Game 37: Monday 04 May 1998
Manchester United 3 - 0 Leeds United
(Half-time: 2 - 0)
Referee: G Willard (Worthing)
|« Coventry City
|Martyn, Kelly, Wetherall, Hiden (Hopkin 60), Harte (Robertson 73), Radebe, Bowyer, Halle, Haaland, Kewell, Hasselbaink
|Beeney, Wallace, Jackson
|Van Der Gouw, G. Neville, Irwin (P. Neville 45), May (Brown 60), Pallister, Beckham, Butt, Cole, Sheringham (McClair 60), Giggs, Scholes
|Giggs 6, Irwin 31 (pen), Beckham 58
|Halle, Radebe, Hiden, Wetherall
|P. Neville, Pallister
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Full house, empty victory
|Ferguson's optimism fails to disguise lack of inspiration
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Loss of title stings United into display of defiance
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
You'd know by looking at Harte that he isn't the sharpest tool in the box but his decision making yesterday was abysmal allied with being deceptively slow should ensure that he never plays 1st team again. I'm all for giving a player time to settle - let him settle in Bradford or Halifax.
What's with this compulsion to play with 10 men, 9 if Harte is still on the field. All our sendings off this year were as a result of 2 yellow cards (I think) and that to me indicates a higher degree of indiscipline and stupidity than the once off red card.
We're screaming out for an attacking right side midfielder, someone who will take on defenders. We are severely limiting our options if all the incisive crossing has to come down the left side and nothing but a high punt is being delivered from the right. I've nothing against Gunnar Halle but he'll have to step aside and play as a squad player, he can't perform the role required as an attacker, neither can Kelly for that matter.
Lucas is King, he was an island in a sea of gobshites yesterday.
Finally, I find it a bit disconcerting that for the third time in a week G.G stated publicly that he hopes funds will be made available..... rebuilding, quality players etc. Yesterday he mentioned that large funds are required, he never indicates that he's received reassurances that money will be available. It gives me the impression that he could be laying the foundations for reasons to shag off next season if he can't compete for quality players. He might just have to resort to come over here to the Emerald and unearth another (chicken) nugget like Harte.
Manchester United are about as eager to wear the mantle of erstwhile champions as trend-setters asked to don hand-me-downs. As runners-up to Arsenal in the Premiership their place in the qualifying round of next season's Champions League is assured, but at Old Trafford yesterday nobody was celebrating silver medals.
Instead the majority of the usual 55,000-plus crowd commiserated with Alex Ferguson's players for winning nothing this time except applause, and even that had begun to fade with the team's departure from Europe followed by Arsenal's remorseless and ultimately successful pursuit of the championship. Leeds United's fans turned up to gloat noisily at their rivals' failure. One could hardly blame them. After all, it had been a long time.
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