|photo by carterse||via PhotoRee|
o Ashley Young with his second dive in the box inside of a week's time? It's starting to get a bit old, Ash. You're going to begin drawing yellows for your antics rather than penalties -- or worse, not have a penalty called when it's truly deserved. I'll take the lead but could do without the theatrics.
o Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes playing together in midfield make me think about how thin United is in the middle. Driving the point home yesterday were Carrick's early card and the subsequent first half knock that Scholes took: what would happen if either man was to get two cards in a game, or -- even worse -- injured? While the Red Devils have an embarrassment of riches at both wings, they're a bit barren in the middle at the moment. Sure, Giggs, Cleverley or Jones could cover, but would you really look forward to seeing any of them playing a full 90 in central midfield in one of the Reds' upcoming fixtures?
o Very telling: If you don't think even the veteran players are nervous at this point of the season, think again. Rio Ferdinand couldn't bear to watch Wazza'a first half penalty that handed United a 1-nil lead, preferring instead to keep his back toward the goal, eyes on the Stretford End, and ears open to the sounds of the crowd.
o Despite the four goals yesterday, United's offense is all looking a bit labored right now. It's not that it's too slow, or too through the middle, it's that they are trying to make it all too intricate -- in essence, they're working too hard. There are too many passes, too much looking for the perfect ball, and it's all a bit nervy -- we're slowly turning into Arsenal.
o Danny Welbeck is not playing with a ton of confidence at the moment -- he passed up a bundle of opportunities to pull the trigger yesterday, and when he did look to shoot he often wanted one too many touches. Perhaps his late first half tap in of Patrice Evra's seeing eye assist will help to get Welbz back in gear.
o I've been saying this for weeks now -- longer than most -- but Wayne Rooney is not on song, and -- as we all know -- as goes Rooney, so goes United. The Englishman's formerly deft passing and touch seem to have deserted him of late, and he's beginning to get a bit frustrated. To Roo's credit, he hasn't been lashing out -- either at his teammates or the opposition -- but if United is going to seal the title, their talisman needs to seriously step it up over the next two to three weeks.
o Everything Sir Alex does is done for a reason, which makes his late game introduction of The Berbinator yesterday especially notable. Buried deep in Fergie's Siberian doghouse, the Bulgarian maestro was allowed a 15 minute cameo on Sunday. Given the rather paltry output from Welbeck and Chicharito in recent days, Berbatov was brought on to give his legs some game time: Fergie knows that United may need last season's Golden Boot Winner for a late spark sometime in the run in.
o We've all joked about this in the past, but Jonny Evans is beginning to look a bit of a threat around the goal, and not just on set pieces. The Northern Irishman was up to his newfound tricks again yesterday, supplying a perfectly weighted through ball for Nani's late game capper.
o The scoreline was comfortable, but it didn't feel that way until right before halftime when Welbeck made it 2-nil. The Everton game next week is crucial, and it's this writer's feeling that United is going to need to do more to take three points of that bunch.
This is farlieonfootie for April 16.
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