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Still Waiting - Blandy's Man Utd FA Cup Away report


JohnCresswell
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Another trip to Old Trafford for me today, to go and watch what turned out to be a pretty decent game.

I guess everyone who reads this will have seen the game televised live on the box, so there's not much point me detailing what went on, on the pitch.

You'll know that Man Utd just scraped through after a late, late, howler from our on loan keeper.

You'll also know that United and Villa both played pretty much their strongest sides, and that United's is "somewhat stronger" than Villa's.

You'll have observed that Villa battled absolutely fantastically all over the pitch to try to make up for the gap in quality and United's home advantage.

I was particularly impressed with the improvement in Isiah Osbourne. He had easily the best of his few games for us, and assisted "Mr 110%" - Gavin McCann - in making sure that we chased and harried and tackled and fought for every ball.

I also thought that both Ridge and Gary Cahill had good games at the back. Aaron Hughes raised his game from the disappointing level of his recent performances, and Wilfred Bouma also had another good game for us. He's starting to look, defensively at least, a very good left back.

Gabby didn't manage to get much change from the United defence, and looks to be needing a rest. JPA won headers, but looked toothless and Milan Baros, on for most of the second half got the goal that Villa deserved, and the Upper tier of the East stand were pleading for.

Talking of which, the view from up there is good, and it's nice to be able to take more fans to Old Trafford than the normal 3000 we get in the corner. The fact that it was a cup tie and that there were more of us there than we're usually allowed made for a better atmosphere, though like many grounds the place is a lot quieter than "the good old days".

There's not much more to add, really. I feel a bit deflated, but not let down.

It rained, the trains and trams ran on time, and I'll be back next week. Hopefully for a different result. We've shown we can compete, if we give it our all. The passing needs to improve, but I would imagine that in the long run, this run of games against Man U (3 times in a month), Chelsea, Spurs away and so on will benefit the players.

So far our standards and heads haven't dropped, despite being up against it with things. That'll stand us in good stead in the longer term.

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Good post. Although we did suffer at the hands of a better team in the end, we got a glimpse of what can and will be in the not too distant future. If we can give a team of United's depth and quality a game with what we currently have, a few additions will see us competing like we haven't been for some time. Osbourne and the other kids improve with every match. The return of Moore and some new players will change our fortunes before the season is over.

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