Manchester United face Southampton in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Saturday in game where they are expected to comfortably progress to the next round. United are sitting proudly on top of the Premiership and are widely regarded as hot favourites to end up as this seasons champions. The Saints on the other hand are fighting to stay in the race for promotion from league division One to the Championship.
And so by the skin of our teeth and thanks to some inspired Berbatov magic, the incredible unbeaten run of the “Crap Invincibles” continues. Based on our first half display, the tag is well justified. As the song says, “We’re shit, and we’re top of the league”, but don’t forget, both parts of that statement are correct. This truly was a textbook definition of a game of two halves, with United exhibiting the best and worst parts of what has been prominent in our game all season, but what’s the cliché? The mark of champions? It was certainly evident tonight.
Thanks to my friend the M6 motorway I missed the first 15 minutes of the match, but I think the last 30 minutes of the first half can be safely extrapolated to explain the rest of it without any issues. From what I can gather, both teams lined-up in a 4-3-3 formation, as show below
Having had a chance to calm down and get over the disappointment of United throwing away another lead late on in a game, I’ve taken advantage of the benefits of Sky + and re-watched the game against Birmingham from Tuesday night to try and figure out what went wrong and why in that rather damp affair.
Following the full-time whistle, my immediate reaction was to lay most of the blame for the teams mediocre performance mainly at the feet of Darren Gibson, a man I’ve often described as a “Champ Manager 14’er.” What this means is that, in Champ Manager terms, most of his stats (passing, pace, technique, tackling) would be 14 out of 20, with the possible exception that his long shots may reach as high as 16 out of 20. Another explanation I’ve heard to summarise his ability is that, “he’d do well at Villa.”