Today's result has forced me to create this blog. I need somewhere to vent my frustration.
Firstly, I feel I must mention the starting line up. It was such a fresh feeling to look at a United starting eleven and not be baffled. We put out an exciting, attacking team. It was one of the few times this season that I've looked at the team and felt confident that we'd score more than once. It worked out as expected. We took an early lead, expressed our dominance and grabbed a second. We looked in total control. Then Ryan fell.
For me, this was the turning point. Our changes today were insane. SAF, for some alien reason, decided to push Anderson (who, it has to be said, was having a decent game) out wide where he has never looked comfortable for us. From this point, we never really had an outlet on the left wing. Numerous times I watched players turn to their left and I shared their confusion. I don't blame Anderson. He's not a winger. My change would have been Rooney on for Giggs. Basically, because I feel when Rooney is off form he's still a creative danger and can be just as effective from the left as up front, if he's not scoring. Sadly, but expectedly, this didn't happen. Ok. So you're going to put Anderson out wide, not the end of the world. Oh, you're bringing Gibson on? Ok. I'll just switch off the tv then. Oh how I wish I did.
I don't have a problem with Gibson really. I'm Irish after all. My problem is with what SAF sees in him, or sees him as. We're dominating a game. Our midfield is working well. The obvious change, if we must push Ando out wide and out of position, is Scholes. You want someone to come on who will continue the midfield domination. Not Gibson. We lost control from here. I think as a team we can deal well with one issue (like Anderson being out of position), but not two. We can't change the way half of our midfield play and expect to maintain dominance.
That is why we didn't win the game. It's not Gibson's fault. It's SAF's fault for not seeing the two better changes he could have made. To be expected now I suppose. This brings me on to the later changes. I don't mind Anderson coming off for Rooney. That was fine. Of course it was SAF's fault that Anderson was anonymous on the left, but he made the right change. Scholes on for Carrick though, oh dear. This was Carrick's best game in a long time. He did very little wrong and his passing was precise. This was not a point in the game where we needed someone to come on and spread the ball about and keep it and show a general lack of urgency. This wasn't a time for Scholes. Our midfield was over run completely with our wingers going forward in search of a goal and only Gibson and Scholes to protect us. I just cannot fathom what was going through our staff's minds here. Can't even attempt to explain it.
We killed the game with our changes. You can look back and say Berbatov should have scored, VDS should have held on, etc. Yeah, if we played without error we would have won. Ask yourself this: Should we have to play at 100% without any error to beat WBA at home? If not, then why didn't we win? If you've got a better explanation then I have then I'd love to hear it.
To use a footballing cliché, at the end of the day the thing that annoys me most is that the reason for our failure today in SAF's mind will probably be the attacking line up he put out ... or some other positive from today, rather than the negatives, since they're mainly his fault. Oh well.