MARSEILLE FRANCE - FEBRUARY 23: Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United is challenged by Souleymane Diawara of Marseille during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Marseille and Manchester United at the Stade Velodrome on February 23 2011 in Marseille France. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
I won't get the chance to immediately get the usual post-match report until later this evening (PST) or tomorrow. In the mean time, feel free to discuss your thoughts, feelings, or whatever else on this thread. A few quick thoughts on my end...
* I'm very curious to know why Paul Scholes didn't start....or wasn't brought on at half... or at the 60th minute mark. The only reasonable explanation for this is injury, otherwise, it's a flat out mistake by Sir Alex Ferguson. Scholes might have rescued this match for United, we were under siege in the 2nd half until he came on and calmed things down.
* It looked like in the early going that Nani was going to destroy Heinze, but the Portuguese winger imploded and had a poor match.
* Smalling was confused at times by the inter-changing movement and fluidity of Marseille's attacking band of three.... Brandao and Ayew especially.
* Speaking of Ayew, he was dangerous and his quickness caused John O'Shea quite a bit of discomfort. Ayew began to terrify me every time he ran at O'Shea. I would have preferred Rafael for that particular match-up.
* Patrice Evra looked lively to me, and he was very dangerous on his over-lapping runs.
* The biggest influential part of the game was Marseille's pressure and pressing high up the pitch. They made United (midfielders especially) uncomfortable on the ball, and Marseille was able to win the ball back often on our half of the pitch. This is why Marseille looked so threatening at times, but they just didn't have the creativity in the final attacking third to earn quality chances on goal. The high pressure on United and their struggles with it... I'm sensing a pattern for United in recent months (a bad pattern). Luckily this happens mostly away from Old Trafford.
* 0-0 isn't a bad result, but the lack of an away goal is worrisome; especially considering United's suffering the consequences from it recently. I'm still confident we advance past Marseille, but we still have quite a bit of work to do. I'm pretty frustrated though, that wasn't pretty.
* Gibson..... uhhh, this match was too big for him. I'll leave it at that for now.
* I would love to hear your thoughts on the match. Discuss.