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  • stefan t stefan t Aug 17, 2010 06:48 Flag

    Observations from the match

    First of all, it's great to have the league underway again. I wish there were evening matches during the weekend as it does add more atmosphere to the occasion.

    Starting from the back:

    1) O'Shea looks much fitter and trimmer than I've ever seen him. He seems to have improved in confidence on the ball, and was reliable and defensively sound as ever.

    2) Evra's performance was excellent. The extra break seems to have done him some good. I hope his injury isn't serious.

    3) Evans gave a good defensive performance, but his distribution really needs to improve. It can be quite poor.

    4) Scholes played as well I've seen since the 2006-2007 season. Beautiful to watch.

    5) That said, I still feel we lack drive and dribbling ability in the centre of the pitch. I felt that until Scholes started to push forward in the 2nd half, we didn't have much central thrust - there was too much space between the midfield and strikeforce and everything predictably came from the wings. I'm hoping that Anderson, Cleverley and eventually, Bebe, can add this.

    6) Valencia gave a great defensive performance. I think he will improve this season.

    7) Nani has the ability to be 1 of the top 7 players in the world within 2 years if he really works hard to develop his game and become more reliable with his passing. The fact that he is erratic with his passing yet still influences the game is a testament to this. Very talented indeed.

    8) Rooney is slowly coming to fitness and form. I think as some have said, it will be another 3-5 games till we see him come good. The signs were good.

    9) Berbatov showed the most determination and joy in a United shirt that I've ever seen from him. A great talent, and I have a feeling he will have a good season. I think he can reach his Tottenham heights if he stops trying to be so cute with the ball and is more ruthless.

    10) Hernandez showed real enthusiasm when he came on. Good link up play.

    11) General point: our bench looked so much more potent than it has done since the end of 2008-2009. Pace, youth and quality. We look strong. Promote Cleverley and give Bebe a chance in the Carling Cup in a month or 2 and that would be nice.

    12) For England fans, I thought Carroll did well with the limited service he got. He reminds me a little (don't laugh) of a young Ibrahimovic - just with less technical ability. It's a shame he doesn't play for a better team as I think he is top 8 standard, and in a year or so could be international class, given England's lack of options. I think Rooney would enjoy playing with him.

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    • I agree its great to have the season back, and it was good to start with a decent victory.

      1. O'Shea did fine defensively, but did make a couple of dangerous passes across the back 4 that a better team could have pounced on and punished us for.

      2. Evra once again showed why, in my opinion, he's the best left back around. He was solid at the back, and great going forward, especially when we picked him out more in the second half. A great player.

      3. Evans looked good alongside Vidic. A solid partnership. I actually thought his distribution was improved last night, and he also made a couple of good runs forward from the back.

      4. Scholes was great to watch. His range of passing was as good as ever. I've not had the benefit of seeing a replay yet, but I thought his booking looked harsh from where I was sat, as did Fletchers. He actually made a couple of really well timed tackles!

      5. I thought we did well centrally last night. Fletcher had a good game and was his usual energetic box to box self. He deserved his goal. I expect we'll see a lot of Fletcher and Scholes together this season.

      6. I was actually quite disappointed with Valencia last night. He was good tracking back, but he wasn't great at the other end. He looked a little scared to take on the fullback last night, and didn't utilise his great pace enough to get behind them. His usual end product was lacking. I still think he's a great player, but not one of his more influential performances.

      7. I thought Nani was one of the best players on the pitch. He showed some lovely touches and good skill in all areas of the pitch. End product was a little hit and miss at times, but it is only the first game, and that will improve. I think this may well be the season where we really see the best of Nani.

      8. I agree Rooneys fitness is improving and he did show some good movement, but he still looks a few steps away from returning to his pre ankle injury self. His touch was quite sloppy at times and his finishing wasn't great. He looked a man short on confidence, which I think was evident around the 53rd minute when he was sent clear to cut in from the right. A confident Rooney would have taken the shot on and at least forced a good save if not scoring, but instead last night he opted to try and pass to Berbatov and the chance went. I'm confident his form will return, but I think it's going to take a couple of weeks. He needs a goal soon to restore some confidence.

      9. I was really happy with Berbatov last night. He showed a lot more determination to get stuck in and his goal was a decent finish. If he hadn't felt the need to do something fancy a couple of times in the second half, he could easily have scored a hattrick. I've never been convinced he'd fit into this team, as good a player as he is, but last night showed there may be hope for him yet.

      10. Chicharito got a great reception when he came on. I was impressed by how he was always looking to get the defenders on the back foot and constantly looking to make runs in behind the defence, as shown when he very nearly got in for a goal shortly after coming on. He looked like he timed his run well from the view I had, but I assume he was just offside.

      11. The bench did look strong with a lot of promising youth on it.

      12. Carroll was the only player who looked like he could do anything in a poor Newcastle team. We should have punished them more than we did. We played well, but it looked more like a training session than a match at times. I was surprised how poor Newcastle were. Van Der Sar might aswell have sat down and had a cup of tea for the majority of the game! One thing that amazed was how much time Harper wasted taking goal kicks when his team should have been trying to chase the game.

    • I think that there is a court case to do with a fight in Newcastle that Andy carroll had I am not sure but GBH or ABH springs to mind as the charge.
      I agree with you he looks a right handful and massive !! but yes he does lack guile and some technical ability that learning at a top club can give you
      I am wondering if the court case is the reason not one better club has been in for him

    • 13) Try and put tonight's result into perspective - it's ONLY Newcastle United FFS, a team most pundits predicted would be among 7 sides at the foot of the table in May 2011 fighting for Premier League survival.