Date: 20th February 2011 at 2:02am
Written by:
Simply not good enough- or am I being too harsh?

Simply not good enough- or am I being too harsh?

Whenever United get drawn against supposedly inferior opposition in the FA cup, I always draw a sigh of complete resentment.

Sure, it’s great for the club’s fans, particularly those who join their ranks as soon as they read the paper to find out about the money spinning draw the next day. And, yes, it creates an air of romance unique to the FA cup as an exercise of giant-killing potential.

But for the giant in these fixtures, it is only ever a chance to draw out some negatives and the game against Crawley Town proved no exception for United. Often these games prove a great opportunity for the fringe players of the squad to get a run out and essentially provide evidence that they are not completely useless and that they should not be shipped elsewhere.

The fact is that against teams that inhabit the lower leagues, a professional and complete performance is expected when one considers the wages they earn and the level of skill the staff believe they have. Naturally then, if and when a one sided victory emerges no performance can be celebrated and no lavish after thought is given.

However these games provide ample opportunity to see who in the squad should never be seen again and have their taxi fares paid to go and sign a contract at some other willing club who will take them on. The fact is that if they cannot produce a decent performance against teams of the lower leagues then they should not be playing for a team that regularly challenges for top honours. Now, I understand that within this theory there are complications. One has to remember that the “David” in all this are often up for the challenge and, knowing they have nothing to lose, give it their all and fight it out until the end.

I also realise that with these games, when fringe players are used, the team is not as gelled as it should be and this ultimately can lead to a few hiccups and not the ruthlessly efficient performance we would expect.

However, regardless of this, one can often pick out a couple of performance that ultimately will tell us who should and should not be playing for United and the game against Crawley Town did exactly that. Before I go on, I ought to say that Crawley can be extremely proud of their performance at Old Trafford and gave a performance that will have given them and their fans something to remember. However, despite this, I believe United were, frankly, poor. And I will now pick out who I believe to be the main culprits in this display.

Let’s start with Gabriel Obertan. Honestly, after his display I cannot see much of a career left for him at Old Trafford. Yes, he has got pace, but the rest of his game is completely lacking. He was wasteful, could not pass, barely managed to work the Crawley defence down the wing and was largely ineffectual. This belief was largely backed up by the constant groans of the United supporters when time and again he failed to make use of the ball as well as the fact that that only comment the commentary team of ITV seemed to be able to make about him was that “he could run”.

[bet_365 type='generic' size='468'af_code='365_061447']

I know before we have seen flashes of potential from Obertan, but the fact he could not make anything happen on the wing against a non-league side made up of players who are not professionals, is shameful.

Whilst on the subject of wingers, I will mention another who I think is not worthy of a United contract, Bebe. I know that compared to Obertan, Bebe deserves a little leniency, in that he was picked up as a complete unknown and thrust into life at Old Trafford without much professional background and without a grasp of the English language.

But regardless of this, I think his presence is a complete mistake on the part of Sir Alex Ferguson. I can understand the desire to pick out a player with raw talent and develop him into a world class force but the fact of the matter is that he is simply not good enough to be in the United squad and suffered from the same problems as Obertan out on the wing. His one saving grace is that he was better than Obertan and at least put in a good cross or two.

The jury is still out on some other members of the United team though, after Saturday’s performance. Darren Gibson produced flashes of quality but whether or not he can cut it consistently against top flight opposition remains to be seen in the long run. Carrick looked just as he has done against every team in recent weeks and I still cannot envisage him staying much longer. I think the centre of United’s midfield suffered from overcrowding in the first half and did not truly mix together well, hence the removal of the largely anonymous Anderson at half time.

So what possible positive comments could one make about the game? Well, Hernandez always looked to threaten and try for goal, but unfortunately, the service to him was largely appalling but for a couple of occasions, Gibson’s through ball in the first half being a notable example. Fabio was able to get some game time alongside his brother and showed that potentially as a pair, they may well be a frightening prospect for defences.

Chris Smalling came on and continues to justify the fee United paid for his services with a self assured performance and it would be fair to say Lindegaard was rarely troubled. But despite this, no single player can be singled out for praise to an extent because unless a ridiculously one sided scoreline emerges, a quality performance is what we expect from a top team like United which is why we are left to dwell on the negatives as if we had witnessed a defeat. Which, at 1-0, and a Crawley team that walked away the happier, was certainly the feeling left with this United supporter.

Do other United fans agree? Or is my assessment too harsh?
Leave your comments below.

Follow Zayd on twitter @Zayd90


12 responses to “David vs. Goliath Games – A Sea Of Negativity”

  1. Jacob says:

    When these fringe players get sold, the same people like you will cry how wonderful their talent is and how they weren’t given an oppurtunity to shine in first team games. You already know they don’t have enough games to gel as a team, so why the constant bitching when they’re not beating the other team 10-0? Have you ever wondered if we actually just let Crawley get into the game and enjoy their inevitable FA Cup exit?

    • Zayd says:

      True, but wingers not doing their job down the wing is inexcusable regardless of being able to gel as a team.

  2. danny says:

    From a Man United supporters stand point, I think the only appropriate comment about this match was kudos to the Crawley squad and supporters. Combined they brought energy, grit, and heart to Old Trafford. It’s too bad they were the only team that showed up. Hopefully a good lashing from SAF will wake the players up for their next tie.

  3. Baldrick says:

    Obertan was a disaster. Yes he has pace, but that’s it. He is useless with the ball at his feet, or 2 yards ahead of them as was the case on many occasions, allowing defenders to simply walk away with the ball, and because of this he rarely got in a telling cross.

    Bebe hardly had any time on the ball, so difficult to say there.

    Anderson did a lot of leg work before being taken off for a pretty poor performance from Rooney, who’s only show of commitment was a clumsy challenge to earn him yellow.

    Rafael was excellent again, and Fabio is showing great promise. Let’s hope their ‘injuries’ are nothing too worry about.

    Smalling was solid, Hernandez was a workhorse but lacking feeds.

    I had a friend round to watch the match, and he said 5-0 without seeing the team sheet. I went for 2-0 having seen it, and I have to agree with SAF: Crawley deserved a replay.

    3/10 – must do better

  4. Steve Crabtree says:

    I agree that Obertan looks a bit of a lost cause in a United shirt, and I can’t see him coming good. When he comes in to the first team he tends to struggle and I wish it’d come good for him.

    With Bebe, you’ve got to remember the gulf that he’s facing from where he was this time last year to now. I think it’d be fair comment to say he’s nowhere near first tem standard yet, but to say he’s not worth a contract is a bit shallo, in my opinion.

    I’m shocked you didn’t mention Rooney’s performance in this. Another 45 minutes of abysmal touches and naff passing…out of the players on the pitch and the levels we expect, he was effectively the worst performer.

    Gibbo and Carrick won’t earn praise now as people are WAITING for them to fail, although gibson was, for me, our best player in the first half and made 2 superb through balls.

    In all, I paid £49 for yesterday and I expect Ferguson to give me a team who know each other and can deliver me £49 worth of football. A mish mash of fringe players who aren’t familiar with each other wont do that, and his selection turns the match in to a training game.

    Agree with your sentiments about Smalling…he looks like he’ll be class.

    • Zayd says:

      Good point, I should have mentioned Rooney, although I felt he was only brought on because Anderson may have been carrying an injury and so his appearance was more than a little rushed. But as you say it does not excuse some of his play, culminating in a deserved yellow card.

  5. Justin Mottershead says:

    Watching Obertan yesterday, it reminded me of Luke Chadwick at Villa Park in the FA Cup about 8 years ago, when he came on as sub then was subbed himself. That performance effectively ended Chadwick’s Unted career and I’ve a feeling Obertan’s yesterday will be one of his last.

  6. Paul Mottershead says:

    I have been watching Utd for 44 years, and i think i can safely say that i know if a player is going to make it at O.T. Its all about playing on a big stage, i’ve seen the likes of Grimes, Milne, Davenport, Birtles, Sloan, etc etc who haven’t the strong enough character (never mind ability) to make it at a top club. I am afraid the likes of Obertan, Bebe, Gibson, Evans,Kuszczak will in my opinion never be regarded as good players who wore the shirt of Manchester United. I am equally hopeful of a few players that potentially could become top performers at Utd i.e. Hernandez, Da Silva twins, Cleverly, Morrison (if he can sort his attitude out)Keane, King,Pogba and Tunnicliffe amongst others. So i am confident we have a strong flow of young talent that have the ability and strong mental character to make the top grade at the club.

  7. William says:

    On the subject of Bebe, his story is such a unique one that I for one would absolutely love him to succeed at United. He’s strong, direct, and obviously has a fair bit of natural talent, he just needs a lot more coaching. We should give him another year at least – hopefully after a loan spell, perhaps at somewhere like Watford in the Championship where Cleverley did so well – before we write him off.

  8. Terry says:

    I think it’s pretty rich that you’re having a dig at Crawley’s fans. What part of Manchester are you from Zayd?

    • Zayd says:

      The last away game before going to Old Trafford drew 39 Crawley fans….. Regardless of where I’m from only a select few can honestly say they support their club week in week out. Not a dig, just the honest truth.