Saturday, June 10, 2023

Lucky United are still the team to beat

Winning goal

There is an old adage that says it is better to be lucky than good. That certainly held true for Manchester United yesterday as they rode their luck through a disappointing display and took all three points in a 2-1 win at an impressive West Brom.


With Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham all winning and Chelsea facing a less than daunting game against Aston Villa today the win for Manchester United was absolutely crucial and could prove to be a seriously important three points come the end of the season.

It has been said many times already this season that Manchester United are way below the standards they have set in recent years. Yesterday they were poor. Their passing was sloppy and they lacked penetration going forward. Every time West Brom got at Gary Neville they looked dangerous and the veteran defender looked to be way out of his depth.


All of the above is true yet United are top of the table, unbeaten and won the game again yesterday. It is hard to understand how these facts all go together but they do.

West Brom dominated the first half at the Hawthorns and were by far the better side. United scored early but after that it was all West Brom. They scored an excellent equaliser and then had an absolute stonewall penalty not given when Gary Neville, caught out of position for probably the tenth time should undoubtedly have been sent off. Fergie had to change the formation and tactics of his side just to try to cope with West Brom.


Half time came at just the wrong time for the home side and the second half saw United much more in the game. Even so, Rio Ferdinand, who was otherwise excellent, gave away a silly penalty that the referee this time decided to give. Striker Peter Odemwingie, who was a handful for United all afternoon, then put one of the poorest penalties you will ever see wide of the goal.

You just kind of knew that United would somehow pop up with a winner and when West Brom, with two defenders off injured decided not to bother to mark Hernandez in the six yard box from a corner, the inevitable happened.


A simple look at the match statistics shows just how poor United were and how good West Brom were. The home side had 62% of the possession. They had seventeen attempts on goal whereas United had just five.

The fact is, however, that a look at the league table and the results will show you that United won the game. In the end, that is all that matters. They battled away and got three points that their performance simply did not deserve. That is why they are still the team to beat for anyone who thinks they can win the Premier League.


Both Rio Ferdinand and Sir Alex Ferguson said after the game that West Brom should have been awarded a penalty in the first half and that Gary Neville should have been shown the red card. They both admitted that they had been fortunate to win the game.

They both also pointed out that when they have won the title previously there have always been games like this whereby victory is achieved through perseverance, determination and luck.

If United ever do find some form they could run away with this league. If they don’t, they might just be lucky enough to win it anyway.


Graham Fisher



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12 years ago

man, talk about dumb luck. . . . Graham, you don’t know how scared I was, when the Baggies got that equalizer and dominated the first half, and much of the second, that we were gonna lose! How on earth did Neville not get ejected? beats me too. .. . I sure hope we get back to full form, quickly.

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