times, they reverted to the old ‘park the bus’ system where they constantly put blue shirts into their own box. Then you ask yourself – could you really blame them? The result of their clever ploy? A 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
Dull was the word to describe the occasion; the beautiful football was played at Camp Nou where Barcelona prevailed over Panathinaikos, beating them 5-1. United fans have seen very few games alike, but Rangers had a negative gameplan which they stuck to, and in the end reaping the rewards. So much so, that the majority of the home side’s efforts on goal were from outside the box – or more precisely, Darron Gibson.
In truth, United’s attacking play had no flow. No verve as we’ve seen time and time again on European nights. How could they when the opposition had introduced a system so defensive that it made North Korea’s World Cup performances look like something inspired by Rinus Michels’ and his Holland team of the 70’s. Indeed, it had 0-0 written all over it. Excuses are excuses, though, and when looked back on it, it was a toothless performance. How ever many defenders Rangers had, it all means nothing when you conclude that Manchester United were lacking answers. Improvement required for sure, but let’s not hit the panic button’s just yet.
However, as bad as the football was, nothing was more horrifying than the scenes of Antonio Valencia being stretchered off for a suspected broken leg. The injury itself was so bad that broadcasters decided not to show the replay. And rightly so. We hope the poor lad makes a speedy recovery – but the signs are pointing to an extremely lengthy-absence. Get well soon, Tony.