Manchester United v Liverpool: Detestable Suarez And Other Lessons Learnt
Luis Suarez - Good player, Detestable human being
A chance for reconciliation, a chance to put things finally to rest. Unfortunately, Suarez had other ideas and proceeded to ignore Patrice Evra’s outstretched hand during the ceremonial pre-match hand-shaking. He was going to be knackered by the United faithful anyway, but rather than appease the people gathered, he decided that being loathed was worth it. Not very bright, nor very sportsman-like from the much maligned Uruguayan. That said however, Rio Ferdinand decided to return the favour and stubbornly declined shaking hands with the former Ajax man. Nice touch there, Rio.
United - still labouring under long balls
Uncommonly, Manchester United have been particularly frail defensively this season. Especially against long balls and crosses. Newcastle and Blackburn highlighted this vulnerability to near perfection, while Liverpool came very close to. Adam’s free kick from about 30 yards left the United back four in shambles - Carroll missed the ball, so Evans (who was marking him) decided to miss it as well. Evra went to sleep, Ferdinand looked bemused more than anything when he laid the ball off - to near perfection - to Suarez (nice touch there, Rio), while de Gea for once decided not to come for the ball, while in retrospect, he could’ve easily gathered the ball had he done so. Maybe prior experience had affected that particular decision.
£20 Million each for Downing and Henderson does seem a lot now...
I think a total of 56 appearances, 2 goals and 3 assists isn’t exactly what King Kenny would have hoped for when he doled out what isn’t exactly “a pittance” for the former Villa winger and the former Sunderland man. Downing has been disappointing - a bit like Ashley Young at United really. He did put in some electrifying performances during the start of the season, marauding up and down (mostly up) the left wing. Sadly though, he hasn’t managed to carry that into the new year. Jordan Henderson meanwhile, was simply anonymous today. In fact he was so anonymous, that at one point, OptaJoke (@OptaJoke) tweeted that “31 - Jordan Henderson first touched the ball today after 31 minutes. Anonymous.” The most significant thing I remember Hendo doing today is fouling Antonio Valencia at some point. After Spearing was substituted, Liverpool were overrun until Adam came on. That was a rather poor decision from KD.
3 Substitutes, 0 Substitutions.
Yep. The number of substitutes United used up today = 0. Zilch. Nada. What was Ferguson playing at? By the 75th minute or so, you could visibly see that both Giggs and Scholes were tired. Credit to them they’re 38 and 37 respectively, and the fact that they lasted this long is an achievement in itself. In spite of that, Ferguson’s substitution policy was inexplicable. He had both Park Ji Sung and Tom Cleverley on the bench, but decided that he had no need of them. His decision might have been justified, had Liverpool not scored, but they did, because most of our midfielders were too busy catching their breath! This isn’t the first time Ferguson has ignored his subs. During the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool a couple of weeks back, he was making changes in the 92nd minute. When United were already a goal down. And had only a minute of play left. Mark my words, ye Scot, thy policies will one bite you in the bum.
Evra - great going forward, crap staying back
Dear old Patrice. Everyone was so concerned over the Suarez incident that they almost forgot how much s***e his defending had become. Every time Liverpool came forward, he was caught out of position, particularly by Glen Johnson. The one time he was one on one with Suarez, the Uruguayan got past him with ease and save Rio Ferdinand’s last ditch tackle, would have scored easily (nice touch there, Rio). Evra was understandably targeted by Liverpool. All their attacks were down their right hand side (of course that might also be because Downing on the other flank was hopeless), trying to catch Evra out. Evra stayed off, when he should have dived in, and dived in when he should have stood still. I think he was more interested in maiming Suarez, than winning the ball in truth, which was amply demonstrated when he missed Suarez completely and upended Rio Ferdinand. That said however, Evra was terrific in the second half. He stayed put, was fearless in the tackle and was very effective going front, forcing Dirk Kuyt back as well. Add to that some truly heinous celebrations, and the Frenchman had a near perfect day.
The post match comments pretty much summed up the feelings of the red half of Manchester. Sir Alex saying that “what he did was disgraceful” and that “he could have caused a riot” about Suarez’s actions. That said though, here’s some food for thought : If Suarez was guilty, why would Evra want to shake his hand? and if Suarez was innocent, why would he want to shake Evra’s hand?
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