Cardiff City 2-2 Manchester United: Late header earns draw

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Cardiff City v Manchester United - Cardiff City Stadium
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:

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.

5 Comments on Cardiff City 2-2 Manchester United: Late header earns draw

  1. “both Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley failing to stamp any sort of authority on the game.”

    You outline the inadequacy of both players yet you only detail the problems that TheBIgFella faces in trying to live up to his ridiculous transfer-fee. In my view, YoungTom has been much more disappointing whenever he has had the chance “to stamp any sort of authority on the game”.

    Sure, Cleverley is a “neat and tidy” player BUT one has to wonder “is that all there is ?” For all the opportunities he gets, he produces very little.

    I’m no fan of Fellaini but he just looks lost whereas Cleverley looks not-good-enough.

    You also take a shot at Chicharito – “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.” – which is simply beside-the-point. He’s a lead-the-line centre forward whose job is to score goals and who can’t do that if the ball just doesn’t get played to him quickly. Insofar as Chicharito is an issue, the problem lies elsewhere – i.e., see above and also the poor quality of the service from the wings. AdnanJ. was poor and, with the obvious exception of AV25’s cross that led to the first goal, so was Valencia who seems to be more of a defensive-forward than a useful attacking threat.

  2. One other thing – Evra giveth and Evra taketh away. He made a great header for UTD’s second goal; he lost his man for Cardiff’s second goal.

  3. I wonder if kagawa had been fit would he have played centre mid? I think not its like moyes thinks he’s just too weak in that position and cleverly is hard enough but I don’t see that – the kid is a good presser just as busy as cleverly similar build but moyes must think he is a powderpuff or something, a shame cos we need someone who can take it forward in midfield rather than those 2 sideways artistes but moyes prefers that option cos he must think it is less risky when in fact it is the worst thing he can do – to manage united as if they are Everton which he does all the time. Fergie made the same mistake when he came until Eric the king showed him different, AT&T he kk net moyes is a modern day Dave sexton and fellaini a big Ray Wilkins.

  4. After tonight’s romp against Leverkusen, it’s hard to argue that YoungTom or TheBigFella should be given game-time ahead of MrJones.

    In the post-match reports I’ve read, there’s been a lot of orgasmic chortling about Giggs and KagawaBunga and TheWayneBoy and even AV25. BUT it was the way in which MrJones cleared up danger and sorted Leverkusen’s attackers that gave those guys a platform on which to strut their stuff.

    That said, it will be very, very interesting to see what happens to UTD’s midfield when MC16 gets back – I’d go with Carrick/Jones as the first-choice pairing and let MC16 play a little more adventurously. When MrJones plays in midfield, UTD’s formation is really a version of a 3-5-2 with the two “fullbacks” waaaay up the pitch. I liked that a lot – it would be even better with LittleRedRafa playing on the right side.

    The other issue that came up in tonight’s match was the excellent link-up play from KagawaBunga which throws the contentious issue of what to do with TheWayneBoy back into question. From my vantage-point, he played rather like Messi – a kind of “false nine” which is hardly surprising since he is just not a centre-forward. He’s at his best when he “floats” between the lines. So, I reckon that some version of a midfield-diamond is the way to go – KagawaBunga at the base, with Rooney/RVP playing as “inside forwards” and I’m partial to having Chicharito leading-the-line and creating space between-the-lines. That means no wingers – the two full-backs can provide width.

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