Date: 2nd December 2009 at 3:39pm
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You know, it’s always worth reading Arsene Wenger’s post-match comments after a particularly painful Arsenal defeat. After they had been destroyed by Chelsea Wenger went on to suggest that Didier Drogba ‘doesn’t do a lot but he’s efficient’ which is a very hilarious misreading of Drogba’s style which is very, very far from the type of the strikers who don’t do much but do that efficiently (Filippo Inzaghi, Ruud van Nistelrooy and once upon a time Michael Owen was one of them).

But his comment can apply to the Darron Gibson of yesterday because in fairness, he did not play exactly well against Spurs in the Carling Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford. He wasn’t efficient enough in the tackle, his passing was average, his positioning left us with lots of holes in midfield. But he happened to win the game for us. Weird, huh?

But true. Darron Gibson scored two sweeeeet goals while Spurs were busy missing chances, trying to take advantage of our frail backline and lack of midfield screening. Both were very well-hit shots after neat counterattacks and Gibson deserved the man of the match accolade for his game-winning performance. But he was below average as a central midfielder; he just happened to put goalscoring boots on.

The game itself was pretty poor: United were quite pedestrian throughout, even though Dimitar Berbatov’s return added some much-needed composure and great link play. However, he’s clearly not fully fit yet, he’s feeling the after-effects of his injury and he had to be withdrawn after an hour. By that time we were comfortably ahead and Spurs has gone off the boil.

But they dominated the first half and we have to be thankful for their profligacy as well as Gibson’s efficiency for being two ahead at half-time even though our passing just did not work and it looked like dribbling was forgotten for the attackers, they never tried to take on players, they attempted to pass the ball round Spurs – did I mention that our passing was not working?

But United are in the quarter-final, despite facing almost the strongest Spurs team with a collection of fringe players plus Dimitar Berbatov, Nemanja Vidic, and Anderson – all three had quite good games and they provided the platform for young Gibson to shine. What does this brace mean in the long-term? Not much, I’m afraid – in the long term, it matters more that he did not do much, actually, apart from scoring two wonderful goals.