Where do we begin? Second defeat in a row, players not ‘wanting it’, defenders not defending… Take your pick, the list goes on. Yet still, we can smile because United are in a good position to finish at least fourth in the table.
We knew that the game against Everton would be somewhat difficult as United had only won once in the last five seasons at Goodison Park. Also, United’s away record this season has been average at best, but not many would have predicted such a comprehensive defeat, especially as another strong line-up was announced.
Unfortunately the game kicked-off too early for most of our players who seemed to be sleep-walking, and Everton pounced on that, scoring after just five minutes when Blind and McNair hardly challenged McCarthy before he put his side ahead. Things got worse as it was Valencia’s turn to make it easy for Everton to get a second, this time by letting Stones get away from him at a corner.
Falcao replaced Fellaini at the start of the second half to give United more power up front. It still didn’t work, and Everton stuck to their counter-attack tactics that would bring them a third goal. Valencia was at fault once again (though not alone) when he stopped as Lukaku was in an offside position, yet Mirallas, who he was meant to be marking wasn’t. His goal sealed an impressive win, and Everton’s biggest over United in twenty-three years.
Unlike last week, when we were still on a bit of a high after losing at Chelsea as United were the better side, this weekend it was quite disheartening to see the players seemingly lacking motivation. This was also pointed out by Van Gaal, who said they looked unmotivated in the warm-up. Which makes it even more disappointing for us fans, as if you can’t be motivated when representing United, what’s the point of putting the red shirt on?
Thankfully, L’pool made sure that our ‘twitchy a*ses’ don’t get too squeaky as they failed to score themselves in their two games, first getting just a point from a 0-0 draw at West Brom, then going one worse when losing 1-0 at Steve Bruce’s Hull. This means that United stay seven points ahead of them with four games to go, and five points will now be enough to finish in the top four (that’s IF L’pool win all their games, including away at Chelsea).
In other games, Arsenal drew 0-0 at home to Champions elect Chelsea, moving Mourinho’s side a big step closer to winning the title, while making sure that ‘the happy one’s’ unbeaten run against Arsene Wenger is extended to thirteen matches; Manchester City managed to salvage a win against Sherwood’s Villa, thanks to a last minute Fernandinho goal that takes them back up to second in the table; Southampton and Tottenham drew 2-2 in the ‘trying to avoid an Europa League spot’ game; Mike Ashley’s Newcastle lost their seventh game in a row, this time 3-2 at home to Swansea, which means that they’re still not safe from relegation, and their players might now have to cut their holidays short and turn up for their last few games of this season; Leicester won 1-0 at Burnley to get out of the bottom three, pushing Sunderland in there instead of them; and QPR joined Burnley in the ‘probably down already’ positions.
Looking at other news, Eden Hazard has won the PFA player of the year award, as voted by the players themselves. Well deserved too, as he’s been very important and consistent in Chelsea’s title charge.
Congratulations to Championship clubs Watford and Bournemouth, who have been promoted to the Premier League. It will be great to see them in the top division in England, though they’ll both need to strengthen to make sure they stay there and not go down straight away.
In Spain, Barcelona’s front three have now scored over 100 goals between them this season, which is absolutely brilliant by any standard, while United’s own Chicharito has scored three goals in two games for Real Madrid, prompting a few asking if he should come back to Old Trafford. Of course, he’s a top striker when on form, and would probably do a better job than Falcao has been, but this is a player that couldn’t leave Manchester fast enough, and didn’t seem a very happy chappy in his last few months at the club. At the same time, there’s a chance that Real Madrid will make him their own in summer.
Talking about Falcao, seems like United won’t be pulling all the stops to buy him outright, which could be worrying if only because his agent Jorge Mendes might go off in a strop and take David De Gea, another of his ‘clients’ with him. We all know that money talks, and with Mendes’ power in world football, it will be hard to keep hold of De Gea, though we’re still hopeful that he will be a United player next season.
In more United news, the club announced that they will be playing four games in the second half of July as part of their U.S. tour, including against Barcelona and PSG; Wayne Rooney, having left the pitch injured against Everton, is a big doubt for this weekend’s game, but Van Persie could be back in the starting line-up, especially after scoring twice in the U21s’ 4-1 win at Fulham, that kept the ‘youngsters’ at the top of the table.
United now play West Brom on Saturday the 2nd of May (5:30pm UK time). This will be United’s first home game in three weeks, since the derby demolition of City. I will be there, as I’m taking my daughter to Old Trafford for her first visit, so here’s hoping the players will have enough motivation for this game… COME ON UNITED!!!