Wayne Rooney sees yellow when he could well have been sent off.
Manchester United were only a few minutes away from taking all three points after their first trip to Cardiff since the 1974/75 season, however a header by Bo-Kyung Kim gave the home side a share of the spoils. There could be no argument either as Cardiff’s battling performance deserved something out of the game. Wayne Rooney scored the opener after a mistake by Turner, although many felt that United’s number ten should have seen red after kicking out at Jordan Mutch, but instead he received a yellow.
It was Mutch who provided the exquisite pass to ex-red Fraizer Campbell who scored past helpless David De Gea. Patrice Evra put United ahead with an excellent header just before half time, which looked like it would be the winner until the South Korean struck. Here we discuss the talking points and welcome comments from both sets of fans.
Wayne Rooney could have won the game but shouldn’t have been on the pitch
I think everyone who saw it was in agreement that Wayne Rooney was extremely lucky to still be on the pitch having lashed out at Mutch. Whether or not the ref’s vision was impaired by a passing player or whether it was “too early” in the game to do so – the ref got it wrong. Rooney was sent off for England in Montenegro back in 2011 for a similar kick, however against Cardiff he went down with the player – so perhaps the ref, wrongly, felt it was more of a coming together. Last night, Wayne Rooney admitted on Twitter it was a bad tackle, but focused his attention on Martin Tyler’s commentary rather than discussing whether or not it was a red or a yellow card:
Just watched game back. I agree mine was bad tackle and ref dealt with it. And Martin Tyler didn't shut up about it all game.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) November 24, 2013
It was Rooney who opened the scoring with a deflected effort following a deft touch from Javier Hernandez, who was largely ineffective in Robin van Perise’s absence. Patrice Evra’s header was converted following a superb Rooney corner and in the dying minutes, after Cardiff had scored, United’s number ten had a glorious opportunity to win the game for visitors, but instead opted to pass the ball to substitute Danny Welbeck. The pass was under hit and was smothered by David Marshall. Another busy afternoon for Wayne Rooney and Cardiff City fans are right to feel aggrieved that he wasn’t given his marching orders so early on in the game.
Michael Carrick omission pivotal as Fellaini and Cleverley fail to step up
It was the first game Michael Carrick has missed since undergoing his operation on an achilles problem and it was evident how much United rely on their number 16, with both Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley failing to stamp any sort of authority on the game. Fellaini has been heavily criticised in some quarters since his £27.5 million transfer in the summer, which of course is extremely unfair considering the short space of time he has been at the club. Fellaini, who is the fourth most expensive player to have signed for United behind Dimitar Berbatov, Rio Ferdinand and Juan Sebastian Veron, was operating in a two man midfield and had a glorious opportunity to showcase the talents he undoubtedly has. Sadly, United’s midfield became overrun and Cardiff, as highlighted by the excellent first goal, cut through United with ease.
Gary Medal’s short pass found Mutch who was lurking in between midfield and defence, who produced an excellent left footed pass to find Campbell. Ex Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once remarked that one of Carrick’s main strengths is having the ability to get the ball forward quickly with accuracy, usually to Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie dropping deep to receive allowing the wingers to bomb on and stretch play. This was a quality missing from United’s game yesterday with both Cleverley and Fellaini failing to provide any sort of penetration in the final third. In defence of the duo, they were operating against a three man midfield with Medal playing deep and having time on the ball to pick his passes. With Carrick missing, United looked weak through the middle – a point that has been raised in the pubs following a game for many years now.
Cardiff City were well worth a point as United failed to hold their concentration at the end of the game to allow Kim to head home. Patrice Evra was flat footed as the South Korean man scored a well earned equaliser that was full of controversy. Rooney’s goal and assist allowed United to take control of the game, although he should have seen red for kicking out at Mutch.
Cardiff’s Chilean international Gary Medal was also lucky to stay on the pitch, following what appeared to be a slap on Marouane Fellaini, just before Cardiff’s second goal. Referee Neil Swarbrick blew the whistle, as Cardiff floated in the freekick, to talk with both players – and ordered a retake, which subsequently led to the equaliser.
United were no doubt missing three key players in Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick and Nemanja Vidic. Vidic’s aerial ability was no doubt sadly missed, especially looking at the fact that United bombarded Marshall’s goal from set pieces, with Smalling and Fellaini going close to extend the lead. Welbeck linked up well with Rooney before blazing over in the second half, again – a goal would have put the game beyond Cardiff, but United couldn’t find the back of the net.
Likewise, at the other end, Campbell’s superb chip, after a wayward backpass from Tom Cleverley, was only inches away and he saw it rebound off the woodwork and back into play. Rooney could well have won the game after an excellent ball from Cardiff born Ryan Giggs, who is fast approaching his 40th birthday, only for Rooney to opt for a pass to Welbeck, rather than attempt to finish himself.
David Moyes felt United should have held out at the end and will be concerned that late goals, against Southampton and Donetsk for example, continue to hinder United’s progress this season. Bayer Leverkusen, who are second in the Bundesliga, are up next for United in the Champions League and United really need a result in Germany as it is extremely tight in group A.