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Manchester United Grind Down Charlton With Tough Win

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Manchester United vs Charlton goal videos

Charlton Athletic 0-3 Manchester United

Utd (Fletcher 49′, Saha 80′, Solskjaer 90′)

It’s all us Manchester United fans here, right? So let’s not mince words.

We fkn rocked the Valley with our posession play, our passing and a willingness to keep going at the opposition until they broke down under the pressure.

Not as convincing as against Fulham, but then again Charlton were playing at home and Manchester United had Mikael Silvestre playing alongside Rio Ferdinand.

Fletcher Manchester United Grind Down Charlton With Tough Win

Surprised? Fletcher opens the scoring in the 49th minute and Manchester United are on their way to a 3-0 away win.

Charlton came into the game looking to rough things up and physically dominate United.

They managed it for some time, but United kept their shape and kept going at them. Ferguson has put a great emphasis on creating a free-flowing passing side that attacks at tempo while keeping posession, and while Fletcher and John O’Shea are not first-choice midfielders both of them did an excellent job linking up with Giggs, Park, Ronaldo and Saha.

Manchester United have now scored 8 goals in their first two games and already have a 2 point lead at the top of the table. Still early days, so I’ll whisper this:

This is the best passing team I’ve seen for a long, long time.

Positives

Carrick’s return. I don’t think he’ll start against Watford but another 20-30 minute cameo will do his recovery a lot of good, and prepare him for the home game against Tottenham. Carrick on the bench was a surprise, but in hindsight the move was probably made by Ferguson with the consideration that United’s second-string midfielders (Miller and Jones) lacked the skills to rescue the team had United gone a goal down.

Our passing – bloody hell, it was smooth. If we can go into away games and dominate teams like this, you have to consider that we’re doing a tad bit better than last year.

Consider the personnel we were missing – Scholes, Rooney, Vidic, Heinze, Carrick, Neville. 3 of 5 first-choice defenders gone, meaning that we have to play Silvestre and Evra. Evra, to an extent, played well when going forward, but Silvestre was bad. The 2 first-choice midfielders were out, so that didn’t help either.

On the other hand, full props to Wes Brown for making himself so comfortable in the right-back position. He should have gone to the World Cup, but now he has a chance of taking over from Neville at right-back both in United and in England. I know we have Phil Bardsley but the extra cover will only help United in the future.

Our fitness and workrate – We’re running ourselves into the ground, chasing down every ball and generally physically handling the game a lot better than other teams. Benefits of a good pre-season?

Negatives

Nervy defending. There were a total of three incidents that really shook United’s defence, and in each of those cases there is nothing that the return of Vidic and Heinze won’t cure.

In case you’re wondering, those three incidents are that 5 seconds of ping-pong in our box (when Evra slipped, Ferdinand knocked it off O’Shea and Silvestre teed it up for Ambrose (in the box, dammit, what were you thinking?), the handballs on Evra when he slipped and the handball by Wes Brown in the second half.

The only other thing I’d worry about is Evra’s crossing and Park’s shooting. However, the two play with such drive and energy that Manchester United were able to completely dominate the flanks and Park even managed to get into two good scoring opportunities (one at the keeper, the second hit the bar).

With Park I’m starting to get the feeling that he’s trying too hard to score a goal, and he could perhaps learn a thing or two from Solskjaer – after hitting an easy chance straight at the keeper Ole didnt let up and in the 90th minute, popped up in the right time at the right spot and tapped the ball in for his first and United’s third – no hard shots, just calm placement.

Evra’s crossing is totally out of whack. Hopefully Ferguson can work on it, although right now it seems that their main emphasis is to get him to improve his tackling.

Players Report

Edwin van der Sar: Had few shots to save but was generally a calming influence at the back – although with Evra and Silvestre around that doesn’t help much.

Wes Brown: Future right-back for Manchester United and England? His runs down the right-flank were a pleasure to see, and apart from one mistake in defence where he left Bent unmarked for a cross, Brown was impeccable.

Rio Ferdinand: Had an excellent game, although to be fair he charged himself up by barging into Hreidasson after the Charlton player had body-checked Ronaldo in full flight. Ferdinand was too good for this Charlton side, and it showed. Definitely a future captain, but only if Neville, Giggs, Solskjaer and Scholes retire.

Mikael Silvestre: Living proof that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Silvestre is a good player, but when he makes mistakes he keeps on making them and in key matches he will be a liability.

Patrice Evra: Someone needs to fix his radar, and fast. Good prospect, but can’t cross at all and needs to learn how to tackle better (bet I’m going to say this a lot, eh?). Was good going forward, linked up with Ronaldo, Giggs and Park well.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Main man in the second half. This season he seems to have been given the license to roam the pitch (as he did for Portugal) and the results have been devastating. The understanding and interchange between Giggs, Park and Ronaldo on the flanks is killer, and his passing with Saha is good, if prone to being a bit flashy.

John O’Shea: Another solid, quiet game. Should keep his spot for the next two games even if Carrick arrives.

Darren Fletcher: The goal was extremely well taken. Is this the year Fletcher will mature into a decent backup? Fingers crossed. He should play against Watford.

Park Ji-Sung: Park’s impressions of the Energiser bunny have earned him respect and he ran himself into the ground again today.

Ryan Giggs: Was easily Manchester United’s best player in the first half, and with Ronaldo and Saha ran the Addicks ragged in the second. Deserves to be Man-of-the-Match.

Louis Saha: Kind of disappeared in the first half with the Charlton defenders doing a good job of shackling him, but he revived his partnership with Ronaldo and Giggs after the Fletcher goal and and duly got his second goal with a wonderful turn-and-shoot move from outside the box. 20 goals? Hell yeah.

Michael Carrick (sub): Ferguson sprung a surprise by naming Carrick on the bench. Came in the 77th minute and linked up with the forwards well. When Rooney and Scholes come back, the front six will be unplayable.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (sub): Replaced Giggs on the field and took the captain’s armband (very classy move, respect) for the last few minutes of the game, and paid homage to his super-sub tag by scoring a goal in the 90th minute. His previous shot was saved by Carson just a few minutes earlier (credit to Ronaldo for giving Solskjaer an unselfish pass). Is slowly getting back into form and will undoubtedly be called up to play a bigger role in future games.

Next Match

Manchester United play Watford on Saturday (26th August) and barring a return from Vidic and Neville United will keep the same starting line-up. Solskjaer might be called upon to play a bigger part, with Park being sacrificed. Will have the preview for you tomorrow.

Questions

Questions for the people who watched the game:

  • Was the handball by Brown deliberate (if anyone’s got clips, that whould be great)?
  • What is worse? Evra’s crossing or Park’s shooting?
  • Your predictions for the Watford game?

Manchester United vs Charlton goal videos

Comments (13)

  1. i dont think that evra’s crossing is bad, remember the state of the pitch too but with time will improve, a proof of this is gary. i agree with you about silly, sorry i mean silvestre. my god, thank god there was rio calming influence at the back. fletcher seemed dr.jekyll and mr.hyde, first half disaster but in the second, he seemed possessed. dribbling players, shooting, bossing the midfield; i never thought i’d see that day. park was a bit disappointing for me, as usual enegeretic display but without much substance, would but kieran next saturday.

  2. Neat analysis, but it was Carrick that set up the first attempt from Ole. This team seems to have the belief and vision that was so sorely missing last year. If we could keep up this form, i can’t see many teams living with us once we’re at full strength. as for your questions, here’s my two pence.

    1) I don’t have a clip, but I saw it in real-time and it didn’t seem deliberate. Nevertheless, he had no business putting his hand up like that…it’s suicidal! great display overall to brown though. he’s vastly underated.

    2) That’s a toughie, but i’d say evra’s crossing is worse. At least park is making an honest effort and he did rattle the woodwork. park’s shooting will definitely improve and he has all the makings of a fine player. evra has to work big-time on his tackling, but he has the right attitude. i’d say he’ll make the cut…eventually!

    3) The watford game should be straight forward, i can’t see anything other than a win for the reds. let’s face it, watford might have done decent in their first two games but man for man we’re miles ahead. we have to make the gap in quality count.

    and yes, silvestre was horrible. seeing the ball go to him raises a few jitters. couple that with evra on the left and it’s a real nerve-wracking combination. how i’m waiting for vida and gabby to return!

  3. Ronaldo played the final ball across to Ole…but yea, well done Carrick :)

  4. For what Evra is worth, he is a rather good tackler and crosser of the ball. The only real difference here is that he has not paid that much attention to the pace. He is slowly getting used to it and has not get caught out on a consistent basis now. I like him and he is definitely a better attacking threat than Heinze although Evra still have a bit of doing before being a player that Heinze is. What I can say of Evra now is that, he can help break down smaller teams that we always had trouble dealing with. Heinze for all his influence is probably worse at crossing the ball than Evra is. WIth Heinze, I have this question to ask, why isn’t he filling that centre-back position? With him and Rio, that centre of defense will be Fort Knox.

  5. Dave – seen the last two matches? Evra’s crosses were more dangerous for the crowd than for Charlton and Fulham. I doubt that a single one of them landed with a United player (or anywhere near them, even).

    Evra’s tackling is getting better, and he’s as fast, if not faster, than Heinze and Silvestre.

    Heinze as centre-half? the man can’t head the ball and has made absolute clangers in set pieces (albeit very few). Brown and Vidic are much more natural defenders (and much better choices at centre-half) – Heinze’s doing an excellent job at left-back and should stay there.

  6. Ahmed – Karan was right mate, it was Carrick who played Ole in for his first attempt. Ronaldo passed to Carrick.

  7. karan – my bad mate, just watched the replay again :)

  8. Evra’s crosses did reach its marks at times, albeit inaccurate. However, he got us quite alot of free kicks and seemed to attract players to him which allowed Ronaldo, Giggs and Park more freedom on that left side. He seem to get it just right as to when to run into space and be an option. Throughout the Charlton match, he did get caught a few times but seemed to use his pace well enough to track back. Heinze although I do admit he is poor at heading the ball, but he makes it difficult for opposing players to get a crack at it with his positional play and tenacity. Wes Brown for me still makes mistakes and rather big ones at times. It’s just that Silvestre’s clanger make his seem smaller. Brown when he played Charlton took his eye of the ball at times and allowed players space to play the ball in. Probably that because he is in the right-back role but those when presented to better teams are going to hurt. Brown is still prone to mistakes and at times silly fouls. Vidic, my verdict is still not out on him but with Heinze, he don’t know how to attack and not really ideal with his left back role. He lacks pace and at times the season before this, when he had so much space on the left, he failed to produce anything good for us going forward. He hardly get anywhere near the byline and that is why we can’t overcome the lesser teams that just sits in defense. To effectively use Heinze, I can’t help but to think centre of defense.

  9. ????

    not in the mood to spoil a good win with ultimately pointless arguments, so I’ll pass on nitpicking your reply.

    8 goals in two games, 2 point lead already at the top of the table. Watford should be negotiated safely, Carrick will be back for Tottenham and Rooney and Scholes will be back for Arsenal.

    Still not counting my chickens on this one though…

  10. This is quite an interesting page and your analysis are good but if you’re trying to develop any credibility with fans you’re going to have to accept constructive criticism and not respond to every reply. Its well annoying man. Even when you’re wrong you answer back. I’m only telling you because I read some of the stuff.
    There is a leak in my roof but at least Evra’s crossing is good for a left-back and his passing and movement are quality.

  11. i think i’ll go out of my way to piss you off on this one :)

    I got the carrick assist wrong, and I apologised.

    And on Evra, since you’re the second person defending him, I think I should speak up.

    His pace is good, he’s linking up well with Ronaldo, Park, Giggs and Saha, he’ll improve his passing (which is decent right now) and I’m hoping that he’ll improve his tackling too.

    However, his crossing is not good – I understand that he’s second-choice, maybe even third-choice as left-back but the stuff he’s dishing out is as bad as Silvestre.

    Overall, he’s a decent player, but like I said in the season preview he has to prove himself this season.

    If you disagree, then I guess we see the game differently.

  12. Manchester United are so confident of tying up a deal for Uber-midfielder Owen Hargreaves, that they have already booked his medical for Tuesday. He will undergo his medical on Tuesday morning at Whalley Range BUPA Hospital, and will then be whisked to Carrington to complete the deal.

    A likely fee for the Canadian, German, English and fuck knows what else midfielder will be in the region of £16m+ although some of this fee is likely to be based on appearances and performance.

  13. Park is a piece of junk. ok, he’s actually bullcrap. you want energy? lets get a tri-athlete or a marathon runner. pls do notice that park cant win the ball 79% of the time, cant beat a man on the flank 90% of the time, falls over the ball whenver he’s pushed 99% of the time and dont contribute to the team in attack as well as others 99.99% of the time. who cant do what he do, passing the ball arnd. lol i rather see cris eagles, ritchie jones or guissepe rossi playing some ball.