So United are still in the competition and they’re happy with that. After being given a lesson during the first half in particular, they charged forward just enough to do just enough. They can go ‘toe-to-toe’ again at the Allianz.
My memory being every bit as broken up, conflicted and generally feeble as yours, here’s what struck me about the game – bullet-pointed.
- Let’s not forget, people, that the first half was a nil-nil massacre, with Bayern playing at a level United cannot yet dream of.
- Welbeck again did that thing where he looked like a world-beater for five minutes then, when the moment came, he really let his eyes glaze over, needed the moment to be over, longed for the responsibility to be gone, rather than for him to have to grasp it. And he dinked unconvincingly – unsuccessfully – because he is a good player but not a real striker.
- Rooney was a disappointment.
- Fellaini was almost fascinating dire – slow (and with no likelihood of a gear-change) clumsy and so generally befuddled he appeared to have forgotten how to head it. Which is almost funny. But funny with a very big price-tag.
- The gulf in terms of comfort on the ball – and the treasuring of that fairly significant accessory – was staggering. United looked very English (i.e. chronically wasteful), Bayern majestically ‘continental’.
- We can talk of United playing (finally) with some spirit but for aeons that’s been – and should always be? – non-negotiable. They were honest (give or take) but frankly ordinary, secured a home draw and conceded a goal and yet this is generally viewed as a step forward. Talk of progress very quietly please.
- Having wondered aloud about the propensity of a certain player in particular to throw himself (ahem… I mean draw contact) perhaps we should note in passing that the three most obvious simulations/exaggerations/examples of raw cheating (delete where your allegiances allow) were committed by Messrs Vidic (twice) and Rooney. Which disappointed me, I have to say.
- Robben, meanwhile, played rather beautifully. With a kind of economy and skill and movement and confidence that maybe we shouldn’t even think of comparing with say… Valencia(?)
- Great goal Vidic.
- Wonderful goal Schweinsteiger. (But where was Fellaini?)
- Valencia had to go for that second offence – simple undeniable jumping in, even if there appeared to be little malice.
- Scweinsteiger was robbed – and we are robbed of watching him – after Rooney threw himself rather cheaply.
- No wonder them there Germans are furious. They will feel they gave United whatever German is for ‘a lesson’ and had no luck in the ref department.
- What they do have, of course, is an away goal. And the likelihood of a comfortable home win to take them rightfully through.
- But United – this United – could yet do err… a Wimbledon… couldn’t they?