United’s woeful forwards

by Dave Redden

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Tevez can’t Make a tackle and Ronaldo can’t take a tackle

There I was, sat on the couch mulling over the Chelsea/Newcastle game and thinking what to write about this week when Aston Villa v Manchester United came on the box and my prayers were answered.

Let’s talk about Manchester United’s twin threat upfront (for today at least), Tevez and Ronaldo. I would hazard to guess that when the kickaround comes at the end of the training sessions these two are always on the same side. Not to create an understanding between the two, it’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s not completely blind that one doesn’t exist. The reason is probably to keep Ronaldo safe. If Carlos Tevez attempts to tackle him he will surely take him out for good. The fact of the matter is that Tevez can’t tackle. Granted, he’s (supposedly) a striker, but good strikers can win their team the ball back in and around the penalty area. Tevez actually helps the opposing defence by bringing down the player, usually pretty crudely, and relieveing the pressure via the ensuing free kick. Maybe the wily Old Scot realised this after his umpteenth attempt at a challenge against Villa resulted in the inevitable free kick and he replaced Tevez with Nani for the final fifteen minutes or so. No chance of the same happening with Nani on the pitch! As Tevez was leaving the field he looked like the little old troll from Aesop’s Fables and he had just lost his bridge or something.

Over to Ronaldo, the self-confessed Number One player in the world, as he reminded the Villa fans on his way down the tunnel after he was also substituted in the game. I counted Ronaldo going to ground under the pressure of a challenge at least eight times, two of which I may give way to being a touch boisterous. The others must have been because of a few strong gusts of wind in his general area. The guy is 6’1” and built like the proverbial brick outhouse yet goes down quicker than a cheap hooker! Speed is obviously his forte as, no sooner does he hit the deck, than he’s back up aligning the ball for a shot at goal from the newly awarded free kick. Ronaldo may have the guile, speed and skill to be the world’s numero uno, but playing the game fairly is part of that package and he’s not there yet. Stay on your feet, Cristiano, we’ll respect you more for it!

Two images over the day’s play stuck in my mind. The first is from the Chelsea v Newcastle 0-0 draw and is of Magpies interim manager, Roy Kinnear, synchronising his watch with the fourth official with just a minute to go in added time at Stamford Bridge. The look on his face was priceless.

The other incident includes my pal, Ronaldo. As he left the field at Villa Park he did so with a heavy limp. By the time he was headed down the tunnel, presumably for treatment (otherwise he would have seen the game out on the bench), he stopped to remind the Villa faithful that he’s the best player in the world. That’s just the way he is. Embarrassed over his performance and being subbed he partakes in a little banter with the opposition fans. Thing is, this may catch on as a new medical treatment, because when he continued on down the tunnel, lo and behold, the limp was gone! Miraculous! And without a Magic Sponge in sight! Come on, dude, just play the game, will you?

At least it was only verbal banter with the Villa fans that Ronaldo served up, not the up close and personal version Eric Cantona took to the stands back in his day.

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  • Stevie

    Rooney had a blinding spell, he’s gone crap again. Berbatov is still finding his feet but I do feel he’s not worth 30 m. Defoe would be idea for United, they need a poacher, Tevez, Rooney & Berb are the same player, give or take a few spots and teeth

  • Dan Church

    our problem in recent weeks has been getting the breakthrough, once we score the first goal the opposition collapse and we can virtually help ourselves….early goals against Hull and Stoke saw us go on and score 7 more in all, yet the longer it takes us to score, the shakier we look…..i was worried that Villa were actually going to nick a winner in the end, wheras if Rooney hadnt ballooned a simple chance from a yard out i would have been confident of a 2 or 3-0 victory……

    I dont think weve seen the best of Berba yet, he’ll pull out a couple of cracking games before xmas and everyone will be saying hes worth £40m. But no, Tevez cant tackle, he just runs around like a miniture Hulk, grunting as he goes…..

  • Phl

    I fully expect United to waste another 30m on a striker in January. It’s obvious to see they need a Rud Van Mistletoe!

  • Simon Staples

    Nevermind Man Utd and their mis-firing strikers, nobody here has even mentioned that it’s another good result for Villa and might have been even better had the referee and linesman seen Agbonlahor manhandling for 20 yards by Vidic. “big 4” decision again???

  • Parks numero uno

    United never should have bought Berbatov, they should have tried to buy Huntelaar from Ajax, he is the type of striker who can sniff out a goal ( and yes i watch Dutch football,I dont get my info from football managment computer games).

    United can play pretty football (see game against Arsenal) but when it comes to getting scruffy goals against teams that defend well (see Aston Villa game) they just cant do it.

    Maybe Defoe could be the answer

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    the boy Huntelaar might score loads of goals in the Dutch league but that doesn’t mean he will be a goal scorer in the Premier League. Look at Alves for example, he was banging ’em in fun, now he can’t hit a donkey’s backside with a banjo, same can be said for dirk kyte, Tugay & Jo. To many clubs are willing to take the risk and pay over the odds for so called goal scorers from other leagues.

    The irony is that Torres wasn’t prolific in La Liga yet is the Premier League.

    Owen might do job for United, what are the odds on him going there?

  • Parks numero uno

    He is too injury prone, Huntelaar will score goals in the premier league. The only reason Torres is prolific is that the Spanish league is tougher than the Premier league.
    Alot of Premier league defences have no pace but in Spain the players are generally faster and dirtier of course.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    can’t be any worse then Saha, could get him for next to nothing. In fact, I reckon Arsenal should sign him!

    The Premier League might be slower but the defenders are harder, I would say Serie A would be harder to consistently score 20 plus a season, but you rarely get strikers leaving Italy for England.

    If you are talking about modern day strikers then Rud Mistletoe has to be the best, he has done it in 3 different leagues.

  • Dan Church

    i know it was mentioned a while back, but the Vidic vs Agbonlahor challenge was never a penalty, a free kick should have been given outside the area for the pulling on the shoulder, but the actual challange in the area was perfectly good and legal. But speaking of Agbonlahor, id love to see him at United, defenses would be terrified with him and Ronaldo running at them…

  • Darren

    You say that but when was the last time Ronaldo beat a man? He hardly EVER runs at defences any more. As Matt Quinn will tell you, Messi does this week in week out!

    Vidic is a lucky man as he got away with the exactly the same thing against Arsenal, luck we won otherwise Wenger would still be going on about it.

    Agbonlahor is a good player but he is still way to raw for my liking.

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