Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If's and buts...


I can't help but think how different today's match between Bayern Munich and Manchester United would have been if Arjen Robben had played. Some might think that irrelevant since Bayern won by 2 goals to 1, and probably could not have asked for a better result, but hear me out.

Because Robben was unable to play, Hamit Altintop started on the right wing for the Germans. Save for one tricky run, which ended in a relatively tame shot straight at Edwin van der Sar, Altintop was terrible. He often gave the ball away, when he did get into a good position his crossing was poor, and he didn't really provide any help defensively.

Now, in some cases, nothing can be done about this sort of thing. Players get injured, it's part of the game. But in this case, I think the Bayern Munich brain-trust is to blame. I won't single out Louis van Gaal because Bayern Munich, much like Real Madrid, don't really give their manager a whole lot of autonomy. All of the "directors" sitting in the stands have a great deal of say over what happens on the pitch. Given that, the questions I would have to ask them is, "Why the hell was Robben playing against Stutgart over the weekend?! With a Champions League quarterfinal 3 days later?!" It just makes no sense.

Manchester United were thoroughly outplayed though, in all honesty they were lucky to only lose 2-1. But Rooney got the away goal, as I predicted he would, and Bayern couldn't get another goal to put the tie away. In fact, they barely got the win, scoring late in injury time when Patrice Evra was careless with the ball in his own box.

I have to believe that Robben, with his finishing ability and the form he is in, could have gotten another goal for the Bavarians, even if he had only come off the bench. And that makes me think, despite their victory, Bayern Munich missed an opportunity to really put themselves in the driver's seat. Manchester United will make them pay, and I suspect the English club will win quite handily at Old Trafford next week. Although I do have to add one caveat. Wayne Rooney limped off the field at the end of the match with what looked like an ankle injury. Alex Ferguson played it down as not serious, but if it does turn out to be serious, that makes things far more difficult for United, and gives Bayern a much better chance of advancing.

2 comments:

Joey said...

Also, Man U. has a HUGE game w/ Chelsea over the weekend. Rest for Rooney is doubtful.

Dennis said...

He's out for 2-4 weeks with an ankle sprain. Trouble for United methinks...