Manchester United were dominated by Liverpool at the weekend, but still managed to win the game. What is it about teams like United that gives them the ability to grind out results when they need them most? Marc Eadie (@Eadie84) asks in his Tuesday blog.
They say the good teams grind out results and pick up three points in games that they don’t necessarily deserve to win. There is no better example of this than the recent Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted himself after Sunday’s win at Anfield that his side were lucky and despite what he considered a ‘poor’ performance they still got three points while Liverpool left empty-handed. But where do ugly victories like these come from?
It really is hard to pinpoint how these type of results are achieved. One reason that will no doubt spring to Liverpool fans’ minds, particularly after Sunday’s game, is the supposed bias of a referee while others may look towards the opposition not being experienced or mentally strong enough to hold out against bigger teams. You need only look at Barcelona’s last league game at home to Granada where it took them until the 87th minute to break through – Granada were the quintessential example of a minnow failing to hold out for a result. With the greatest respect to Granada, they are not a dangerous side in comparison to Barcelona yet they held the La Liga leaders for most of the game. In fact, they were minutes from gaining a famous result but for whatever reason were unable to hold out until the final whistle as Barcelona eventually won the game 2-0.
The top sides in Europe seem to have this ability to play poorly and still win matches and whether it is down to the overall quality of player, the influence of a manager, the size and reputation of the club, the fans, or some eyebrow-raising possible bias from match officials the fact remains that these sides know how to get three points. And at the end of a season it is these points that win them league titles. Clubs can spend all the money in the world trying to attract the best players but if the team doesn’t have this intrinsic ability then it may just be money wasted as another trophy slips from their grasp.
Are top clubs at the top because of this ability to win ugly? Tweet us your thoughts @talkingbaws or comment below. Watch out for Nicky Boyle’s blog tomorrow.