Holy players out of position, Batman! Diop on the wing?!?! ManU in a 4-2-4 (4-6 in defence) with Scholes in a holding role?!?! It all made for a very uninspiring match. ManU outnumbered Pompey in the midfield and had good possession, but very little to show for it. A few good runs from deep from Tevez, Giggs, and (surprise!) Fletcher. And they could have been 3-0 up in the first half. But good keeping and poor finishing kept them out.
As for Pompey, they couldn't get a hold of the ball. Diarra and Mendes looked good in central midfield, Diarra moving forward and Mendes halting as much of ManU's forward progress as he could. But Diop isn't a winger and on the left Krancjar was about as useful as an inanimate carbon rod. At least Utaka brought some energy to the wing (not his natural position or side) when he came on at the hour.
Lessons for the new season?
ManU will be very hard to beat, simply because they have 11 players on defence at all times. Everyone harries and harrasses with Tevez coming into his own half chasing the ball. However, they are going to have a harder time scoring until they buy a center forward or get Rooney and Ronaldo healthy. Or both, really. And especially without Nani for the first two games of the season, and perhaps a charge for Tevez's throat grab?, they may hurt for inspiration.
Pompey are a work in progress. They are probably light in midfield and until they can balace the side they won't get the best out of Crouch and Defoe. Their back-line also looked susceptible to pace and Glen Johnson spent the match daydreaming. And Nani made him pay again and again.
One week to go!