Manchester United – Robin van Persie Wasted by Bad Defending

At the end of the day, Robin van Persie was probably feeling a bit more angry towards the player that shot a ball straight to his head from point blank range, although he should be angry at the Manchester United defensive crew, which had another bad performance, allowing two points to slip away.

A match United should have won, no doubt. They didn’t even fall behind at any stage. They dictated the pace early and scored first, finishing with a lot more chances than their opposition. It wasn’t even the usual frantic gung-ho second half we’ve seen them produce. The players on the wings, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, were painfully off their mark nearly every time they were required to do anything creative. Wayne Rooney had one of his weakest performances of the season, which drew angry looks from Alex Ferguson on the bench and later on, a substitution that did United a world of good.

Not enough to win the match. Their first draw of the season came in a tough ground, against a hard to beat team. Swansea showed up for one half, but it was enough to secure a point. As Swansea stuck to their easy-on-the-eyes game plan through the first 45 minutes, the combinations between Dyer, De Guzman and Routledge embarrassed Patrice Evra and the returning Nemanja Vidic time after time. Each time Michu got the ball near Evans and Vidic, the two started shaking at the knees. It’s hard to understand what has brought on this progressing lack of confidence in the back, but it’s not going away no matter what Ferguson tries.

On the offensive side, the midfield was actually where the good things happened for United. Michael Carrick was very good in the build up play and was even better in the second half, taking a step backwards to help close down the breaks in the rear until Swansea turned to long balls only, which eliminated them from trying to win the match. Tom Cleverley wasn’t brilliant, but he had his moments, especially earlier in the match, being very dynamic and dangerous with his movements.

If only Robin van Persie had one more worthy partner next to him on the day. There was a bit of unluckiness to the whole thing, as Swansea defenders blocked shots with their bodies, or Michel Vorm was simply to alert and quick between the posts to beat. The rest? The woodwork did a pretty good job to keep one point in Wales.

In the end, Ferguson didn’t adress Rooney, Young and Valencia’s weak form. He preferred using the usual bully-tactics through the media against other players, towards the FA, hoping it’ll earn Ashley Williams a lengthy suspension by exaggerating and saying Williams could have killed Van Persie with the ball to the head. Maybe Williams did it on purpose, maybe he didn’t. It was so quick to happen after the whistle, it’s hard to say. Ferguson doesn’t care, and does what he does best – defend his team and go on the attack, regardless of the facts.

All in all, because of the other results, it’s a disappointment. United had a solid game in which they actually managed to control the midfield and dominate for long parts, but another defensive frailty ruined Robin van Persie’s brilliance, that should have earned them another goal and two more points. Instead of looking at suspending opponents, Ferguson should think about why Valencia and Rooney looked so bad.

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