We’re inviting some of our Twitter friends to share some of their ‘Pre’ and ‘Post Match’ thoughts with us from now on. You can still enjoy my nonsensical, confusing punctuation buffets, below their personal views on the game…
So far in Group H, Braga have gone from the ignominy of a 2-0 defeat to Cluj despite having over twenty shots on goal to a morale-boosting victory in Istanbul in, which is hardly the simplest of tasks. They’re clearly capable and will attempt to exploit what will surely be a less experienced defence without Ferdinand and Evra. Given that Fletcher took no part on Saturday, a home game in the Champions League is the perfect test of his fitness and ability on this level. He’ll come under pressure because Braga, like so many before them will want to make a good account of themselves at Old Trafford, and without an experienced head, the defence will need some decent protection.
That defence looked wobbly on a few occasions at the weekend, especially for Kightly’s goal. He should never have been allowed to run at goal like that without being properly challenged, and it was a cheap goal to give away considering how thoroughly in control United were.
When this year’s Champions League campaign kicked off against Galatasaray, I was hoping for an emphatic, grandiose and thoroughly statement-making response after last season’s frequent calamities. But after two wins by single goal margins, forget it. Considering that we fell well short in both the result and performance department last season, I’ll happily keep on taking slim results if it gets us to the last 16. The performances can follow because the team’s confidence when playing in Europe needs to be rebuilt. Three wins from three would definitely be welcome, however they come.
All in all, United have responded pretty well since the Spurs defeat. Ferguson has probably looked at tonight’s match as somewhat less important than Sunday afternoon’s visit to Stamford Bridge, hence giving a few of our older defenders a rest (that notion of playing our strongest XI in Europe lasted long, then…). That’s all gravy; squad rotation needs to happen, and Ferdinand and Evra are not the springiest of chickens, but those picked to start tonight hopefully won’t be expecting an easy evening and cast a wandering eye on Chelsea. If they are, they should be made to watch replays of both Basle games from last season as punishment.
I know I told us to “ill”, but it struck me just this second (as I started writing) that we’re in imminent danger of slipping into the same trap as last season of not taking the competition seriously at this stage. I say this because there’s definitely an air of Braga being a formality, however they beat Galatasaray 2-0 away, and we know Galatasaray are no push-overs.
I don’t think we will lose – if we were away, maybe – but I’m certainly not confident.
It’s great that Kagawa will be playing (not just cus I’m watching the game), and Fletcher should get another ninety minutes (when does he make the next step?). With either Lindegaard or De Gea in goal we’ll be okay in that department too. Unlike me, I’m concerned with everywhere else, because I’m concerned that the team we’ll be putting out won’t be equipped to deal with the opposition’s potential threat. Maybe it’s just the strange Rio/Fergie fall out/not fall out fall out. Maybe it’s just because Rio’s tweet I read this morning has sent me into an existential crisis *Never believe everything u read* Does that mean we CAN believe eveything we read – you know what I’m saying?! I just feel uneasy.
Goals: Kagawa and Fletcher (Aren’t I imaginitive)