Where Was The Urgency, United?

Don't believe that this was a good away point; this was a wasted opportunity to practically book a last-16 place. They were embarrassingly tentative against limited opposition...

Last Updated: 06/11/13 at 09:01 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Sterling's Meteoric Rise Key To Liverpool Challenge

4 comments

The form of Raheem Sterling has been crucial in Liverpool's title challenge, as Ali Tweedale of WhoScored.com highlights. Expect the youngster to play a key role in the run-in...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

84 comments

It's fine to have an opinion - everybody does - but Matt Stanger is tired of being told what to think about the title race. Liverpool deserve it? We'll see on May 11...

All Articles

This was a night of wasted opportunities - and that is not a reference to Javier Hernandez's glaring miss or Robin van Persie's powerfully misdirected penalty, but instead to the embarrassment of having only those two clear-cut chances to show from a game against an extremely limited Real Sociedad side.

Forget talk of a point away in Europe being an excellent result or United's dire record of just two wins on Spanish soil; this was not Real Madrid, Barcelona or the exciting Atletic Bilbao of two seasons ago, but a Sociedad side that has looked way out of its depth in this Champions League campaign, gleaning just one goal and now one point in four matches. United simply should have won and now be standing with one foot and a big toe in the last 16.

The pre-match talk of this being the greatest night in the Spanish club's history should have given everybody in that United camp a massive hint that, in Europe if not at home, their name still carries massive cache and thus engenders the kind of respect that in turn creates opportunity. Indeed, within ten minutes of the opening whistle it was clear that this United side was being afforded awe-inspired space. United looked at that space with a puzzled look.

In a toothless opening half, they managed just one shot on target and Clive Tydesley's cry of "Chris Smalling with the cross...not good enough" could have been repeated several times using several names. The crosses were poor, the forward movement from midfield was non-existent, there was negligible urgency and Wayne Rooney was forced to go wandering further and further away from Hernandez in search of the ball. The Mexican touched the ball 12 times in the opening 45 minutes; his 13th touch was the shot he blazed over the bar after the break.

By that point, Sociedad had realised that this lackadaisical United side were not worth watching and began to play some part in the match themselves. Van Persie warmed up and we thought we would see United give themselves half an hour at full pelt to practically book a place in the last 16. Instead, David Moyes' instinctive negativity saw him spurn that chance and withdraw Rooney. United were immediately improved for the Dutchman's entrance and Shinji Kagawa's shift into the middle, but you could not help thinking they could have been even better.

"We had enough chances to win it, we controlled it for most of the game," said Moyes but, for all their control, United had just two shots on target. And a combination of sloppy passing and Belgian idiocy saw them more in danger of taking away no points than all three in the closing stages. It could have been so different if they had approached this game as they had approached Fulham on Saturday. Yes, it was in Europe. Yes, it was in Spain. But no, there was absolutely no need to be so infuriatingly tentative.

Sarah Winterburn

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

e was right to leave, but not just because of the money City were coming into. If I remember rightly he had a reasonable amount of chances to shine at City, but he never passed the bloody ball. Loads of aimless dribbles and 40 yard shots and not much else. I would say that if he had learnt to be a bit more of a team player he may have done better at City.

bright and edgy
Sturridge: Right to leave City

O

h! And.... has it gone in!?' Well John, it is quite literally your job to tell me, so stop phrasing it as a question.

ajsr1982
Eye On The Experts: John Motson

M

an who resembles bond villain complains about spies ....brillliant

mrjackson
Palace deny spying accusation

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny says results are all that matter

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny says the team's stye of play is irrelevant as they try to stay in the top four.

World Cup: Peter Shilton backs England keeper Joe Hart

England legend Peter Shilton believes Manchester City's Joe Hart can become one of the world's top goalkeepers.

West Ham's Matt Jarvis thinks he may need to be more clever after Arsenal penalty incident

West Ham's Matt Jarvis says he may have to be "a bit more clever" after staying on his feet despite Bacary Sagna's foul.

Mail Box

Fatigue No Excuse For Giroud Being Cr*p

We have a long mail on why Giroud isn't very good at all, plus some more thoughts on neutrality. Plus, who do you want out of you club this summer and Liverpool moving buses...

Will Liverpool Cope With Parked Buses?

That's the real problem they're going to face next year, says one Man United fan who's already looking forward to the end of this campaign. Plus, thoughts on neutrality...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property