Manchester United 2 Athletic Club de Bilbao 3

Match corresponding to the last 16 of the Europa League and played at Old Trafford.

Apologies for the lateness of the report but I was well pissed off last night after the match to write anything. Firstly congratulations to Atheltic that totally deserved this result if not a better one. This is further compounded by the fact that in a footballing world where millions of pounds or euros dictacte success, athletic on signs players of Basque or Donosti descent. As such all of thier players come through their famed Academy system. Secondly congratulations to their 8,000 fans that shamed Old Trafford into silence, what has happened to the Stretford End (though with the shower of shite on the pitch I do not blame them) and its fearsome atmosphere? Thridly David De Gea, you sir are one hell of a goalkeeper and I hope the bloody press get off your back. 8 saves, 7 world class saved us from a 2-7 scoreline. As to the match , an excillerating contest, end to end stuff and one where Bilbao gave United a masterclass and ‘El Loco’ Bielsa maybe showed SAF that either time is up or, more ot the point, that our average signings will produce average results. United took an undeserved lead through Wayne Rooney that tapped in from close range after the Bilbao keeper palmed a Chicharito shot into Rooney’s path. Llorenet, who like all the Biblao players had an excellent match, then equalised from a header at the stroke of half time. United could not keep up with the possession and rythm Bilbao had set and went in rather shell shocked. Phil Jones was having a nightmare but the worst was still to come. The second half carried on like the first, Bilbao harrying forward and United’s pathetic midfield unable to compete or keep the ball for more than 30 seconds. Biblao kept having chances but DeGea proved his over and over again, one particualr save reminiscent of the one against Chelsea. Bilbao’s second came after a classy chipped ball was half volleyed in by De Marcos. The fact he was clearly offside was missed by the linesman. Then came a truly bizarre incident. United were carrying out a promising attack when Rooney stepped on Evra’s foot and took off his boot. Evra played the ball and the ref calls for a foul, apparently a player must leave the field of play if his feet are not properly attired. Bilbao launched a long ball, cue a classic Evans/Jones cock up, De Marcos shoots low and hard, DeGea makes save number 8 and palms the ball away. Enter the brainless Rafael Da Silva that, instead of busting a gut and racing to clear the ball, watches as Muniain, who had an excellent match in midfield, speeds past in and knocks in a third, disastrous for the Reds. A late penalty converted by Rooney gives United some hope but the Lions at the cathedral of San Mames will not give up their lead easily. Well done to Athletic Bilbao and another wake up call for Sir Alex. We have no attack, no midfield, a clueless defence but thankfully we have a hell of a keeper. An embaressing defeat, but will this mean a change in the summer? The list of players currently on the books that are clearly not of a class to play for Manchester United is long.

Manchester United Team

1   David DeGea

3   Patrice Evra

6   Johnny Evans

12 Chris Smalling

21 Rafael Da Silva

13 Ji sung Park

4   Phil Jones

11 Ryan Giggs

18 Ashley Young

10 Wayne Rooney (2 Goals/1 Penalty)

14 Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez

SUBSTITUTES

Micheal Carrick on for Chris Smalling

Anderson on for Ji Sung Park

Nani on for Ryan Giggs

 

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