I can’t say it was the prettiest game I’ve ever seen but Manchester United’s defeat of CSKA Moscow in Moscow was effective. In the end, Antonio Valencia slotted the winner home, getting United 3 vital points and dealing CSKA’s hopes of advancing to the round of 16 a mortal blow. All of the details can be found here.
It wasn’t particularly beautiful, though it was patient. The midfield play was ragged as possession was lost more frequently than anyone would like. Up top, Dimitar Berbatov was extremely annoyed (perhaps his nerves were frayed because he hasn’t gotten any sleep since his wife had a baby a few days ago, hehe). He yelled at more than one player and failed to cash in his relatively few chances. Over the past year and a bit, people have commented that he’s too laconic; while he rarely displays emotion, he’s usually in the right place. Though, to be honest, he has missed an anecdotally high number of chances. But such is the life of a striker.
Back to the game. United were very patient, building up play slowly. It wasn’t beautiful but it was effective. The end results were a series of good chances, culminating in Valencia’s goal. Sir Alex will be pleased.
What does this mean, in the larger sense? Well, United continue their good run of form in all competitions. That bodes well for Sunday’s clash with Liverpool. It also moves United to 3-0 in the Champion’s League, meaning qualification for the round of 16 should be relatively easy. The team should be confident since they put in a good performance with a lot of first-choice players missing; depth is important and it was one of the questions facing Sir Alex at the beginning of the year. It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a good win.