The fallout of Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland extended to the dressing room, as reports suggest Alex Ferguson and goalkeeper Ben Foster had a bit of an argument. Foster made a poor decision coming out to catch Andy Reid’s chipped ball for Kenwyne Jones, resulting in the Black Cats’ second goal. He should have punched the ball clear instead of catching it, but honestly, is that really the reason the Red Devils dropped two points on Saturday?
The Gaffer wrote earlier about Ferguson’s reaction to a perceived lack of fitness and poor game-handling on the part of ref Alan Wiley, which the Manchester United gaffer may have to pay for. The same Alan Wiley he was yukking it up with on the sidelines after seeing his side go up a goal against Manchester City in the sixth minute of added time. Sometimes you end up on the better side of luck. And despite Ferguson’s protestations, his side were lucky to draw against Sunderland.
Sorry, but one moment of brilliance from Dimitar Berbatov doesn’t dismiss the fact that you only drew that game because of an unfortunate Sunderland own goal. Manchester United should have put this game away, especially after Kieran Richardson’s sending off. They very well may have scored on their own anyway, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that Ferguson is merely drawing attention away from his team’s poor performance, while playing his mind games with the FA. He may have to pay a fine or even suffer a ban, but it’ll be worth whatever bugs are in the referee’s heads in their upcoming games.
And it works . . . to an extent. All the talk in the papers have been about Ferguson’s comments on Wiley, and now his supposed tiff with Ben Foster. While it’s been discussed, Manchester United’s poor performance hasn’t been touched upon as much as it would normally would have. Sir Alex knows what he’s doing, and although we can all see it coming a mile down the road, we all turn our heads like sheep.
But he has to be fretting on when Edwin van der Sar will be ready between the sticks, and what to do about the lack of creativity in attack. Sunderland approached the Red Devils well, but they’re hardly Chelsea or even Manchester City. We may be looking at a more competitive league this year, but there’s some sparkle missing from Old Trafford. Ryan Giggs continues to amaze at his age, while Paul Scholes merely ages. Berbatov, despite his superb goal, has yet to show his Tottenham form. Either way, the talking points for a team that Ferguson envisions shouldn’t revolve around a bunch of players that were around in the last decade, or waiting for someone to get hot.
As for Ben Foster, he’s merely on Fergie’s shit-list, which doesn’t bode well for him. We all remember the nasty cut on David Beckham’s face that ruined his boy-band looks for a week or two . He soon left, as did Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy when they were deemed useless in Ferguson’s mind. And he was perhaps right in most instances in letting highly-valued players leave before the beginning of their downfall. Unfortunately, Foster doesn’t fit into that category. He merely plays the part of victim in Ferguson’s typical bullying charade.
[Guardian, EPLTalk, Daily Mail]