Saturday, August 13, 2005

Manchester United win over Everton sees plotlines played out

Manchester United started their new Premiership campaign today by rolling over Everton away 2-0.

There were lots of plotlines played out in the first Premiership match of the season. JS Park started his first game, Phil Neville playing against his old club and brother, Wayne Rooney back home, and the Moyes-Ferguson catfight from last season.

Manchester United saw newcomer JS Park start in place of injured Cristiano Ronaldo and showed he was not at United just to sell shirts. He played well and was on pace from the moment go, but you could see a big difference in the side without Ronaldo; another clear sign of the teams growing dependence on the Portuguese international.

Phil Neville, at United since age 10, started his career away from the nest for Everton against his old team. After 18 years at United I even considered if he might pass the ball to a red shirt by mistake.

United were the better side early until Everton’s James Beattie suffered an injury only 16 minutes into his season. Marcus Bent came on in his place (with his socks pulled so high up he looked like a cabaret dancer) and improved on Everton’s start significantly.

Beattie isn’t suited to the single striker role. He doesn’t bring others into play. Once Bent came on Everton began to have the better run of play. Tim Cahill started to link up with summer signing Simon Davis and Bent was better able to switch play and encourage crosses.

Everton had a good 20 minute spell of pressure and a few good chances that went begging. Once, Van der Sar saved. On 33 minutes Bent hit the crossbar. Everton didn’t capitalize. Ruud van Nistelrooy had disappeared from the game but finally capitalized on a John O’Shea overlap to chip the ball in from point blank range; it was his 4th goal in his last 31 hours of Premiership football. The 43 minute goal sapped Everton of confidence and on 45 minutes, as the half approaced, Joseph Yobo made a shocking defensive flub to gift Wayne Rooney a goal.

Rooney had been getting jeered the whole match when he touched the ball, but it was Yobo that made his vengeance easy having no reason to play the ball square across the goal. Rooney stepped in and scored the lollipop.

After the half new captain David Weir went close on 49 minutes but the rest of the game was pretty academic.

Without Ronaldo to stretch the pitch Manchester United were a little flat. 3 points away is never easy but my conclusion here is that Everton is a weaker squad than their 4th place finish from last season. Tottenham looked good today against Portsmouth and would have probably beaten the Manchester United I saw.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with what you said about Tottenham. I think if there is one club capable of Everton's last season feat it's the spurs.

As for Glazer FC Ronaldo is indeed becoming central to their cause as is Rooney. You should be more objective about van Nistelrooy though. I've noted over time that credit due to him is a needle search in haystack for you. Otherwise, great blog.

8/13/2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger Cathal Breathnach said...

I thought Tottenham looked very good today and I think that they have a great chance of been in fourth place come the end of the season. I also thought the game today came to life when Marcus Bent came on.

8/13/2005 10:12 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...



Yes, I do give RvN a hard time. He plays like a brute sometimes and that bothers me. Point taken though. I'm too biased about him and do ignore his qualities.


I saw nothing yesterday from Tottenham to make me disagree -and did it missing key players.

8/14/2005 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

remember that giggs wasn't present either, so man u were lacking in both wingers, and heinze who also gets up the wings so man u were bound to be a bit flat

8/14/2005 10:23 PM  

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