Skip to content

#FlawedButFabulous update: Another day, another late goal, another win for Manchester United

Feb 2, 2013, 3:14 PM EST

FBL-ENG-PR-FULHAM-MAN UTD Getty Images

For the same reason you won’t turn off a Manchester United game when they’re trying to hold a 2-1 lead over one of the worst teams in the league, you don’t doubt the Red Devils as time ticks away on a 0-0. Even after he’s spent 26 years at United, we still don’t know how, exactly, Alex Ferguson gets his teams so supremely prepared for these situations, but he does.

That’s why it was not only expected by anti-climatic when Wayne Rooney scored in the 79th minute at Craven Cottage, giving United a 1-0 win over Fulham. It was too early by Manchester United’s standards. Where’s the drama?

That came a few minutes before. Rafael da Silva, defending the right post on a corner kick,  had to jump to head the go ahead goal off the Red Devil line. A couple of exchanges later and a long pass out of United’s end sent Wayne Rooney hopping behind the ball into the Fulham box. Just inside the area he pulled up and opened his right foot onto a shot he put around Aaron Hughes and into Mark Schwarzer’s net. Game.

MORE: Chelsea plays Mr. Hyde at Newcastle

Again they were flawed, nearly going down late to a team that’s struggled all season. And again they were fabulous, a well executed counter giving them full points. For all their spells that lack control and the complains about their defending, Manchester United is still 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of tomorrow’s Manchester City-Liverpool match.

But that defending which was so error-prone mid-week and has been so suspect all season  held up today. There were nervous moments — off the line clearances from both Rafael and Robin van Persie – but the central pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans played well (particularly Evans, who recorded an assist on the only goal). If the Red Devils can keep two of Ferdinand, Evans, and Nemanja Vidic healthy at all times, they may have a chance in Champions League against Real Madrid.

MORE, EPL Roundup: Fellaini England’s best?

Fulham also had a series of nice defensive plays in a game that should have had more than one goal, one that played out in very United fashion. Against the standard that we normally judge title contenders, giving up near-as many chances as you create would be a problem, particularly against a lower-half team.

But we’re used to finding new ways to judge Manchester United. And against those standards, Saturday’s was just a typical Red Devil performance.

  1. dfstell - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Yeah….it was a kinda flat performance. It felt like it was going to be 0-0. Carrick/Cleverly and Valencia didn’t do much and RVP was off.

    But….it also bugs me a little bit when these games are described as very equal and United got lucky to score. If your two strikers are Rooney and RVP, you will score goals when less classy finishers miss. I mean, if you give United 10 chances and the opposition 10 chances, you’d expect United to score more goals just because their strikers are better.

    And I know people say, “Well, if they didn’t have RVP and Rooney they wouldn’t be atop the table…” but all top teams have really good finishers. That’s the primary thing that sets top teams apart from everyone else.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Week 12: Premier League recap