Sunday, March 20, 2011

10-man MU down gritty Bolton

It was a scrappy win, but I'll take the three points any way they come!

Well done lads for showing just how determined you are. In fact, after Evans got sent off, you showed even more determination.

To be fair, it wasn't a bad performance all-round. Bolton showed great determination as well, and played a really tight game, especially when they didn't have the ball.

In fact, they were unlucky not to go ahead after Evans was given his marching orders, with Taylor sending a free header straight at VDS. Either side of the big Dutchman and it would have been a goal for sure.

The commentator's statement that Bolton might just rue that miss proved prophetic as Berba scored his 21st goal of the season, reacting first to Jaaskelainen's blunder -- spilling Nani's shot right into the advancing Bulgarian's path. And if Berba hadn't been there, Fabio would have gotten it.

The game could have been different, however, if referee Mariner had given a penalty in the first half. Hernandez's shot hit Cahill in the arm, and although it can be argued that it was unintentional, the fact that Cahill's arm was away from his body should mean a penalty. But Mariner didn't think so.

Actually, most of these controversies would be nullified if FIFA should bring back the indirect free kick rule for unintentional handball in the penalty area. Maybe the world governing body should look into that.

As for the other so-called controversial decision -- Evans' red card -- I don't see any controversy at all. Yes, he is not known as a dirty player. Yes, it was a 50-50 challenge. Yes, he got the ball first. But the fact of the matter is that he left the ground and lunged, with studs baring, and the follow-through gashed Holden's leg pretty badly. That was why he was sent off. And I think it was warranted.

Evans did not have a good game, actually. His lack of match practice showed. Smalling played better, but even he too didn't have a fantastic game.

Carrick, too, came under fire from fans in online sports sites. I have to say he didn't have a decent game, but did make up for it with some decent defending when he was forced into the back line after Evans was sent off.

All in, it was a good day for MU though, what with winning while a man down and Arsenal getting held.

So, now it's five points clear at the top, having played a game more than the Gunners. Let's hope we end it that way.

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