Birmingham 1-1 Man United

Yesterday Man United missed out on the opportunity to knock Chelsea down to second in the table after drawing 1-1 with Birmingham City. Earlier on in the day Arsenal had drawn 2-2 with Everton at the Emirates and Chelsea were unable to play Hull due to the weather.

Sir Alex Ferguson made seven changes to the side that disappointingly put in a poor display and lost to Leeds in the FA Cup. I have been told that this was the 100 consecutive game that Sir Alex has changed his team sheet.

The Man United starting XI was: Tomasz Kuszczak, Rafael da Silva, Wes Brown, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Ji-Sung Park, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney.

Interestingly Dimitar Berbatov did travel down to Birmingham but he wasn’t even named on the bench.

Man United almost went ahead early on into the match. Evans headed a Man United corner taken by Valencia towards goal. That was cleared, Valencia played the ball back into the penalty area after receiving the ball from Rafael and Fletcher’s shot was deflected wide.

Rooney brought out a fantastic save from Joe Hart. Valencia played Rooney through in on goal and the on loan Man City goalkeeper blocked Rooney’s shot.

Man United created two or three fantastic chances to score during the first half, despite that it was Birmingham who took the lead just six minutes before the break.

Completely against the run of play Birmingham were awarded a corner after Scholes blocked the ball. Man United were unable to clear the ball from the penalty area, Cameron Jerome stuck the ball into the back of the net.

Before half time Fletcher received a yellow card after he fouled Lee Boywer.

Second half and Man United got that little bit of luck that they needed when Scott Dann put the ball into his own net to draw United level.

Birmingham could have gone 2-0 up but Kuszczak made a great save from a Christian Benitez effort. Birmingham had, had the best opportunities of the second half but it was United who scored the next goal.

The ball was blocked twice by Birmingham, the ball went to Evra, who hit the ball into a crowd of player in the penalty area and Dann put it past his keeper.

Immediately after that it looked like the goal wasn’t going to stand, there was a bit of confusion between the referee (Mark Clattenburg) and his linesman. Birmingham claimed that it was offside but the goal was correctly awarded.

The game wasn’t over, both teams attacked looking to score a winner. With nine minutes remaining Mame Biram Diouf made his Manchester United debut when he replaced Scholes.
With not long remaining, Fletcher received a second yellow card and was sent off. He stuck out his foot and caught the Birmingham player Jerome. There was no malice in the challenge and was a harsh decision.

The game finished 1-1 and Chelsea will be the happiest of the top three teams this weekend. It wasn’t the best of performances (again) by United and it is disappointing but there is still a long way to go.

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