From the Premier League matches on New Year’s Day, we saw that referee Howard Webb had a poor game in Manchester Utd’s fourth home defeat of the season, but it couldn’t mask the huge problems the Champions have.
Manchester United slumped to defeat at the hands of Tottenham, who look rejuvenated under Tim Sherwood, now playing a 4-4-2 system. Emmanuel Adebayor has been very impressive since his return to first team football and scored the opener at Old Trafford in a 2-1 victory for the Lilywhites, making AVB’s decision to not use him even more bizarre.
United, on the other hand, are in need of a clearout in my view. As a United fan myself, it is very difficult to watch a squad that is certainly the poorest in the last decade. The midfield area is the weakest, but I think a top quality winger, a left back, a centre back plus two central midfielders are needed, not necessarily in this transfer window, but definitely in the summer. Players such as Anderson, Nani and Antonio Valencia are not performing, as well as two older players in Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, who I think is on his last legs as a Premier League player.
Howard Webb was in charge of the game yesterday and I personally think he had a mixed game. Early in the second half, with United 1-0 down, Danny Welbeck went down after a tackle from the impressive Vlad Chiriches. There is no doubt that this was a tough call for Webb to make, but I felt (bias aside) it was a penalty. Welbeck was traveling at full speed and I think any contact will make the England international lose balance. Chiriches made contact and Welbeck went down. Webb didn’t give the penalty, but I’m unsure why he didn’t book Welbeck for diving, if he felt there was not sufficient contact.
Only a few minutes later, after two goals in one minute made it 2-1 to Spurs, their goalkeeper Hugo Lloris came charging of his line, which he has a reputation of doing, and brought down Ashley Young in the penalty area. Young has been known as a persistent offender of diving, but Lloris made no contact with the ball and went straight through Young, who did his best to avoid being clattered. I could not believe it wasn’t a penalty. David Moyes called the decision “scandalous” in a post match interview.
Lastly on the United-Spurs game, Adnan Januzaj was again booked for diving after a challenge from left back Danny Rose. It was a harsh booking. There are many challenges similar that result in free kicks and unfortunately, Januzaj’s building reputation as a “diver” went against him, which further angered Moyes who said in his press conference post game “Have you seen that decision? That is a terrible decision. Adnan got bumped.”
Despite all of these incidents, it doesn’t mask the problems United have at this moment. Moyes is now under huge pressure from the United faithful to get the checkbook out in this window, but I think it’ll very hard to find the right player, right now.