More away day woes: Yet things aren’t *that* bad…
Bolton 2-2 Manchester Utd: Observations
Manchester United’s away record for the new season is rather disappointing: three games, three points and seven conceded. Yes, they’ve scored as many but, obviously, things have not been so rosy on their travels as they would’ve liked. United fans feel they should have won all of those games and that definitely is the case for the visits to Craven Cottage and the Goodison where United threw away their lead very, very late on. Frustration is seeping through understandably, but surely things can’t be that bad. “We’ve dropped points again,” I hear the knee-jerker cry, “again.”
Indeed, Manchester United faltered against Bolton yesterday afternoon but that was a fair scoreline. Bolton fought hard and deserved the point for all their troubles. The Reebok is no easy place to come, and United recognised that as soon as Zat Knight put the home side in the lead minutes into the game. That goal, and Bolton’s second, were due to defensive errors. “We’ve dropped points again,” I hear the knee-jerker cry, “again.”
I’ve noticed a trend – when United concede such cheap goals there are two players usually made scapegoat. John O’Shea and Jonny Evans, or if what some say is anything to go by, the Two Jonnies™, have apparently been the reason for our misfortunes this season. Now I’ll admit neither have been perfect this campaign, but some of the criticisms are way off the mark. And actually, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic both played their roles in conceding the first and second. My point is that we all know that Evra and Vidic aren’t bad players, quite the opposite, but defenders are always going to make mistakes and some will earn more flak than others just because they are not as established. “We’ve dropped points again,” I hear the knee-jerker cry, “again.”
Some positives to take out of the game…(don’t read too much into these)
- According to OPTA: “Between them, Berbatov and Nani have either scored or assisted 12 of Manchester United’s 16 Premier League goals this season.”
- Michael Owen scored his third goal in two games.
- Nani’s bursting run and finish was excellent.
- We did at least close the gap on Chelsea.
- We are 2nd after six games, after all.
- We are still only one of two teams undefeated in the league. Indeed, United are unbeaten in all competitions in 15 games.
- We’re not Liverpool, a team floundering in 15th place.
But as we’re so early into the season, we mustn’t dismiss Manchester United just yet. Historically, as we all know, United are slow starters and still remain unbeaten. They’ve had no easy games away from home – teams struggle at the stadia United have already visited – and just for those asking, we have another 32 games to play. Things aren’t that bad. Really. Just look at Liverpool if you want to define ‘bad’. And for the record, no, Mesut Ozil is not for sale.