Premier League Reviews: Round 11 Batch 1: Setanta Saturday

28 October 2007

Well I'm back for the first batch of weekend match reviews. This morning I take a look at the three games played on Setanta Sports today...Sunderland v Fulham, Birmingham City v Wigan Athletic and Manchester United v Middlesbrough. Enjoy!

Match One: Sunderland v Fulham

Sunderland Starting 11: 1 Craig Gordon, 15 Danny Collins, 2 Greg Halford, 14 Danny Higginbotham, 5 Nyron Nosworthy, 4 Dickson Etuhu, 18 Grant Leadbitter, 12 Liam Miller, 33 Ross Wallace, 16 Michael Chopra, 17 Kenwyne Jones. Bench: 13 Darren Ward, 3 Ian Harte, 31 David Connolly, 11 Daryl Murphy, 9 Anthony Stokes.
Fulham Starting 11: 29 Antti Niemi, 3 Carlos Bocanegra, 18 Aaron Hughes, 22 Ellot Omozusi, 6 Dejan Stefanovic, 25 Simon Davies, 10 Steven Davis, 23 Clint Dempsey, 27 Danny Murphy, 9 David Healy, 11 Diomansy Kamara. Bench: 12 Tony Warner, 38 Nathan Ashton, 7 Seol Ki-Hyeon, 8 Alexey Smertin, 14 Shefki Kugi.
First Half
Minute 1: Sunderland kick off.
Minute 4: Clint Dempsey takes Davies ball in and puts it right into the hands of Craig Gordon.
Minute 4: Free kick after Nyron Nosworthy is taken down by Dejan Stefanovic from behind. Wallace's delivery goes into a good position but is cleared away.
Minute 6: Corner to Sunderland after a blunder by Niemi. Danny Collins is unable to get to ball played into the far post.
Minute 9: Danny Higginbotham makes a serious mistake trying to clear the ball. However he goes right to David Healy who has an open net after Gordon goes out trying to punt the ball forward. Healy though misses an open net with the shot going just wide of the far post. Had Healy not rushed that, it's 1-0 to Fulham.
Minute 15: A quarter of an hour in and so far both sides look a little lost in the midfield and are relying on mistakes at the back for scoring chances. So far neither side has had any true spell on the ball.
Minute 16: Diomansy Kamara again unmarked in the box, but the cross into him from Davis is well off the mark.
Minute 17: Miller finds Halford, but his ball finds Hughes who clears for a Sunderland corner. Off the corner, Chopra is unable to do anything on the far post as his side volley attempt isn't the best hit ball in the world.
Minute 22: Miller does well to earn possession. His ball to Chopra is good, but Aaron Hughes forces him out wide and his centering pass goes right to Niemi. Promising start, pathetic end result.
Minute 24: Free kick to Fulham in a dangerous spot, but Stefanovic's shot is more extra point than shot on goal.
Minute 26: Yet another Fulham free kick. Simon Davies gets Bocanegra's ball in, goes wide, but his cross goes safely into Gordon's hands.
Minute 29: This is a recording, another free kick to Fulham in a promising position. Best looking one so far as Davis's ball in goes to Dempsey's head at the far post, and he doesn't miss by much.
Minute 31: Diomansy Kamara is incensed and rightfully so. He is clipped on the through ball from Dempsey by Danny Collins and as Gordon collects, the man in the middle waves off all protests. Poor poor decision.
Minute 32: GOAL FULHAM! Now Kamara gets a free kick. He's incensed but the referee does nothing about it. Simon Davies sets everyone up by playing everyone for a cross in, instead he goes near post and Craig Gordon didn't have a prayer. A deserved goal for the visitors as they have taken the game to the hosts for about the last fifteen minutes. Sunderland 0 Fulham 1.
Minute 35: YELLOW CARD GREG HALFORD. Carlos Bocanegra taken out by Greg Halford and if that isn't a yellow card, nothing is. Sliding in late taking out the legs without even an attempt for playing the ball. The free kick goes out for a corner and the corner is eventually cleared.
Minute 40: Kenwyne Jones tries to spark the attack, but Halford's ball into Chopra is too deep and Fulham finally clear the danger.
Minute 43: Halford, meet Etuhu's flailing arm. That looked painful.
Minute 45+1: YELLOW CARD CLINT DEMPSEY. Dickson Etuhu unable to play the ball on the edge of the penalty area and Fulham clear...until Clint Dempsey goes and chop blocks Michael Chopra...and gets a yellow card.
Minute 45+2: Wallace's free kick is cleared back to Miller but it results to nothing as Fulham ends up on the break before they got too quick for the counter.
Minute 45+3: Halford is just inches wide of Kenwyne Jones. So close but yet so far.
First Half Thoughts: Fulham controlled the first thirty eight minutes, however Sunderland finally started looking the home side at the end of the first half. The biggest beef you have to have with Sunderland right now is the lack of quality scoring chances, but when your crosses aren't into quality positions, what do you expect? Fulham really bulldogged their way into quality positions on set pieces and it finally paid off. The finish to the first half though has to be promising for Sunderland as they finally started to look lively.
Second Half
Minute 46: Fulham kick off.
Minute 47: Kenwyne Jones tries to do too much and has his shot blocked by Danny Murphy.
Minute 48: Hughes this time gets in on blocking a shot, this one from Grant Leadbitter. Then gets away with handball though it did look a very close decision.
Minute 49: YELLOW CARD SIMON DAVIES. Simon Davies clipping at the heels of Ross Wallace, and knew he was getting a yellow card for his effort, and got it.
Minute 50: The free kick is cleared by Hughes and cleared by Healy.
Minute 52: YELLOW CARD DEJAN STEFANOVIC. Jones out muscles Stefanovic for the ball. Stefanovic gets the yellow for deliberately holding Jones back. The free kick is punched away by Niemi for a corner. Clint Dempsey clears the corner for Fulham.
Minute 56: Dickson Etuhu header forces Niemi onto a diving save as Danny Collins is frozen at the far post. The ball goes off Stefanovic for a corner that produces a Fulham counter.
Minute 59: Dempsey gets in behind Halford who quickly takes down the American. The Fulham free kick is taken by Simon Davies and his cross in from the wing goes off Danny Collins and Dempsey's bicycle kick goes well over the bar. Halford nearly gifts Fulham a second.
Minute 60: Stefanovic heads the ball right onto the hand of Chopra (seriously the ball was the in the middle with both Stefanovic's head and Chopra's hand. Poor decision against Chopra for sure.
Minute 61: Anthony Stokes on, Dickson Etuhu off. More firing power. Daryl Murphy on, Michael Chopra off. Interesting there but Chopra has been pretty worthless in the game.
Minute 64: Free kick to Sunderland about 35 from goal. Leadbitter's free kick though ends up over everyone in a wasted opportunity.
Minute 67: RED CARD GREG HALFORD! Greg Halford tries to make love to David Healy and the official has no choice but to show the second yellow card there.
Minute 68: Free kick to Fulham obviously after the red card about 25 from goal. However Davies kick ends up in the empty stands behind Craig Gordon.
Minute 69: Kamara won't be getting his second goal. Nyron Nosworthy was being held back by Kamara after his second touch fails him.
Minute 69: David Off, Shefki Kugi on.
Minute 70: How in the hell does Antti Niemi save Leadbitter's shot. That was with pace from about 8 yards out off the side volley. Unbelievable save.
Minute 71: Ross Wallace off, Ian Harte on.
Minute 73: Stefanovic takes a nice tumble down.
Minute 77: Daryl Murphy with a weak cross and out for a goal kick. They have to do better than that.
Minute 80: Diomansy Kamara, meet leg cramp. Why don't they just get him off the park so this game can continue? After about half a minute, we finally get him off the pitch so the game can continue.
Minute 82: Diomansy Kamara off, Seol Ki-Hyeon on.
Minute 86: GOAL SUNDERLAND. After Omozusi concedes a Sunderland throw, Grant Leadbitter sends the cross in. Stefanovic fails to properly mark Jones and it's Kenwyne Jones with an open header from five yards out. Niemi didn't have a prayer. Poor marking from Dejan Stefanovic after what had been a very good game. Sunderland 1 Fulham 1.
Minute 87: Carlos Bocanegra sees the book for a challenge that never was intended to go for the ball.
Minute 89: Stokes's first touch fails him not once but twice and the second one costs Sunderland possession.
Minute 90: Sunderland get two corners in succession, and Jones has his header go off Omozusi for corner number 3 succession...
Minute 90+1: That is wasted off Leadbitter for a Fulham goal kick.
Minute 90+3: Anthony Stokes gets in behind Omozusi and then puts his shot...right on Niemi. He had the angle and the far post if he wanted it and Sunderland should be 2-1 up right now.
Full Time Thoughts: Fulham may have started the game all guns a blazin', but it was Sunderland who will feel unlucky they didn't steal this game in the end. Sunderland may have looked under pressure in the first half, but it was their game to lose, despite being down to ten men. The only thing I have to question with Sunderland is why is it they don't perform as well in the first half as they do in the second half. If it's because Roy Keane puts the fear of God into them, eventually that tact is going to wear itself thin. Fulham though have got to quit sitting on leads when they had all the incentive to kill this game off. I find it very hard to believe that they just don't have anyone who can finish off opposition.

Match Two: Birmingham City v Wigan Athletic.

Birmingham City Starting 11: 1 Maik Taylor, 2 Stephen Kelly, 15 Franck Queudrue, 6 Liam Ridgewell, 5 Rafael Schmitz, 20 Daniel De Ridder, 23 Olivier Kapo, 26 Fabrice Muamba, 12 Mehdi Nafti, 28 Wilson Palacios, 10 Cameron Jerome. Bench: 18 Richard Kingson, 17 Neil Danns, 7 Sebastian Larsson, 11 Gary McSheffrey, 8 Garry O'Connor.
Wigan Athletic Starting 11: 1 Chris Kirkland, 19 Titus Bramble, 4 Andreas Granqvist, 25 Mario Melchiot, 18 Paul Scharner, 8 Kevin Kilbane, 10 Jason Koumas, 14 Denny Landzaat, 6 Antoine Sibierski, 16 Antonio Valencia, 23 Marcus Bent. Bench: 12 Michael Pollitt, 17 Emmerson Boyce, 2 Ryan Taylor, 24 Josip Skoko, 15 Julius Aghahowa.
First Half:
Minute 1: Wigan Athletic kick off. Free kick to Birmingham City but De Ridder's cross is blocked and Jerome's shot after the ball finds its way through traffic at the far post is simply miss hit.
Minute 2: Jerome again with a shot that is blocked out for a corner off Granqvist. De Ridder was unmarked in the box. Yet he never got the ball back.
Minute 6: Jerome and De Ridder again get chances on goal, but Granqvist clears the danger.
Minute 8: Palacios plays a great pass to Jerome, but his first touch fails him and out for a Wigan goal kick.
Minute 13: Wigan earn a corner after Valencia gets two attempts to cross, Koumas and Landzaat get in the way of each other the first time and the second goes out. The corner is cleared after Taylor goes out to punch the ball away.
Minute 14: Corner to Birmingham after Kilbane's clearance goes over the byline. Schmitz takes De Ridder's ball in and wide of the far post.
Minute 15: Valencia beats Queudrue and has his centering ball cleared for a Wigan corner by Ridgewell. Taylor doesn't clear the corner and Valencia whiffs at an effort. Birmingham City break and Kapo is miles offside.
Minute 16: YELLOW CARD PAUL SCHARNER. Paul Scharner is booked for a challenge on the break that was about 2 seconds late.
Minute 19: Kilbane gets behind Muamba and Muamba just kicks out for a corner. Melchiot on the far post is unmarked, and his header is well side of the far post.
Minute 23: GOAL WIGAN ATHLETIC: Melchiot plays the long ball to Marcus Bent who simply blows by Liam Ridgewell. Bent takes it on the second bounce and volleys it far post. Ridgewell was simply poor as Melchiot played a very long ball in and Ridgewell got caught ball watching instead of playing the ball. Birmingham City 0 Wigan Athletic 1.
Minute 24: Granqvist gives up a Birmingham City throw after Muamba is given an old time hockey shoulder check. Off the free kick...
Minute 25: De Ridder forces Kirkland to tip the ball over though he could have caught that. De Ridder's corner is off the hand of Scharner and in those immortal words of Spanish TV...PENAL PENAL PENAL PENAL PENAL...PENALTY!
Minute 26: GOAL BIRMINGHAM CITY! Olivier Kapo goes down the middle while Kirkland dives a little bit to the right. Kirkland guessed before the shot was taken and Kapo just went the opposite direction. Birmingham City 1 Wigan Athletic 1.
Minute 30: Free kick to Wigan about 25 yards from goal. Koumas and Landzaat are talking and it's Koumas to take...and go about a yard high and wide of the near post.
Minute 31: Bramble is lucky his mistake didn't lead to a Birmingham City goal.
Minute 34: Good save from Kirkland to deny De Ridder.
Minute 35: Free kick for Birmingham about 27 yards from goal. Kapo takes and it is deflected off the wall and out for a corner. Kapo takes and doesn't get past the first defender.
Minute 40: Taylor goes off his line to deny Jason Koumas.
Minute 45: Valencia goes on the run and forces Schmitz to concede a Wigan corner...that is wasted away.
Minute 45+2. Kapo goes chip instead of drive and Kirkland gets his arms up and makes the catch.
First Half Thoughts: Both teams are basically trying the same tact and it's leading to a stalemate. Birmingham City are using De Ridder and Wigan are using Valencia. It's not been pretty at times and in points downright disappointing, but the 1-1 is the fair result. Both sides have wasted opportunities they will regret in the morning.
Second Half
Minute 46: Birmingham City kick off.
Minute 47: Valencia...runs right into Queudrue. Your not gonna get a free kick from that.
Minute 50: Free kick to Birmingham City after Koumas takes down Kelly. De Ridder takes and the cross towards Schmitz goes beyond the back post and Wigan clear...
Minute 51: Valencia breaks down the wing on the counter. The ball is played out for a throw. Birmingham clear off the throw.
Minute 52: Kapo and then Jerome have golden chances on goal, but neither can take advantage and Wigan clear the danger.
Minute 53: De Ridder goes down on the edge on the penalty area. The referee plays on and Muamba's centering ball is caught by Kirkland without a challenge.
Minute 56: I have no clue what Paul Scharner was thinking on the edge of the penalty area as his shot is well over the bar.
Minute 57: Free kick to Wigan after Bent is taken down by Nafti. Koumas and Landzaat nearly clash into each other before Koumas takes and Birmingham City clear. That was comical.
Minute 59: GOAL WIGAN ATHLETIC. Mario Melchiot overlaps Valencia and beats Queudrue. The Melchiot cross crosses up Kelly and Taylor who collide into each other. The ball dribbles towards the net and Marcus Bent is there to clean it up. Pathetic defending there from Birmingham as they were simply all over the place and about two steps too slow. Birmingham City 1 Wigan Athletic 2.
Minute 62: Fabrice Muamba off, Garry O'Connor on. Steve Bruce going for goals now...not like he doesn't have any other choice with his job on the line.
Minute 63: Cameron Jerome does well to force Kirkland into a good save giving Birmingham City a corner. The threat is averted when Kirkland makes the save.
Minute 64: Great cross from Kapo and Jerome and then O'Connor both should have had easy goals. The ball ends up between O'Connor's feet and Kirkland collects.
Minute 67: GOAL BIRMINGHAM CITY! Cameron Jerome and Granqvist go shoulder to shoulder and the ball goes out for a Birmingham City corner. The ball is played into Liam Ridgewell who beats Scharner to the spot and heads in from 12 yards out. Simply put poor marking and the inability for Kirkland to go after that ball as he is caught in traffic leads to that goal. It didn't help either that he was flat footed. Birmingham City 2 Wigan Athletic 2.
Minute 69: Corner to Wigan and the threat ends when Paul Scharner is called for his second handball.
Minute 73: Free kick to Wigan about 38 from goal and central. Koumas looks set to take and his ball for goal is deflected out by De Ridder for a corner.
Minute 74: Wigan's corner from Koumas had two chances from goal. However they are unable to do anything with it after Bent tries to center to Melchiot and Birmingham City clear.
Minute 77: Kilbane is suckered by De Ridder into conceding a free kick. Kapo's cross is lost by Kirkland and after Schmitz's shot is blocked, Wigan clear the danger.
Minute 78: Wilson Palacios Off, Sebastian Larsson on. Guy to clog the midfield and spring the counter it appears.
Minute 79: Valencia is forced to play back after there was no help. Kilbane ends up taking the pass and down the wing to the byline but gets too deep and the cross is right to Taylor.
Minute 80: Free kick to Birmingham after Bramble is busted for handball. The free kick is played in Queudrue and Kapo's header is just over the crossbar.
Minute 81: GOAL BIRMINGHAM CITY! The man who was fixing to be substituted, Olivier Kapo takes the ball from Nafti and through the five hole of Granqvist and past Kirkland going far post. Wigan were in shambles at the back and Kirkland didn't even move. You can't be shocked at a shot like that. Birmingham City 3 Wigan Athletic 2.
Minute 84: Julius Aghahowa on, Antoine Sibierski off. Wing and a prayer time up front for Wigan.
Minute 84: Kirkland does well to pick the ball from the feet of Garry O'Connor. What is it with Birmingham City players having the ball stuck between the feet?
Minute 89: Wigan have spent the lave five minutes desperately trying to get the ball forward...without any success.
Minute 90: O'Connor plays the ball down the wing and now Birmingham City are holding onto the ball while the fans start singing Steve Bruce's name.
Minute 90+1: Make that handball number 3 for Scharner.
Minute 90+2: It's Jerome and he meets the corner.
Minute 90+2: Time wasting as Daniel De Ridder is off for Gary McSheffrey.
Final Analysis: To be frank, for a 3-2 game there was only one spell of real exciting football. That spell, between Birmingham City's second and third goals. The rest of the time there wasn't much to the game but seeing two teams play with the same tactic and honestly not very good. The game in most spots was sloppy, hard on the eyes and shockingly poor on finishing. So your asking how the hell can I say for 3-2 the finishing was poor, well because the set pieces were awful. That said, Birmingham City have to be commended for not giving up. Darren Bent broke them twice and yet they still found a way to get back into this game. Steve Bruce was very wise to bring in Garry O'Connor and his presence up front really frustrated Wigan. Once Bruce brought O'Connor in, the back looked much more stable. Wigan are starting to leak goals again and that's not good at all. They don't have the fire power up front and Kirkland isn't that good of a keeper to bail them out time in and time out. Kirkland to be even franker should have saved that third goal. It was only to his right by only a yard.

Match Three: Manchester United v Middlesbrough

Manchester United Starting 11: 1 Edwin Van der Sar, 6 Wes Brown, 5 Rio Ferdinand, 22 John O'Shea, 15 Nemanja Vidic, 8 Oliveira Anderson, 4 Owen Hargreaves, 17 Luis Nani, 7 Cristiano Ronaldo, 10 Wayne Rooney, 32 Carlos Tevez. Bench: 29 Tomasz Kuszczak, 19 Gerald Pique, 25 Danny Simpson, 24 Darren Fletcher, 11 Ryan Giggs.
Middlesbrough Starting 11: 1 Mark Schwarzer, 33 Andrew Taylor, 31 David Wheater, 8 Jonathan Woodgate, 2 Luke Young, 27 Lee Cattermole, 19 Stewart Downing, 4 Gary O'Neil, 10 Fabio Rochemback, 11 Jeremie Aliadiere, 17 Tuncay Sanli. Bench: 21 Ross Turnbull, 38 Seb Hines, 7 George Boateng, 36 Ben Hutchinson, 18 Dong-Gook Lee.
First Half:
Minute 1: Middlesbrough kick off.
Minute 3: GOAL MANCHESTER UNITED! Hargreaves finds Nani on the wing who turns Cattermole around. Nani then gets the ball on his right foot before shooting from 35 yards our and seeing the ball curl right into the far post. Schwarzer was never going to save a shot of that quality. Nani though was given too much space and when he got past the first marker you knew what he was doing. Manchester United 1 Middlesbrough 0.
Minute 6: Carlos Tevez tries to flick the ball over Schwarzer, but the Boro keeper was in the right place to make the catch.
Minute 6: GOAL MIDDLESBROUGH! On the counter Tuncay turns John O'Shea on the right wing before crossing the ball to Jeremie Aliadiere. Aliadiere has absolutely no problems getting in between Vidic and Ferdinand and heading onto the far post. Van der Sar never had a prayer to save this one and to be quite honest he never should have had to make a play on the ball. The marking by the central defenders on this one was just pathetic and in all honesty should have taken care of this one for the keeper. Manchester United 1 Middlesbrough 1.
Minute 14: Free kick to Manchester United after Wes Brown is taken down by Andrew Taylor. The huddle commences and between Rooney, and Ronaldo, Rooney takes and hits the wall.
Minute 16: Andrew Taylor gambles and Mark Schwarzer beats Wayne Rooney to the ball. That was what you would be defined as an unnecessary back pass.
Minute 17: Vidic concedes a Boro corner. It's Downing to take, but it ends up right into the hands of Van der Sar.
Minute 20: Wes Brown gives Middlesbrough a free kick with a shoulder lunge at Tuncay. Rochemback takes from 35 yards out and the wall does it job. Tuncay ends up offside and the pressure is relieved.
Minute 23: Poor passing from Rochemback gives Nani another long distance shot. This time it's wide of the near post.
Minute 24: Tuncay down the right side finds Stewart Downing who got in behind Wes Brown. He looked offside from my view but it was all for naught as his header misses the far post, but only by inches.
Minute 28: Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo play a little game of one two. However David Wheater gets him just wide enough to go only inches wide of the far post.
Minute 33: GOAL MANCHESTER UNITED! Big mistake on the edge of the penalty area. Stewart Downing thinks he can be fancy free and after he loses his footing, Wayne Rooney dispossesses takes one touch and fires the ball with fury off Schwarzer's gloves and in going far post. That goal is 100 percent Downing's fault a simple clearance would have sufficed. Instead, Downing tried to be too cute and Rooney was there to pounce. Manchester United 2 Middlesbrough 1.
Minute 35: John O'Shea finds Ronaldo unmarked on the edge of the eighteen central. His shot however goes right to Schwarzer and Boro will feel fortunate.
Minute 41: Free kick to Manchester United after Ronaldo is taken down by Gary O'Neil. Ronaldo's cross goes right into the wall.
Minute 45: Free kick to Middlesbrough after Ronaldo takes down Aliadiere. Wheater is unable to get any power to the header and Manchester United break.
Minute 45+1: Schwarzer stops Tevez in his tracks and gets back into place when Ronaldo's unknowing touch lands at his feet.
First Half Thoughts: Manchester United are simply toying around with Middlesbrough right now. United are just having their way with the ball passing around the park and looking for the gaps. Manchester United will also feel like they should have gotten more than they two they did. They really only made one mistake at the back and took full advantage of the mistakes Middlesbrough made at the back. Middlesbrough simply look like a side that already looks beat. Sure they have gotten a couple of decent half chances, but they simply didn't put any pressure on Manchester United at all. They have been outclassed and look like mice being beaten around by a cat.
Second Half
Minute 46: Manchester United kick off. Rooney and Tevez play a little game of 1-2, but Rooney gets just a little too wide and is unable to produce a quality effort on goal.
Minute 48: Rooney finds Nani who ends up slipping as he sails his shot over the crossbar. It's just looking way too easy for Manchester United right now.
Minute 53: Lee Cattermole with a nice shot near post, but Edwin Van der Sar with an even better save tipping it over the crossbar for the corner. Rochemback's corner springs Ronaldo on the break...before Woodgate blocks his effort.
Minute 55: GOAL MANCEHSTER UNITED! After a rushed Woodgate clearance, Anderson finds Tevez. Tevez finds Rooney who lays the ball back with a back heel to Tevez who sees Schwarzer out of position and goes far post. Rooney took Wheater and Woodgate out of the equation for Tevez on that one. Manchester United 3 Middlesbrough 1.
Minute 56: Ben Hutchinson on for Jeremie Aliadiere.
Minute 58: Free kick to Manchester United. Ronaldo is standing over the ball and ends up hitting the wall yet again.
Minute 62: Rooney springs Tevez down the left who finds Ronaldo, but his shot is blocked by Rochemback. It's been pretty much one way traffic in this second half.
Minute 67: Darren Fletcher on, Owen Hargreaves off.
Minute 68: Hutchinson with what could be described as a quarter chance. Had he not felt the urge to rush the shot, it would at least made Van der Sar work.
Minute 70: Taylor concedes a Manchester United free kick. Nani takes and it's right as Schwarzer. Wasn't the best corner in the world.
Minute 73: Ronaldo does well down the center of the park to set up Wes Brown, but he is unable to get a quality cross in and it's out for a goal kick.
Minute 73: Rio Ferdinand off, Gerald Pique on.
Minute 74: YELLOW CARD LEE CATTERMOLE. Lee Cattermole goes two feet in to the ankle of Luis Nani. The man in the middle had no choice but to show the yellow for it.
Minute 78: Nani's cross on the left finds Rooney...who heads right at Schwarzer.
Minute 78: Anderson off, Ryan Giggs on.
Minute 80: Tuncay Sanli off, Dong-Gook Lee on. If that isn't a sign on conceding a game, nothing is.
Minute 82: Hutchinson wins a free kick when Pique impedes forward progress. Downing takes and doesn't miss the far post by much. Had that ball not sliced at the end, it was going upper ninety.
Minute 85 GOAL MANCHESTER UNITED! Ronaldo clicks onto Rooney who finds Tevez on the left. His shot goes off Andrew Taylor, turns into a high fly ball down the center of the park, and Schwarzer was unable to find it before it goes in the back of the net. Had Taylor not gotten to that ball first, Schwarzer was in prime position to make the save. Manchester United 4 Middlesbrough 1.
Minute 88: YELLOW CARD FABIO ROCHEMBACK. Appearantly during the build up to United's fourth, Rochemback got busted holding Rooney back.
Minute 90: When Wes Brown and Cristiano Ronaldo are have a pass about, you know it's not good for the opposition. Then Ronaldo has to blow by trying to be way too cute.
Minute 90+1: On a day where everyone wasn't being selfish, Luis Nani should have been from 8 yards out.
Minute 90+2: George Boateng on, Lee Cattermole off.
Final Analysis: You wanna know what this game reminded me of? Think FA Cup Third Round where the gulf in quality was so bad, the better side just passed the ball around and only went forward when the space was so gaping they had to. Well that's exactly what Manchester United did today. They spent of the ninety passing the ball around the park, and when they had to counter did so. It may not be the most 'attractive' to some, but to be frank, when your scoring 4 goals a game for the last 5 in all competitions, who gives a damn if it's attractive or not? Middlesbrough simply put have nothing of quality up front and the lack of quality crosses from the wing are going to spell to this club's downfall.

Will be back later in the day with more Premier League match reviews. Until then, feedback is welcomed and appreciated!

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