Published on March 11th, 2013 | by soccersweep
Manchester United lose their way
Manchester United almost started too well in the big FA Cup game against Chelsea on Sunday. With nearly 80 minutes left on the clock they found themselves 2 goals up thanks to Chicharito and Wayne Rooney. But, for the remainder of the first half and most of the second, they lacked ideas.
After the second goal went in Chelsea were on the rack. There for the taking. But Manchester United got so sloppy with their passing that you would be forgiven for thinking, at times, that you were witnessing a relegation scrap in The Championship.
Coach Sir Alex Ferguson cited fatigue as a reason for their demise. After the massive disappointment of Champions League elimination in the week Fergie told reporters:
“We’re lucky to be in the cup. We just ran out of legs and Chelsea were far the better team in the second half,”
“The two full-backs, Rafael and Patrice, are knackered and the two central midfielders tired badly. We kept giving the ball away and it made it a long day for us, going from one penalty box and back to our own.”
It’s true that some looked tired but, worryingly for Manchester United fans, the malaise wasn’t restricted to the players that Sir Alex Ferguson referenced. Carrick actually put in a decent shift, but Cleverley gave the ball away countless times, in what was one of his worst games for Manchester United. Before he got injured Nani wasted the ball pretty much every time that he got it and his replacement, Antonio Valencia, fared little better. The Ecuadorian is almost unrecognisable from the player who terrorised defences for two years at Old Trafford and this protracted period of awful form is seriously jeopardising his career at Manchester United. Valencia seems utterly bereft of confidence.
On the left Shinji Kagawa was anonymous. He didn’t play in the week so he can’t complain of fatigue. And, up front, Wayne Rooney wasn’t at his sharpest either. Furthermore, with no goals in 5, substitute RvP is also having a big dip. He just doesn’t look all that dangerous at the moment.
With such a huge and impressive squad fatigue shouldn’t be an issue. In essence it seems as if the Real Madrid defeat has had a more enduring effect on the Manchester United players than Fergie would have liked. Despite the shock at their Champions League exit, the idea of winning their first domestic double in a decade should provide more than enough motivation for the team. But this side seems to have lost it’s spark of late and they will need to find it some momentum fast if they are to provide competition for Chelsea in the FA Cup replay.
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