I wasn’t surprised that United lost to MK Dons. With United’s home struggles and MK’s recent form, defeat might have been predicted.
What I expected to see was free-flowing, attractive football from the highest scorers in the division, coming off a 6-0 thrashing of Colchester.
I was looking forward to seeing how good Dele Alli is – the best player in the division, or so many knowledgeable judges say.
What I saw was a cynical, sly and downright dirty team that won the game through superior physicality rather than superior skill. From the moment an inobservant linesman and a weak referee both missed Will Grigg leaving his foot in on Bob Harris, it was a free-for-all, from which nice Cloughie’s nice United came off much the worse.
MK picked up seven yellows, but how Carl Baker got away scot free several times was beyond comprehension. Benik Afobe’s yellow should have been his third – one for diving and one for pushing Harris in the face. They divided up their misdemeanours expertly, whilst Mr Collins meekly asking them to kindly stop wasting time and kicking the ball away left them free to continue doing both.
But no-one except United and their fans will care about such a sob story. MK Dons certainly won’t and other clubs will just look at the result, not the way it was achieved.
More importantly, it was another match in which United had loads of possession but no end product. This has been a theme. At the start of last December the eventual top six occupied the top seven places (Bradford were sixth).
From what I’ve seen so far, the current top four will finish as the top four, leaving United to battle with three or four others for fifth and sixth.