Man United wins the whining contest

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For non-Chelsea and Manchester United fans this was a hard one to watch. The officiating crew largely did a fine job and shouldn’t have been an issue in the match, but both teams have an extreme sense of entitlement when it comes to officiating and view every foul or decision against them as a travesty of justice. The game itself had good pace to it, but the tactics employed by United ensured that there would be few good chances for either side. A draw was probably deserved.

You could call it scrappy or you could just say Man United is playing some ugly football. To put it simply, they aren’t fun to watch. Lacking attacking flare, Man U has resigned themselves to playing defensive, grind it out football, that is more about effort than class. They played a 4-5-1 against Chelsea with three holding midfielders (Carrick, Fletcher, and Anderson) that was more about stopping Chelsea then getting a result.

This was very similar to the way Ferguson approached Arsenal and I think clearly demonstrates that Ferguson’s lack of belief in his sides ability to win against the top sides. You could say he believes in Wayne, but only the English think Wayne Rooney is among the best strikers in the world, and however good one thinks Rooney is, playing alone up top is simply not going to result in a lot of goals. Darren Fletcher’s sole purpose seems to be to clatter into people after they have passed the ball and then to run and acost the official after every call. I hate to say it but Arsene Wenger was right about Fletcher: he is a hack. That said Manchester United worked hard and prevented Chelsea from really creating anything through the midfield and were able to create some chances or at least as many as Chelsea. But any goal from United looked like it would come from a corner rather than the run of play.

Manchester United has surpassed Chelsea as the biggest whiners. Chelsea under Moreno used to grind out one nil wins, which made complaining an intimidating the referee a crucial part of the team’s tactics. Since, if you are only going to score one goal, every foul, every decision becomes that much more crucial. Right now, intimidating and complaining to the referee looks like the thing that Manchester United is best at. The fact that Wayne Rooney mouthed to the cameras as he walked off the field: “12 men” – just shows how petulant and entitled this team is.

The behavior tolerated by Man United players (as well as Chelsea) toward the referee is really appalling and is in stark contrast to almost every other team in the league. You couldn’t go 30 seconds in this game without Chelsea or United complaining about a call. Fletcher, Rooney, O’Shea, Evans and Giggs surrounded the referee at every chance. One felt United would complain to the official that Chelsea had the kickoff to start the second half.

And I have to say that at the end of the game one had to wonder what in the world were they upset about. Ferguson complained that Fletcher had not fouled Cole to set up the goal scoring free kick and then all of United claimed that Drogba fouled Wes Brown. Please. The free kick might have been marginal, but the idea that an off the ball foul on the free kick, which had nothing to do with the goal (Wes Brown was not marking Drogba) should have been disallowed is absurd. Ferguson’s incessant complaining about every decision would be highly comical if it wasn’t so effective or demonstrated the tremendous double standard in the Premier league.

In fact, if anyone had more grounds for complaints it was Chelsea. Jonny Evans thuggish cheap shot (the cleats up stamp in Drogba’s chest, followed by another kick to Drogba) deserved a red card. But Drogba’s unnecessary embellishment and deserved reputation as a diver saw Drogba not Evans receive a card. That was the worst decision of the match.

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