A Night To Be Proud – Manchester 1st of April 2014

Nobody I know fancied this tonight. Bayern Munich are to my eyes the best team on the planet at the moment and it’s fair to say that United are a street or two behind them. The bookies were offering 1/2 on a Bayern win and I personally thought prior to kick off, they were relatively generous odds. Reds had all seen that video in the past week of Bayern literally running rings around City, the same City side that had outclassed United at Old Trafford exactly a week ago. Bayern Munich were confirmed champions of Germany the very same night that City murdered United. To say things didn’t bode well tonight was an understatement.

Embedded image permalink

View from the Scoreboard End (Photo courtesy of Joe Leonard)

Where the hell this performance came from I will never know. There was a feeling of impending dread when we heard that Phil Jones and Alexander Buttner were up against the combined talents of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. The worry was misplaced if perfectly understandable. Both lads had an excellent game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfzMXqAgfJE

Danny Welbeck’s disallowed goal, a joke of a decision

In the third minute, Danny Welbeck, with brilliant ball control, scored for United, only to see the goal disallowed for high kicking as Bayern centre half Javi Martinez put his head down towards Welbeck’s foot to try and head the ball away. An already daunting fixture had been compounded by referee Carlos Velasco’s mysterious decision to disallow the goal. I saw the goal in real time and I have since seen it umpteen times on action replay and I can’t for the life of me see what was wrong with it. If a pedantic referee naused united early in the game, United only had themselves to blame when Welbeck missed a great chance half an hour later when clean through on Manuel Neuer. The one thing I can say in mitigation for Welbeck is the Neuer is in my opinion, the best keeper in the world but for that, a centre forward should be putting chances like that away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgCq-0_29Zc

Nemanja Vidic put United 1-0 up from a Wayne Rooney corner on 58 minutes. Why Bayern didn’t have somebody on the far post to clear the ball away is a mystery, not that I’m complaining. A great header from a true United great sent an already lively Old Trafford crowd into rapture. Munich were rattled. At the moment, they are by some distance a better side than United but they were unnerved by the raw passion of both the team and the crowd tonight.  Munich equalised eight minutes later with a goal form Bastian Schweinsteiger that was too easy but on the balance of play, deserved. Swchweinsteiger ended up being sent off in the 88th minute for what looked to me, a fair challenge on Wayne Rooney. Schweinsteiger  was very irate with Rooney and Bayern boss Pep Guardiola made a diving motion with his hand in disgust at what had happened. The may have a point but fuck them anyway. I don’t remember Bayern Munich being too apologetic when they worked a similar manoeuvre on Rafael Da Silva in the equivalent game in 2010. What comes around goes around.

View from the Stretford End pre kick off (Photo courtesy of Eleni MacFarlaine)

Just like tonight, United go to Munich next week as underdogs. What there is however is hope if not a lot else. Hand on heart, I expect Munich to go through, I think they’re too strong a side but stranger things have happened. Liverpool beat a far superior AC Milan side in the European Cup final in 2005, Chelsea did a similar number on Bayern at the final in Munich two years ago. United probably won’t win this tie, but they can. We can hope it comes right, but whatever else happens, we know that whether United play in this competition next year or not, they will maintain the respect of Europe’s elite. If tonight was a boxing match, Bayern would’ve walked away still as champions, albeit with a black eye, this was a night to be proud.

4 thoughts on “A Night To Be Proud – Manchester 1st of April 2014”

  1. I’m not sure where this performance came from. It’s possible, I suppose, that some of our lads looked in a mirror and saw what we saw. Under performing imitations of United players. The passion was plain to see. But that on it’s own is never enough. What I witnessed last night was a team that actually believed in themselves. A good time to start ? Last month would have suited me better. Then we would have given liverpool a game. Still our home match of the season. This squad is a long way short of what is needed. But if they show more of last nights fare, we can at least restore one or 2 damaged reputations.

  2. This performance was the sort I and many reds thought we would see against city after the Liverpool embarrassment.
    I was on the non alcoholic lager in the Bishops where we had a great atmosphere as usual. What struck me surprising was I was asked by Quinton Fortune, who I bumped into earlier in day how I thought we’d get on v Bayern? The same question was asked by many reds and I honestly said I feared a 3 or 4 goal loss. Quinton and most others all said they fancied us to win and I wasn’t sure where the optimism was coming from.
    I was the most relaxed I’d ever been for such a big game coz I frankly we didn’t have a chance against such an impressive team, already champions again back home.
    The commitment and effort every player gave for ninety minutes made me once again proud to be a red as did the Old Trafford crowd, who were outstanding. If we did get through and it’s still unlikely it’s a shame many who turned nose up last night coz for a game that big (there was hundreds of tickets floating about ) will no doubt be first in the queue for tickets.
    It also shown that those players can play for David Moyes so onwards and upwards.

  3. Really Murph? Are we supposed to be proud because for once they came up with a performance that embodied the very least we expect from those in red?

    A couple of years ago and this would have been seen as an indifferent result because back then we aspired to breathe the same rarified air as clubs like Munich and stand toe-to-toe with them. Are we now just grateful to be sat at the same table? Such is the nature of decline, I suppose….

    For what it’s worth, I thought the fans were great and that Buttner and Welbeck did really well. The only real dud was Big Dave Fellaini – again. Even so, it must be said that this was the performance of an away team, playing on the break and hoping for one or two as well. We got a great goal and should have had a couple more so I suppose that Moyes is justified in being happy given the dismal nature of some recent performances and results.

    I’m not sure myself. In some ways I’d almost rather we’d had a right go at them and risked a hammering. Still, the wisdom or otherwise of Moyes’ approach will only become clear after next week. A win and he’s a tactical genius, defeat and no-one will be surprised, but a hammering in Munich might increase his problems with the owners come the close season.

    1. Bearing in mind what was expected on Tuesday night and what actually happened, I was proud of the lads on the pitch. How other people feel about it is up to them.

      You are right that a couple of years ago this would’ve been seen as an indifferent result but that was a couple of years ago. This has been an indifferent season all round. Football sides go through cycles of peaks and troughs, Barca, Munich do, AC Milan are on one at the moment, so are United. If being proud of the performance is to be “grateful to be sat at the same table”, then so be it. I like to see a bit of fight from the lads, like they used to give against Liverpool in the 80’s when they had a better side (I was proud of thos performances too) and like United gave Bayern the other night. That’s all I ask for

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.