It’s now more than 24 hours after the derby game and I feel it is a good time to reflect on the game and what this will mean for the title race. Firstly, I felt the tribute and reflection on the victims of the Munich air disaster was both emotional and moving. It is such a shame that the performance of the United players couldn’t live up to the occasion.
It was one of the most flat performances I have seen from United over the years. The tempo was flat and so was the movement of the attacking players. It was also one of the most shaky performances from Ferdinand and Vidic. The media have commented on the performances of Ireland (who I also felt played well) but Ferdinand didn’t have to enhance his performance by gifting him the ball at least four times during the course of the game. It was a horrendous piece of play and only contributed to our dreadful performance.
So what happened? Just an off day? Citeh played their hearts out? The players overcome with emotion? I think all three had a bit to play in the game. Citeh were first to ever first and second ball and crowded out United all day long. Richards and Dunne were immense against Tevez and any forward running midfielder (as they were in August). Rooney would most certainly have made a difference but after a long hard emotional week and the burden of pressure the players may have felt, I don’t know if we would have gotten the three points or not.
Not that we get any readers from other clubs on here, but it might now seem like i’m making excuses. Far from it. United totally outplayed Citeh in the game at Eastlands and lost, but this time around we got everything we deserved out of the game. The only performer that seemed like he wanted to win was the dogged Anderson. Gritty, determined and creative, the boy is going to be some player. It’s such a shame that older heads that could have used their experience didn’t turn up like Giggs and Scholes.
So to the Arsenal game and there is a great chance for the players to really make up for their well below par games against Spurs and Citeh. There are unbelievable comparisons with the 2002/03 season, when Arsenal were, according to the cockney journalists, playing the ‘best football we’d ever seen’ and we where simply playing catch up having also lost out on the title the previous season. We played Arsenal in an FA Cup match at Old Trafford and lost after Ryan Giggs had missed an open goal, Edu scored a deflected freekick and if my memory serves me right Wiltord scored at the Stretford End, giving a 2-0 to Arsenal. Manchester United then went onto beat their North London Premiership rivals in the title race, picking up a 2-2 draw at Highbury and beating Liverpool 4-0 along the way. Regardless of the score on Saturday, I hope the same scenario pans out in the league this season.
Do not get disheartened. We have lost a number of games this season when we shouldn’t have but have got 7 points out of 9 from the other ‘big 3’ this season. Did we lose the title against Citeh? No, I don’t think so. There is still a lot of football to be played and in recent seasons where we have lost the title we didn’t have the players we do today. I see Sunday as a slip up and a poor performance that warranted better, for the the Busby Boys. Hopefully the lads can raise their game for the match on Saturday and take the psychological advantage over the league leaders.