5 talking points: Manchester United vs Reading
With the Blue half of Mersyside defeating the blue half of Manchester, United had the chance to put the final nail on City’s title challenge. Reading were led by caretaker manager Eamonn Dolan after Brian McDermott had been sacked earlier in the week.
While many predicted a massacre, what ensued was a cagey affair, with a lack of goal scoring chances. In short, it was a professional United performance, in terms of getting three points and getting the job done. They put in a dozen like these each season.
Here are the five talking points for United’s one-nil win as they went five points clear:
Tactically fluid outfit by Sir Alex:
The team was a very different one from what many expected. Evra and Carrick were given a much deserved break. For Rafael it may or may not have been a break, after all he had been humiliated badly at the Madjeski. Giggs, Buttner, Smalling, Welbeck, Young and Anderson all tarted. Giggs was put in alongside the enigmatic Anderson. Giggs was everywhere at left back, on the left flank, turning back the clock and getting past his man time and again.
On a night of beautiful fluidity by the whole team gave lovers of total football a treat. The front four along with Giggs and Buttner switched positions well. At one point Giggs was center forward while Rooney was the holding midfielder and Welbeck was covering for Smalling on the right back spot.
Solidity at the back:
With Rio in good form, a reunion with Vidic was perfect for United. They kept their 5th consecutive clean sheet, for a team that at a time topped the goals conceded charts this is a great achievement. Vidic was a colossus in the back, every cross that came in was sent out convincingly. Though a penalty could have been given against him, he got lucky. Other than the blip he put in a stellar performance. Ferdinand played like the Rio of yore. He carried the ball out of defense, put in a 60 yard pass Scholes would be proud of, and set up the assist for the solitary goal. Firm at the back, Rio was United’s man of the match.
Rooney oh Rooney:
People said that RVP would decrease the significance of this number 10, but his stellar form has silenced all. Deemed surplus to requirements against Madrid, Rooney has responded in fine fashion with goals against Chelsea and the winner here. Albeit of a lucky deflection. RVP’s barren run continues but Rooney has taken over where RVP left off and seems to be carrying United with his desire. A special mention for the work rate he put in; he probably covered more ground than anyone on the pitch, you could see him covering for Buttner, defending crosses and playing deep in midfield.
What could have been a walk in the park for United was actually a hard fought win, due to the efforts of Reading. As expected most of their danger came from out wide, but they were an organized unit and gave United very little space. They deserved a penalty, and Robson-Kanu almost scored with a stunning first time shot that brushed the post. They were solid, threatening at times, but never dangerous.
For Reading, Mcanuff and stand in keeper Taylor were the men who had a good game, the rest were decent. Nothing to write home about though. For United Rooney, Vidic, Ferdinand and Giggs had good games. De Gea hardly had a save to make and the rest were below par. Anderson particularly looked out of place, so much so, that Carrick had to be brought on late on.