Shapeless United snatch late draw



Manchester United’s poor performances away from home continued as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side fought from two down to take a late draw at Villa Park. In truth, the Scot’s side could have been many more behind before captain Nemanja Vidic headed home in the 85th minute to earn the visitors an unlikely share of the spoils.

Gerard Houlier’s outfit twice struck the woodwork before Ashley Young scored from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining. Marc Albrighton added a second from close range before Federico Macheda lashed into the top corner to offer United hope. United’s comeback was complete when Vidic headed home Nani’s cross with time running out at a raucous Villa Park.

It was a stunning end to a game in which Ferguson’s side looked all at sea. Out-passed and too often out-thought by a youthful Villa side, Ferguson will no doubt de grateful to escape with another point on the road. It was United’s sixth away draw in the Premier League this season, with 12 points dropped away from Old Trafford already.

“We could have lost six goals in the second half. They hit the woodwork three times and Albrighton missed two great chances,” said Ferguson

“I think the emotions of the way Villa played kept them at a high boiling point. The tackles, some of it was fair, some of it wasn’t, but the referee allowed things to go and sometimes that makes a great game.

“I think we’ve seen a great game today. Great credit to Aston Villa for keeping that emotional aspect up for the whole game. They got stuck in, tackled, fought and the crowd kept them going.”

Indeed, United was as listless as Villa lively. The Reds began in sluggish fashion and failed to find any spark until the match was seemingly beyond Ferguson’s outfit.

Missing a creative heartbeat, with Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher paired in a midfield that offered function over flair, the visitors did not force ‘keeper Brad Friedel into a save before the 80th minute.

Yet Ferguson’s outfit fired the opening salvo, with Dimitar Berbatov shooting wide when well placed after Javier Hernández’ smart pass. The Bulgarian has now not scored in nearly two months since the hat-trick against Liverpool at Old Trafford in September. Gone, it seems, is the confidence that brought seven early season goals and the manager’s effusive praise.

The wasted chance mirrored United’s sloppy play to half-time as United often gave away possession, while creating few chances. Worst was to come with Evra whipping a ball across the six yard area that not a single colleague gambled on. A touch would have brought a certain goal but United’s attacking endeavour seemingly lacked any life.

The more United struggled the greater Villa’s confidence grew. The home side’s midfield averaged just 20 years-of-age but Albrighton, alongside Barry Bannan, Jonathan Hogg and – at 24 the comparative veteran – Stewart Downing, increasingly came into the match.

Edwin van der Sar saved from Young before Rio Ferdinand deflected Downing’s shot narrowly wide just before the interval. United’s play only deteriorated after half-time as Villa created half a dozen outstanding chances in the second period.

Albrighton headed Downing’s cross wide when just six yards out before the woodwork twice saved the visitors in quick succession. First defender James Collins headed against the bar before Gabriel Agbonlahor hit van der Sar’s right hand post with a thumping effort.

Villa then opened up United on the counter-attack, with Wes Brown clumsily bringing down Young inside the area. The defender was spared red but Young smashed home the spot kick anyway.

Within moments Villa doubled the lead, with Albrighton tapping in another Downing cross for the goal his play deserved.

Then came United’s late comeback as Ferguson replaced the ineffective Hernández and Berbatov with Gabriel Obertan and Macheda.

Finally United came to life, creating perhaps eight chances in as many minutes with the game drawing to a close. Too little, perhaps, but at least it was not too late to save a sixth draw in seven Premier League outings away from home.

Ferguson’s side remains unbeaten but as in last week’s win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Scot’s outfit was more than a little fortunate.

“To be 2-0 down with 10 minutes to go you have to be pleased with that,” added Ferguson.

“With another five minutes we would have won the match, there was no doubt about that, but we waited too long to get there.”

In truth though victory for Ferguson’s side would have been a miscarriage of justice. That United created a flurry of chances in a breathless last ten minutes is testament to the side’s will to succeed.

That the Reds created almost nothing for the previous 80 is far greater substantiation of the deteriorating quality of Ferguson’s squad.

Match Facts
Villa – 442 – Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Albrighton (Lichaj 88), Bannan, Hogg (Herd 90), Downing; Young, Agbonlahor (Delfouneso 78).

United – 442 – Van der Sar; Brown 49, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Park (Smalling 86); Berbatov (Obertan 73), Hernandez (Macheda 73).

Attendance – 40,073
Man of the Match – Vidic

Possession: Villa 51% – 49% United
Attempts: 12 – 16
On target: 6 – 10
Corners: 9 – 7
Fouls: 11 – 9

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Comments

  1. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    what happened to all the topreds who used to give it all the ‘its not about winning its about playingg good football’ type shite, we don’t do either anymore, we need a clearout, all the players who started except the cbs evra nani and maybe hernandez need to go

  2. uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    what happened to all the topreds who used to give it all the ‘its not about winning its about playingg good football’ type shite, we don’t do either anymore, we need a clearout, all the players who started except the cbs evra nani and maybe hernandez need to go

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    To be honest Nobby. Nani was fookin awful, as were most of them. Wobbly gob does’nt look fit at all and its obvious other teams must know it. We could’nt have complained if we’d have lost 4 or 5-2. I’m sure Hernandez will want to put that game behind him as soon as possible, he really did have a shocker but he is clearly better than that. Only Evra can hold his head up after that. Surely to fuckin christ Carrick and Park realise they are just not United class and should be moved on A.S.A.P. To be getting outplayed and out muscled by a second string Villa is a tad embarrassing. It still baffles me how a team like United can carry on like this when it is clear for all to see we are totally rudderless. Why the fuck is there no bollocks in the middle of the park orchestrating our game? Is’nt our international scouting set up supposed to cover every corner of the planet? We need Sir Wayne of Rooneyshire back and fuckin sharpish!

    How the fuck them duckeggs Carrick and Park get regular games is beyond me, it really is.

    • Problem is we are stuck with other duckeggs in the form of Ando and Gibson in the center. If only Fergie can do a Villa and give the likes of Cleverly, Eikrem more games. Heck, right now Obertan would do more on the wings than Park. Berba, well, fantastic talent he may be, but he has no place in this side anymore. Brown was bloody useless. I don’t expect Hernandez to do much, this is his first year and it is very very unfair on the kid. Evra needs to pull up his defensive socks and god help us if Nani has a off day!

  3. Unregistered User said:
    Problem is we are stuck with other duckeggs in the form of Ando and Gibson in the center. If only Fergie can do a Villa and give the likes of Cleverly, Eikrem more games. Heck, right now Obertan would do more on the wings than Park. Berba, well, fantastic talent he may be, but he has no place in this side anymore. Brown was bloody useless. I don’t expect Hernandez to do much, this is his first year and it is very very unfair on the kid. Evra needs to pull up his defensive socks and god help us if Nani has a off day!

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    Nani’s a tart. The poor mans Ronaldo. The odd flashes of brilliance but regular examples of petulance and annoying faggotry.

    • Still is the only quick, flair player in the XI. Berba is the slow version of the petulant, skilled side. Rather have poor mans Ronaldo than poor man’s Scholes and Cantona in the side.

  4. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    One day we are going to find out the truth about why Ferguson has supported the Glazers.

    Hopefully Ferguson has a good explanation, because the greatest manager United has ever had, is putting a torch to his own reputation.

    I still think our team is fixable with just 2/3 top class signings… but the suspician is that we won’t get them, and the rot is well established. We’re fielding teams that are obvious to all but the most deluded, that are simply not good enough.

  5. Pretty much agree with everything that’s been said. I almost wish we’d have lost four or five nothing yesterday and then just perhaps it might have given someone somewhere a wake-up call. As it is, United grab the headlines for another miracle late comeback and the cracks are papered over once again. Nani has had some bad games for United but I can’t remember one as utterly painful as yesterday. Time’s up surely for Wes Brown, Carrick and Park. There’s plenty of huff and puff there but come on – these guys are not United quality. The saddest part for me is how Berba’s head has dropped and we’re back to the negative body language and a guy who seemingly couldn’t score in a house of ill repute. We need Rooney back fast!

  6. I would want to see Obertan given more opportunities in the side….he looks like a decent player and I think he would definitely make more of an impact.

    I’m still quite surprised that despite being November,United have registered just 1 away victory in the league which is so unlike us.

    We could be 6 points behind Chelsea afer today but I hope that Rooney comes into the team and gets back in form as quickly as possible because he could be the catalyst for the team going on a winning run.

  7. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    the fact we’re unbeaten is astonishing, a freak stat

  8. Don’t disagree with most of what has been said. But who would have predicted we would have been so …. successful….. with Rooney & Valencia, don’t forget Valencia,not playing at all this season?

  9. Come on!! Nani was awful and he still made the two goals from his crosses! There are people here who obviously will never see him as our only progressive x-factor. Obertan needs to get mor games and we should get rid of Berbatov. Am sorry. That fellow is the biggest waste of money in the club’s history. How he can live with himself I do not understand.

    I still believe that our biggest issue is the deployment of troops. Carrick and Fletcher are a dynamic enough duo in midfield so when we go with a three there we need to play ONE player who is foward looking in his play. That means not Scholes nor Gibson. It could be Giggs. It could be Anderson; it could be Rooney or even Obertan. That person will have the license to drive with the ball through the middle and break ahead of the ball when we are wide. We should never play Berbatov AGAIN but if must then it has to be with a partner. We need to give Macheda more gametime preferably alongside Chicharito in a 4-4-2 or alone with Nani and Obertan wide of him. We have enough players to trouble teams my worry is that our manager just might be tinkering too much.

    Rio is of little use anymore. Very sad. Smalling and Evans need to play more.

  10. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    “We have enough players to trouble teams”!

    Fuck sake… is that the extent of our ambition now?

  11. United definitely should recall Cleverley in the transfer window. I would pick him ahead of Anderson, Gibson and Hargreaves. Eikrem is an interesting project too, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ole Gunnar took him on loan to Molde from January.

  12. Agree with everything Calvino said apart from the bit about playing Evans more. The man is an absolute liability. Put him in the side and we are guaranteed to concede goals. We have enough players in the team who give the ball away as it is.

    Agree about Rio, though. He’s not the same player he was when he was in his prime and I’m not sure he will ever be as good again because of his fitness issues. Smalling is a terrific acquisition, however, and I think that he could well end up as Rio’s replacement if his performances continue on an upward trajectory.

  13. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    arsenal are better than us, by my count they have eight mids who get into our team

  14. I would remind everyone that Park essentially carried the team not a week ago in two matches. But his inconsistency is troubling. Not that it’s unusual on this team. Nani is about the most inconsistent United player I’ve ever seen. Brilliant one week, awful the next.

    And yes, we are missing Valencia and Rooney. Both are creative players who can score, something we distinctly lack (look at where the goals have been coming from).

    As for Berba, why is anyone surprised? He is the same player he always was. He’ll finish with 12 or 13 goals.

  15. I’ve just seen the best performance (albeit only 45 mins so far) from a United player this season: Danny Welbeck at Stamford Bridge – he should have scored though

  16. I agree with Alf that United is fixable by two or three major signings (personally I’d like to see some excitement Ganso or Sanchez would get the feelgood factor back – if not necessarily the trophies). But I have my doubts that they’ll arrive before Fergie leaves.

    Yes we’ve been wretched for most of the season, but watching Chelsea, City and Arsenal – I don’t see too much better out there. The top 6 this year is probably the worst top 6 for a long time. Everyone raves about Chelsea – but they’re currently playing worse than United did yesterday – at home!

    If Rooney returns rejuvenated and motivated to prove a point, we’ll still push for the title. But I totally agree that United should not be settling for this.

    0-2!!!

  17. Unregistered User said:
    I would remind everyone that Park essentially carried the team not a week ago in two matches.

    Park was a sweetcorn in a sea of turds against Wolves. Doesn’t change the fact that he is not good enough for United. He was an utter abomination yesterday. Watch yesterday’s 2nd half performance and count the number of times he gave the ball away enabling Villa to counter attack.

    He should do the honourable thing and retire.

  18. Alfie,
    what I meant is that we have enough personnel to win games if we deploy the players properly. Berba can’t play as a lone striker and we all know that so why does it happen? We will get the best out ofn our midfielders by playing three there. Fabregas is running riot at Arsenal because he plays in midfield trio. We do not have a young PAUL SCHOLES anymore so we need to fashion out another third midfielder so that Carrick and Fletcher can do what they are good at doing.

    With the personnel we have we can’t continue to play 4-4-2 if we want to get the best out of Kiko and Hernandez to be honest. Kiko is built to play as a single striker so if we had a firing Rooney in a midfield trio then we shall be awesome.

    I watch Arsenal and see how fluently they play most times and look at their personnel and unlike Knobby there are not many there I would like in our team. It is just that their players are properly deployed.

  19. Calvino said:
    Alfie,
    what I meant is that we have enough personnel to win games if we deploy the players properly. Berba can’t play as a lone striker and we all know that so why does it happen? We will get the best out ofn our midfielders by playing three there. Fabregas is running riot at Arsenal because he plays in midfield trio. We do not have a young PAUL SCHOLES anymore so we need to fashion out another third midfielder so that Carrick and Fletcher can do what they are good at doing.

    With the personnel we have we can’t continue to play 4-4-2 if we want to get the best out of Kiko and Hernandez to be honest. Kiko is built to play as a single striker so if we had a firing Rooney in a midfield trio then we shall be awesome.

    I watch Arsenal and see how fluently they play most times and look at their personnel and unlike Knobby there are not many there I would like in our team. It is just that their players are properly deployed.

    Ramsey, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri (off the top of my head) are all far far better than shite like Carrick and Park. Fletcher has been crap this season as well.

  20. Sheesh,
    I would not take Wilshere and Nasri. Not a chance. We have better wide players than Nasri and for me Jack is still learning his trade so I will have Carrick ahead of him.

  21. To be fair to Carrick he was immense against City, really top class. I think part of the problem is losing Quiroz.

  22. Bman,
    that has been my biggest problem over two seasons now: why cant the Boss ask the fellow to come back? Please. Carlos has proven that he is best as an assistant. He would absolutely help deploy our players better.

  23. Yeah I’d love to see him back. While definitely some player’s performed badly against Villa, a bigger problem was that we were just set up badly, didn’t have it together as a team.

  24. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    so scholes should be got rid of and wilsheres not good enough, what os it you want from your utd midfielders cal, passengers, you don’t want them to contribute anything going forward or what

  25. I might have been wrong about Welbeck, looked handy today. That Henderson lad too, let’s have ‘im.

  26. Wilshere does not get ahead of the ball neither does the current Paul Scholes. Read my posts properly Knobby.

  27. Calvino said:
    Sheesh,
    I would not take Wilshere and Nasri. Not a chance. We have better wide players than Nasri and for me Jack is still learning his trade so I will have Carrick ahead of him.

    OK will give you Nasri but Wilshere is a class apart compared to Carrick. People talk about Carrick’s passing but Wilshere does everything and, at such a young age, he can only get better – which is a frightening thought.

  28. Sheesh,

    Wilshere will not be an improvement on what we have currently because he does not get ahead of the ball. The problem with our midfield is that our manager keeps allowing us to play 4-4-2 when really we do not have the personnel for it. Then we go to a 3 man midfield we do not have anyone who NATURALLY gets ahead of the ball. Even when Anderson plays, he does not have an encouraging goals return. So, really we need to have Rooney there alongside Carrick and Fletcher with strict instructions to play in between the lines like Fabregas does for Arsenal and Lampard for Chelsea. He must not empty the midfield too often and turn it into a 2.

  29. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Good grief.

  30. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    wilshere doesn’t ‘get ahead of the ball’ because fabregas is there, hen fabregas goes he’ll be the main man backed up by ramsey while we’re stuck pretending fletcher has amazing essential attributes

    wilsherell be one of the best players in the prem, he’s a diamond

  31. big deal, we have rooney and now that he has had a proper rest he’s gonna be thunder – he may be a bit pissed of that his shit teams mates are only 3 points of the pace with 13 played, still undefeated, in all competitions even with injuries but it’s time for him to kick the cunt out of the world – and lead the team.

    by all accounts he’s been properly beastly at Nike – he’s had his break, re-energised and got his appetite back to cunt the footballing world. bring. it. on. you. cunts.

    feel free to bleat about your London bum boys who got fucked by a horse cock at home tonight and now Le arse, ffs; fuck me they have Wilshire, big fucking wow – ooooooooooooooooo shiting my kegs.

    i blame the PIK debt on Vidic getting us a point.

  32. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    since when were you a rooney backer, you’re a fucking lunatic

    ‘by all accounts’ ffs fucking gobshite cunt

  33. herbie simms says:

    Chelsea lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland. United are in this title race if only SAF would pay attention now and realize he can win the league if he can dip into the January transfer window and tighten up his midfield, spend some money in January, go for the league title and he can retire in the summer. The smaller clubs confidence is high now as they feel they can beat the big clubs and its happpening! SAF needs a wake up call. Is he getting too old for this job?

  34. Another disappointing performance by the Reds – very poor performances on the field and some real headscratching tactical decisions by Ferguson. As an outlet for my frustration, here’s my two cents’ worth:

    - Ferguson must have set his team out as a 4-4-2 both because he was missing Scholes through suspension, but also because he thought that Man U could rip the Villa kids apart. Had he realised how soft his midfield was going to be, I think he might well have played a 4-5-1 with 3 central midfielders and Park and Nani pushing up on the wings. His problem then though is that of the CMs available to him, none of them have sufficient creativity or drive to support the lone striker – particularly when the lone striker is Berba, who’s badly regressed, or Hernandez who shows immense promise but who has already demonstrated this season that he cannot work his magic without another forward to support him. Fletch always puts in a shift and you can rely on him to harry the opposing players but he ain’t no Kaka, let alone a Scholes in his prime. So he must have gone with the 2 strikers up top because he thought he had more chances of getting on the scoresheet than if he’s played say Berba on his own and had say Gibson in the midfield to add an extra man there. It was a gamble, and he lost on that one.

    - Having just moaned about the weakness of Man U’s centre, Villa’s main threat was not through the centre but on the flanks. I thought Evra did a decent job covering Albrighton, although Albrighton had a great game so maybe I’m being generous to Evra! Brown though was pathetic. Downing, who I’ve not rated since he moved to Villa, had Brown in his pocket the whole match. Again, I think Ferguson was snookered by the unavailability of Rafael through injury – GNev would have tried his best against Downing, unlike Wes “I’m a footballer, get me out of here” Brown (hope the rumours about him leaving in the summer are true), but GNev’s got no pace now and he probably would have ended up taking an early shower with 2 yellows for chopping Downing down. I would have played O’Shea instead of Brown, and God does that say it all about the resources that Ferguson has to play with these days. At least O’Shea gives a damn.

    - once Villa started over-running the Man U midfield in the 2nd half, I thought Ferguson and Mike “yes guv” Phelan were too slow to respond. It just wasn’t working, as demonstrated by the break that resulted in Agbonlabor hitting the post, but it wasn’t until Man U were 2 goals down that he threw Obertan and Macheda on. While I could understand him gambling on playing 2 up top before the match, by the 60th minute it must have been obvious that Hernadez and Berba could have played for nine hours without scoring that day. He should have taken one of them off, probably Hernandez, and stuck Gibson on to bolster the midfield. Not that I rate Gibson, but he didn’t actually have any other CMs on the bench!

    - Berba…what can I say that hasn’t already been said countless times? He wants to be the 21st century Cantona…mate, you can start by bloody SCORING every so often!

    - in the “is Ferguson losing the plot” department, well, what about the decision to chuck Smalling on at the end as a forward? I assume the idea was that with only a couple of minutes left on the clock, chuck on a big bloke that can get on the end of crosses and long balls. OK, there’s some logic to that, but what the hell was Smalling going to do if he did in fact get on the end of a cross? Probably boot it up into the far reaches of the Holte End. With the Villa kids starting to panic after conceding the equaliser, I would have chucked Gibson on instead and tried to play my way through the midfield – again, not that I rate Gibson, but he was the only non-defender on the bench by that point!

  35. herbie simms says:

    Man Utd can now still win the premier league if SAF can only see what the fans see. Week in and week out, its the same players and the same problems. I think he feels Rooney is going to be the answer to all his problems. Iam not doubting Rooney’s ability, but his midfield and defence leaves a lot to be desired if he really wants to get on top.

  36. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Unregistered User said:
    Chelsea lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland. United are in this title race if only SAF would pay attention now and realize he can win the league if he can dip into the January transfer window and tighten up his midfield, spend some money in January, go for the league title and he can retire in the summer. The smaller clubs confidence is high now as they feel they can beat the big clubs and its happpening! SAF needs a wake up call. Is he getting too old for this job?

    The fact that we’re still in the race, only 3 points behind is exactly why Ferguson WON’T spend in January.

    His reasoning will be, don’t need improvements… no value… happy with what he’s got… blah, blah…

  37. This team is light years behing previous Manchester United yeams and this situation would never have been allowed to develop PRE GLAZER. We were always to the front in signing TOP QUALITY and Fergie was a master in re-jigging the teams. Witness Yorkie being from Villa for serious bucks and the his partnership with Cole. The incredible thing is this team can still win the premiership because the quality around is shite. One thing I am sure of, Rooney will be sold within a year, there will be no investment to replace him with silmilar quality and the bastard Glazers will continue to screw all of us, and guess what you will all go along like lambs to the slaughter. I wont because I FUCKIN HATE the SCUM and wong give them a penny

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