BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty
« Previous | Main | Next »

Scholes return papers over the cracks

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 18:47 UK time, Sunday, 8 January 2012

Paul Scholes simply missed football too much to stop playing, and football was swift to show him exactly what he was missing after he reversed his decision to retire.

Scholes has mixed the odd friendly kickaround with his new day job of coaching United's youngsters since calling time on his career after a brief cameo in the Champions League final defeat by Barcelona at Wembley in May.

For one of the most gifted and successful players of his generation, this was no substitute for the raw adrenalin, pace, power and occasionally pain of the real thing and sent him back to Sir Alex Ferguson asking to don his boots once more.

On a rain-lashed afternoon at the Etihad Stadium, Scholes was provided with all of the above - and more besides - in a third-round derby victory for United against Manchester City that will be remembered as a classic.

When the rumoured return of Scholes became fact as United's team-sheet landed, the ration of drama had been used for most normal days. This was no normal day.

After a week in which Wayne Rooney has been scrutinised for fractures in his relationship with United and Ferguson, it was no surprise that he opened the scoring and celebrated with a flamboyant snatch at the badge of his shirt.

And when City captain Vincent Kompany was contentiously sent off by referee Chris Foy even though he cleaned out the ball in a tackle with Nani, the visitors sensed the opportunity to avenge the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford in October.

Danny Welbeck, with a goal of athleticism and ingenuity, made it 2-0 and, when Rooney added his second from a rebound after his penalty was saved by City's stand-in keeper Costel Pantilimon - in for rested Joe Hart - the formalities appeared complete before half-time.

Scholes was named on the bench for the game against City. He completed 97% of his passes after coming on. Photo: Getty

This conclusion reckoned without a wonderful City fightback that brought two goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Aguero and confirmation, if it were needed, that Roberto Mancini has a squad of substance, not simply expensive price tags and outsized egos.

In a turn of events that summed up how logic had been temporarily suspended, Mancini actually appeared the happier manager after the game as he praised City's resilience as another sign that they are made of the stuff of champions.

Ferguson, in contrast, was prickly with his players for the carelessness that saw a comfortable position almost cast aside.

The return of Scholes was top of the many talking points provided on an afternoon that once again gave the lie to those tempted to dismiss the FA Cup as a devalued pot. This was a wonderful game for a wonderful competition.

Ferguson's decision to accept Scholes' offer of a final fling was greeted with a mixture of derision by some seeing it as an act of desperation, with others seeing it as an obvious solution to United's lack of midfield quality.

In a 31-minute appearance Scholes spread the odd trademark pass around and had a low shot saved by Pantilimon. He also conceded possession in the build up to City's second goal, was flattened unceremoniously by Micah Richards and ended blowing hard and looking exhausted.

The decision to reinstate Scholes in United's midfield has an element of 'no lose' for Ferguson as he has an extra squad member and he clearly believes he can make a contribution, seeing no harm in having such an influence on the pitch.

It also, however, begs questions about United's young midfield undercard, when they will be considered mature enough to play regularly, and how much rebuilding is really required in this crucial area.

Ferguson has effectively admitted he needs something extra in midfield by bringing Scholes back - but it hardly signposts a glittering immediate future for youngsters such as Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison if a 37-year-old who retired and last saw serious action eight months ago is recalled to the colours instantly.

And again, it underscores Ferguson's failure to address what was clearly a top priority for United after another masterclass from Barcelona. He needed to sign an A-list central midfield operator last summer.

Ferguson can be accused of taking a backward step in welcoming back someone who admitted the game was up in May, but it is simply a sticking-plaster solution until he can take two steps forward in the transfer market next summer.

Manchester United fans celebrating by doing the 'Poznan' rubbed salt into the Manchester City wounds. Photo: PA

Time, and Scholes' eventual contribution, will be the judge of this decision and the player known as 'The Ginger Prince' is the last person in the game who will have gone to Ferguson and asked to play as some sort of vanity project.

It will also raise further queries about how much muscle United can wield in the transfer market, although the Glazers and Ferguson insist the money is there and can be used. United's manager is notoriously reluctant to spend in January and Scholes fills a void, albeit temporarily.

For City, there was actually solace in the disappointment of defeat and Mancini was swift to accept it.

The side assembled so expensively by the Italian has occasionally - more last season than this admittedly - been accused of being a collection of parts rather than an entire unit.

Here, presented with what looked a hopeless cause at half-time, they demonstrated that they continue to move towards being the finished article with a show of spirit and a refusal to accept what looked inevitable after 40 minutes.

United, despite Ferguson's obvious dissatisfaction, can also take great heart from the manner in which his side set the platform for victory, although the ragged performances of Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra suggests he may have even more transfer work to do at the end of the season.

Ferguson and United's reward for their win was an away tie against Liverpool at Anfield, with all that entails after the recent incident involving Luis Suarez and Evra.

And for Scholes, it is exactly the sort of game that will have occupied his thoughts as he pondered whether to risk a portion of his reputation on a few more months as a player.


Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Scholes was a great addition and provided a great assist for city too

  • Comment number 3.

    They are looking for a short term fix to a long standing problem. Sloppy start today coming off the bench and will need game time to improve his sharpness. No great risk as they were dumped out of the Champions League so they can concentrate on domestic issues and will probably sign a much needed creative player in the summer.

  • Comment number 4.

    If I was a Man U fan I'd be more concerned about the lack of money available to Fergie, surely in the window a new signing would be better than Scholes he's well past his best.

  • Comment number 5.

    Can't blame fergie for using scholes as utd's centre of midfield is at best average. Players like Modric, sneijder to name a couple are needed, if utd are to be serious about winning champions league again. However I can't see either of these or any other big names coming in January nor the summer. I think the budget does not allow it and they will settle for cheap alternative such as tiote. Although got promise, dot fancy doing a Liverpool/Carroll would rather utd buy proven quality.

  • Comment number 6.

    A act of utter desperation. Things must be really worrying for all United supporters if their manager thinks the answer to their very obvious problems are a aging midfielder, who let us be honest, has been finished at the top level for 4-5 years.
    What next? Bobby Charlton, Denis Law?
    Things must be worse than everyone thinks.

  • Comment number 7.

    phil- instead of NEVER giving united credit, why dont you just admit that we won the game. we scored 3 goals, they scored 2. apparently our midfield isnt good enough, yet this is the same midfield that has won 4 out of the last 5 premier league titles, been to 3 out of the last 5 finals and just beat city on their own turf off the back of 2 defeats. why dont you talk about how chelsea and arsenal couldnt buy a victory and give united the credit they deserve. if our squad was that insufficient and that average then we wouldnt have the silverware to COMPLETELY contradict everything you ever say about united. we're 2nd in the league and if we hadnt been completely decimated with injuries to key players we would be top. you may as well tweet a picture of you wearing a city shirt because this hatred and lack of appreciation towards united is extremely boring and even more unjust. CHAMPIONS. 19. ON TO NUMBER 20.

  • Comment number 8.

    @7 absolutely right

    Rumours of the demise of the biggest club in the world appear to be premature.

    I see no mention of the fact that Citeh had to bring Owen "Guinea Pig" Hargreaves to bolster their midfield. Hardly strength in depth there.

  • Comment number 9.

    You think Evra was "ragged"? He was one of the best defenders on the pitch, Phil. You also accused Evra of being poor away at QPR when again he was very solid. Seems like you're just going with the general consensus that he's in poor form and taking any opportunity to claim he's a player in decline. People like you can criticise Fergie for bringing back Scholes, but only an idiot would decline such an offer. It doesn't paper over any cracks. This is just you're typical blog looking for any excuse to sensationalise problems at Man Utd. Sir Alex will bring in players when the time is right. Scholes isn't the solution, no one is saying he is, he's just very handy to have around.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thing is #7 Utd are a team in decline. Blatantly obvious.

    That £50m paid to the bank every year would buy a Modric/Snjieder or 2. Shame the men in suits cream it off. With no CL football this yr and no chance of the PL enjoy the curtain coming down on old red face's admittedly splendid career.

    Nice while it lasted. Don't be greedy now. ;-)

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm sure the majority of people will claim that Kompany did not deserve to be sent off.

    However, my initial reaction (and the reaction of most people that were watching with me) was that it was a bad challenge.

    Slow motion replay then shed a different light on it - and I would say it wasn't such a bad challenge.

    Referees need more technology at their disposal - such as they do in rugby.

    I blame FIFA.

  • Comment number 12.

    7 and 8 and chips on their shoulders the size of Camp Nou. It DOES praise Utd in this blogs. READ the article. Biggest club in the world........ha ha ha. Enjoy the Europa League!

  • Comment number 13.

    Good day (for some)

    As a united fan I was hoping for some revenge after going up 3 goals but instead saw us give city some momentum as sloppiness let them claw back and give them some belief for the rest of the season.

    Some things that annoyed me:
    -Ferdinand taking risks. With Sergio around, why ry to get fancy?
    -clearly something wasnt right with Phil Jones. Quite possibly the worst game he's had. How many times did he misconstrue the ball?
    -further to the above, why was he not replaced with a defender? Instead we bring on Scholes who hasn't played a match since May and, as the announcers correctly pointed out, is always a risk to reduce the team to ten men.

    I take nothing away from City though. Even though UTD mistakes gave them opportunities they had the quality and nerve to take advantage.

    Before anyone gets on me for my rant, yes I am happy to proceed and was thrilled with the great goals and counter attack play, but next time we go to Etihad if we make the same mistakes we are done.

  • Comment number 14.

    Disgusting decision by Foy to send off Kompany. Nowhere in FIFA's rules does it say a two footed tackle is a sending off. The appropriate wording is dangerous, reckless or careless, Kompany's tackle met none of the criterion. My belief is that Kompany's sending off had more to do with Frank Lampard and Mr Foy's failure to send off Lampard following an horendous challenge against Wolves.

    The game itself provided some decent moments, Rooney's header was superb and Wellbeck's finish neat. I thought Milner was outstanding, Richards also. It also once again showed that UTD are pretty weak defensively with Ferdinand, Evra and Lindegaard having nightmares.

  • Comment number 15.

    Evra was ragged he's finished, if he played as well as he spoke he'd have a few seasons left in him.

  • Comment number 16.

    2 things.

    Firstly, yes Scholes is past his best. But his best was world-class, and he'll always have that quality with him.

    Secondly, although Man City performed superbly to come back from 3 goals down,
    this cannot be compared to the 6-1.

    Whereas Utd on that day continuously went to attack and were caught on the break, Mancini at half-time brought on 2 defenders and his plan was obviously to sit out the match to avoid a drubbing.

    It took a wonderful freekick and a Scholes and Lindegaurd error to allow City back into the match, it wasn't City knocking on the day, just Utd easing the tempo and the fear that the game may slip away from them.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    weve been a team in decline for every seasons in the last 6 years so whatever anyone says just shows how fickle they are as fans. this time last year were united going to win the league or were chelsea's experienced team of pensioners going to win it? i didnt hear one person slating their squad and still dont to this day but the fact that everyone still has a pip at united about their ageing squad, inexperience, poor stregnth in depth says everything about how threatened you are. were missing 4 first teamers and have had to deal with losing the best keeper in the world. city were missing 2 of their first teamers today and they got beat. try playing week in week out down to the bare bones. worry about your own team because at the end of the day you clearly care too much about ours. onwards and upwards for a united fan! ps.... how you can KEEP calling the red card contentious shows you're even more bitter than first thought. ronaldo 2 years ago? red card? and that was with one foot! HATERS! - HAVING ANGER TOWARDS EVERYONE REACHING SUCCESS. yawwwwwwwwn

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm not exactly thrilled with the Scholes news, to me it demonstrates a club that has serious financial constraints. I want to see the money I give the club (season tickets etc) invested in the best talent that money can buy. And I'd sonnet see Pogba and Morrison given their chance rather than the return of a retired red legend!

    For years I have defended the ownership of the Glazers but it may well be that their debts really are strangling our famous football club.

    The Scholes news certainly points to it!

  • Comment number 20.

    United don't need another player with a face like a smacked backside. Rooney, Nani, Evra et al do enough scowling, whinging and whining. Mind you they take after their cynical manager.
    Aguerro was brilliant today and seems to be an honest player, unlike many.

    Ferguson knows full well his squad is not good enough and we should pass judgement on the likes of Phil Jones until he's proven himself. Too much hype from the BBC football hacks amongst others.

  • Comment number 21.

    Phil - I don't really see the return of Scholes as too big a deal. I hardly think he is going to be a lynchpin of the team, but mainly to come on in the last 20 mins of games that United are winning. Yes, he gave the ball away for the 2nd goal, but that can happen to any player. It will be highlighted this time as this was his return, but if he had been out injured for 9 months and making his return, not much would be made of this. I would be very surprised if he starts any games come the run in. As United will be going all out for Premiership and FA cup his experience in the dressing room will be very helpful. Yes, United do need the likes of Modric etc in the centre, but with Cleverly, Fletcher out, and Anderson just returning, it is unlikely that there will be a big name midfielder signed until the Summer. Morrison, Pogba and co had their chance against Palace and blew it. It is amazing that after all that Ferguson has won people still second guess his judgement so much. He has seen off every Liverpool manager, Mourinho, Wenger is no longer a threat. The only manager (or team) to get the best over him long term is Pep at Barcelona (who are possibly the best club team ever).

  • Comment number 22.

    Chris Foy is one of the most consistent refs in the Premiership.

    Consistently bad, that is.

  • Comment number 23.

    I do agree with Phil's assessment of Ferdinand.

    I've been a big fan of his over the years but, at the moment, he looks a shadow of the player he was.

    A bit harsh on Evra though........... though he was solid enough.

  • Comment number 24.

    Even in his ''pomp'', the ''Trafford Trundler'' was a League 1 or League 2 standard plodder.

    Ferguson bringing him out of retirement is an embarrassing piece of desperation, and to worsen things further, the ''Trafford Trundler'' now appears to have deteriorated into little more than a Conference North standard plodder.

  • Comment number 25.

    12: and biggest club in the world isnt a debatable opinion its a fact backed up by numerous trophies won! moralvictoriesdontwinyoutrophies

  • Comment number 26.

    Phil, I dont believe that it was right for Paul Scholes to come out of retirement, he left as a legend and will always be one but his performance today wasn't one we were use to seeing. Giving the ball away and assisting in man city's second goal. I think we need to move on and spend either money on a player this January or finally think about including the likes of Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba in the line-ups to gain experience. However that would be in doubt as they are both potentially leave the club this season. It's evident we need a CM and fast because we are showing far to many cracks at this moment. However great victory today and roll on the next round! p.s even il admit kompany's tackle wasn't a red, just a yellow.

  • Comment number 27.

    @The soul path of David Villa

    Critical of Alex Ferguson's spending?

    Conveniently miss out Barca and Real have spent more money each transfer window than united have.

    Instead of making hypocritical comments, why don't you make a productive comment?

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't think Scholes has been brought back as a solution to United's midfield problems, but more as an extra option - with Fletcher out, Ando + Cleverley looking injury prone and Gibson seemingly out of favour, he can provided some much needed support to Giggs and Carrick in the centre of the park until Ferguson can strengthen in the summer window.

    Personally I think Fergie will be on the lookout for someone to make a name for themselves either at the Euro's or even the Olympics, much like Mesut Ozil at the last world cup, rather than splash out £35m+ on proven players.

    As for the match today I think United proved that there is actually very little difference between the two sides. People will argue that the sending off changed things, but it was 1-0 at the time and City hadn't really created anything, despite their possession. After half time United could have gone on and created a scoreline along the lines of 6-1 had they not taken their foot off the gas.

  • Comment number 29.

    Well as a utd fan I have to be pleased with the result. Fortuitous to have kompany sent off, but I have to take the opinion of some informed pundits who say you should expect a sending off if you tackle with two feet. Foy has previous with the chelsea v qpr game, and kompany (as fergie pointed out and I have noticed) is known for being overly physical in tackles. We were 1-0 up already so would have been interesting how the game panned out with 11 men each.
    Worryingly instead of the transfer talk of either rodwell, eriksen, shaqiri, dzagoev (insert promising young midfielder) he has gone for scholes. What this says is uncertain, whether utd are strapped for cash, fergie wanting experience or that he's losing the plot. It certainly felt that way with his tactics 2nd half and the substitions. How he put on scholes, left carrick on (I'd like to see his successful passing stats) and giggs is beyond me.
    It does show how weak city are without their key players. People talk their strong squad, but their weakness have been exposed. Will be interesting to see how solid they are without toure and kompany.

  • Comment number 30.


    You are clearly Biased beyond reason. Also, Van Der Sar was not the best keeper in the world, IMO he never was.

  • Comment number 31.

    27. At 20:45 8th Jan 2012, Maidenhead_for_the_cup wrote:

    Conveniently miss out Barca and Real have spent more money each transfer window than united have.

    What have Real or Barca got to do with anything? This is a blog about the Manchester City v Manchester United FA Cup tie.

    Kindly keep your apparent obsession with Spanish football off this blog. Thank you.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ unitedfanforlife - come back with you get close to what Barca have won and as recent history shows you can't get close to us on the pitch either.

  • Comment number 33.

    Would concur with #11 Pundit. When first seen straight red. Both feet off the ground flying in studs up.

    However with replay (that obv refs don't get) was harsh.

    2 lessons.

    1. Need for video replay.
    2. Until then don't fly in to tackles, both feet off ground studs shown.

  • Comment number 34.

    Yeah whatever Kompany, what a loser mentality, have fun showing off your moral trophy cabinet!

  • Comment number 35.

    Who was the comedian who gave Rooney the MOTM award? OK, he got into a good position for the first goal and his header was good, but he missed a penalty, and his all-around game was typically mediocre.

    Other than Foy, the MOTM award should clearly have gone to Agüero.

  • Comment number 36.

    At 20:42 8th Jan 2012, unitedfanforlife wrote:
    You need to go back to school based on your comment that CITY only had 2 first team players missing. (perhaps your still in school, primary school)

    CITY played without Hart, Toure, Balotelli, Dzeko. Now that in my book adds up too 4.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well after they terminated webb's contract after his poor performance at newcastle, teh new replacement foy has been a wonderful signing!! Lol
    In terms of player ratings, Lindegaard was average and I await for de gea to settle down, evra was awful (out of position as always) and needs to buck his ideas up or move on, rio unlucky trying to carry 3 other poor defenders. Smalling ok comeback, jones, all over the place and shows his youth. Giggs, far too old to start in a competition game like this. Carrick was just woeful, probably less than 50% successful pass rate. Valencia, did well, but too predictable. Nani, was ok in bursts but didn't know why he was taken off. Rooney & wellbeck excellent, always chasing.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    @ 32. dont need to compete with spanish clubs. they have their own league and we have ours. and funnily enough we are the most successful club in ours. thats all that matter. recent history also shows the best club in europe doesnt win the champions league. not doubting barca's talent but no club in england has ever come close to what we have achieved and they are our rivals. im happy consistently winning the league which recent history shows to be the best team throughout that season. 19

  • Comment number 40.

    For anyone complaining about the red card, the rulebook states that a player must be sent off for 'Use of excessive force'.

    Kompany didn't have to go in so hard - he could probably have stayed on his feet and won the ball quite comfortably, but instead he dived in with two feet.

    It was a very harsh red card without doubt, but not technically an incorrect decision.

  • Comment number 41.

    The problem is that no big-name midfielder wants to go to united. People talk about the likes of sneijder but i'm not sure he would want to go to a Europa League side. It's hardly old news though is it? Djemba Djemba, kleberson, veron etc, United never have attracted big-name midifelders from other big sides, they usually settle for the aforementioned dreggs and their modern day equivalents in Carrick and Anderson. I suggest united fans just keep quiet about their centre-midfielders and get used to it or just hope fergie brings robson or ince back from retirement.

  • Comment number 42.

    Agree with you Phil that Scholes' return may just be papering over the midfield cracks
    It may even give the team a false sense of security in midfield. Would prefer Man Utd to be looking to the future for midfield solutions rather than the past. Hoping that when Cleverley returns, he can form the partnership with Anderson that lighted up our midfield for the first few games of the season. Otherwise, we might be in trouble with just Carrick, Giggs and Scholes to rely on in the centre of the park.

    Thought the entire Man Utd defence was poor today bar maybe Smalling. Ferdinand made too many errors and Jones and Evra almost always caught out of position. Lindegaard looked nervous a few times but managed a few good saves. Seemed like Man Utd lacked the team spirit and killer instinct in the second half while City played amazingly well with just 10 men. Hate to say it but City were miles the better team.

  • Comment number 43.


    I was in a room predominantly full of neutrals and you could audibly here a collective intake of breath when Kompany initially flew in for the challenge. There were then comments such as "nasty", "oooops" and "two footed challenge off the ground".

    Watching it on slow motion replay, almost everyone concurred that it wasn't a red card.

    But my point is - Chris Foy will get panned for the decision, but there have been far worse and more illogical referee decisions made in the Premiership this season.

  • Comment number 44.

    @35 Soul Patch??!!

    Im agreeing with you! I never thought I'd see the day, Aguero was terrific on his own whereas Rooney had large dormant periods despite UTD's possession.

  • Comment number 45.

    Kompany's dismissal certainly papers over the cracks because I think it would have been a different match without that event. However, I've decided to give up trying to get the wife to explain the offside law and get her to explain what a legal tackle is because, after 46 years, I no longer know what either are.

  • Comment number 46.

    You do need to compete with Spanish clubs when you get into the latter stages of the Champions League unless, as you say, you are happy enough just to win your own little league and not compete with the big boys when in matters. We all know Stopwatch is desperate for another Champions League but it won't come in his time.

  • Comment number 47.

    At 20:58 8th Jan 2012, niceweatherforthecyclops wrote:


    I don't believe Kompany used excessive force, if so he would have taken Nani with him. It's down to interpretation. I believe Foy sent off Kompany because he failed to punish Lampards tackle against Wolves.

  • Comment number 48.

    @39. "no club in england has ever come close to what we have achieved"

    Behave son. Football wasn't invented with Sky Sports and the Premier League.

  • Comment number 49.

    At 20:34 8th Jan 2012, Bertie Button wrote:
    Disgusting decision by Foy to send off Kompany. Nowhere in FIFA's rules does it say a two footed tackle is a sending off. The appropriate wording is dangerous, reckless or careless, Kompany's tackle met none of the criterion.
    Once a player leaves the ground they are not in control. Add in the fact Kompany was going in with two feet, both with studs up, at a fair speed, that basically constitutes a lunge. That's pretty dangerous, and most certainly careless, and perhaps reckless depending on what on earth the guy was thinking when he committed to that challenge.

  • Comment number 50.

    At 21:01 8th Jan 2012, RememberScarborough wrote:

    Kompany's dismissal certainly papers over the cracks because I think it would have been a different match without that event. However, I've decided to give up trying to get the wife to explain the offside law and get her to explain what a legal tackle is because, after 46 years, I no longer know what either are
    I agree, its bloody ridiculas.

  • Comment number 51.

    dzeko doesnt start so 3. less than united. ANYWAY i think you bitters are missing the point. were champions, we won today and you have nothing on us. btw- good attempt at defending your fa cup. futures bright- futures red x

  • Comment number 52.


    Disgusting decision by Foy to send off Kompany. Nowhere in FIFA's rules does it say a two footed tackle is a sending off. The appropriate wording is dangerous, reckless or careless, Kompany's tackle met none of the criterion. My belief is that Kompany's sending off had more to do with Frank Lampard and Mr Foy's failure to send off Lampard following an horendous challenge against Wolves.

    Whilst I completely agree that Kompany shouldn't have been sent off, I don't see the connection with the Lampard yellow against Wolves - Lee Mason was the ref for that game, not Chris Foy!
    Foy does have form with Chelsea though - the sending off of Bosingwa against QPR was as ridiculous as the Kompany red card today

  • Comment number 53.

    i think on that note i will go to sleep knowing we are still in contention for 4 trophies whilst you are only in contention for 3. remember 1 thing- you're only as good as your last game ;)

  • Comment number 54.

    kompany red card was wrong, giggs should have been booked, and man u should have had a second penalty. The incompetence of Chris Foy has to be brought into question. So many bad decisions this season (I'm a Spurs fan, of course!).

    Loved scholes in his pomp, not sure him coming back is a good idea.

    Aguerro should have been man of the match today, not rooney. he missed a pen! overrated player. very overrated.

  • Comment number 55.

    At 21:04 8th Jan 2012, Yasin wrote
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I disagree, your endeavoring to invent some wording to fit the situation. FIFA does not state a "player cannot leave the ground". Excessive force, dangerous and reckless. If Kompany had taken Nani first and not the ball how can it be dangerous?

  • Comment number 56.

    I absolutely concur with #13 gamera123

    I thought Jones should had been subbed in the first half as he just didn't look right after the clash with Smalling? Evans could have come on in CB and let Smalling go to RB. Next was Nani who was out of sorts and finally Giggs. I think SAF was wrong to bring in Scholes for Nani. Thought Hernandez would have been good to work with Welbeck in pinning a few City defenders back and in fast counterattack. Welbeck was our greatest penetrative threat in this match so I can't understand why he of all people is the one coming off nor the need for Scholes even if he is suited to keep possession. Carrick is on and Giggs can stay on till 10-15 minutes from end, to be subbed by Anderson. With Rooney thats a central triangle to hold the ball and make themselves available for passing.

    With Nani and Welbeck off for Scholes and Anderson, SAF took off 2 fast attackers for slower midfielders. My guess is SAF thought it was a good time to give Scholes some matchtime and his ball keeping would be useful, but in doing this we changed the team into a less dynamic one and Scholes in fact would not have targets for long forward pass if he chose to which he didn't. He mainly was confined to short passes.

    Makes me think SAF was satisfied if we didn't score more as long as we didn't conceed any more by better ball keeping. Wasted a chance to inflict a lesson on City and in return uplift our team and supporters. Now both sets will feel they got something out of it and off the 2, we are the ones less satisfied. Me at least.

    Still........DUMPED THE HOLDERS. Ha Ha Ha.

  • Comment number 57.

    To paint the City game with any kind of adjectives is a mascaraed, it was simply painted with a couple of substantives, Chris Foy.
    The referee was the central figure of the game. It wasn't the first time that happens.
    His critical decisions, against the home team to prove that he isn't afraid of home fans?, are not new.
    Giggs and Jones had two tackles, wit the ball far away, and didn't see any card.
    Jones did play goal keeper and nothing happen again.
    I don't know if the book rules of English football is a FIFA one or something else.
    Compensation errors of the referee is not in my book, it is from FIFA.
    If the referee doesn't call for a penalty against team A and later do the same for team B, to compensate, it is sad and defines the referee, and to be admit it by critics, likes he did well, is making a comedy of the football game.
    Mr. Foy, please, retire, you are an unexpected trouble maker in the football games.

  • Comment number 58.

    Maidenheadfor the cup

    It took a wonderful freekick and a Scholes and Lindegaurd error to allow City back into the match, it wasn't City knocking on the day, just Utd easing the tempo and the fear that the game may slip away from them.


    There is only one problem with what you have written, top sides do not play with fear especially with a man advantage, for a top side the word fear does not exist, they believe in their own superiority. Past Utd teams, which this one cannot compare to, would have coasted there way through the second half and probably increased the advantage.

    Of course Utd will still beat the majority of teams because they are better than them, it is as simple as that. In City they have a team that is better than Utd's current capabilities.

    The true time to judge Utd is when they have to play Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City all away from OT, even Liverpool is not a given for them, in the cup or the league. As other teams have shown, get at Utd early and they have a problem.

    The referee has had an absolute nightmare of a game. I am not just speaking of the sending off, Utd should of had a penalty but you could also ask would they have been there in that position, had City eleven men on the pitch.

  • Comment number 59.

    47 AND 52

    Ref in Wolves match was Peter Walton - not Foy, Mason, Roger Kirkpatrick, Stanley Rous etc. PETER WALTON. Got it?

  • Comment number 60.

    Phil - Of course Paul Scholes's return is temporary, United have had half their squad missing with injury since early in the season and as one player comes back another goes off injured, so it make sense to have Scholes 'waiting in the wings' so to speak. Although SAF announcing the return today gave everyone at United a lift, I'm not so sure that bringing Scholes on when he did was for the best, since it was Scholes 'under hit' pass that allowed City to score a second goal and so heighten the tension in the remainder of the game. I couldn't believe the first half, Kompany sent off, United awarded a Penalty, Rooney two goals to the good and a well taken goal from Welbeck, that was every bit as skilful as the one scored by Ba for Newcastle last week, all before half time.
    Kompany might be considered a bit unlucky to get a red card, because he seemed to take the ball cleanly, but these days a tackle is considered reckless when both feet are off the ground and studs are showing and Kompany has been prone to tackling in a similar manner in other games. I do actually think Kompany is one of the best City defenders, ever; and certainly he is a top performer in the current PL in the CB position and after his departure City were reeling for the rest of the half. When City emerged in the second half minus Silva and Johnson I thought Manchini was going to 'park the bus' and try to keep the score down; but the tactics of going three at the back worked and its the first time for a long time that I have seen a manager react positively to going a man down. Although City regained some momentum, by bring the difference back to one gaol, with Kompany out for 3 (possibly 4) matches and the Toure brothers missing, things could start un-ravelling at bit for them in the next month.
    If Sniejder's wage demand had been a bit less he would probably have been at OT now, but it wasn't and he isn't and so United will make do with what they have got, including their ginger-headed new signing - seem to have seen him around before!!!

  • Comment number 61.


    4 Competitions, FA cup, League, Europa League. You got knocked out of the league cup. Last time i checked that was 3..... unless your counting the charity shield!

  • Comment number 62.

    SAF's problem is with a fit cleverly, anderson and fletcher he'd be alright in CM in addition to carrick and giggs. anderson's just getting back to full fitness, cleverly will be within a month or so so but obviously fletch is going to be out for a season. however, why spend 20+mill on an 'ok' player when we probably won't need him in a year (no-one wants to sell their best players in jan, especially for a reasonable price. scholes is the short-term solution we need in addition to jones filling in

    if in the summer fletch doesn't look like he's going to make it and pogba and morrison also fail to make the cut then we can invest

    after city played so well in their 2nd half formation, and with our defensive frailties whether we should try something like


    nani, welbeck and rooney have free roles, all the rest is pretty self-explanatory

  • Comment number 63.

    Very much agree with lewisco, Patrice Evra was one of the best defenders on the pitch. Giggs controlled things nicely in the middle and the Welbeck/Rooney forward pair looked promising. So this was in fact a very positive day for Utd.

  • Comment number 64.

    " The Magic of the FA Cup "

    once again spoiled by an atrocious Ref

    City should launch an enquiry as to just how much irregular betting was taking place both prior and during the game.

    Interestingly the GMP decided that on this day their officers would be wearing full body armour i envisage a time when the officials will need to wear the same unless something is done to rid the game of these incompetent individuals.

    Foy is a disgrace to his profession and should be sacked.

  • Comment number 65.

    What a disappointment to see Scholes on for Nani.
    It was the turnining point of the game ie backwards.
    Sir Alex could have lost the game with his substitutions

  • Comment number 66.

    #53 unitedfanforlife

    What four trophies are we still in contention for???

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    Always risky, when going in to tackle like that. No excuse if the decision is wrong but there is always a genuine and considerable risk of a red card when going into tackle like that. So I wouldn't be too harsh on the ref on that decision as he has to make a decision quickly and without replay. Understandable why he gave it at that moment in time. Top defender that is for sure is Kompany and a key component, so its understandable why Mancini will appeal as well as the debatable nature of the sending off.

    Fine performance from City indeed by City in the second half. Pity we didn't show such disciplined shape in the Old Trafford game but instead, we played in a stupid open manner, with the likes of Rooney losing the plot in terms of positioning. Thumbs up to City for that second half performance.

    We need numbers in midfield with injuries/illness to the likes of Ando, Fletch and Cleverley over the season as well as experience on the playing staff and more wiser and economical user of the ball instead of the wasteful and sometimes too forced with his passing, Giggs. But yes, ideally, we'd have a genuine in-his-prime player coming to the club, instead of Scholes. Though the chances of such a player of being allowed to leave his club in January is slim, especially if his club is still in CL. Of course, the problems in midfield have been apparent for a long time, so we could have bought in the summer or the summer before that even as its been problematic area for at least that long. He has tried to strengthened other areas of the side in the summer but not the central midfield, so he has spent money. But for now, I'm content for Scholes to come back in as we need to boost the number of options in midfield.

    We desperately need a settled back four/five more than anything. Even more important than bringing in a top central midfielder, in my view.

    Glad Smalling is back and probably is our second best CB now, behind Vidic. Definitely like the look of him. A better CB than Jones at the moment and possibly RB too.

    Jones has played too many games this season and if we hadn't had the amount of injuries we have this season, he wouldn't have played so many. I think he needs a game off or two, just to recharge and have a good think. In terms of positioning, he needs to do a considerable amount of work in being more clever with his defending as well as dominating physical strikers.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think Scholes' return had less to do with United's midfield weakness and much more to do with ensuring that the players who started were as pumped up as possible before the match. Why would fergie have kept it a secret from his own squad until they got to the dressing-room unless his priority had been to give them a huge confidence boost just before kick-off? He knew that anything other than a United victory would have seriously damaged their title chances, due to the psychological importance of this game, and he calculated that the relatively minor cost of bringing Scholes back was worth every penny if it gave the youngters the confidence to go and win the game.

    That's why I have to disagree with you about the FA cup, Phil. The significance of this game was all about the destination of the premiership trophy come May, and the potential power shift in football if its owners are Man City. Why else was Mancini the more cheerful manager after the game? He realised that the psychological victory today was his - and that his team are not as likely to give up fighting for the championship as they did for the FA cup.

  • Comment number 70.

    It is definitely a quick fix. Either Manu don't have the money to sign a star CM, or, more likely, there isn't a suitable candidate available in January and they will have to wait until the summer to get a modric or a Sneijder. Therefore Scholes has been brought in to plug the gap for six months.

    On today's match, it's difficult to read too much into it because of the early sending off and the frankly surreal nature of the game. However in the league when manu were reduced to ten men with thirty minutes less to play, they lost 6-1. Manc in a worse position battled to only a 3-2 defeat, and gave Manu some nervous moments at the end. Does this shows the difference between the two sides?

  • Comment number 71.


    I'm all in favour of a law, as long as it is administered to everyone equally. It is obvious that the two footed tackle is not being treated in this way.

    You state as soon as the feet leave the ground, then a player is no longer in control and will always be dangerous. That is not the case, a player with quality can take a ball cleanly as was demonstrated by Kompany. Not every challenge is dangerous. The rules would be ok if they applied across the board, certainly in the match itself, there were many decisions, that left many watching, confused to the refs ability to control the match and his feet never left the ground.

  • Comment number 72.

    53. At 21:07 8th Jan 2012, unitedfanforlife wrote:
    i think on that note i will go to sleep knowing we are still in contention for 4 trophies whilst you are only in contention for 3. remember 1 thing- you're only as good as your last game ;)

    fa cup,europa league and the premiership thats three ! whats the fourth ?

  • Comment number 73.

    Give united credit for what??

    They went 3 nil up against 10 men, and then were completely outplayed by 10 men in the 2nd half.

    Their midfield IS completely average, as is their defence. They usually just benefit from lucky decisions (i.e. Kompany getting sent off).

    Carrick, Giggs, Park, Scholes, Anderson, Cleverley, Young, Nani, Valencia. No name jumps out there. Granted Nani is quality when he wants to be, as is Ashley Young. other than. I mean the fact they had to call a 37 yr old out of retirement speaks volumes about their strength in that area.

    Compare this with:-

    Man City - Nasri, Silva, Johnson, Barry, De Jong, Toure, Milner, Hargreaves.

    Chelsea -Meireles, Mata, Lampard, Ramires, Mikel, Malouda, Romeu.

    Tottenham - Lennon, Modric, Bale, Parker, Van der Vaart, Kranjcar, Pienaar.

    Arsenal - Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Arshavin, Song, Gervinho.

    All much better than United - simple.

    Fergie has to spend. Get rid of Evans, Ferdinand, Scholes, Park, Carrick, Owen and other dead wood. He needs to buy quality to continue to compete. At this rate Spurs will finish 2nd...Chelsea will spend and come back stronger next year and Arsenal will always threaten.

    Typical united fans thinking they're top dogs just because you ousted City on their turf. Get over it. Sunderland beat them recently and West Brom held them to a draw. Your team is nothing like it was, and won't be again until these issues are addressed.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think that united have looked weak this season and that despite this win, they are still weak and because of many reasons, including injuries and a lack of a good CM, teams can get at them in a way they never could before. The reason that Scholes retired in the first place is that he is too old and we will see this soon. I am still certain that United will not win the league this season but it is a testament to how good SAF is in the fact that United have won anything with such a "weak" team in the past couple of seasons.

    P.S. I am trying to recreate the old 606 at

  • Comment number 75.

    Every side with serious aspirations to win the Premier League needs older players, including (this may come as a shock to the youth-obsessed people out there) those in their 30s. No, that doesn't mean Paul Scholes is the future. He clearly isn't. But then again, how could anyone possibly cite Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison as the future at this stage? When Utd won the Prem with that team of youngsters (Beckham, the Neville Bros etc) they also had the older players Irwin, Cantona, Schmeichel etc.

  • Comment number 76.

    Bertie Button, just to follow up on your school jibes, the plural of "criterion" is "criteria" (re. your first post).

    An odd game. In real time I thought Kompany's challenge was fair so couldn't work out what Foy was thinking. But in the replay, and in my opinion, it seemed to be a matter of pure luck that he didn't hospitalise Wellbeck. I'm a United fan by the way. Also just before Wellbeck scored, a fairly patent handball was not given against Carrick (think it was him). Instead United earned a dodgy free-kick seconds after the handball which resulted in United's second. It's both to City's crédit and the control that Mancini has over his players that City did not make a song-and-dance over another injustice.

    When Rooney corrected his fluffed lines at the penalty spot it should have been a rout thereafter. But Mancini - who didn't bring on those two defenders to prevent the rout, but rather to release players forward - out-thought SAF. United inexplicably made unnecessary changes and relaxed. That goes against the values I associate with United.

    Have to say that City looked woeful at 2.0. Thé manner of United's revenge was soured a little. I think that what we have seen is that both these teams can give each other a real pasting on their day.

  • Comment number 77.

    Now the excitement is over United must be gutted cos about the moral loss today.

  • Comment number 78.


    Although City regained some momentum, by bring the difference back to one gaol, with Kompany out for 3 (possibly 4) matches and the Toure brothers missing, things could start un-ravelling at bit for them in the next month.

    Correct because at this moment in time that is the only way Utd can possibly win the title. At this time it is City's to lose.

  • Comment number 79.

    At 21:25 8th Jan 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:

    You state as soon as the feet leave the ground, then a player is no longer in control and will always be dangerous. That is not the case, a player with quality can take a ball cleanly as was demonstrated by Kompany. Not every challenge is dangerous. The rules would be ok if they applied across the board, certainly in the match itself, there were many decisions, that left many watching, confused to the refs ability to control the match and his feet never left the ground.

    I agree, some good points.

    And I apologize. I thought Foy refereed the Wolves game, I was WRONG.

  • Comment number 80.

    I think City showed great heart and spirit in the second half, I'm just glad that wasn't the league game at the end of April! The first half was almost a bit surreal, I can't argue with Rooneys header or Welbecks volley, both good goals. I think the half-time tactical switch worked well - don't concede any more goals and try and nick one on the break and for all Utd's possession in the second half they actually created very little goalscoring chances. Plenty of positives to come out of it for me, and one less competition to distract from the title race.

    But once again Chris Foy has had a nightmare. I'm a City fan so I'm obviously going to mention Kompany... I was shocked to see a red card but there is no way it will be rescinded, because you can see that the 'nature' of the tackle was two-footed and therefore a red card in the eyes of Foy. However I am not biased and couldn't believe that Valencia didn't get the second penalty, Welbeck gets booked for a little push yet Carrick hacked 3 players down (including Richards as we were about to break away) and received no booking!

    It may or may not have been a different game with 11 vs 11, but I'm not convinced we would have won outright, especially if we were pushing forward for a win and Utd kept hitting us on the counter. I guess it shows we won't go down without a fight anymore....

  • Comment number 81.

    At 21:32 8th Jan 2012, R-Brooker wrote:


    Fair points.

  • Comment number 82.

    Sorry if this is overreaction from a neutral but does this suggest that the board and owners are no longer satisfied with Sir Alex's transfer targets and are saying no or very little money available to spend Alex, make do with your reserves/youth team. The question is if that's so, will Sir Alex like to remain with those kind of restrictions in place beyond this season - he was never likely to get sacked, this might be a way of him leaving at a time of his choosing (although by the board exerting a little bit pressure). However if he does go I hope it's out with a bang - and I'm a neutral.

  • Comment number 83.

    Out of interest, what team did city draw in the next round of the moral fa cup?

  • Comment number 84.

    Kompany made the best tackle I've seen in years and he gets sent of for it ! wtf ?
    His left foot made the tackle and his right took the ball clean as a whistle. If the petulant baby known as wahwah Rooney hadn't jumped all over the ref, there wasn't even a foul coming from it.
    10 "MAN" City were more than a match for 11 overhyped prima donnas of United.
    No mercy next time.
    And I wouldn't take 3 Rooney's in exchange for one Aguero.

  • Comment number 85.

    Good lord! He's there to provide short term coverage because if you buy in January Transfer Window you pay over the odds and never get what you actually need (see Torres & Carroll). Scholes can see us through until the end of the year when we can buy a proper replacement, which Fergie clearly recognises the need for if he's bringing Scholes back.

  • Comment number 86.



    They have done well in the 'morals' table recently...

  • Comment number 87.

    @ eduard_streltsov_ghost

    Did you even watch the game?

    Carrick was one of our best players.

  • Comment number 88.

    United fan here. Had Yaya & Kolo Toure been available, especially in that second half, we were toast. No doubt Scholes' return improves midfield depth & experience but the improvement in terms of quality is very minimal. For a clubof United's stature, that midfield is not up to the task. A central midfield with Fletcher, Cleverley, Anderson has some potential. Specifically, I have high hopes in Cleverley however we need an established [modric, silva, ozil, iniesta/xavi or fabregas] type of player in our midfield in order to compete at the highest level.

    Perhaps there is a lot we do not know about the current situation at the club regarding the transfer policy, but the return of Scholes sends the wrongest message possible.

    That said, happy United came out on top today, and glad there is another stern FA cup test at Anfield before the month ends. Who knows, perhaps that will prompt SAF & co to re-evaluate our transfer policy between now and then because with the current trend, the FA cup might be our only hope of seeing a desirable trophy this season.

  • Comment number 89.

    At 21:40 8th Jan 2012, bosterososvigilante wrote:

    Out of interest, what team did city draw in the next round of the moral fa cup?

    We have bigger fish to fry this year.

    What team did UTD draw in the next round of the FA cup?

    I'm thinking LIVERpool will be up for it and the last time you played them Ferguson picked a very negative formation.. I believe he was scared of "pool"

  • Comment number 90.

    @ 85 - MUFC could turn and say to Mike Ashley "We'll buy Hatem ben Arfa and give you the pick of the team as a replacement" and Ben Arfa would be gone, same with Ba or Tiote - both would get better and better in the MUFC side - even as a Toon fan, I'd say you'll see them get far better when they leave NUFC (playing well but limited) so Scholes is a funny one - you know what you're getting but if you're going to sign someone for free I'd ask why not try to find A.N.Other free transfer or pick up someone out of contract next July and just give the team a nominal fee or appearance fee per game - after all that team would lose them for nothing in 6 months (and saving on the wages).

  • Comment number 91.

    Bertie Button

    I wouldn't mind if the two footed challenged was outlawed totally and for everytime it happened a sending off was the penalty but it is never going to be that way.

    Practically every match i see now, whether live or on the box, the ref is changing the course of the game with a bad decision.

    It is not just a sending off but a card happy ref can ensure the change of a game. I watched that Chelsea/Wolves game recently and the ref did not control the game from the start, he then produced 5 cards in the space of 10 mins, for lesser offences than what had already occured.

  • Comment number 92.

    Wow. Given this is a blog about Paul Scholes there's an awful lot of bitter blues on this blog . Still, I doubt the hundreds and hundreds of millions of oil money spent can change embitterment brought about by decades and decades of failure overnight.

    However, I digress. Let me make a few points:

    1) The players and managers were warned in December that the two footed tackle was being outlawed. While the sending off looked harsh all the players and managers knew it was a sending off offence and yet Vincent Kompany decided he'd lunge in within the first 12 minutes when he didn't need to.

    2) Of course Scholes is a short term solution - United are hoping that it's a short term injury crisis. There's simply nobody good enough easily available during the January transfer window. Offering huge amounts of money would simply attract the kind of players United don't want at the club.

    3) No matter what the circumstances, beating your rivals who are top of the Premiership who recently beat you 6-1 in their own back yard on the back of two bad defeats is some achievement. There were City fans before kick-off (don't mock them too heavily, they're new to all this) that were claiming today would be a repeat of that result or even worse.

    The fact that United conceded a wonder free kick and gifted City another goal in the second half to let them back in and get the crowd behind them obviously angered Fergie, but all things considered it was a great result. I don't remember many City fans taking the harsh sending off of Johnny Evans into account when United lost at Old Trafford so I'm not sure why it matters here. Sure City got two goals back but in the Cup all that matters his that City have been dumped out of the only competition they've actually won in the last 27 odd years.

  • Comment number 93.


    Bigger fish to fry!!! Yeah right, you didn't care about the cup did you!!!

    That's great, added to your moral victory its been a smashing day for you!

  • Comment number 94.

    Was never a red card. Even Nani didn't complain, and he's the 3rd best diver in the world (behind Busquets and Dani Alves). Reminds me of Rodwell's red card earlier in the season, I was suprised it as even a foul, never mind a red or yellow.

    If the challenge had been done by rio fergie wouldnt have been saying it was the correct decision... double standards and biased opinions in football now, only Pardew speaks the truth

  • Comment number 95.

    Despite being a Man City fan, I'm going to try to be as unbiased as possible.

    City did start ok, but once United got their noses in front their heads dropped. And after Kompany went, well, I've seen tortoises with more energy and zest.

    Regarding Kompany's challenge, there are two sides. The replays were clear; he DID get the ball, but then again it was a two-footed challenge and hence at huge risk of punishment. But a red card was undeniably harsh; even the most red-blooded of United fan would be a little sympathetic and would feel the same if it was one of their own players.

    Welbeck's goal was pure class. He should be one of the first choice strikers for England at Euro 2012 as he's got talent and confidence in abundance. He's a prime example of the developing talent at Man Utd, and City really should follow this kind of youth development (the Etihad training academy can't come fast enough) in order to prolong any further successes.

    Whatever Mancini said or put into the players' coffees at half-time really perked them up, and Kolarov (who did concede a clear penalty earlier) took an excellent free-kick. Aguero scored a nice goal too, but the fightback was a) too late and b) faded towards the end.

    Wayne Rooney had an excellent game, I might add. His goals were exceptional, good opportunistic movements to cap a brilliant first half for United. His second may have been lucky after Pantilimon saved his penality, but stealing in to knock it in with his head showed great reflex. Whether he should be taken to Euro 2012, I don't know, as he may only have one game if England are poor in the groups. He also has failed to impress on the international stage since his excellent Euro 2004 in Portugal.

    The referring though was poor. We've seen too many wrong big decisions in the last few months (Kompany, Barton, Lafferty) and it NEEDS to be addressed. Why can't referees make simple decisions from replays? The system is just outdated.

    And lastly, Paul Scholes' comeback. I know Man Utd have many injuries, but they also have some excellent youth players and some cash to spend. Getting an aging Scholes without match practice for a few months smacks slightly of desperation. And no, I'd say the same if City got Vieira out of retirement. He didn't play well, and perhaps throwing on Park Ji-Sung might have been useful.

  • Comment number 96.

    this was a typical EPL match: good spectacle, poor football

  • Comment number 97.

    I haven't read all the comments but firstly. Can people stop claiming Foy is the new United signing. It was really funny when it was Webb and this new bandwagon is even funnier. Rather than pick fault with the officiating, why don't all the United haters actually admit that for the first half United were the better side. They were clinical, hungry and I don't think anyone can argue they were rightfully up....

    As for the red card. Has anyone mentioned the fact that at NO POINT did Kompany even complain about the decision. Seems to mean he accepted it was a pointless challenge. Fair, he won the ball, but also no Man U player surrounded the ref, they played on.

    City did fantastically well to get back in the game, hats off to them but a couple of poor games isn't enough to say Man U are going downhill. Have you all forgotten the start of the season? When Man U had a full squad and drubbed both Arsenal and Tottenham? Man U are continually scrutinised after every match as opposed to over a longer period of time and considering we aren't playing well which people happily pick up on, we are 2nd in the league behind a team in far better form.

    And whoever commented Man U can't attract big names in CM. That is probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. When Veron was purchased he was thought to be one of the best potential talents in Europe.

    I'm not going to claim other people are jealous but just admit the facts before conjuring wild theories about refs and the demise of England's most famous club.

  • Comment number 98.

    At 21:49 8th Jan 2012, bosterososvigilante wrote:


    Bigger fish to fry!!! Yeah right, you didn't care about the cup did you!!!

    That's great, added to your moral victory its been a smashing day for you!

    Our target is the PL, it was written into the 'strategic plan" 5 years ago.

    We won the FA cup last year, we are in the Carling cup semi-final and are 3 points clear at the top of the PL.

    Yes, I'm very HAPPY.

    We have travelled a long journey. We are changing the landscape of Manchester with the construction of a unique youth development facility.

    Today, the ETIHAD stayed full, we were pushing with 10 men for a tie and nearly got it. OT emptied in September, it was soooooooooooooooo quiet.

    Stay happy.

  • Comment number 99.

    city would of gained a lot of admirers for the way they played today.

    Utd do have problems, they are only perhaps two players from fixing it. the problem is they don't have money to throw away like some other clubs. the proven players are big big money.

    Rooney has to play far to deep, he knows utd lack some spark in the midfield and has to hunt to make his opportunities to far inside his own half, especially in he big games, he's always too deep.

    Evra didn't have a bad game, for me Carrick is a week link. he has never looked like he is going to unlock a defence like he should do. Ferdinands best days are most definetly behind him. jones should be playing at centre back, to have someone as composed as him there could be key for them in the future.

    City will run away with the league irrelevant of this result. I dont like to say it but with major players not playing or away and to look as dangerous as they did with a poor red and only 10 men is impressive

  • Comment number 100.

    To be fair to Ferguson he did recognise the injustice of the sending off and tried to level things with 10 v 10 by bringing Scholes on. It nearly worked.


Page 1 of 11

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.