Man United 2 Barça 1

A little bit of revenge for Manchester United tonight but I don’t think Pep Guardiola will be losing too much sleep. United deserved their win as they were far more decisive going forward, but I would put the difference between the sides down to the fact that United have been in the States for around three weeks and I believe this was their fifth game there. Barça have only just arrived and we have had less time to get in shape. Even though it was a good contest and United had to work hard to earn the victory. Iniesta and Thiago again looked our best players but the connections weren’t being made with Pedro or Villa. In fact our most dangerous forward Ibi Afellay who put in one very dangerous low cross that found nobody but then just before half time he had to come off with what looked like a hamstring injury. However, the outstanding player of the first half was unquestionably United’s Nani. I can’t help smiling and thinking of Wembley when I think of Nani (that fantastic substitution just before Villa’s goal) but today he gave us a lot of problems and he was rewarded with the opening goal when he just beat the offside to go through alone and beat Valdés between his legs.

With the goal advantage United were quite happy to see us have long periods of possession but they succeeded in cutting off the routes into the danger area. However, Pedro had a decent effort after 50 minutes forcing David De Gea into a good save. De Gea then denied Thiago a chance after a superb scooped pass over the top from Iniesta. Then in the 70th minute, when it seemed we wouldn’t find a way past the young keeper,  Carmona on the left played a pass inside to Thiago who received the ball about 30 yards out, knocked it forward a couple of strides before whacking a belter that swerved away from De Gea and just inside the post.

The fact that United went on to win didn’t really matter that much, it was a great moment. Two minutes later Abidal and Fontás both came off, and it was no coincidence that a couple of  minutes after that we were caught out with a hole in our defence that Michael Owen ran into before skillfully beating Valdés in the one-on-one.

Oh well, you can’t win them all, but I thought there were plenty of positives again tonight. The fact that it is now after half past three in the morning means I’m not going into them now. If anybody out there is still awake and you watched the game, send us a comment.

Tonight’s team: Valdés; Dos Santos, Busquets, Fontas (Armando (m72), Abidal (Balliu m72); Thiago, Keita, Iniesta (Riverola m77); Pedro (Javi Espinosa m86), Villa (Carmona m62), Afellay (Cuenca m42).

Goals: Nani m22 1-0, m70 Thiago 1-1, m76 Owen 2-1.

Update: here’s Thiago’s goal –

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4 Responses to Man United 2 Barça 1

  1. Caleb says:

    I left my comment on the previous post. But, to summarize, I think our midfield is the last place we need to be sending millions of Euros to reenforce. The defense is hard to judge at this point because we’re so far away from seeing our starting back four, but Fontas seems to be capable to step in when needed. I’m a little concerned about the lack of danger created by our front line. No goals from them yet. Some bad touches from Villa and Pedro. Afellay puts in some decent crosses but Pedro and Villa don’t anticipate it even though he does it fairly often (Messi, fortunately, anticipated it against Man U last time).

    Anyway, yeah. Our midfield is fantastic. Iniesta is at the pinnacle of his game. Thiago shows bucket loads of promise. And if Xavi can be healthy for most of the season we’ll be golden.

  2. blaugranaboy says:

    united did deserve to win, and like nic said the most disappointing thing was the lack of connection with villa and pedro. but united took the game quite seriously, played pretty deep most the game and made it tough for us to get in. smalling was great 2nd half and the dos santos boys were gritty and tough as usual.

    for me, fontas it really the story. i dont know why he doesnt that much hype. he looks very solid and capable and i would love to see him getting many minutes this season. would be great for puyol to mentor him a bit because he is going to be a defender very much in piques mold.

    i dont think united will take any real feelings of accomplishment from this game and neither will the loss affect us much.

    thiago is looking very good and there is a very noticeable trend here about forgetting cesc. i go the other way. ive wanted cesc back many years now and feel its destintined to happen. plus they are quite different players. thiago is a bit more attacking while cesc sits more deep like xavi. cesc is by far a better passer while thiago has silky skills. i think the two of them can compliment each other nicely, but it wont be for another 2 or 3 seasons before they become the star duo. i hope if cesc comes that pep manages to integrate everyone, but i wont lie, that isnt going to be an easy job.

  3. Jfan101 says:

    I love how man u fans are acting after beating a makeshift barca team!!!! It’s as if they have took the title of best team back over a weak friendly game…. If that’s what they need to feel good about themselves they can have it….

    – thiago is looking brilliant – Jonathan dos Santos was looking horrible in his rich back make-shift posostion and other then that villa and Pedro did not impress me but its a starting point…… Can’t wait to get our south Americans back so the whole squad can train together…..

  4. Caleb says:

    bboy –

    Good point about Cesc and Thiago not being the same type of player. I entirely agree. Yet for the season ahead don’t you think that Xavi and Iniesta will still be able to play most of the games? I can see one of them being injured here or there, but Xavi’s not that old yet…he won’t need tons of time to rest. Iniesta might be getting near his peak but he’s certainly not getting worse. Point is, if Cesc and Thiago are on the bench it’s hard to see both of them getting much playing time.

    I agree that having a Xavi-esque replacement for Xavi would be good, but is this the season that we need to shell out 40 million Euros or more to make that happen? I’m not so sure…

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