From the first minute of the first half when
Scholes clattered through Aaron Lennon from behind to the last minute of
the first half when Ronaldo tripped over those big red clown shoes he
wears on his feet to "buy" a cheap penalty, referee Clattenberk
continued his campaign of condemning Tottenham to gain nothing in
matches he officiates between them and Manchester United.
While Paul Scholes suffered the taunts that
he was the love child of former the former fat, ginger referee of a few
years ago, now he must have something on Clattenberk, as four bad
tackles later, the match official was still giving him verbal warnings,
when many other players were getting yellows for their first offences.
That and three other penalty decisions he got wrong mark Clattenberk out
in my opinion as one of the poorest referees in the Premiership.
There were times in the game when I was crying out for Uriah Rennie to
be out there. At least you don't know where you stand with him !!
The first half was fairly even with
Berbatov's shot squirming through van der Sar's hands to go just wide at
the Park Lane end, while Robinson saved Carrick's header and Ronaldo
blasted the ball over the top. The only other matters of
consequence came courtesy of Clattenberk's indecision making.
When Gardner fell on top of Larsson, it
looked like a penalty, but the ref took the whistle halfway to his lips,
looked at the linesman and then waved play on. The Man U players
went berserk. It was a case of him looking to level things up the
next time someone took a tumble in the box and when Ronaldo did a slo-mo
action replay of the penalty he "won" against Middlesbrough earlier in
the season, Clattenberk bought it ... even with a clear view and with no
help form the lineman this time. The Portuguese plunger managed to
raise himself from the turf to hit it past Robinson to give United the
lead. There was not much in it until then. both sides had
shots deflected away or wide of the mark, but soon after the break the
match swung United's way.
Two minutes after the restart, Robinson
palms one shot over from Vidic and then the resulting corner was headed
goalwards by Carrick and Robbo tipped this one over the top too.
Another corner and this one was headed in by Vidic unchallenged.
Then Ronaldo shows what he does best and roasted Lee on the wing, his
low cross into the six yard box found Scholes, who had the time to tread
on the ball, then poke it over the line.
Jol's tactic to stop the rot was to take
off Zokora and Defoe and bring on Keane and Ghaly ... not that there was
much option on the bench. It failed to work, as Spurs continued to
get over-run in midfield and Rooney curled an effort wide of the post.
Just before the hour, Berba jinked around Ferdinand tight on the line
and was brought down, but Clattenberk said no penalty ... not that he
would know one if it hit him in the face. But then Huddlestone's
pass through to Berbatov almost got Spurs off the mark, but his shot was
beaten out by van der Sar. The Bulgarian looked the most likely to
score for Spurs and forced the United keeper to another tip over when he
rose above Ferdinand to get a good header on the ball.
With a quarter of an hour to go it was
all over. Ghaly lost possession in midfield, Saha released Giggs
through the middle and his free run on goal ended with a finish past an
unprotected Robinson for 0-4.
Spurs had tow last chances. Keane
was released by Huddlestone and his shot was kept out by van der Sar,
but Robbie caught him as he came out and he had to leave the field with
a broken nose. John O'Shea had to go in goal as the three subs had
already been used, but Spurs failed to make him work harder than one
punch from a corner, two shots wide of the mark and Keano had the best
chance of cutting the deficit, when put through by Tommy, but his
one-on-one finishing is dreadful and O'Shea rushed out of his box to
Too often Spurs got caught out with too
many players pushing forward, leaving the defence exposed and we lacked
a ball-winner in midfield to staunch the flow towards the Tottenham
While I didn't expect Spurs to win this
game, it was all a bit too easy for United and marks another stage in
our development. We need to start winning games to get to the
forty point mark, which we achieved just after Christmas last year.
The league finish for Europe is out of the question, but the improvemnt
between now and the end of the season should mark out how we intend to
play next season.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MICHAEL DAWSON