Okay, so I'm writing this after finally waking up. It seems that when I woke up at 2AM to watch the Champions League final I was dreaming, because in all honesty I can't understand why Manchester United didn't do more to shut down the Barcelona midfield. Seems something that implausable belongs in the realm of the imaginary.
Okay, so I'm just going to blog about some of the thoughts I had about the game this morning because I forgot to take notes so I won't write a full match report on the thing.
The first ten minutes were when I started to think Barcelona were going to be swamped a la' Chelsea second-leg, when Ronaldo started to rain shots down on Vicotr Valdez's goal and a red bloodbath was in the offing. Then, it all came apart for the Mancurians.
The first goal from Samuel Eto'o, I think, demonstrated why Man United lost the match. They allowed the Barca players just a little too much space and Barca with the likes of Iniesta and Xavi only need a little bit of space to make you pay. A Braca midfielder able to skip through the lines, have the time to thread a ball through, Eto'o turns Vidic inside out and it's 1-0 and effectively game over.
I was absolutely stunned to see Manchester players allowing the Barca boys all that space. Okay, against any other team it would be okay to allow that kid of real estate but Barca, with their smooth passing game, you just need to press them like nobody's business.
The second goal again came down to Manchester players allowing the midfield too much time and space. Xavi, virtually walks through the defence and has time to stop, think about it, order a cup of tea, fill out a tax return before finally hitting a cross to Messi who does superbly to head past Van Der Sar.
Manchester to their credit has their offensive game plan working. It was expected Man United would exploit the wing backslack of pace and they did that with long lofted balls (especially to Rooney) but all too often they lacked the touch of class needed to capitalise on the chances they had and their play was becoming one-dimensional.
Manchester United, simply, were unable to deal with the slick Catalan passing game and they brought the defeat upon themselves. Pure and simple. When you play Barca, you have to take your game to the next level and Manchester just didn't do that which is why Barcelona are worthy champions and played some scintilating football.
'Till next time