After weeks of personally going over board with predictions of how we were going to beat Barca 3-1 , the final result was hardly a surprising one (You’ve got to think positive, right? Talk a bit of trash? This is your devine right as football fan). Of course it still hurts. Reluctantly in a pub full of Barca fans I clapped them as they lifted the trophy, spurred on by my, more mature in the circumstances, Bifurcated friend David. They make the game look very easy for long periods and as we all know they have the ability to make very good opponents sometimes look very average.
I was shocked no to see Berba on the bench, if anything I thought the gamble would be whether Owen would be joining him, not replacing him, as a lot of United fans probably did. I thought that the way the game panned out we could have done with Berba to try and get some posession higher up the field and collect one of the many long balls we were pinging forward as only he can.
I was happy with Chicha’s contribution early on, playing the last man and trying to spring the offside trap. I was harping on about how with their makeshift defence this would soon provide a breakthrough. After a while this inevitably became a little frustrating to watch.
I thought they played Tony V well. Hustling and bustling him, knocking him out of his stride. This forced him to become frustrated and then he couldn’t get a foothold in the game that would have inevitably galvenised the team. But he never gave it up, he never does.
Carrick was obviously asked to try and force the game a bit more and was making genuine attempts to play us in behind, something he’s been criticised by some for not doing often enough. But unfortunately it just wasn’t working. When a team like Barcelona unsettle you and have you chasing them around for 10 mins, it’s hard to suddenly gain your composure on the ball and find your rhythm.
You can always over analyse these big games, all games. VDS doesn’t usually get beat by the kind of shot Messi scored from (and I think from Messi’s celebration he was aware of that). Carrick and Giggs haven’t been left chasing shadows in the manner they were for the first goal that often. We don’t normally expect to squander possesion so easily. But I think most United fans will admit we were simply beaten by a better team (Wow, what a pundit I am).
Next year, with a couple of new faces and Fletch and Ando in full working order we’ll be a slightly different proposition, that can hopefully go one step further.
WE ARE MANCHESTER UNITED. BEL19VE!