In my 30 something years of watching United, for the first time tonight, I watched the match from an executive box at the top of the 2nd tier of the United road/North/Sir Alex Ferguson stand. In the company of good, time served and now affluent reds who are old friends of mine, it was a real eye opening experience of how the other half live. A three course meal and as much beer, wine or cider to drink as was wanted, it was a pleasant but surreal contrast to the usual experience at Old Trafford. The view was birds eye, the simultaneous height and clarity of our position enhanced the observation significantly. Just in case anything was missed, we got instant action replays on the TV screen directly above our heads or the ability to switch over to SKY Sports News or even watch the Wigan v City match in tandem with the United match unfolding below us if we so wished (we didn’t). From here, it was more obvious watching Javier Henandez constantly flirting with being offside as well as Rafael’s thrilling but frightening playing style.
Up until Jonny Evans equalised in the 64th minutes with a header from a Wayne Rooney corner, United were so devoid of any attacking idea that they made QPR look like they were defending with catenaccio efficiency. It took the substitution of Armand Traoré for Anton Ferdinand two minutes before Evans goal to upset the equilibrium of QPR’s defence. Anton Ferdinand may not be to blame for the goals but within ten minutes of his introduction, a 1-0 lead for QPR had turned into a 3-1 deficit. When Jamie Mackie put QPR in the lead seven minutes into the second half, few in Old Trafford could argue that QPR didn’t deserve it. More worryingly, like Norwich last week, I couldn’t see a United goal coming once QPR had scored. Today was the fifth consecutive match where United have conceded the first goal. Since the 20th of October, there’s only been two matches where United haven’t trailed at some point, they were against Arsenal and Chelsea, easily the best two sides United have played in that period.
There are some moments in life that you’ll remember exactly what you were doing and where you were. Virtually everybody of my parents’ generation remember precisely what they were doing and where they were doing it when they heard that John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated in his convertible Limousine in Dallas, November 1963. I vividly remember what I was doing when John Lennon was murdered, Princess Diana’s car crashed and the happiest memory of them all, when Eric Cantona signed for United, twenty years ago tomorrow.
Eric Cantona shields the ball from Brian Deane of Sheffield United at Elland Road in October 1992. Leeds would eventually sign Brian Deane to replace Cantona for nearly three times the price United paid for Cantona Continue reading One night on Chester Road – Eric Cantona signs for United
After tonights match, a smart arse Turkish journalist stated to Sir Alex Ferguson, “You were disappointed in ’93 and again now. Anything changed in 19 yrs?”, to which our manager replied “Yes, we’ve won it twice.” I’m sure Sir Alex Ferguson was disapointed to lose tonight but to compare it with going out to them in 1993 on the away goals rule is a bit much. There was an experimental side out from United tonight and whilst it wasn’t a vintage performance, it was United’s best showing so far in this competition which paradoxically yielded United’s first defeat. The winning goal was down to naive marking by United’s midfield summer signing Nick Powell. Burak Yilmaz was allowed a free header on 54 minutes from a corner which was the result of an outstanding save from Anders Lindergaard moments earlier. Like Chelsea the other week, if these young players are going to make these mistakes then nights like tonight are the perfect time to make them. Apart from that error, Nick Powell struck me tonight as somebody who’s got a big future.
Burak Yilmaz scores the winner for Galatasaray on 54 minutes Continue reading We’ve won it twice – Galatasaray V Manchester United 20th of November 2012
I could be all philosophical about this. In the cold light of day, we are (give or take) a third of the way through the season and two points off the leaders, having beaten both Liverpool and Chelsea away and Arsenal at home. All said though, after this performance, pragmatic philosophy is of no comfort. I was convinced before the season kicked off that Chelsea and Arsenal were all talk and the title race was between United and City. The results today haven’t changed anything; Chelsea won’t win the title and unless United do something dramatic in January, say bring Roy Keane out of retirement or something akin, then this title race is City’s to lose. Man City, who have been having a post title winning hangover that we ourselves experienced in 1999 are, for all that, still unbeaten in the league. United have lost three times this season and for two and half of those matches, United’s performances have been a disgrace.