What a difference a week makes. This time last week we were all down in the dumps after being knocked out of the FA cup. Fast forward seven days, and we’re all smiling again after United made Tottenham look like lightweights in the race for a top four finish.
Most United supporters seemed happy with the starting eleven, though a few still seemed disgruntled with Fellaini’s inclusion. After a slightly shaky start, when De Gea had to scramble to turn a Jones backpass behind the post (Jones probably thought about Valencia’s backpass from the Arsenal game and hit it too hard), it was United all the way. With less than ten minutes played, Michael Carrick showed how important he can be by first passing to Fellaini, who finished expertly to put United ahead, then the same Carrick headed the ball neatly into the corner to make it 2-0. Just after the half hour mark, Captain Wayne Rooney delivered the knock-out blow when he ran past three Spurs defenders before beating Lloris to make it 3-0. His celebrations made all the headlines, and credit to him for taking the ‘boxing news’ about him in his stride. Unfortunately that meant that not many mentioned how good his goal was.
The second half was more of the same, although without the goals. Van Gaal even had time to give Andreas Pereira his Premier League debut. It’s not often that we watch a United game and thoroughly enjoy it these days, so we made the most of sitting back and basking in the lively and excellent performance by the whole team.
This was the first time since last September that Fellaini, Mata and Herrera started together, and they combined very well to keep the game flowing. As much as many don’t think that Fellaini is good enough, he does exactly what Van Gaal asks of him, and is doing it very well too. Same can be said of Antonio Valencia. He’s limited in what he can do, but he sticks to the plan, and that’s why they have both been a mainstay in the starting eleven lately.
The return of Michael Carrick has been pivotal as well, as he gels the rest of the team together, and he showed how much we need someone like him, especially with so many important games in the next few weeks.
A quick thought about that Rooney and Phil Bardsley video. What a pity that someone thought it’s in the public’s interest to sell it to the media, and values money more than friendship.
In other games in the league, Champions Manchester City were involved in the surprise result of the weekend when they lost 1-0 at Burnley; leaders Chelsea dropped a couple of points at home when they could only draw 1-1 against Southampton; Arsenal beat an already ‘on holiday’ West Ham 3-0 to stay in third place, a point ahead of United; and L’pool struggled to an important 1-0 win at Swansea that keeps them firmly in fifth, just two points behind United.
These results make for a very interesting last nine games of the season, with the ‘Rat Race’ hotting up nicely. Personally, I still think that City won’t drop out of the top four, but their defeat on Saturday means that four teams are fighting for three places, rather than three fighting for just two places. Talk about squeaky bum time eh?
In other news, Poyet’s Sunderland became Advocaat’s Sunderland when the Uruguayan was sacked by the club after they got trashed 4-0 at home to Aston Villa. They will now be hoping that the Dutch manager does enough to save them from relegation.
Jose Mourinho continues ‘crying’ over anything that doesn’t go his way, and has in the past week even had a go at pundits for saying that his team have been acting like a bunch of thugs. Remember when he returned to Chelsea and said that he’s now ‘the happy one’, and he’s a lot calmer? Yeah, of course he is.
Arsenal showed everyone that they’re still the Arsenal we all ‘love’ by playing gallantly and valiantly at Monaco, yet still get knocked out of the Champions League like they do every season. That’s ok; they’ll finish in the top four again this season just so they can do the same next season. Rinse and repeat.
In Italy, Parma’s third owner of the season, Giampietro Manenti, got arrested over laundering charges. His arrest comes just a day before the club faces a bankruptcy hearing which could result in the club being wound up and stopped from completing their fixtures in Serie A. Seems like there’s no light at the end of this dark tunnel for a club that won three Coppa Italia, two UEFA cups and the Cup Winners’ Cup in the 90s.
Back to United news, the U/21s won 2-1 at Everton, with Wilson and McNair getting the goals. Pereira played another very good match just one day after making his first team debut in the Premier League; More rumours are coming out about United’s new adidas shirts for next season. From what we heard, the Chevrolet logo won’t be golden as it is now, and will look like an outline, so any ‘revealing photos’ out there might still be fake ones; and bwin, the club’s online gaming and betting partner, have launched a United based casino app, whatever that may mean (apart from more money for the Glazers).
With us still feeling chirpy after Sunday’s win, we now have the small matter of playing away at L’pool on Sunday the 22nd of March (1:30pm UK time), where Brazilian legend Pele will be a guest of honour. Though we might go on to lose against ‘Gerrard’s Brigade’, if United play like they did against Tottenham, there’s every chance that our team gets something from it, and we will still be smiling into next week. Until then… COME ON UNITED!!!