Date: 17th April 2011 at 3:00am
Written by:

This may seem a little late but I feel it is always best to give yourself proper time to reflect on a result rather than fly straight in and say something foolish in the heat of the moment (hence you hear a ton of idiots on shows like 606 immediately after games).

Manchester United’s loss to Man City was bad, there is no sugar coating this. Before the game we wrote about this being a game and the fact that it was a Manchester derby is just an aside. I still agree with this, losing to City is bad but losing out on a chance to win a trophy is what bothers me more. I see a lot of people saying it is a useless cup and nobody cares about it but I disagree.

Yes the FA Cup was the least important of the 3 we were competing for at the start of play yesterday but that is scant consolation for the way the game turned out and is a poor excuse to cover this up.

The game itself was a strange one, we only played for about 20/30 minutes of the 90 and were duly beaten by a team who it appeared wanted it more. There are various reasons that could be cited as to why we didn’t perform for large spells; fatigue, complacency, wrong tactics etc I have heard a ton of them and each point has it’s merits as well as faults.

Notable observations from the game:

The Blame Game

A sad but frequent occurrence amongst football fans, not just ours, is the need to blame someone when things go wrong. Today’s main culprits are

1. Dimitar Berbatov – guilty of two misses early on that would have definitely made the tie easier had he converted, didn’t work as a lone striker

2. Michael Carrick – bad Carrick is back after his misplaced pass lead to City’s winner

3. Paul Scholes – after going 1-0 down his moment of madness made our task just that bit harder as he was red carded for a studs up challenge on Zabaleta

To be fair you can blame any of these or what ever else you want to but it doesn’t change the fact we played how we did. We were just as poor before Scholes was sent off, it’s accepted by most that he can’t influence the game as much as he usually does in a two man midfield as he doesn’t have the legs for it so why was he kept on when Valencia went off? Did you think of that? Or if you want to blame Carrick, why not blame VDS for the poor goal kick that initially put us under pressure?

There is nothing wrong with pointing out when someone has messed up but trying to solely attribute our defeat to either one of these players is poor form and not something I expect from us especially concerning Scholes!

Patrice Evra

Although offering a lot going forward, defensively his game was lacking. I can specifically remember him getting skinned badly by Johnson and Wright-Phillips (for shame!) and there may have been more occasions that I have forgotten.

Evra hasn’t looked himself for large parts of this season and perhaps he could do with a break. Considering the fact he played 51 games last season, had the calamity in South Africa, pretty much no pre season and has now played 40 plus this season it is understandable that he is feeling run down.

Evra was one of our better players last term, I remember Denis Irwin declaring that he was unfortunate that Rooney was in such good form or he would be a cert for club player of the year, so his dip this year is pretty shocking to see even if it is understandable.

Wayne Rooney & Carlos Tevez

Pretty sure it’s been said on here that banning Rooney for 2 games was a nonsense and today highlights that. I was firmly in the camp that believed City would miss Tevez more than we would miss Rooney but today slightly reminded me of that game against Blackburn after Rooney got injured against Bayern last term when Berbatov was up top alone. ITV didn’t help by constantly showing his expressions and gestures with our every passing chance, teasing us with what may have been!

As I said I believed that City would miss Tevez more than we would miss Rooney. I now feel like a fool for allowing myself to be lulled into a false sense of security in Tevez’s absence, I’m probably not alone but it was foolish to believe that City would just collapse in a game of this magnitude because of his absence.

Speaking of Rooney and Tevez leads me onto my final point…

Mario Balotelli

An extremely deplorably man (doesn’t seem out of place at City then!) who doesn’t seem to be getting any more mature.

The rumours will continue to circulate about what exactly he did to draw the ire of Anderson, Rio Ferdinand and the usually calm Edwin van der Sarr but even without that information the end of the game tells me all I need to know about him.

Prior to Man City signing him I wrote that I wouldn’t mind him here. Bullet dodged. The guy has shown himself to be a cretin at various points in his brief spell at Man City and today was no different. Mancini don’t seem to be helping by allowing him to behave how he does either.

Dwelling on the result won’t help instead we look forward to Tuesday’s game against Newcastle. There are lessons to be learned from the game and it also highlights how fortunate we were to do the treble in 1999 and how remarkable an achievement it is.

Our task now is to pick ourselves up and ensure we do not suffer from a hangover as Newcastle will be a tough game. Even if  that lot from down the road make our path to the title a little clearer by getting something from Arsenal, we still have to sort ourselves out as we have much to play for.