Sunday, August 17, 2008

Newcastle vs. Manchester United Review

Newcastle vs. Manchester United Review

United started there EPL season with a sluggish performance against Newcastle. They earned a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, but where the better team on the day. United had a huge amount of the position but Newcastle defended well and looked dangerous going forward. United could not get the style of play we have come to expect to flow. United where without Tevez who I picked to play a huge role, he went back to Argentina for some family event or emergency.

The scoring began with a corner kick for Newcastle. A great cross and Martins broke free from Darren Fletcher and rose up well to put it in the back of the net. The goal came after United had started well. Campbell had a good chance and should have scored off a Wayne Rooney cross, but Shay Given was in the right place at the right time. At least his head was, as Campbell’s strong header bounced off the keeper’s forehead.

Carrick went out with an injury in the middle of the first half. Losing him was a huge blow and it really affected the quality in the midfield. John O’Shea came on who defended well, but had few ideas going forward.

United equalized when Ryan Giggs cross was meet by Darren Fletcher who flashed in front of the defenders and smashed it home.

The second half would begin 1-1 and it looked as if that wouldn’t change. Long-range shots and hopeful crosses were mixed with good passing, and some good ideas. Rodrigo Possebon came on in the second half for Ryan Giggs who picked up a hamstring injury.

Vidic rose well and hit a header down into the ground. The ball rose up and hit the ball, and if that wasn’t enough, he hurt his knee on the fall.

Rafael De Silva came on for Frazier Campbell late in the game. He had 10 minutes to impress and impress he did. He earned a free kick for United a yard outside the box. Rooney took the free kick and sent it wide around the wall to the near post.

Who impressed?

Campbell impressed for me, but he didn’t mix well with Rooney for the majority of the game. He was, surprisingly, our biggest threat going forward. He had a couple good chances, one he created from scratch, but I didn’t see anything to suggest he would come into the starting line up.

Ferdinand and Vidic looked good in the back. The communicated well, tackled strongly, made good passes going forward, and didn’t get caught out of position.

The young Brazilians impressed. Possebon didn’t disappoint and didn’t play the most amazing football I have ever seen, but he was solid. Made good passing decisions and helped set up some chances. I am excited to see him get more of a role during the course of the season. Da Silva looked good out on the left, he had quick cuts on the ball and gave United a chance to win it at the end.

Jonas, the new signing for Newcastle, played extremely well and dominated the left flank. He defended; he made chances, and never seemed to quit.


United looked sluggish, to a larger degree than they should after a long pre-season. They didn’t connect, they made stupid decisions, tackled poorly, and the lack of Hargreaves, Carrick, Ronaldo, Anderson, Nani, and a healthy Giggs was apparent. Not having these players is taking its toll and United have to find a way to deal with it and get the wins. We can’t drop points this year, and the beginning of the season will be the most crucial this year, in my opinion.

Every time United went forward it died down because of poor runs, bad final balls, and very few ideas. We obviously miss Carrick’s creative passing, Ronaldo’s pace and sublime skill, and Tevez determination up-front. We also seemed to watch a lot more than I was use to, numerous times going forward, the ball would fall to a midfielder and he had no or very few options. Last year we made a decision and went and did so quickly. While so far a much slower build up has been used.

Rooney argued at every opportunity, out of bounds, offsides, clear fouls by him, clear fouls by his team mates, and any other chance he got. He needs to get his temper in check and concentrate on playing football at a higher level than he did today. He finally got a yellow near the end of the second half.

What to take out of it?

It’s the beginning of the season so expectations should not have been too high. Not having Tevez really hurt us, as we didn’t look nearly good enough going forward. I think it is apparent we need a new striker brought in. Campbell played well but not good enough, Rooney created few chances and showed his lack of finishing quality on a chance early in the first half. Saha was out injured, again, and it seems it will be necessary to bring him in the near future.

The lack of first team starters and the amount of injuries are hurting us. If we can get a few fit, get some back from internationals, and get our stars like Rooney playing with more confidence we will be ok, but there is a lot on Fergie’s plate at the moment.

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