United didn’t really start their Champions League campaign with a bang, it was more like a pop but it definitely gave Sir Alex something to think about.
After Cardozo turned Jonny Evans to open the scoring for Benfica, Ryan Giggs got United level fizzing a shot past Artur and after that it was a battle as both sides tried to steal the points in what was an entertaining at times but largely lethargic display.
Benfica’s opener was a piece of magic, an outside of the foot 50 yard pass from Gaitan was controlled by the big striker and he fired past Anders Lindegaard who could only get fingertips to the striker’s effort. Cardozo is predominantly left footed so the fact he turned Evans and scored with his right will have thrown both defender and keeper off.
What can you say about Ryan Giggs that hasn’t been said already, wasn’t having the best game up until he scored but when he got his name on the scoresheet it was a memorable effort!
Just under 20 minutes after Benfica took the lead Giggs would cut in from the right and lash a shot past Artur to restore parity. In his 22nd season Giggs is still giving defenders and goalkeepers problems.
The goalkeeping situation this season has been one that has drawn attention this season. Having signed David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard garnered massive support with his performances pre season and did himself no harm tonight. An assured performance that saw him pull off a number of saves will definitely do his chances no harm but you just get the impression that De Gea will have to have a monumental mishap in order for Lindegaard to take his place.
That being said it gives us a massive boost to know we have such quality in reserve if needed especially with the memory of Kuszczak’s performance against Blackburn last season in mind.
I saw many people talking and tweeting about the lack of energy in our midfield as a result fo Anderson’s absence and it does bring to mind an interesting point, how important has Anderson become to this team? He always threatened to become a standout player and this season he has begun to show it. Performances like this in his absence lend credence to the theory that he needs to be involved whenever possible.
Your thoughts (some of you have potty mouths!):
Lionel U: Very poor I hope that Cleverley recovers quickly b/c Carrick is sh*te
Ville R: With Carrick, Fletch & Giggs we don’t have enough pace in the centre part of midfield – their movement and pace are not enough when they all play at same time. We were missing badly Ando & Tom! Anyway have to be happy with one point with that performance. Looking forward to Sunday now…
Jonathan O’C: If Carrick plays again for United I’ll stick pins in my eyes! The lad is rubbish.
Alom M: Well most of our players tonight was not 100% match fit, we looked slow in the middle. I’m sure with Anderson in the middle of the park we would have won that game.
With that said it was a good result as all 5 midfielders got some minutes under their belt.
David C-M: In the context of the goup it’s a good point. We’re expected to win out home games after all. Should have won although Benfica also had a couple of telling chances. If we win on Sunday we’ll have had a good week.
Johnno P: Quite simply, we got a draw away at hardest team in group with several steed returning from injury resting many players for Chelsea, boring match compared to last few in league but a professional job.
Mick J: Carrick is absolutley shite. He’s so slow he wouldn’t make an over 60s team. No creativity in him at all. I’d like to see Jones sit in behind Ando on Sunday. Good for Valencia, Park, Fabio and Fletch to get game time for match fitness. A point away from home is a decent result.
Anthony C: Decent result, hard earned point and probably the toughest group match. And with Chelsea this weekend, some players rested and players like Fletch, Valencia and Fabio getting some important game time.
Have to agree with the comments regarding Carrick, if Cleverley is going to be out for longer than a month, I’d be tempted with pairing Jones and Ando in midfield.
Blaine R: We need more depth in midfield. Cleverley and Anderson have been great so far, but it’s a long season. Carrick and Fletcher are just really slow when compared to the latter and I don’t think their capable of keeping up the tempo we’ve been playing at.
Christopher C: Michael Carrick was a mess! They gave the ball away too much. Boring game but got what they needed.
Have to say the players that went there proved to me they needed game time because they looked like strangers at times. All the fluidity was gone as the more ponderous players and poor touch players showed why we were so poor last season away from home. Carrick seems to have come for a lot of criticism here and he may just of lost his sunday place to Giggs on that performance. But the two really disappointing players for me were Park and Fletcher. Always felt their game was more about “energy” than real United quality. They were Slow, ponderous, unimaginative, fearful of the ball with heavy touches and no passing ability. They may very well have resigned themselves to the Carling cup squads on that performance.
Carricks worst perfomance in a United shirt. Totally inept. Its got to the point now where i see his name on the team sheet i know for a fact we will be dominated in midfield and will struggle in the game. The bloke is a nothing player.
I hear a lot of criticism for Carrick and some of it well deserverd however, i will take more positives from this result than just slagging off our own team, ill leave that for the City fans.
First of all, loved seeing Darren Fletcher back in the squad. He’s a great player and gives us that defensive option when we play with the attacking duo of Anderson and Cleverly. As good as these two are, it is clear that Cleverley needs to work on his defensive side of being a midfielder.
Then the defense, Johnny Evans simply does not look up to being a centre back against big teams, he may be quick but he just doesn’t have the eye for a tackle that Nemanja and Rio or even Jones and Smalling do.
Lindegaard put in a good performance. OK he let in a goal but then again, it was a good shot and he was great the rest of the game looking very solid between the posts.
As for the gameplay, in the first half i thought i was watching Stoke!! The mentalitly was, “Hoof the ball to our single striker” who is a good 4 inches shorter than his cover Luisao!!
When are we going to learn that we play best when we have the ball on the ground!?!?!? We had 5 men in midfield but seemed intent on bypassing them by Lindegaard or Smalling whacking the ball up field and Benfica’s defense simply heading it back to their midfield.
Second half was much better, introducing Nani with that bit of flair that caught their defense off-guard and Chicarito giving us that extra man for their defense to think about was great.
It shows that our depth is good in the squad we just need everyone to be match fit and be on the same page as each other as we have been in the Premiership!!
Long winded i know but i can’t stand people simply slagging the team off and only seeing the bad things!! We are United, in Fergie we trust and this team has it in them to be the best in the country and, fingers crossed, the world!!
COME ON YOU REDS!!!!
Not at all Josh, I agree with most if not all of that. Well said
Goog game wehn you think of the fact, we used it for game time for those who needed it, therfore benfica was the fitter team and still couldnt win, they was clearly going for the draw in the final half hour as Utd looked for a winner.
The ref was a joke, everytime the benfica fans claimed foul as a player went down (either easily, or diving), he gave it to them…..while given us nothing all night.
Giggs should have won it for us in the second half, should gone for the chip, oh well still good runout……glad lil fabs, Valencia, Fltech and the legend himself got the minuted, lindegaard did fantastic thoughout……carrick- when Cleverley’s fit, he wouldnt come close to a look in….the guys a joke really and doesnt deserve to start.