- First win at Goodison since 2011
- Good draw in Moscow
- Partner Fan Sham
Two weeks after the sorry defeat against Arsenal, we couldn’t wait for United’s next game, if only to try and forget the non-performance by Van Gaal’s side. When the line-up for the Everton game was announced, we were relieved to see that a proper midfield was being used this time around, and more importantly the four defending positions were being filled by defenders.
Having seen all that, we were still worried as apart from the fact that Everton were an in-form side who only had one defeat so far in the league (against City), United had lost their last three games at Goodison, all without scoring a goal.
When the game started though, United were instantly better then they had been against Arsenal just by actually turning up. Schneiderlin in midfield showed why he should have played at The Emirates as he was breaking everything that Everton tried to create in midfield. When he scored his first goal for the club to put United ahead after less than twenty minutes, it confirmed how important he can be for the side. More so that Ander Herrera could push forward and be creative with the Frenchman behind him. Herrera himself doubled United’s lead just four minutes later, heading in Marcos Rojo’s cross. United then stayed in control until half-time.
Apart from the first fifteen minutes of the second half, when Everton were trying to get back in the game and only a couple of good saves by De Gea kept it at 2-0, United were in control for the rest of the game, and when Captain Rooney pounced onto a Herrera pass to make it 3-0 with his first away goal in eleven months, it was game over.
This was one of United’s best performances of the season, and one that filled us with much hope for the harder games coming up this month.
On Wednesday, United were facing CSKA Moscow in Russia. Seeing Schneiderlin start again warmed our hearts, and thankfully he played as well as he had against Everton. Although CSKA scored after fifteen minutes from the penalty spot after Martial had handled in the box, United were slightly better than the Russians, though they seemed pedestrian in the first half. Fellaini replaced Schweinsteiger at half-time, and the team’s performance improved vastly (whoever thought we’d be saying that?). They started moving the ball forward rather than sideways, and kept pressing a disciplined CSKA towards their own goal. With just over an hour gone, Valencia managed to put in a decent cross, and that ‘waste of money’ Anthony Martial got to the end of it to head stupendously past Akinfeev to equalise. From then on it was mainly United, but unfortunately they couldn’t find a winning goal, and when the final whistle went, a 1-1 draw was no less than United deserved. Getting a point at a place where the home side have been undefeated for fourteen games is not to be sneered at, and with two games at Old Trafford coming up for United in Europe, this draw should hold them in good stead.
Once again, Schneiderlin was immense in front of the back four, and is staking a claim to make that position his own permanently. Other players who played well in Russia were Herrera, Martial, Lingard (who seemed unperturbed on his Champions’ League debut), and Fellaini, who gave United an oomph that they were missing in the first half.
Looking at other results, City stayed top of the Premier league by hammering Bournemouth 5-1; Arsenal beat Watford 3-0 to stay level on points with United; West Ham won 3-1 at Palace to climb up to fourth; Leicester made another comeback to save a point in a 2-2 draw at Southampton; Swansea, without a win since beating United in August, lost again, this time 1-0 at home to Stoke; Klopp’s debut in English football ended in a boring 0-0 draw at Tottenham; Chelsea moved away from the relegation area by beating fellow strugglers Aston Villa 2-0; West Brom did the same by winning 1-0 at home to bottom club Sunderland; and Newcastle got their first league win of the season by trashing Norwich 6-2.
In other news, FIFA’s ethics committee are now investigating Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer following allegations that a £6.7m slush fund was created to buy votes to secure the 2006 World Cup. Something that many thought had happened, so it’s nice to see proof starting to come out in the investigators’ fight to try and clean FIFA. Try being the operative word.
Something that riled many United fans this week (and probably fans of other sides too), was the announcement made by ‘partner fans’ saying that ‘day trippers’ to Old Trafford can pay locals to help them join in the atmosphere on match days in Manchester. As foreigners ourselves who are lucky enough to go and watch United games now and again, we never found the need to pay anyone to join in anything, and have always been made welcome in the pubs and places around Old Trafford on match days. In fact we have made many friends who we now look forward to meeting every time we go to watch United play. So if there’s anyone reading this thinking of paying someone to show them how it’s done, don’t bother. The people of Manchester are very welcoming and most of them will make sure you have a great time supporting the team alongside them, and NONE of them will try to exploit you by charging you for it.
Looking ahead, United have two more games in the next seven days, both at home. First it’s THE DERBY, where City will be making the short trip to Old Trafford on Sunday (2:05pm UK time). Though it won’t be easy, especially after having travelled back from Russia, we will be hoping for a repeat performance of last season’s 4-2 win. On Wednesday United host Middlesboro (8pm UK time) in their quest to make it through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup. It would be nice to write next week’s post with another two wins under our belts… COME ON UNITED!!!