Date: 10th January 2011 at 3:17pm
Written by:
Ryan Giggs- United should've sold him in '93, he's been useless

Ryan Giggs- United should've sold him in '93, he's been useless

What is it about United and big games this season? Arsenal, City and now Liverpool have all been hyped up beyond belief only to fall a long way short of living up to their billing.

Sunday’s game against Liverpool was given an added edge by the departure of Roy Hodgson and the ascension of Kenny Daglish to the manager’s position at Anfield. With Liverpool being given 9000 tickets for the FA Cup third round tie at Old Trafford and a new found belief that ‘King Kenny’ was going to somehow miraculously turn around the team’s fortunes, the stage was set for an explosive affair.

Unfortunately – well at least for Liverpool – Ryan Giggs’ early penalty and Steven Gerrard’s sending off, all but ended the game as a competitive fixture as United strolled to a 1-0 win without ever getting out of second gear against lacklustre opposition.

Gerrard, Daglish and rather bizarrely through the medium of twitter, Ryan Babel, may have all lamented the refereeing decisions of Howard Webb, but if their totally honest, the most inconsistent Liverpool team in the last 40 years was always going to struggle against a United team that barring a loss in the Carling Cup has remained unbeaten all season.

Despite the fact that the game itself was a mediocre affair, United can at least take solace from the fact that with several players rested or injured, what could have been a tricky match was anything but. Although there may only have been one goal in it, there was never any real question of who was going to win.

So what did we learn from the FA Cup tie with Liverpool, other than Howard Webb is the best referee in the history of football and the scousers should never be given an upper tier following their urine and chair throwing exploits?

1. Jonny Evans is not a lost cause. Prior to the game, I along with many other United fans felt Vidic and Rio would be able to cope with Liverpool’s threat. So when it was announced that Vidic was rested and it would be Evans partnering Ferdinand many of us had more than a little apprehension. However we shouldn’t have worried as Evans produced the sort of sturdy display he was often associated with before his dip in form. Admittedly he was helped by a toothless Liverpool attack but Evans comfortably dealt with whatever came his way and was more than willing to carry the ball forward. He even hit the post with a decent header.

He received a standing ovation from the Old Trafford faithful when he was replaced by Chris Smalling late in the game. Hopefully Evans can now rekindle the form which made him an integral part of United’s record breaking defence of 2008/09.

2. Michael Carrick should be an England regular. Watching Carrick quietly go about his business mopping up loose balls and spraying passes about with aplomb- not to mention getting stuck in a bit more than usual, my mind wandered back to Bloemfontein in the Summer.
Sat there in the South African heat I watched an average German  side tear apart a dreadful England one as Gareth Barry wandered about the pitch like a man who’d just woke up.
Since then I’ve yet to be impressed with any midfielder who’s filled the defensive role for England and why Carrick hasn’t been given the job is beyond me.

Carrick may have his detractors, but as he’s shown throughout the season, given a chance and a decent run he can often be the unsung hero of the United team. Now’s the time for Capello to realise what everyone inside Old Trafford can’t help but have noticed on Sunday, a side with Carrick performing well in it, is a difficult one to beat.

3. It’s time to give Rio Ferdinand the skippers armband. No disrespect to Nemanja Vidic who’s done an absolutely sterling job Captaining United, but is there any doubt who the best man for the role really is? I can understand that Sir Alex got a little fed up with the Skipper merry-go-round but Rio has been back in the side for the vast majority of games lately.
Although it may seem a tad unimportant which defender is actually given the job of wearing the Captain’s armband but it is a vital role. The Captain has to speak with the referee when certain incidents occur, is the natural leader all the others turn to and more often than not is the one organising and marshalling the defence.
Rio showed again on Sunday why he is perfect for the role, not just with a superb display- just pipping Berbatov for man of the match in my opinion but also on the way he organised the defence. A back four with Ferdinand in it looks at times, almost impenetrable, Vidic is quality but for me Rio is simply the best in the world.

4. Certain fans should be banned for life from Old Trafford. I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat myself, I cannot understand why fans who can be clearly seen making airplane gestures are not ejected immediately and banned for life from the ground. Although it may be in the interests of safety to not start pulling fans out of a 9000 strong mob, there’s still no excuses. Some of the Liverpool fans were prime examples of pond life. Throwing urine filled cups and bottles wrecking chairs and throwing them, not to mention other disgusting behaviour is unacceptable.
One fan even pulled down his trousers and waved his knob at us, well I think it was his knob but without a high-powered telescope it was difficult to tell.

These idiots have bought tickets through their club, they know who they are so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find their identity and put a ban on them.  Why fans can still make airplane signs and get away with it is beyond me. It’s time for a zero tolerance policy to be implemented at Old Trafford for these scumbags who think it’s okay to desecrate the memory of the Flowers of Manchester.

5. The atmosphere could do with improving.
Too many times, this season Old Trafford has been quiet. Although there was a lot of fans making noise against Liverpool, it wasn’t quite the pressure cooker we were hoping for. With 9000 die-hard scousers inside the ground, you knew the Liverpool fans were going to be a rowdy bunch. Unfortunately the response from United’s fans wasn’t always the most audible. Don’t’ get me wrong on its day The Theatre of Dreams is still one of the loudest grounds in the country and  United fans are among the world’s best.
It’s just not for the first time this season, I along, with many other Reds I spoke to after the game, were left feeling a little bit let down by the somewhat muted atmosphere. Perhaps it was the early goal and the lack of real energy in much of the game, but there can be no excuses for not outsinging the scousers.


6 responses to “Five Things we Learned from the Liverpool Game”

  1. Thanks for the article, Justin — good insight. I agree 100 % with you about banning certain spectators who exhibit deploring behavior. I’ll have an article about it on my website appearing tomorrow evening…. Keep up the good work, I’m enjoying your site.

  2. Sam Hewitt says:

    Good points there Justin. I felt we lacked a bit of creativity though. And Although they were 1 nil down, Liverpool were happy to line up with 9/10 men behind the ball on the edge of there area, occasionally breaking in the second half, but acting like they were in survival mode, didn’t want to get a hammering.

    Like many teams do at OT they line up for a draw, n if we don’t get an early goal it can become frustrating as time goes on in the game at 0-0. We need someone creative, that spark that can win a game from nothing. We’ve done just enough far too many teams this season… Suppose that’s all you need.

    We did a job though, n I suppose you can only beat what’s out in front of you, an average performance to beat a less than average team.

  3. Leroy Cain says:

    1) Yes, Evans is still a good, young, player. Needs games to improve though and gain consistency.
    2) Carrick is better than Barry, obviously, but for the first 3 months of the season he was terrible.
    3) Vidic’s injury record is vastly superior to Ferdinand’s and he is rightly skipper.
    4) Agree about banning fans but it must also include United supporters who transgress; those chanting obscenities at Wenger, for a start.
    5) Agree! Disappointing atmosphere.

    Keep up the good work…

  4. Andy Urwin says:

    Hey just,

    Yeah, I myself was quite unnerved when i found out that Evans was in for Vidic… although as you say, he dealt with everything that was thrown at him and I thought he had a top class game! I was more impressed with how comfortable he looked on the ball in all honesty as I have always felt that he has lacked the technical qualities but he did the business on sunday… even bringing the ball out himself at times to instigate attacks!

    With regards to Carrick im still yet to be convinced… I find he always plays well when he has time on the ball but when rushed often looks average… Whilst I appreciate often its a possession game i think he far too often looks for a backward pass rather than looking forward.. he’s also the KING of marking space but nobody imparticular… often getting himself in the right position to make a tackle but then doesnt close the ball down or make an attempt to win the ball… For me he is the least convincing player at utd at the moment… but we will see 🙂

    As for the banning of fans I totally agree with you!
    What i would also say though is that until our fans stop screaming murderer’s every 2 minutes its very difficult to take the moral high ground…
    Fair enough, its not at the level of ‘urine filled cups’ but you know where im coming from…
    United fans can’t rejoice in other clubs disasters but then accuse others of rejoicing in ours!

    Keep up the good work mate!

  5. Justin Mottershead says:

    Thanks everyone for the comments, I know where people are coming from with the ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ scenario when it comes to abuse. Although if I’m honest in over 20 years of going OT, the Liverpool fans were the worst I can remember since certain racists in the early 90’s. I just feel it’s easier to pin point people throwing p*ss, doing Muncih signs and wrecking chairs than it is to see who’s chanting what, although if united fans are to make a case for thses morons to be banned, then we do need to keep our own house in order.

    As for Carrick, I wasn’t his biggest fan and at the back end of last season he did go to pieces, but I’ve been won over to a certain degree.

    If I’m completely honest I think a bag of strategically placed cement on the centre circle is more useful than Gareth Barry.

  6. Helen Adams says:

    Good article again…however would argue with a few points. Am I one of the only ones to admit that Berbs conned the ref and we were lucky to get away with that penalty? However that is something that people like Gerrard have been getting away with for years. No doubt about the sending off though…two footed tackle, straight red, no question.

    I thought they put up a really good fight, even though they never looked like scoring we weren’t all over them by any means, apart from that little spell where Reina had to make a few decent saves one after the other. I was really disappointed that we couldn’t go on and do a Blackburn on them, we just seemed to be content with doing the bare minimum.

    Evans had a brilliant game and was unlucky not to score just before the break.

    Carrick had a good game…don’t know what’s happened to Fletcher though, it just doesn’t seem to be coming together for him.

    Rio should definitely be captain…the rest of them all look more settled when he’s there. It’s right what you say…he’s got something more than Vidic. He will just thrive on that role.

    Yes…definitely get rid of those scumbags who were causing all that trouble…throwing unmentionables and doing damage to our ground. By the same token though, clamp down hard on any of our “idiots” who are doing the same thing elsewhere, e.g. Barnsley and Stoke.
    Can’t believe people making fun of our tragedy when they have had enough of their own.

    We won’t have a better atmosphere until the prawn sarnie brigade and the day trippers are wiped out and more real fans start coming to the games again.