His name is Rio and he scores in his own net…

I was so fried from dealing with small children on Saturday night that the missus effectively ordered me to sit and watch some footie. So, I watched Portsmouth beat Manchester United 2 – 1 in no small part thanks to Rio Ferdinand not bothering to look where to aim his back pass, and in fairness also due to Edwin van der Saar not allowing for Ferdinand to do something inane.

Otherwise it was an interesting view: United was looking a little Arsenal-ish inasmuch as there were long periods where no-one was hammering the ball at goal, however, their short passing game wasn’t up to much. Portsmouth didn’t outclass them throughout, but there was some tough defending – especially by Linvoy Primus on Wayne Rooney, and collectively a lot of bumping into Cristiano Ronaldo – and they were quick to counter-attack, to which United remain vulnerable.

I sometimes forget that it’s been 8 years since I saw United tearing through the tail end of the ’99 season (after we moved into our current place and the glories of digital cable yielded Fox Sports World), but that realization helps explain why Giggs and Scholes look a step or two slower than I remember. (I should ever have been that fast…) Whether it was the combination of inexperienced youth and tired experience, or just that as a team they couldn’t get it together, the flashes of aggression and near scoring were not quite as frequent or sustained as I might have expected, but then I haven’t been watching United much this season…

Still, not a dull game, so no complaints here.


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