News24

Draw dulls United title hopes

2010-04-11 16:47

London - Manchester United missed an opportunity to take over at the top of the Premier League on Sunday as they were held to a goalless draw at home by Blackburn Rovers.

A win would have lifted United a point above Chelsea, but they remain one behind having played a game more.

Worse, they looked a tired, uninspired side, so that it's hard to imagine them recovering to win their remaining four games to take advantage even if Chelsea do slip up.

Despite Wayne Rooney's absence with an ankle injury, United fielded an attacking line-up, with Dimitar Berbatov off Federico Macheda, and Nani and Antonio Valencia on the flanks.

With suggestions that United's squad is beginning to feel the pressure of so many games, Patrice Evra, who looked leggy in the Champions League exit to Bayern Munich in midweek, was left out in favour of John O'Shea.

Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson saved well from Valencia midway through an oddly understated first half, and then stood tall to deny the Ecuadorian two minutes before the break.

At half-time, though, the sense was of a game still waiting to start; United, as they had in losing to Chelsea eight days ago, seemed uncharacteristically diffident, heightening concerns that the central midfield pairing of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes has at last reached its sell-by date.

United defender Rio Ferdinand dislocated his finger in a challenge with Jonas Olsson soon after half-time; and he later seemed to suffer a groin injury.

He played on, but with United become increasingly twitchy, Darron Gibson was introduced for Giggs.

Park Ji-Sung then came on for Macheda, as United switched to a five-man midfield to try to get behind a resolute Rovers back four.

Once again, though, United lacked the zest to break their opponents down, and Rivers in the end held on quite comfortably.

Wolverhampton Wanderers edged close to safety with a goalless draw at home to Stoke City in the day's early kick-off.

Wolves are now seventh bottom, six points clear of the relegation zone.

Liverpool face Fulham and Manchester City host Birmingham City in the day's two later games.

SAPA

Comments
  • Kube$ - 2010-04-11 17:31

    One man dont make a team, but clearly the loss of Rooney has had a detrimental effect the rest of The Red Devils season, get rid of Berbaflop also, clearly another quality striker is needed....

  • John - 2010-04-11 19:02

    Hasn't Fergie got something to moan about this time? The ref.....the linesman....not enough extra time!!! Go Chelsea! And go Arsenal!

  • Supafly - 2010-04-12 04:15

    I quote "central midfield pairing of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes has at last reached its sell-by date." My retarded blind couzen can see that, but not this genius (Sir Alex). UTD doesn't hav a playmaker, let alone a decent striker to compliment Rooney, whether injured or not. Most utd fans suffer frm selective amnesia. Why? Most great UTD sides which hav achieved anythin in the past had sumthin speacial in each dept. Schmeichel (van der Sar) in goals, Dwithe York & Andy Cole (Rooney & ?) upfront, Beckham + Scholes + Nicky Butt + others ( ? + ? + ? +?), etc. The point is that, the current UTD line up doesn't send shivers down any team's spine, period! Burnley, Sunderland, etc goin to Olt Trafford & push utd against the ropes? Come on! And these jokers (England) put themselves as favorates to lift this yrs world cup. Yeah right! I'm the Pope! Let's face it, Engalnd's chances were always inter-twined with those of utd, so which EPL team will provide them (England) with a wc winning team? The defence rests, your honor!

  • Man U - 2010-04-12 06:51

    Damit! I think you right Kube$, Berba has a few games left at Utd. At times, he just cannot click with the rest of the guys. I thought he had a good 1st half though. Anyway, our only hope now is for Bolton to beat or draw against Chelsea, and the rest to beat Chelsea. On current form, we should finish 3rd!

  • SoccerLover - 2010-04-12 07:36

    C'mom Kube$.... Why this fascination with bringing in a new quality striker? When will our acadeny graduates ever become a part of the team? We always keep buying the outstanding players off other teams, instead of giving our graduates a chance to become 'big time' players.... Think of it; who are the last graduates to make the first team? Giggs, Scoles, Wes Brown - these are already past their sale-by dates

  • Ricky Bobby - 2010-04-12 07:48

    waaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!! no Rooney = no result - what was the people saying last week about United not needing anyone? clearly thats not the case - the entire season it was evident that united have no one else to step up - PLEASE DONT BECOME LIKE LIVERFOOL WITH TORRES AND STEVIE G - sorry gents, i dont think you'll make it this time around....GOONER FOR LIFE

  • Hopkins - 2010-04-12 08:07

    When the going gets ....., the tough gets ..... .

  • REALITY - 2010-04-12 08:10

    Result as predicted by many with a Rooneyless Utd, a clueless manager & a toothless performance by the team. To manure supporters....pray for Rooneys return

  • Lamps_8 - 2010-04-12 08:19

    Keep Up the Good Work Roonited!!!

  • ToffeeZN - 2010-04-12 08:41

    Seems Fergie has lost the plot. Supafly makes a very valid point about United's heydays and their combinations. In my opinion, Ferguson should have retired at the end of last season and bowed out on a high. Some of his selections and media outbursts have relegated him to has-been status. He is like a champion boxer who is past it and wants one ;ast crack at the title but just isn't good enough anymore! Only by some luck and some other scores going their way will United now win the Premier League. !!

  • Big K - 2010-04-12 08:45

    Well im always optimistic with this season, given the fact how irregular results have been for the top 3 sides, ya 4 games, but thats 16points, it might jus get exciting in a game or too, watch this space!! Again, Bebrbatov debate: The guy is class alone on first touch and ball skills and his understanding partner Sir Wayne wasnt there, did you guys not see the frustration in his face, the service was poor on the day, but credit Blackburn, they defending their yard well this season!! Sheasy getting there, injury was nasty, brought on Gibson too late, CAN WE GET HARGREAVES FOR HALF AN HOUR,PLEASE??????????????????!!!!!!!!!! Ag, We'll Recover, We Always Do!! GGMU

  • T - 2010-04-12 08:55

    ..and where are the "bookies" who predicted a ManUre runaway league success?!?

  • van - 2010-04-12 09:42

    what a great weekend....all the united fans are doing what they do best,making excuses,blaming the gaf and what not what not...why not just admit it....your team just isnt good enough...you lack DEPTH...proved countless times over the WHOLE season... now i just hope arsenal pull thru so roonited can finish third,where they deserve to finish. whahahaha united suck donkey

  • Richard - 2010-04-12 10:27

    BERBAFLOP had more than enough chances,had it been Rooney you could have had at least 3.Berbaflop must start looking for a new team as Ferguson will sell him

  • Harold(Sharks b4 Boks) - 2010-04-12 10:32

    Considering Ronaldo's departure and our defense being ravaged by injuries this has been a good season for United. To all the United haters that seem the know the universe when United fail to win, how come your teams don't perform as well as United? Why don't you all offer your teams advice? We have picked up one trophy this season which is better Arsenal have done in 5 years.

  • AL @ van - 2010-04-12 10:34

    Last time I checked, UTD were in front of Arse-anal, got waaaaaay further in the Champions League and won a sh!t load of cups over the last couple of years. Arse-anal - ZERO. Now you talk like you`ve been there all along - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA - makes me laugh!!

  • Nash the Gunner - 2010-04-12 10:51

    @ UTD suppoters: I really hope you guys can pay off some debt with those trophy's, Arsenal's team are maturing and starting to reach their peak and its just a matter of time we start winning trophies again... watch this space, Manure & Chelsea should worry about all their stars retiring soon

  • Sir Matt - 2010-04-12 12:06

    United look a shadow of their usual selves at this stage of the year . I fear that along with such stalwarts as Giggs , Scholes and Neville that SAF has also reached his sell-by date . He left it too late to ring the changes during the game and his persistence with playing this idiot Berbatov is puzzling . It seems the hairdryer does not work anymore and SAF looked like he had run out of ideas . Marcheda is a brilliant young talent but he has not had enough game time and the same goes for Mame Diouf who once again did not feature - why does SAF buy all these chaps and not play them ? The team sheet should read : Marcheda , Diouf , Nani , Valencia , Gibson , Fletcher , Rafael , Fabio , Evans , Vidic , Van Der Sar . Bench : Welbeck , Park , Rio , Cathcart , Tosic , Pogba , O'Shea. A certain degree of apathy has fallen over the team and they look like they are just going through the motions when they are on the field - wholesale changes need to be rung or else ...

  • Soccer fan - 2010-04-12 12:10

    @ AL my friend....R u still laughing from the beginning of the season. Admit it boet....utd rely too much on Rooney & your manager has made some decisions recently that is really questionable. Utd will do well to keep that 3rd position if Rooney is still not available....Chelsea have some tough games ahead...Gunners for life

  • Ricky Bobby - 2010-04-12 12:20

    @Harold(Sharks b4 Boks) - dont talk about injuries to me - The gunners have been plagued by injuries last few years, our top striker has been out the whole season (since nov)- not Fab and Arshavin Sing Gallas - please tell me that you wouldv done as well as we have without rooney since November, i think you fooling yourself - come to think of it, united havent done well at all, you've been lucky all season long - the dependancy on Rooney has become a joke for a United team!!!! i think the debt will surely in the next few years take is tole, look at leads and clubs like that - you bought your trophies over years (chelsea as well), we have had a modest budget, turned normal players into world class players on that modest budget - and they call fergie great - thats easy, put me there with all the cash to spend and i'll also win trophies - yes success in trophies is what they look at at the end of the day, but there is no victory with your finances in shambles - i promise you give it 3-4 years and thats the end of united

  • van@al - 2010-04-12 12:34

    assumption is the mother of all f-ups mate...im a chelsea boy...yup...up the blues...!!!!!!!!!! and watch the arsenal...they are all over you and with an easier run in(honestly,city or going to thrash you this weekend)your united are dead in the water....third for YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! yes please

  • seeps - 2010-04-12 12:34

    Fergie to sell Berbatov, Milner to United and Benzema on loan from Real, perhaps David Villa to Old Tafford. We need a Keeper - Van der Sar has one more left in him, Carrick to go, Hargreaves back. Give Gibson some more time out on the park. Nani will take over the creative midfielder role. Giggs n Scholes to bow out next season n Neville should do the same THIS YEAR already. We looking good defensively, just sharpen up the midfielder and get Rooney a partner. Red Devils will be back next season. Although it ain't over till the last game of the season.

  • van@al - 2010-04-12 12:39

    assumption is the mother of all f-ups mate...im a chelsea boy...yup...up the blues...!!!!!!!!!! and watch the arsenal...they are all over you and with an easier run in(honestly,city or going to thrash you this weekend)your united are dead in the water....third for YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! yes please

  • Mack - 2010-04-12 13:45

    Good point supafly but Utd need to stop breeding young blood for our survival. When Berbatov was unveiled most supporters did not even know who he was. And then Valencia. Manucho??? Impact players, tried and tested like Ribery, we need Fergie to look at those. Our most successful team of Andy and Dwight, Roy Keane in the middle had depth. Utd need a player like Keane and somebody to partner Rooney.

  • Man U - 2010-04-12 13:48

    @Ricky Bobby: You are taking cr@p!!!! Name me the so called world class players in your beloved arse nil side? Fabregas is good, i like him but the poor lad cannot even break into the current Spanish team. What have the Arse nil players won to consider themselves world class? Yes Utd have been playing not so good football lately but have been playing a whole lot better than Arse nil! How can you say Utd bought trophies? You are an ignorant soccer follower to believe that. Fergie buys players just like every other manager. He does not buy wholesale like a few others. Blame your stupid frog eater of a manager for Arse nil's downfall because he does not like to spend. He had opportunities but he did not. Think objectively buddy and think before you slate SAF!!!! And that goes for most of you SAF Haters! He was written off many times in the past and you will see, he will prevail!

  • Mack - 2010-04-12 13:48

    Good point supafly but Utd need to stop breeding young blood for our survival. When Berbatov was unveiled most supporters did not even know who he was. And then Valencia. Manucho??? Impact players, tried and tested like Ribery, we need Fergie to look at those. Our most successful team of Andy and Dwight, Roy Keane in the middle had depth. Utd need a player like Keane and somebody to partner Rooney.

  • Harold - 2010-04-12 13:49

    @Ricky Bobby. Harry Kewell said something similar about 8 years back and where is he or his beloved "Pool now. United are in transition now and we have still picked up a trophy. You can bet your bottom dollar we will be better next season. Our debt will not stop us from achieving our on the pitch goals.

  • Jack - 2010-04-12 14:00

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA That is what happens when you sell the best player in the world, CRISTIANO RONALDO!

  • AL @ Soccer Fan - 2010-04-12 15:35

    As always the "you rely to much on Rooney, rely to much on Ronaldo, rely to much on Beckham, rely to much on Ruud, rely to much on Cantona" story is getting a bit old now.

  • Never Walk Alone - 2010-04-12 21:41

    And we rely too much on Benitez - and look where the f%#@k it got us !!! If the EPL had a plonker of the month manager Rafa would win it everytime.

  • Claude - 2010-04-13 10:17

    @Arsenal supporters enjoy picking on Man Utd's debts, don't be surprised when Arsenal ends up in the same situation with Stan Kroenke buying the club. There is already news of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith wanting to sell her 16%, so he may just buy them and once over 30% has to make an offer to buy out the club. I hope for your sake he has the money to do so otherwise he must borrow the money, you know the rest of the story................

  • @Al - 2010-04-13 10:30

    the only reason Manure is above Arsenal is because of games player ,Arsenal have a game in hand

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