So close to Welsh delight. The first talking point of the game came when Wayne Rooney was booked for kicking out in a challenge he could easily have been sent off for. Almost inevitably, Rooney then opening the scoring less than ten minutes later when he capitalised on a Cardiff mistake and found the back of the net via a deflection.
Cardiff responded well to going 1-0 behind and were rewarded for their efforts just after the 30 minute mark with a very good equaliser from ex-United striker Fraizer Campbell. It was a deserved goal. However, United fought back when Patrice Evra put 2-1 us back in the lead just before half time from a corner.
The second half was more like a chess game than anything as the majority of the half was played in the middle. Both teams threatened on occasion but United made the right substitutions to see the game through – nearly.
United defended so well all afternoon but one slip up and Cardiff capitalised to equalise with minutes remaining. Points dropped.
Misfiring midfield. With Carrick injured, Fellaini will be thrust into the spotlight over the next four weeks and he started today against Cardiff. However, he didn’t have a particularly good game.
Given, he played a deep lying defensive midfield role, but you would still expect more of an input from him. He looked very awkward when going into any challenge, almost as if he half expected the tackle to go wrong. He isn’t a dirty player but he is just clumsy. Going forward, his passing wasn’t too bad but certainly could have been better. Towards the end of the game he did improve but fans expect more from the £27 million man.
The same could be said of Tom Cleverley as neither midfielder managed to really take the game to Cardiff in the middle of the park. I am a firm believer that to get the best out of Cleverley, Moyes needs to play him in a midfield three because the lack of defensive responsibility allows him to thrive – something we saw following Giggs’ inclusion.
We’re going to struggle without Carrick in the next four weeks and need all of our midfielders to step up their game in his absence.
Why was Rooney frustrated? Rooney’s hot headedness, which had died down, made a re-appearance today with a kick out that he could have very easily been sent off for.
It was a very strange kick out from Rooney given that it came so early on in the match so it can’t be attributed to frustration building up throughout the game, which means Rooney came into the game in that mindset. Earlier this week, he insisted that the criticism against his fitness from last season was incorrect but apart from that, he has looked very happy this season but would that be enough to make Rooney kick out?
There’s no doubt it was a poor decision from Rooney to do but Kevin Mirallas’ karate kick in the Merseyside derby was more deserving a red card. Let’s see what gets more coverage.
Ten games undefeated. The result against Cardiff today means that David Moyes’ Boyes have now gone ten games without defeat in all competitions in what has been a fantastic turnaround from the start of the season.
Only a few weeks ago, the sweeping sense of pessimism among United fans was unavoidable but it has now transformed itself into some real positivity.
It hasn’t been a trademark ten games in many respects but in others, it has been exactly that. Getting results when we aren’t at our free flowing best is the hallmark of champions and Moyes certainly looks to be getting used to his squad now.
Beginning of a tough week. Today’s away game to Cardiff was the first of three in seven days with visits to Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur up next.
A draw against Cardiff is far from the worst result in the world, especially given that we played average for a lot of the game, but our next two games are crucial. If we can come away from Leverkusen with a win then we will qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League and then we’ve got a big match against Tottenham.
Manchester City mauled them today but the only that is going to do is fire them up for our visit next weekend.