Vidic (5 interception, 4 tackles won, 1 Block, 13 attempted clearances) Ferdinand (1 interception, 4 tackles won, 11 attempted clearances) Evra (3 interceptions, 4 tackles won, 6 attempted clearances) Rafael (4 interceptions, 7 tackles won, 1 attempted clearance)
Gallas had 6 attempted clearances. Dawson apart no one in the spurs defence made more than four tackles. Spurs full backs made more interceptions than their United counterparts (7&5).
It wasn’t an amazingly attractive match by any means when you take into account the glorious encounters these clubs have shared over the years but nonetheless it was an admittedly thrilling game despite it being devoid of enough moments of genuine quality for my liking (I mean its United v Spurs, entertainment should be guaranteed or you should be allowed demand your money back).
One area that was perhaps to blame for the lack of goals was the defence of United. They produced a display rather reminiscent of the ‘Great Escape’ job United pulled off against Barcelona during the Champions League winning season of 07/08 when the pair of Ferdinand and Vidic were at their respective bests; taking on the might of the Nou Camp and returning home with their rear ends intact.
As one should ascertain from the stats, United’s defence underwent quite a barrage and they were required to be valiant and vigilant… no player encapsulated those qualities as much as Nemanja Vidic. ‘ They don’t make ‘em like they used to’, well I’d like to see any player from the past try intimidating the Serbian Rapist. He was immense, making numerous interceptions, tackles and clearances whenever his side most needed him. However he was not the only one to always be alert to the danger Spurs presented.
His partner Ferdinand and the young Brazillian Rafael were also tough, tenacious and helped keep Tottenham at bay even if Evra did struggle with the lively Lennon ( an irremovable pain in the ass for Paddy). A word on Ferdinand’s performance in possession, it was delightful to watch, a serene presence in midst of an oncoming storm and one wishes the midfield had displayed anything like the same composure.
2. Red Rafael
Bale came, saw and ulitmately failed, such was Rafael’s continued adeptness in dealing with the World’s best wingers and coming away with his burgeoning reputation more than intact.
He made 7 tackles today, Dawson apart even Vidic was struggling to match him in terms of tackles made and it is symbolic of his aggression and anticipation, qualities which allow him to smell an oppurtunity to seize the ball and go in hard. Its a priceless attribute to have for a full back capable of becoming the World’s best in his specialist position.
The only issue that remains is that he has a tendency to overstep the mark and become reckless. He is exceptionally young and his decision-making will undoubtedly mature.. however he has already marked himself out as a valuable member of the team and we cannot afford to have him missing in action, even if it is an inevitable part of the learning process for a young defender.
With regards to the sending off tonight, I felt he was rather fortunate to still be on the pitch after the first foul. To be fair most of the media and the BBC MOTD pundits said it was worthy of a yellow, but I thought it a highly reckless agricultural challenge and a potential leg breaker if it were to connect with the player in question who thankfully jumped. United fans must hope that he cuts this out immediately, a loss of possession is nothing in comparison to leaving your team down to 10 men in the first half against tough opponents. In Europe, he’d not have got away with it. As for the second foul, he was highly unlucky and it was one of those ridiculous decisions whereby the Ref fails to understand the context of the incident and see it from the players point of view.
Overall a good display for the youngster but he needs to grow up quick for the business end of the season.
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