Oh, bother! Wazza or no Wazza, United should have prevailed
Manchester Utd 2-2 West Brom: Observations
Forget everything you read in the papers this morning. Because that isn’t why. Oh, and once you’ve read all the latest X Factor gossip, this game was not decided on the fact that Wayne Rooney was left on the bench. Whatever reason there was in ‘resting’ the forward, this should have been three points for the home side and don’t they know it. This blog remains optimistic for the future despite what we’ve seen here, and in previous weeks, where United have thrown away a comfortable, winning position.
It’s bad enough squandering a lead (or two-goal lead), but to do it at home and in this fashion, was something all too hard to take. For, Manchester United were cruising before the break, but when the game had restarted, they sunk, much like the RMS Titanic. Edwin van der Sar doesn’t make many mistakes, heck, word is that he beat Chuck Norris in an arm-wrestle, but the picture above suggests a lapse of concentration – which ultimately led to the decisive Baggies equaliser. While, admittedly, the visitors were largely on the backfoot they did at least come out at after the interval and looked spirited, showing far more guile and resolve.
And it only took two chances to get West Brom back into the game. Nemanja Vidic had just hit the post from a Nani cross moments earlier to make it 3-0. That could have settled the game. But you would say that United were utterly blameless for the first goal, as a free kick from the most acute of angles ricocheted off everyone, last off Patrice Evra before crossing the line despite Van der Sar’s best efforts to claw it away. The second and the equalising goal was, er, more to do with human error.
What United didn’t do in the second half was build on their first half lead (although that’s a bit harsh seeing as West Brom responded sooo quickly), where they were dominant. Scott Carson was to blame for United’s first goal, simply on the basis of not doing good enough with the save from Nani’s free kick, yet credit must go to goalscorer Javier Hernandez, for his predatory instincts as a natural poacher were on show. Having missed a sitter a few minutes earlier, Dimitar Berbatov made amends as he linked up play beautifully with Nani as Manchester United walked in their second. When Ryan Giggs departed as a 43rd-minute sub for whatever reason, United lost width, playing into West Brom’s hand after the break. That is why you would view the result as two points dropped; simply because this shouldn’t have happened – but fair play to West Brom. And Wazza or no Wazza, this still remains the case.
Some positives to take out from this game was a) the performance of Rafael, who is suddenly becoming an established member of the team having started the United’s last three games, and b) the encouraging sign of Rio Ferdinand regaining full fitness, having racked up 90 minutes again. Yet, United had once again failed to learn from their mistakes; but, as always, you’ve got to remain positive and optimistic. Eight games does not decide a season, although, of course, we have dropped unnecessary points and leaked too many goals for a team fighting for the Premier League crown.
A wannabe from last week’s The Apprentice said the following: “It’s not a crime to make mistakes. It’s a crime not to learn from them.” Reality television isn’t all that bad – shame next week’s episode clashes with the Champions League tie against Bursaspor…