Perhaps fans were being carried away too much after last weekend’s events. Things took a turn for the worse for a much-changed Manchester United side in the Carling Cup, losing out to West Ham on a snowy night at Upton Park. Despite the presence of some senior players — most notably, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, John O’Shea and Anderson — the relatively young side will have learnt a harsh lesson in football. Sir Alex changed the defensive unit completely, brining in Kuszczak, Fabio, Evans, Smalling and O’Shea. In midfield Giggs and Bébé provided support to Anderson and Fletcher, behind the front pairing of Javier Hernández and Gabriel Obertan.
The night began promisingly for the Reds and dominated the early possession — indeed it required a world-class save from Robert Green to push an Obertan effort onto the post. Out of nowhere, ex-United boy Jonathan Spector burst in from midfield and fed Obinna, whose deflected shot deceived Kuszczak to fly into the net. West Ham players and fans celebrated the goal, only to be cruelly cut down by the assistant’s very late flag for offside. Replays showed this was indeed the case, as Obinna’s shot had taken a deflection off Spector, who was clearly offside. A few minutes later however, Spector made up for this. Obinna, who was causing O’Shea problems down the right floated a ball into the box, and Spector jumped in ahead of Fletcher to head past the flailing Kuszczak.
At the other end, United were finding it difficult to create chances of their own anymore. Bébé showed some good strength and pace down the right, but his final ball let him down, and in truth, the United centre was finding it difficult to control the game. Disaster was to follow however, and it was Spector once again to torment his old club. Fabio managed to tackle Obinna in the box, but slipped before retrieving the ball, and Spector, opportunistic as before intercepted and finished well past Kuszczak. This was not so much a defensive error as it was misfortune on the part of Fabio, but certainly, the defending should have been better in the build-up to the goal.
As the second half came about, one would have expected some improvement from the team, but there was little. The weather might have been taking its toll on the youngsters and the two goals had certainly knocked some wind out of their systems. Macheda had come on for Bébé, but he too found it difficult to keep a hold of the ball against Ben-Haim and Upson. Instead however, it was West Ham who found the next goal and put the game out of United’s reach. Obinna, who was running the show, ran down the right before curling in another cross, this time met by the head of Carlton Cole against the weak challenge of Jonny Evans. Ten minutes later, the same pair were at it again, Obinna showed Rafael some clever feet and found Cole in the box once again. The English striker then turned Evans with incredible ease and coolly slotted in his second. Question marks certainly over the form of Jonny Evans.
It was a horror night for the youngsters of United, who will have hoped to win their third consecutive Carling Cup. Unfortunately, the defeat means that United are out of the competition, but let’s hope at least that it will serve as a great source of experience for the players. There will definitely be some concern over the performances of the senior players like Fletcher, O’Shea, Giggs and Evans but this should only be a minor blip. Surely, we will once again see the best of United against Blackpool at the weekend?
Best Moment: Obertan’s shot early on
Worst Moment: West Ham’s second and third goals
Man of the Match: Anderson
Written by member Sownak27