Not much to say after Manchester United’s defeat to Coventry last night – the Red Devils lost to a better team, at home, so let’s give credit where credit is due.
There are 2 points I would raise though:
The Big Negative
Manchester United’s “youngsters” are going to keep losing like this if they don’t get more first-team exposure / if they are left with John O’Shea manning the midfield (where was Gibson? Injured?). For all of his flabbergastedness, Fergie is joking if he thinks players who don’t see a sliver of Premier League action can be expected to come in and play as a cohesive unit against a determined team in a cup tie. At the very least we could have Carrick starting (Brum away on the weekend, I know, but still) in the middle, Campbell up front from the start and Saha / Nani / Scholes on the bench in case United needed backup.
The numbers suggest that United had an equal number of chances but weren’t able to put theirs away – unfortunate perhaps but something Ferguson should have prepared for.
The Big Positive
Granted, this was a Championship side, but it’s good to see Carrick respond to criticism and get his game back on. It was also good to see the fringe Manchester United players get a game and I hope that they’ll get more chances in the future. Anderson got a full game, which can only be good for his ‘settling in’ period.
I hope that this gives Ferguson a push to use the younger players more in Manchester United’s ‘senior’ matches and blood them more gradually. We’ve been waiting to see Campbell and Pique, amongst others, get more time on the pitch this season and those two are the players I’d expect to get the most time this season out on the pitch for Manchester United.
Steve Bruce rested his players for Birmingham’s Carling Cup tie against Blackburn, choosing to focus fully on their home game against Manchester United on Saturday. Bruce will want at least a point from this game and it’ll be interesting to see whether Brum choose to shore up the defence or go with their strengths (attack). With Rooney, Tevez and Saha available and Ronaldo, Scholes and Giggs due to rejoin Carrick in midfield, I’m confident that Manchester United will beat Birmingham (although it could get tough). With Arsenal visiting high-flying West Ham, there’s an outside chance for Manchester United to go top of the table.
I’d put a tenner on West Ham pulling a rabbit out of their hat, but this is Curbs, not Pards, so I’m still not sure which West Ham is going to turn up and whether they’ll be able to deal with Fab, Hleb and Ade. They’ll probably get a goal from it though, so fingers crossed.