A slight delay; but Kevin Pilkington joins us, as always, to review the first leg of the Marseille tie.
Yolkie : The draw was a predictable result from pretty early on. However a scoreless draw away always has it’s own danger, as we know from playing French opponents in the past (Monaco in 1998). What did you make of the result, and what did you make of the performance?
Kevin : Yeah it wasn’t the best of games to watch! I think both teams were happy with the draw although United would have been a lot happier if they had got the away goal. It was a good defensive display from United but lacked creativity going forward which was disappointing. The Monaco games do spring to mind but hopefully United will have too much for them back at Old Trafford.
Yolkie : We seem to talk about Smalling every week; he was brilliant again last night. He and Vidic are becoming as solid a defensive unit as Rio and Vida. Vidic himself was hugely impressive yet again. Who would you give man of the match to?
Kevin : I would definitely give it to Smalling. It was a very impressive performance from someone who was playing non league football just a couple of years ago. He just seems so comfortable on the pitch and doesn’t seem fazed by anything. Very similar to Rio in how he plays and how laid back he is.
Yolkie : It’s easy to forget that we had to make a move to ensure Arsenal didn’t sign him; how big of a difference do you think it would have made if he had ended up at the Emirates?
Kevin : It just shows you how highly thought of Smalling was that he had a lot of big clubs after him after just a couple of appearances for Fulham. Obviously looking at it now it would have been a massive blow if United hadn’t signed him especially with Rio’s injury problems of late.
Yolkie : How did you think the midfield did, considering their creative limitations?
Kevin : The midfield was solid enough which is what you want away from home but like I said earlier they just lacked that creativity. But to go away from home and playing against a side that looked set up to be happy with a nil nil is very difficult.
Yolkie : With so many injuries in midfield do you think Fergie should perhaps give a chance to someone like Ryan Tunnicliffe, who has been around the squad for the last two games, or do you think he should stick with experience with so many big games coming up?
Kevin : At this stage of the season I think Sir Alex will go with his tried and tested players. If he gets a chance to give Tunnicliffe 10 or 15 minutes here and there would be great for him. Obviously Sir Alex thinks a lot of him or else he wouldn’t be in the squad. It is nice to see another youngster coming through the system though!