This is quite possibly the most c*nty face that I’ve ever seen in my life.
That for me was almost more objectionable than Clattenburg’s latest error. I don’t want to write too much about that subject, but I do think that whether you think that the ref was in the wrong or that Gomes should have played to the whistle, the one thing that you can’t imagine is Clattenburg giving a similar goal to us at the other end, which tells it’s own story.
The incident has dominated the reporting of the match, which was a depressingly familiar tale. As is often the case, we pretty much matched United in terms of the general play, but defended poorly and failed to create any clear cut chances.
Perhaps we should be more worried about the first goal we conceded rather than the second, as it’s a problem that lies with us and is one that we need to rectify. The marking was pretty abysmal, especially considering that Vidic is their best player in the air and should surely be marked tighter than anyone else.
In attack the final ball was never quite right and Keane failed to occupy the type of areas where you want to see a lone striker. In a way I can see why Harry selected him. Crouch had a stinker against Everton, while Pavlyuchenko is not going to work as hard as Keane, which is a consideration away from home.
I thought that in terms of his interaction with our midfielders, Keane looked alright, but he was dropping too deep and far too often Van der Vaart was left as our furthest player forward. Keane’s mentality is geared towards dropping back and he didn’t seem able to adapt his game.
Pav looked far more threatening when he came on and perhaps should be given a start against Inter. I’m not his biggest fan, but I thought he put in one of his better performances against Fulham and scored a goal, only to be dropped to the bench for the next three games.
The other surprise selection was Jenas. He had a poor game, giving possession away cheaply and lacking the defensive discipline of a Palacios or Sandro. We looked very open, which added to the quality of a very entertaining game, but could have seen us punished far more than we were.
Our best players for me were Modric and Van der Vaart, who both looked very at home in the wide open spaces of Old Trafford. Thanks heavens that VDV will be back in action on Tuesday having limped off in the second half.
In the end very little was learned from this experience. We know that we’re not too far off having the quality to come to a team like United and win, but for now, we are still agonisingly short of the required level. All we can hope is that one day we’ll get there and enjoy the sort of help from referees that the best sides can always count on.