Due to us knowing who’s been drawn in the next round, tonights match actually felt like a replay at the first time of asking. Bearing in mind the logistics, if ESPN really must show a match on a Monday night, couldn’t they have arranged for Everton’s match at Boundary Park for it instead. Season ticket holders all got begging texts the other day from United asking us if we wanted to bring a relative, friend or even an enemy and since the final whistle, we have been informed that the money for the next round is to be deducted from our accounts forthwith with an admirable speed. You’ve got to admire the efficiency of the United ticket office in sorting this out, an efficiency which nearly always induces a strong response when discussed by reds who have the fortune to deal with them. Many times in recent years, I’ve moaned about the atmosphere at Old Trafford but tonight was in comparison with recent matches, a reasonably good one, certainly in the East Lower (Scoreboard end for old school) where I was tonight for a change of scenery. The Stretford End were making a decent racket. As for Reading fans, they were like every other half witted collective of Southerners who’ve polluted our palatial stadium with their presence this season. I’ll give the Scousers one thing, they hate us with a hatred that is unique, it’s when you come across the wasters that support these Southern teams (Tottenham excepted) that you appreciate that. They all sing the same songs/chants in an attempt to rile United fans into a reaction and then get all sour when a bored United crowd can’t be arsed engaging. The usual generic shite about supporting their local team (when they appear to be doing everything but) and about how all United fans are cockneys. Half the time, I’m there thinking “ahh bless” the way you would indulge a crowd of children who are having a bit of harmless fun. They must think that we have never heard this “banter” before or failing that, they are doing what Southerners are famously good at and strangling the life out of a half decent joke ad infinitum.
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.