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Man Utd 1-0 Middlesbrough

United are still yet to concede a point or a goal at Old Trafford this season. Ok ok, there have only been four games including friendlies so far, but the record still stands.

The teams walked out the tunnel to roars of support for the absent Roy Keane. No matter what you may think of his actions in recent weeks, the fact remains that he is vital to the club, and it is up to us as reds to support him all the way. Throughout the game his name echoed around the stadium, and the Stretford End banner read, “Roy Keane- adored in Manchester.”

This result itself was less than convincing. Before Ruud’s penalty after 23 minutes, United failed to create a decent attempt on goal, and already the worry was kicking in. Yet in front of an expectant Old Trafford crowd Ruud gave United the lead by doing enough to win a penalty and then convert it himself. At the time I didnt think it was a penalty, but with the knowledge of replays, there was infact a tug on the Dutchman’s shirt that affected his balance.

For the rest of the half United kept possession but rarely troubled the Boro defence. Two shots, both from Giggsy, were United’s best efforts, but were both agonisingly wide. Boro were simply boring. Their fans, not the most vocal of supporters, didnt even bother to turn out in support of their team, leaving empty blocks of seats in the away section. Their players were just as unlikely to win entertainment awards, acting as a well organised defensive unit but failing to create neither a chance nor a moment of excitement.

The end of the half saw an old song rekindled. For the last eight months or so it has been going in the pubs and a little at away games, but this was the night it really caught on…

I see the Stretford End arising,
I see there’s trouble on the way,
So dont go out tonight,
Unless you’re red and white,
I see there’s trouble on the way.

Very catchy, very intimidating and now very popular. The song continued in the concourse of the Strettie for the duration on half time and then emerged again during the second half.

The second half lacked attempts on goal, excitement, and entertainment. United kept the ball and were rarely troubled, yet failed to break down Boro’s ten man defence. Towards the end there was tension, as merories returned of conceding the lead to Sunderland at the weekend, and also of those many points dropped at home last season. Fortunately United did not through the points away and the game ended with sighs of relief.

A special mention must go to Rio. In his first league match at Old Trafford he was easily the best player on the pitch. He made tricky interceptions, tackles and passes look easy, and never looked uneasy.

Again it is a tale of expectation at Old Trafford. A win and a clean sheet should please the crowd, yet due to the lack of entertainment and the tension at the end most were not satisfied. The expectation only stems from previous glories, and in that respect it ought to be a compliment to the team that so much is demanded of them, yet when it does not all go to plan we must not lose faith.

Now let us get well rested over the weekend and prepare for Bolton next wednesday. I will not be writing a report as I will be in New York, and on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks I won’t be watching the game there.

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