Despite a spirited comeback, Berbatov unjustifiably finds himself in the firing line
Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester Utd: Match Observations
They often say Manchester United are the kings of comebacks, and they’re right, although this one had the air of something anticlimactic. It was undeserved first of all, as Aston Villa had torn United apart on the break and, in fairness, 2-0 was a fair result. But with a quarter of an hour to go, it felt like United were going to claw it back anyway and so when Kiko Macheda and Nemanja Vidic found the net, it was the least, as United fans, that we expected. That said, much credit should go to United for showing resolve and much character but the huge concern for United is that they must show this sort of verve in the first minute as opposed to the 81st minute.
Last time Villa beat United, a certain pundit said “you’ll never win anything with kids.” That rang true in this scenario, as the home side’s youthful team had the game snatched away from them in the brink. But say it again, Villa were excellent and deserved all three points. Mark Albrighton and Stuart Downing had the games of their life, the latter absolutely destroying Wes Brown down that left hand side while Albrighton’s dribbling and positioning was fantastic throughout, not only did he get the upper hand over Patrice Evra, but he scored the second with consummate ease after, not surprisingly, a weighted pass by Downing in the box.
Brown, as you might have guessed, had a shocker. He also conceded the penalty to add to his woes which Ashley Young duly dispatched. But, as football is a team sport, you can always criticise an individual but never, ever can you make them scapegoat. The same goes for Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez, both of whom were below-par. The former was then the ‘victim’ of some OTT criticism on Twitter, some indeed making him out as a scapegoat.
Simply put, Dimitar Berbatov did not receive any service. It’s very easy to make him scapegoat, but in truth, this was a lacklustre team performance in which the finger could not be pointed at any one individual. Yes, he was guilty of missing that one chance where he had the goal at his mercy, but you couldn’t make judgements on that opportunity alone. What forwards need in football is service and Berbatov got as much as a Ryanair customer.
Moving on, the travelling fans witnessed a bizarre, yet somewhat clever, substitution. Chris Smalling was brought on and played as a forward and, although, it had little impact on the game, the thinking behind it was to bring an extra dimension to that front line and add a bit of height. Smalling, funnily enough, received an England call-up the same day, best of luck to him. United must improve though, and try to maintain a bit of consistency. Once again, they got lucky. You feel, on another day, things wouldn’t be as straightforward.