- There is no getting around it. United should have seen that Cardiff game out. But accusations that Moyes made scared, defensive substitutions are absurd. Giggs and Welbeck for on for Januzaj and Hernandez is pretty like for like. If Rooney gets it right with his stoppage-time pass (set up by a lovely ball from Giggs), we would have spent day talking about this club's resilience, and the permanence of the Fergie aura.
- Smalling had a brilliant game. Good positionally, strong in the tackle, and even his passing was decent. So sad to see him give away the silly foul that led to Kim's equalizer.
- I was impressed with Felliani too. He threatened from set pieces all afternoon, and seems to be growing into the more conservative shielding role that he is being asked to play.
- Tom Cleverley on the other hand... this guy will show you flashes of his natural talent, shuttling all over the pitch and keeping things ticking. But some of his play is incredibly, incredibly sloppy. He simply must raise his performance levels. Which way from here, Tom? Are you the next Nicky Butt or the next Darron Gibson?
- Yes, Wayne, it was a bad tackle.
- I'm giving Wayne a pass for that late miss. Rooney actually lets quite a few chances fall by the wayside--or certainly more than the truly elite finishers, like Sergio Aguero. It's his movement, work-rate, and technical skill that gets him so many chances in the first place. On Sunday, he was one of the few players the defenders could trust to hold the ball and give them a real breather.
- It's difficult to judge Patrice Evra's aerial ability. Not only did he stand idly by as Kim nipped in for the leveler, he was also the man who let Jordan Mutch free for that 6th minute chance. Of course, we saw both sides Sunday--it was Pat who burst into the box to redirect Rooney's into the net just before halftime. So what's going on? When defending, he has a tendency to get caught under the ball, denying him the ability to use his tremendous leap. He also routinely fails to get in the right position and block opposing runners. In front of the opposing goal, however, Evra is dynamic and aggressive, as evidenced by the goal today and the four he bagged last season. I guess when you play a former striker at left-back, you take the good with the bad.
- Even if Patrice isn't the world-class defender he once was, I can't imagine letting him leave for Monaco or PSG in mid-season, no matter who comes in to try and take his job. Evra's experience and presence in the locker-room are vital.
Injuries and Other News
- R.I.P. Bill Foulkes, a former club captain and one of this site's eponymous heroes. The hard-nosed defender survived the Munich disaster and went on to win the European Cup with the club. Nice obituary on BBC.
- Phil Jones is almost back and ready to play, and not a moment too soon. Moyes said Monday "I don't think he is as bad as we first thought. He's not too far away." But will we see him Wednesday against Leverkusen? Moyes: "Possibly".
- Speaking of Leverkusen, Rio knows how important it is to take charge of Group A before we face Tottenham and Everton. The Bundesliga side will be without speedy winger Sidney Sam but are always a tough proposition at home.
- Moyes was equally non-committal on Van Persie and Vidic. "Robin's groin is the problem at the moment; his toes are much better. We are hoping to get Nemanja and Robin back as soon as we can. I hope they'll be in contention for Wednesday but I couldn't give a definitive answer."
- Evil Kagawa needs to calm down. The playmaker was left out of the Cardiff squad because of a minor foot injury he picked up with Japan, as Moyes made clear at the same press conference.
- Jason Burt of The Daily Telegraph suggests Ryan Giggs may get another one year contract. Giggs is an absolute legend and should be around the club as long as possible--just not sure I want Manchester United relying on a 40 year-old central midfielder for much longer. Burt also believes Ander Herrera is still "extremely keen" on a move to Old Trafford.
- Jesse Lingard scored again for Birmingham. That makes it six in seven.
- And the Glazer family's Tampa Bay Bucs won again! Hooray for a minimal, and quite possibly imagined, boost to the opaque finances of our controlling owners!