Creeping past Crawley; United booked a quarter final spot against Leyton Orient or Arsenal at Old Trafford but were unimpressive in doing so. As always, Kevin Pilkington joins us for a chat to discuss the game and also took a couple of questions from Twitter followers.
In our preview, Kevin said United shouldn’t underestimate Crawley and he was right. United, however, should always have been considered such strong favourites based on their resources. Sir Alex said United could count themselves lucky; Kevin agrees, to an extent.
“I thought Crawley played very well, especially in the second half. As I said earlier in the week Crawley never gave United a minute to relax on the ball and they can be very proud of their performance.” Instead of luck, though, Kevin feels that United just about did enough. “You could say United were lucky to get the win but sometimes it’s about grinding out results but saying that with the team they had out it should have been a bit more comfortable for them. Some players had a chance to shine but they didn’t necessarily step up to the plate.”
Kevin hits the nail on the head. Several of United’s attacking players underperformed; worse still, with injuries in the back line, supporters hoping to see a debut for either Paul Pogba or Ryan Tunnicliffe were made to wait. Reshuffling came about with the players on the pitch moving positions but that only exposed them further; Anderson, Bebe and Obertan were the players to emerge from the game with discredit. Kevin is honest in his assessment but also reserved his judgement.
“I thought earlier in the season that Anderson was starting to show what a good player he was but he seems to have taken a step backwards. Wether he thought it was going to be an easy game I don’t know but he needs to start performing again. I’ve not seen a lot of Obertan but I’ve never seen him play well. He gets in good positions but doesn’t deliver or beat players on a regular occurrence. As for Bebe I can’t really comment as that is the first time I’ve seen him play.”
Crawley’s non league status was probably the last time this season Sir Alex will be relatively safe making wholesale changes; especially with the likelihood of playing Arsenal in the quarter finals. Kevin believes that with the end of the season in sight, Fergie may try and stick to his strongest side for each game from now on. “Like I said earlier it’s all about winning. And to be in the quarter finals, you know you are close to a final. I can’t see Sir Alex messing around too much with the team with a trophy so close. Especially if Arsenal beat Leyton Orient in the replay. At least United have not got another game to fit in – the good thing to take from the Crawley game!”
A bizarre thing to take from the game on Saturday was that United played all 3 right backs in the pecking order; starting with Rafael, Wes Brown and John O’Shea. Rafael came off with injury and when O’Shea had to switch to left back after Fabio went off, Darren Fletcher ended up at right back! O’Shea’s selection against City and Rafael’s start in the Cup at right back hinted that Ferguson might sway towards O’Shea, though Kevin believes Rafael has done more than enough to keep his place. “Personally I would play Rafael. He has been very steady throughout the season and I can’t see why Sir Alex would change it. Very strange for one position to have three different players play there though.”
Kevin will join us, as usual, for the post game reflection after the Marseille game. He took the time to answer a few questions for our Twitter followers –
@MadManc78 – who would be in your 5 a side team in world football?
Me in goal so I could play with the rest of the players I’m going to pick! Seriously though in goal, Buffon – I think he is a top goalkeeper and performs when needed. Vidic, the best defender in the world! Xavi – five a side football would suit him down to the ground. Ronaldo and Messi – the two best players in the world. Goals wouldn’t be a problem. Don’t think I’d even need a keeper!
@McStay7 – Lindegaard has played in the last two FA Cup games. What do you make of him so far?
Lindegaard has been steady. He’s not been troubled that much and the header that hit the bar I think he would have saved if it was any lower. I would like to see a bit more of him.
@TreacleTart99 – have you ever celebrated a goal as ecstatically as Lindegaard did yesterday?
No – I’m not one for screaming and shouting when we score. I prefer to do that at the end of the game when I know we have won!