Monday, October 02, 2006

Depressingly inevitable

Manchester Utd 2 - 0 Newcastle Utd

The most depressing thing about Sunday's defeat at the hands of Man Utd was its inevitability. At no point did I think we were ever going to get anything out of the game, and in truth that belief seemed to be one shared by the players. Lining up with only Ameobi up front, and five in midfield suggested that Roeder also had some doubts about our chances.

The goals came on the back of a strong display for the home side by Christiano Ronaldo. Having stifled the home side for much of the first half, we allowed Ronaldo to crack a shot off the post, only for the ball to fall kindly for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to score. In one second, our game plan was shot - the likelihood of us achieving a result already disappearing over the horizon.

Unable to contain them at the break, Roeder introduced N'Zogbia for Milner (arguably our most attacking player in the first half) but the five man midfield continued to fail to provide a decent chance for the patently unfit Ameobi up front. As it was a shot by Patrice Evra which deflected off Solskjaer and over Harper killed any chance of us getting back into the game less than five minutes in to the second half.

Roeder brought Martins on for Butt, and later Pattison on for Emre (who looked like he had picked up a knock), but to no avail. Perhaps we might have threatened more if Martins had started up front in a 4-4-2, but as it was the only things to take from the game were Harper's good work in keeping the score respectable, and another cracking handball/dive from Steven Taylor who managed to get away with it this time. By that stage, the game was already beyond us, and the lack of protests from Man Utd suggested they knew it as much as we did.

Roeder needs to use the international break to try and get some players fit, because without a competent left back (Ramage tries hard, but isn't playing well and isn't a left back) and a fit pair of strikers, we've got a long struggle ahead of us.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian,


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