Second-String United Were First Class

By on May 5, 2011

Alex Ferguson Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates at the end of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Manchester United and Schalke at Old Trafford on May 4, 2011 in Manchester, England.Sir Alex Ferguson may have sent out a “second-string” team against Schalke on Wednesday night, but it was nothing less than a first-class performance in front of a delighted 70,000 at Old Trafford. The United boss admitted to having second, third and fourth thoughts about the risky decision to play some players whom wouldn’t usually start while resting the big guns such as Rooney, Hernandez and Vidic, but in the end, the risk paid off emphatically.

Darron Gibson, who has been the subject of huge criticism from some sections of Manchester United support, had a very impressive game with both an assist and a goal to his name. The opener was huge credit to him, feeding through Antonio Valencia, ruthlessly cutting through the Schalke defence with a pin-point pass, which some even light-heartedly likened to Andres Iniesta’s quality. Valencia was one one one with Neuer, and calmly struck it past the German to lift the nerves murmuring around Old Trafford.

The second goal, was quite ironic considering Manuel Neuer’s outstanding performance in the first leg, as he spilled a classic Gibson rocket into his own net, and it was at that point when Schalke, if they hadn’t already, realised their Champions League dream was well and truly over. Neuer, their top performer had made a bad mistake, and that only spelled worse to come for the German side.

A consolation they did muster through Jurado, who no doubt upset Edwin van der sar by ruining his clean sheet, but it was too little too late for Schalke, who gave their fans at least something to cheer about.

Anderson then grabbed an unlikely double in the second half to seal a perfect Champions League semi-final tie, and book a place in the Champions League final with Barcelona at Wembley. It is an exciting prospect, and a game that will hopefully not be marred by the disgraceful antics that Barcelona have showcased in their far from perfect semi-final tie with Madrid.

Berbatov was his usual self; calm, drifting, and at one point showed off his outstanding and astonishingly abnormal ball control, holding off about five players and then unfortunately miscuing the cross. Michael Owen came off the bench to create a wonderful chance for himself, cutting inside on his right foot from the left and smash one towards the goal, and if it wasn’t for a firm Neuer hand to stop it, the former Liverpool star would have been wheeling away in delight. That big goal he has promised is still being waited for, and he has four vital games left to do it in. Chelsea this week-end would be a good start.

Nevertheless, United have given Barcelona something to think about, with an emphatic win with their second team, having the likes of Rooney, Ferdinand and the rest watching from the stands. Schalke did not prove to be the most challenging of opposition by any means, but United did not do it the hard way like has been done before, but defeated them in style, and with apparent ease, both home and away with no blips.

No player will miss the final due to suspension which is a huge bonus, and we must hope that no-one suffers an injury in the lead up to the huge game later this month.

Tell me what you think!

Submitted by DBSFootball

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