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John Giles: Karma catches up with United

FOOTBALL will always even out over time. What may seem like an outrageous injustice or stroke of luck is rarely without an equal and opposite counter balance during the course of a season.

Wayne Rooney, by all standards of fairness and common sense, should not have been on the pitch at Stamford Bridge last night after the mad act of stupidity he committed against James McCarthy.

But Alex Ferguson turned logic on its head after Manchester United were beaten by Chelsea and instead of taking defeat on the chin and losing with good grace, he fumed about referees.

Instead of showing wisdom and maturity by accepting that fate was flowing against Manchester United in this one, just a few days after he got lucky, Ferguson threw his rattle out of the pram.

It's infuriating. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that Rooney got away with deliberately elbowing McCarthy in the side of the head last Saturday.

He should have been carpeted for five or six games for what he did to McCarthy, but Mark Clattenburg and the English FA chose to let him off.

But he shouldn't have been on the pitch to send a daisy cutter whizzing passed Peter Cech and give Manchester United the lead and he shouldn't have been on the pitch to fall pole-axed under the close attention of David Luiz.


Sure, Luiz deserved to be sent off for an accumulation of heavy-handed and wild tackles but by the way Ferguson was talking in the post-match interviews, bad decisions by the referee were responsible for the 2-1 scoreline.

Not bad defending or a fantastic finish by Luiz, but bad decisions by Martin Atkinson. This was absolutely ridiculous stuff from Ferguson – even worse than normal.

He railed against the fact that Luiz stayed on the pitch but didn't see the tackle by Nemanja Vidic which attracted a second yellow and subsequent red card.

The hypocrisy was absolutely breathtaking and left a bad smell around what was a great game of football. At the root of it all is Ferguson's total belief that the team he sends out to play cannot be beaten.

It is his great strength and, in this case, his weakness.

This ferocious confidence and belief in his team produces the kind of tunnel vision which allows him to castigate Atkinson for not sending Luiz off just a handful of days after his star man got away with murder.

He cannot see any side he picks being beaten so he must find another reason for the defeat.

Atkinson and Luiz were just handy scapegoats. But the bottom line for Ferguson is the fact that he lost the game and allowed Arsenal and Arsene Wenger to creep ever closer.

I would be concerned if I was a Manchester United fan that as the season progresses, more and more seems to revolve around Paul Scholes.

He got no help at all at Stamford Bridge and was blowing hard after an hour.

Michael Carrick amazes me. Rarely has a player who cost so much been responsible for so little at Manchester United, and Darren Fletcher wasn't a whole lot better.

There was a time a while back when Fletcher seemed to focus his energy and enthusiasm very effectively but he was chasing shadows all night when Scholes needed some young legs to take the ball and some pressure off him.

It was telling indeed that Ferguson threw Ryan Giggs in to replace Scholes; a clear sign that he simply doesn't trust Darron Gibson to play the Scholes role in the teeth of a Top Four clash with a lot at stake.

Scholes simply must stay fit and he will be hugely important again when Manchester United visit Anfield this coming weekend.

Ferguson knows that he has given Wenger some comfort with this result. Arsenal must have been hurting after losing to Birmingham in the Carling Cup but they will be boosted by seeing Manchester United beaten.

However, defeat by Chelsea was only Ferguson's second in the Premier League all season and Manchester United are still in a strong position.


But if they were to go to Liverpool and drop more points, then I would say that Ferguson has a big problem. There is some karma at work for that game.

Rooney didn't get the red he deserved against Wigan and was available to play against Chelsea but Vidic is now ruled out for Liverpool after his red card. Swings and roundabouts.

If only Ferguson could take a more sanguine view of the world.

The best team always wins the title and he should know by now that he gains nothing from blowing so much hot air other than to make himself look foolish.