After losing top striker Luis Saha to the silverware-encrusted Manchester United, Fulham have embarrassed one of the leagues top teams for the third time this season, Saha not withstanding. Though Fulham’s 2-1 loss to the Red Devils wasn’t the preferred score line, it certainly is indicative of how badly Manchester United are carrying on.
For a team who has just begun their reconstruction, headed by recent arrival head coach Chris Coleman, Fulham have done superbly, showing what good teamwork and great coaching can do when done right. In three meetings this year, Fulham has done an incredible job exposing United as an easily bested Goliath to the league’s Davids.
Man United have already lost this season to cellar dwellers Wolverhampton Wanderers, and now have fallen nine points behind table leaders Arsenal with 11 games to go. But their lack of form may be more indicative of the end of an era rather than just a simple error-laden losing streak.
United have been perennial winners in England and Europe for the last half-dozen years. Non-partisan fans whom like a bit of fair play and managerial prowess tend to dislike United due to their extraordinary lack of these redeeming qualities. Even casual fans would agree that their trading/transfer market prowess only shows how much they resemble Brewster’s Millions when they spend so flippantly.
Fulham, while fielding a great side consisting of no less than two starting American players (ex-Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra and ex-Columbus Crew forward Brian McBride) are not yet the title contenders they hope to be. But their hunger illustrates so perfectly what United lack.
United is becoming too cocky when they should be humble, too smarmy when title hopes are on the line and too confident for a team whose foundations are beginning to shake it to the ground. Fergie is hunting for excuses too often in post-match interviews, and quick line-up repairs have done nothing to make the Red Devils into a solid team. One look at their line up and it’s hard to refute that they have more world-class players, superstars and showoffs than a year’s collection of Wheaties boxes. But unlike their Spanish line-up rivals Real Madrid, they lack comprehensive teamwork and are suffering from coaching that should be considered criminal.
It shouldn’t be that hard. After all United has accomplished to pull together a team that has undergone a small re-building. But United is not a team anymore. The days of Becks, Scholes and Giggs pulling together to smash their opponents are gone. They have an excellent sniper in Ruud Van Nistelroy, but one who can only score if fed a brilliant pass. A poacher like Ruud can only truly take advantage of a team that flows like a body of one and United are splintering into multiple personalities.
Maybe the writing was on the wall when they lost Becks to Real and Giggs missed an open net goal against Arsenal last year, but Fergie seems to be the real problem. Thought it might be sometime before United fans call for his head, he might as well throw in the towel now and be done with it.