When I re-read the results on paper this morning it looks like a fully satisfying couple of days work at the office. Liverpool have been humiliated, City have dropped points, the Arsenal sitcom continues and United have beaten Chelsea. It is the hard work that our team made of the latter which has me reaching for the sedatives.
Several of our players had not adjusted the sights on their boots before kickoff and many a pass went long and astray early on. Hernandez is a quick lad, but he is yet to break the land speed record that some of our cross-field passes would have required.
In fact, had we not scored early on we could well have been taught an ugly lesson here. Large spells of the play were ALL Chelsea and were it not for large swathes of luck it could all have been so different. Nonetheless, the last 45 minutes were pretty agonizing to watch and prompted by match going companion to remark, “I’m not sure I can take another eight months of this.”
Saying all that, the second half did at least show the side producing the kind of grit that has not been required so far this season. In terms of learning experiences for the younger players, they should get the message and they haven’t dropped points doing it.
And if you detach for a second you can appreciate the comedy of it all. Livid as Ferguson will inevitably be about Rooney’s slip and John Terry-tribute penalty miss, you can only say we have been asking for that one. For the last three years. Repeatedly.
This is not to mention the huffing and puffing of el Nino. Torres actually played quite well and looked fairly dangerous but that miss will go down in history. The poor lad has fallen a long, long way now and if he had scored you would have fancied Chelsea for the draw. He and all his teammates know it too.
Inevitable barn door reference (C) Torres photography
The better news for Manchester United is that David de Gea looks like he belongs. Ramires will want to commit hari kiri after falling over with the goal at his mercy but Dave was there to save on that and several other occasions. I also really like his distribution of the ball, it is a terrific addition to our arsenal, particularly seeing as it comes from a goalkeeper. He earned his dosh on Sunday.
Another huge positive to draw from this game is Nani’s confirmation as a big game player. His goal was sumptuous and some of his close control beggars belief. He can miss as many player of the year awards as he like if he keeps playing like this for us.
Despite the general madness of the fixtures of the last round United have managed to emerge two points clear at the top and looking good on paper. However, the watching managers of Leeds and Stoke will no doubt think they stand a chance against us in the upcoming fixtures. Fabulous as this start to the season has been, the players need to focus and not believe their own hype. Otherwise, God forbid, some of them could end up with Fernando levels of comeuppance.
Early reports that Ronnie Rosenthal has launched a class action lawsuit against Torres for breach of copyright over the missed sitter have been rejected as untrue.
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