Manchester United were disinterested and unmotivated as Middlesbrough put on a great display of passing and counter attacking football, pushing 4 goals past United before substitute Cristiano Ronaldo pulled one back in the 93rd minute.
Edwin van der Sar opened the scoring when he flubbed Gaizka Mendieta’s first minute strike. It (I think) was van der Sar’s first lollipop of the season and foreshadowed United’s performance all game long. Unable to recoup the early goal, United floundered.
Rio Ferdinand was the next victim as a mistake gifted Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink the second goal followed by Kieron Richardson’s foul in the box on Stuart Parnaby. Yakubu, impressive all season long, converted from the spot.
Yakubu wasn’t finished as he whipped past Ferdinand to the end line and neatly pulled back for the charging Mendieta to get his second and the team’s deserved 4th goal in the late minutes.
After the 4th Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson promptly introduced Wes Brown in place of Ferdinand whose form all season has been nothing if not suspect. Ferguson’s face said it all, the old gaffer was pissed.
For Boro, this was a big win, if only they showed such determination against middle tier teams they would do fine. They have a decent core of strikers, George Boateng, who just keeps getting better and better, and a supporting stock of good talent.
As for United, the Malcom Glazer induced fall from grace seems to be real. I can’t recall a recent worse performance from them. Conceding 23 fouls versus Boro is an ominous sign. United are now another 3 points behind Chelsea and slipping. Next week United face Chelsea and I would expect the Abramovic’s to show the Glazer’s whose boss.