'Brave Baggies Beaten' 5 Things I noticed - United v West Brom

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Raees, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Jan 2, 2011
    #1

    Raees Full Member

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    If you're good enough, the referee doesn't matter
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    1. The Untaming of Roo

    For those who weren't there it's hard to convey the courage Rooney displayed at The Hawthorns. Some of the bile he was recieving from the terraces was quite sickening and whilst even most United fans will be inclined to feel it was well-deserved, let it take nothing away from the quality of his response.

    It was a vintage performance displaying long forgotten powers grit and determination from the Red Devils frontman. Having scored the opening goal within the opening moments of the game you'd have thought United were in for an easy away win and that Rooney would take the oppurtunity to add profusely to his miserly goal account for the season (taking advantage of an injury and suspension hit Albion backline).

    However under Di Matteo, the Baggies are no longer as brittle or naive... tactically or mentally and it only served to spur the home side into action. Before long Rooney along with Berba was having to drop deeper into midfield areas just to help the team make something with the little possession they had and then just when it seemed like the away side was in danger of being completely overwhelmed, United were forced to go 4-5-1 with Rooney on the left.

    There he remained for the majority of the match and it allowed him to have an all round influence on the game, making 4 interceptions and 5 tackles (more than any of his colleagues in midfield) and whilst his passing was still a tad array, he was constantly cutting in and attempting to spread the play. What can't be explained through stats was his priceless ability to run with the ball, not quite at peak form yet but the signs are encouraging, he was riding plenty of dangerous challenges and bulldozing opponents like the Rooney of old much to the dismay of the Albion faithful.

    One just hopes his bravery wasn't recklessness disguised, because from where I was sitting the late tackle on him near the dying moments of the game looked very painful and if United had an option to put on a substitute they would surely have done so. Its important he stays injury free because he's not reknowned for coming back from interruptions with a bang.

    2. The Midfield Battle

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    • United Midfield 3: Carrick 58 passes attempted 52 completed (No tackles made, 2 interceptions), Fletcher 42 attempted 35 completed (No tackles or interceptions), Anderson 39 attempted 29 completed (4 tackles, 2 interceptions).
    • Albion Midfield 3: Dorrans 55 passes attempted 46 completed (4 tackles won and 5 interceptions), Morrison 53 attempted 34 completed (2 interceptions, 1 tackle), Mulumbu 46 attempted 41 completed (3 Interceptions and 2 tackles).

    Now before we even go into the statistics in detail (bear in mind we haven't even included the stats of the wide players), it was clear to the naked eye that United were completely and comprehensively played off the pitch and that the problem area was midfield. What struck me was not our inability to keep possession, that is a problem long documented with regards to our side away from home in an unaccustomed lineup/formation but the lack of anticipation and aggression in winning the ball back or reacting to clearances throughout the game.

    Constantly we had Albion attempting to find Odemwingie or their wide players and if Rio or Vidic anticpated the long ball and headed it into midfield, guess who was first to react to the bouncing ball .. not our players who were close to the ball but Albion midfielders on their toes, ready to pounce and seize possession again for their side. It was a constant theme throughout the game and for a side that contains Carrick and Fletcher (quality defensive-orientated midfielders) it was nigh on despicable.

    In fact Andersons stats were rather surprising as I thought he was the worst of the bunch by a long way both on the ball and off it, constantly flat footed and not jumping for 50/50's aerially, but the stats prove that when he could be bothered he was capable of showing the necessary strength to outmuscle the Baggies midfield, sadly it was too far and few between.

    In terms of possession Carrick was excellent, he didn't do one of his disappearing acts as has been a regular criticism of him when the side is not doing well, in fact he was also great against Birmingham in my opinion (another game where he was let down by his midfield partners). He constantly made himself available and was the sides standout midfielder by a mile, not passing back under pressure and staying relatively composed despite the relentless pressure from the opposition midfield.

    Fletcher was very conservative with his passing and he struggled to impose himself on the game even when he was brought into the centre after his initial spell out wide. Due to his inability to get past a man and combined with Andersons disappearing act/poor passing display, United never looked like they were going to be a match for West Bromwich Albion.

    With regards to West Brom, after their disappointing result against Blackburn and a string of poor results since the loss of Olsson in particular from their defence it was a game where they didn't expect to nick a result but one thing that has remained consistent despite their troubles has been the quality of their midfield.

    I've long been anadmirer of Dorrans, the young Scottish playmaker brought into the side by RDM's predecessor Mowbray and this lads ability to pick inventive passes, shield the ball under pressure, cross with both feet and run at players, not to mention his defensive discipline... all thishas marked him out as one of the more promising talents in the British game for me but unfortunately it hasn't quite happened for him this season due to personal problems at home. However recently having been reinstated into the side, its clear he wants to make up for his lapse in form this year and make his mark in this division, yesterday was an impressive step towards doing so.

    However the player I really want to talk about is Yoseph Mulumbu, 'He comes from Africa - He's better than Kaka'.. not quite that good but he is Albions answer to Makalele+, the plus denoting that this lad has more attacking talent than he is given credit for. Strong in the tackle, ever-improving defensive anticipation, superb engine and blessed with a decent shot, the ability to shield the ball and at times he can even get past players in a manner reminscent to Anderson.

    I genuinely think this lad has the capability of playing European level football. His passing stats were pretty impressive against United but its not a one off, he is consistently very accurate with his passing which is all the more remarkable when you consider one thing this guy does not do, is pass it back under pressure. Very exhuberant player for a defensive midfielder and he is a joy to watch, I bet no ones ever said that about Mascherano.

    3. They think its all Ober

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    Well if the midfield was struggling, one player who certainly didn't help relive the pressure on the counter-attack was Obertan. Its hard to express how dire he was yesterday without being accused of being 'knee-jerk', but I've generally been quite a fan of his hoping he does well knowing full well that he has quite an array of skills in his locker.

    I don't know if its merely a confidence issue with him but one things for sure, physically he was out of depth at the Hawthorns. He was unable to get past a man repeatedly despite being provided with ample oppurtunity to do so (considering he was up against a right-back who has barely featured for Albion this season and is no spring chicken). Not only this but even when he was running back towards his own half in order to play it safe, he was stillgettingoutmuscled and on quite a number of occasions, his poor passes played back were intercepted the opposition and allowed them to strike on the counter.

    Even when moved on to the right hand side, his lack of crossing ability came to the fore and he miscued wildly. United fans would be encouraged to keep the faith in the lad as whilst he will be no Beckham, one hopes his dribbling and his ability to get goals will be further enhanced as the seasons go by. However he needs to show a more rapid rate of progression, as more displays like this especially when you consider Welbeck & Cleverly (potential left sided midfielders) will come back from loan, he may find himself surplus to requirements.

    4. Foy at Fault

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    Escorted off by the Police at half-time, Fergie forced to speak about how bad the decision was...a decision which went in favour of his OWN team! That just tells you how awful Chris Foys judgement or lack of it was with regards to Nevilles tackle on Dorrans in front of the Smethwick end.

    His was an errant display catalogued with errors, constantly favouring United.. Fabio's tackle anyone? but it wasn't all one sided, his lack of protection afforded to Rooney was negligent and Albion were fortunate to not have someone off themselves. Oh well as they say what goes round, comes around.. and in the second half, Albion got their penalty and proceeded to fluff their lines pushing the Foy decision back on to the top of the media agenda (chances are they would've evenmissed that one so I can't see why the Baggies were getting so uppity about it all). After the Birmingham result, the fates owed Fergie and boy did they deliver.

    5. Opposition MOTM: Jerome Thomas

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    Since the moment he broke through for the Charlton first team a long long time ago, I've been rather fond of Jerome Thomas or 'JT' as he's affectionately now known in the Midlands. He's a very untypical English winger, more skillful than your Lennons and Walcotts and the ability to actually be menacing on the left wing despite being right-footed. England have long struggled on the left side of midfield and apart from Joe Cole, there hasn't really been anyone with the subtleness to play at International level in that role. Players like Ashley Young and James Milner (yuk) are too predicable and one paced to play out wide, but Thomas has shown consistently this season for the Baggies, that it is not only G.Neville he can tear to shreds, but the vast majority of full backs out there and he looks very natural in doing so.

    Yesterday he was very hard to stop when running at full pelt as demonstrated by Rio's foul on him for the penalty, but what was also telling were his passing stats (37 passes attempted, 31 completed) and more remarkably his work off the ball (6 tackles, 1 interception). A whole-hearted display which mirrored the work of his team-mates but sadly in vain.

    Conclusion:

    Well in conclusion, I'd just like to talk a little about the shape of the side yesterday and the continued absence of Park/Nani who were vital in our recent renaissance in terms of quality of performance, since they've been absent.. we lack width and this 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid is ugly to watch and we don't pull it off very naturally. Always seems like we're fighting our own demons as well as the opposition and luckily for us we remain unbeaten after our forays in the Midlands.

    Berbatov was forced to play too deep due to the lack of impact of our midfield and the introduction of Hernandez allowed the side to have a natural outlet to find under pressure, not to mention the worry he induced in the Albion defence just by his mere potential to get in behind. It might serve as well in the next few games while we're missing our wide players to play all three of our strikers, if we're going to struggle for possession at least have natural goalscorers on the pitch ready to capitalise on the few chances we do have.

    Overall a lucky win, Albion fought valiantly but in vain and I hope United don't have to win like that for a while again.

    Written By

    Raees Mahmood (raeesm)
  2. Jan 2, 2011
    #2

    Cina Cina's mum brlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlr

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    That's way too long to read for me Raees, cause I'm lazy. I'm sure it's great though.
  3. Jan 2, 2011
    #3

    Raees Full Member

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    Don't blame you, just read it from the actual blog page on the caf if you want, reads better like that.. on the thread it looks loong!
  4. Jan 2, 2011
    #4

    712 Formerly '711' but that was a ridiculous username!

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    Good read matey. Keep 'em coming.
  5. Jan 2, 2011
    #5

    Cina Cina's mum brlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlrlr

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    Shall do, probably when I'm bored back at work!
  6. Jan 2, 2011
    #6

    Red Dreams Full Member

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    WBA have been fun to watch....err not yesterday when I was on tenterhooks..but otherwise.

    They have some excellent players...but the full credit must go to the manager.

    A few more years there and he will be grabbed by better clubs...matter of time.
  7. Jan 2, 2011
    #7

    Laphroaig Full Member

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    What the feck? If you count his ridiculous errors you'll probably find that a majority was against United. This is merely forgotten due to Neville.

    The Fabio tackle? He got booked! It wasn't any worse than Brunt's, and he got booked too. If you're desperate, I suppose you could argue that the penalty we should've had was the linesman's fault and not Foy's.
  8. Jan 2, 2011
    #8

    Red Dreams Full Member

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    the Neville one was offset by the other penalty incident.

    He was not favoring anyone...he was just incompetent...like many of the refs I'm afraid.
  9. Jan 2, 2011
    #9

    Raees Full Member

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    If you're good enough, the referee doesn't matter
    I don't see how you can say that on the whole, he fecked up major decisions for both sides but on the little niggly fouls (we committed more fouls than Albion 15 to their 9)etc he favoured United and it was only the reaction of the home crowd that led to us accumulating alot of yellow cards towards the end of the game (Foy intent on salvaging some standing with the home crowd).

    Yeah incompetent is a more fitting description.
  10. Jan 2, 2011
    #10

    Boss Melodramatic, attention seeking space-attacker

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    Obertan has not shown he has a good cross on him the whole time he's been here right?

    maybe we should utilise him in the middle?
  11. Jan 2, 2011
    #11

    Red Dreams Full Member

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    just guessing mind...I think he realised he fecked up big time with the Neville decision. was making up for that with all the cards re the end.

    He is another weak ref imo...too many at this level for my comfort.
  12. Jan 2, 2011
    #12

    BaldwinLegend Full Member

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    Cheers Raees - I missed the game and motd yesterday so enjoyed that.

    It's funny you should say that Rooney isn't renowned for bouncing back from injury. I guess he's not now but it is actually a trait I used to associate with him and I remember him coming back from injury with a bang several times when he was younger...
  13. Jan 2, 2011
    #13

    Red Dreams Full Member

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    he tries to come back...but his form suffers.

    He needs to be at peak fitness and training to be at his best. We are seeing that currently...he has taken so long to come back....still some ways away.
  14. Jan 2, 2011
    #14

    BaldwinLegend Full Member

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    I think he's clearly a winger. Playing him in the middle would just be wrong IMO - if a winger is proving too raw to make an impact in his natural position there's no way he'll fare better out of position, especially in the centre...
  15. Jan 2, 2011
    #15

    Boss Melodramatic, attention seeking space-attacker

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    has he played as a winger his whole career?

    everytime I watch his individual highlights he like to attack the space through the middle, maybe he feels more comfortable there
  16. Jan 2, 2011
    #16

    Red Dreams Full Member

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    He looked pretty sharp going down the middle at Villa.

    He did not impress yesterday...but I would not write him off.
  17. Jan 2, 2011
    #17

    Raees Full Member

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    If you're good enough, the referee doesn't matter
    Obertan as the CAM of a three man midfield isn't a bad ploy, I think Scholesy came up with that originally though read into that what you will:lol:.. though Luka wasn't content with that and said he'd make a fine striker too.

    No worries BL, erm yes when he first broke through, he was physically very powerful and he did recover from injuries quick in comparison to most. However the days of him coming back and smashing a Fenerbache performance are long gone in my opinion, not that they're a regular occurence for any footballer. He always comes back with a little extra weight and his touch isn't as assured, his all round game isn't as intuitive as it was when he first broke through and hence these days I think it takes him a run and a few goals before he hits his stride these days.

    He's more reliant on gaining confidence through good performances these days whereas before he seemed to just perform off the cuff.
  18. Jan 2, 2011
    #18

    7even Resident moaner, hypocrite and moron

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    This player was something extra. Absolutely United squad-quality, maybe even more. Agree?
  19. Jan 2, 2011
    #19

    Lester Freamon Aka Caveman

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    I've been saying for quite some time that Rooney lacks that extra percentage of (I'm weighing my words carefully here..) let's call it professionalism or dedication of a Giggs or a Ronaldo. I'm not sure if he even does it on purpose and for his benefit let's put it down to ignorance but every time he's out of the game for a while (holiday/injury) he comes back ten pounds over his match weight, or at least he looks like it..

    I know Rooney doesn't have the natural athletisism of the two players mentioned but maybe, just maybe, a different diet and training regime is in order?
  20. Jan 2, 2011
    #20

    Minkaro Full Member

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    Mulumbu has been one of my favourite players to watch for a while now, so I've just done a little victory dance at the idea that people that know more about football than I do like him as well.
  21. Jan 2, 2011
    #21

    tintedsepia Full Member

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    Good article.

    Foy was incompetent. Here's why:-

    1. Albion should have had the first penalty with Neville sent off.
    2. Foy gave a Free Kick against Vidic for handball when his arms were by his side and it was clearly a case of ball to hand.
    3. Foy didn't give a handball to us when it was Albion hand in the air in the penalty area.
    4. If he gave the Penalty against Ferdinand, Ferdinand should have been off - no question!

    In addition glaring errors everywhere. Noticed this guy hates giving red cards. No surprise if SAF knew this and decided to plan Neville who is on the verge of getting sent off these days whenever he plays.

    Tx
  22. Jan 4, 2011
    #22

    Sir A1ex Full Member

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    Where the goals come from.
    Now you tell us!

    I just fought my way through all those page break tags...:(
  23. Jan 4, 2011
    #23

    Cutch Shit stirrer (Literally)

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    Surely it was Brunt playing in the centre rather than Morrison? I'm surprised he hasnt got a mention as he was at the heart of pretty much all of their attacks, and his performance was only bettered by Thomas imo.

    Good summary on the whole but.
  24. Jan 4, 2011
    #24

    Shimo Full Member

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    Why should Rio have been given a red if there was another player covering? Did Rio even get a yellow, don't recall it being shown in the game.
  25. Jan 4, 2011
    #25

    Raees Full Member

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    If you're good enough, the referee doesn't matter
    Seriously don't know whats happened there, I took care before publishing to make sure the thread version was normal.. I think when you correct spelling mistakes on the blog it automatically resets the thread to HTML. Sorry once again.

    Morrison is Albions fletcher, nearly always found in central midfield these days.. whereas Brunt has been coming off the wing and occupying himself in the hole.

    They're a very fluid side Albion and so its hard to pin down who is an out and out midfielder/wide player, only Jerome Thomas can you be certain enough to say that he is a winger.

    Don't think he did get booked, but sending off would've been really harsh. Its just one of those fouls where you just get merked as Rio would put it, nothing malicious behind it and as you've stated there was cover alongside him.

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