Our PL writer and chancellor, Dan Berriman, is almost ready to return.
As I mentioned in the previous entry, no Rooney = problems. The real problem is not talent as the squad has tons of that. Let's see: Berbatov, Herdandez, Fletcher, Giggs, Scholes, Vidic, Evra, O'Shea, Valencia, Park, Nani. I see a problem which happened in this game, the Bayern Munich CL game after Rooney left with injury and the Blackburn game.
Determination, energy and belief...in tough, tight, grinding games.
When United gets scored upon or when the match is tight, with no Rooney in sight, the team seems to lack determination, energy and belief. At least in the last month or so of last season and this game. When Fulham's Simon Davies scored to even the game, United seemed to lack in determination for 20 minutes and allowed Fulham to took control. There was no spark to the flow of play until Giggs came on but that fizzled quickly. The second half reminded me of the Blackburn game. Same kinda feel.
What about belief? Ask Nani. Fuhlam defender Hangeland punished the missed penalty (and atoned for an earlier blunder) by hitting a header past Edwin van der Sar. What scares me more is the boss actually said: "I should have let Giggs take the penalty". Yikes. The boss is not even sure what to do without Rooney.
With Rooney, there is psychological change to the game. Berba does not terrorize defenders like Rooney and Hernandez, while he did ok in the first part of the first half, disappeared and did not seem to pull defenders with him the same way Rooney does. Rooney also shows a lot of emotion out on the pitch, demands a lot of himself and his fellow team-mates. Where in yesterday's game did you see any emotion from the United players in the second half? Where was the general screaming at his players to perform better. Where was the energy?
I was going to say Vidic has the kind of energy to bring up the team but he was too busy supporting Evans who had one of his worst games in recent memory. It was scary how bad Evans was in this match and something to think about when United faces West Ham next week.
All credit to Fulham who battled through the first half to equalize, go down a goal again (and almost a penalty goal) to level the game just before added time. Fulham manager Mark Hughes deserves credit along with his players.
United need to solve the Rooney-less problem if they wish to not lose the PL by a point.
Next week, we are raffling a women's 2008 home jersey. Be there.