Thank God for the points!
Now that I've got that out of the way, let me point out a couple of things about our latest result. First thing first--it was a great win! I mean Fratton Park has been a sort of bogey ground for us so to get four goals there is no mean feat.
Rooney bagged a hatrick, his third for United and Giggs scored another wonderful free-kick that installs him permanently in the Premier League Hall of Fame--100 goals not out!
On the face of it, it seems to have gone all well for United but it could just as easily have gone all wrong for us. Just how the ref managed to grant Pompey a penalty for absolutely nothing will always be a mystery and you could see the impact it had on our players. To put it mildly, it was plain cheating! I really wonder what Fergie would have had to say about the ref if that penalty had cost us maximum points--I mean there he was serving a match ban for insulting an official, watching another official practically rob us of the lead. It was disgusting!
Enough of that! I thought Fergie overworked our midfield today by playing Rooney as the lone striker. It worked but if you saw that first half and what the stats said about us, you knew we lacked personnel upfront. Berbatov should have started or at least come on. I thought Neville was poor, and his lack of pace would have cost us dearly against more capable opponents.
The stand out performers include Rooney, Valencia and Giggs. The one on top of that list however is none other than Tomas Kuszcack(sp). Regular readers of this blog should know that I've always rated him ahead of Ben Foster for the simple reason that he is confident. Yes he might get beaten but confidence is all you can ask from a goalkeeper. Today he pulled off saves that I thought kept us in the game. I counted five world class saves and given our position in those respective periods, those saves might have won us the game. He was for me the man of the match and I think its time Fergie granted him the number two spot. It will be gutting to lose a keeper of his quality.
Valencia was our best player in the first half and I think that today he used his pace quite well to our benefit. Scholes had a relatively solid performance in the middle of the park but you wonder if it is he that was picked to play behind Rooney as he hardly got past the centre circle!
In the end, massive three points that put us within two points of Chelsea and hence puts them under some pressure to get a result tomorrow. It's the sort of pressure that works against the teams above you hence my emphasis on the need to win today. We've got Spurs in the Carling Cup on Tuesday but for now we can sit back and sip a lemonade or beer if you like as we watch the action unfold from the Emirates stadium. I heard that Ancelloti was supporting Rafa when we went to Anfiled a couple of weeks back. No marks for guessing who Fergie will be supporting tomorrow! cheers!