Analysis of the goals conceded against Manchester United (22/8)
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Welbeck’s goal – fantastic delivery from Tom Cleverley, and Danny Welbeck guides the header into the corner.
With Assou-Ekotto having failed to get any distance on a clearance from an attempted cross-field pass from Rooney, United build down the right again. Cleverley feeds Smalling, who was often very advanced in the second half.
Smalling lays the ball back to Cleverley, and we have three players who aren’t really preventing anything from happening – at least one should be closer to Cleverley. Note Kaboul’s position – he is marking Welbeck but has one eye on Nani, who has drifted into a good area untracked.
Kaboul is caught in two minds – he is unsure whether Cleverley is going to feint to cross and play it into Nani, and so is caught flat-footed.
As a result, Welbeck – who has only one thought in his mind – steals a march on him and, such is the quality of the cross, is able to guide the header into the far corner.
Anderson’s goal – a wonderful United move ends with Welbeck finding Anderson with a cheeky back hell, and the Brazilian side-foots home.
At this point Spurs have made two changes in midfield, and are getting a little bit desperate, throwing bodies forward – it is 5 against 5 in this picture. Rooney lays off to Anderson, who has surged forward.
Kaboul comes out to press the ball, but is not helped by any of his team mates (notably van der Vaart), who fail to follow Anderson’s run.
Welbeck cleverly back-heels first time, taking Dawson out of the game.
…and leaving Anderson with a simple finish beyond the helpless Friedel.
Rooney’s goal – similar to the first goal, Rooney finds the corner with a header from an excellent Giggs cross
United have a period of possession from a throw-in. Giggs makes a move off van der Vaart’s shoulder, and Nani looks to find him.
Van der Vaart suddenly realises that he has let Giggs go, but too late to have an impact. Kaboul attempts to come out to put some pressure on the ball, but Giggs’ close control is excellent in a relatively tight area.
Another top class cross from United, who put a number of excellent deliveries into the box throughout the 90 minutes.
Dawson is caught on his heels, and Rooney easily gets up above him to send his header into the far corner.
Spurs matched United for 60 minutes, and had a few chances of their own, including a reasonable shout for a penalty after a foul by Jones on Bale right on the edge of the box (which the referee failed to spot). When Kranjcar started to tire, Redknapp took him off but rather stragely took Livermore off at the same time, bringing on Huddlestone and Pavlyuchenko, and dropping van der Vaart into central midfield. Two of the subsequent goals then came about by poor positioning and tracking in our deep midfield area where van der Vaart did not cope well.
I have never been a great fan of Redknapp’s use of substitutions, but yesterday’s were more mystifying than usual. Still, credit must go to Redknapp for his selection of Friedel, who had a fantastic debut, and looked very agile for a 40-year old.
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The two ideal candidates from those available? Pav and Huddlestone. The two candidates to come off? Well, from 1-0 down, you don't want to remove Bale, Lennon, Defoe or VDV, and you don't want to go too gung-ho and take off a defender, so that leaves Krancjar, who was tiring in an unfamiliar position, and Livermore, who, although an excellent prospect, was starting to get over-run.
One thing I would like to see more of in those situations though would be for Harry to pull Assou-Ekotto off and drop Bale to left back. That way you can bring an extra attacker without sacrificing too much - Bale is quick and energetic enough to cover the entire flank, especially if we're chasing a game. I still think Bale has a big future at left back - but I can't help starting to think that he'll fulfil that particular destiny somewhere other than WHL...
1 this was man utds 3rd competitive game having had good workouts at city, and west brom as well as a competetive pre season playing barcelona no less, whereas we had 1 game against a poor hearts team that even west ham would convincely beat,in short after 60 minutes the blokes were knackered and man utds fitness told through ,our next game against city could be much the same,all i know is that watching everyone now in the prem i think man u and city are on another level ,everyone else is pretty equal ,im massively confident of 3rd or 4th if we get the big name signings were chasing,
I agree with you, I would have left Livermore on, I suspect not winning at OT is the last big curse we can't shift and in trying desperatly to the last thirty minutes became a cup game rather than league one hence the changes.
I saw enough of Defoe to see he has his merits, unfortunately not enough to say we don't need better soon, Johnny Evans looked very suspect and no one pushed him much, didn't see much of Jones being tested as part of a unit rather than a talented individual either we seemed too preoccupied with firing long shots at the keeper, which after 15 minutes should really have seen it wasnt going to work as a game plan and to get back to normal.
Hindsight and all...
Kaboul was outstanding I thought, bar the incidents highlighted above I thought his partnership with Dawson looks something to build on in the future since we can't guarentee King or Gallas being anything more than exceptional tutors to give on the field guidance to the next defenders after this season.
Anyway, another great analysis, thank you.
My brief observations.
The need for a striker who can play up top on his own becomes more and more obvious every game. Why have we not addressed this in the last 3 windows?
Lennon's lack of delivery is a real source of frustration and the public display by VDV last night is further proof that the players are affected by it.
Dawson's inability to play with a less experience CB also costs us goals. Why is it that he only seems to put in a top performance when King or Gallas are playing?
Finally, we needs leader(s) on the pitch. We have none, except Gallas. Why are people so averse to bringing in natural leaders like Parker, Barton or even Neville?
Anon @ 10:07 - I'd personally have taken Lennon or Defoe off, neither of whom was having a good game. I thought Bale could have been switched with Defoe temporarily too to see if he could get any joy centrally. Redknapp's not too creative...
Anon @ 10:16 - I thought we did well too, and you make some excellent points about fixtures so far.
bonse - top stuff, and I agree with much of it. Defoe was so frustrating - even if his decision-making had been much better, his famed good movement (!) was frankly non-existent.
Anon @ 10:57 - Broadly agree with all of the points you make and especially on Defoe.
Fatfish @ 13:14 - I actually think Dawson and Kaboul look a decent pairing (better than Gallas and Dawson), but I agree with your your comments about Lennon and the strikers.
Dawson should have beaten Lennon senseless for his lack of commitment during the match. Terrible stuff.
PS I wrote this some time ago, but I can't seem to post from an iPhone as the profile selector is blank