Christmas has been and gone, and we United fans are still waiting to see our team win for the first time since beating Watford on the 21st of November. Over a month and eight games later, we’ve seen four draws (three of them 0-0) and four defeats.
After opening our presents and making the most of Christmas day, it was back to football on Boxing Day as United travelled to Stoke to try and halt the alarming slide. It wasn’t to be though, as in the first half they were outplayed and outclassed by Mark Hughes’ side. Memphis didn’t exactly make it hard for Stoke to go in the lead when after having to cover for a slow-moving Depay, he headed the ball back to nobody in particular, Glen Johnson pounced and put the ball on a plate for Bojan. 1-0, and many of us thought it was game over already because of the way United were ‘playing’. When Arnautovic doubled the lead with a shot from outside the area, we knew that this would be a fourth league defeat in a row even with over an hour still to play.
Though United got better in the second half, it was mostly because Stoke slowed their own game down, and though Fellaini missed a couple of very good chances to save at least a point, Stoke themselves had a few chances to extend their lead. When the final whistle went, we were left feeling quite desolate at yet another defeat.
Fast-forward to Monday, and United were facing Champions Chelsea at Old Trafford. With Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin both starting, the side looked much more solid than they had lately. When Mata hit the bar and Martial hit the post inside the first fifteen minutes, we realised that the players were playing with more freedom, even if that gave Chelsea a few openings too. Courtois did a De Gea-esque save off Herrera, Rooney missed a couple of good chances, and United should have had at least one penalty awarded to them, and could have had two. Having said that, Chelsea had their own good chances and De Gea had to be alert on a couple of occasions.
When the game finished 0-0, there were mixed emotions of relief to at least not lose a fifth game in a row, but also disappointment that United couldn’t beat a Chelsea side that seemed quite average this season.
Compared to how they had been playing lately, the game against Chelsea showed that there is still hope that United can make something out of this season, but they have to start scoring the chances they create, otherwise it will be a case of what might have been.
It’s frustrating for the ones who go to Old Trafford whenever United play at home, as no matter how well the side played against the Champions, this was the sixth goalless draw they had to endure this season, but I’d like to think that this game at least halted the slide, and will hopefully be the start of a good run that will show these players do deserve to be part of one of the biggest clubs in the world (until we draw 0-0 at home to Swansea!).
One of the problems with the current situation is the media, where they had decided that Van Gaal had two games to save his job. That made some ‘fans’ actually hope that United lose both games over Christmas just so the manager gets sacked! How about supporting the team through thick and thin, hope they win every single game and be happy about it, no matter who the manager is? It’s bad enough some ‘journalists’ have taken it upon themselves to get Van Gaal sacked so they’re proven right, but for some of our own fans to do it when there’s half a season left and it’s all to play for?
Of course, we have gone backwards compared to last season as we’d have expected to make it through the Champions’ League group stages and still be in the League Cup, but if we’re going to start changing managers after a few weeks of ‘darkness’, we stand no chance of ever eating at the top table again.
As for wanting someone like Giggs to take over because he’s a United legend, why not get someone like Mark Hughes or Steve Bruce in? They both won trophies under Sir Alex Ferguson, and have been managing for a few years so have more experience than Ryan Giggs.
Looking at other games in the League, Arsenal got shown up as they lost 4-0 at Southampton, but a 2-0 win at home to Bournemouth was enough to take them top as Leicester lost 1-0 at L’pool then drew 0-0 at home to City, who themselves had beaten Sunderland 4-1 to go third, three points below Arsenal; Tottenham beat promoted sides Norwich and Watford to go fourth, five points ahead of United; Pardew’s Palace got two goalless draws to stay fifth; West Ham drew at Villa and beat Southampton; Chelsea dropped points at home to Watford when they drew 2-2 with Oscar missing a penalty by doing a John Terry and slipping; Stoke won 4-3 at Everton, who had beaten Newcastle 1-0 on Boxing Day; and Villa stay bottom, eleven points from safety.
In other news, it was very sad to hear that former Newcastle keeper Pavel Srnicek has died aged 47. Makes you puts things in perspective and maybe a 0-0 draw in a football game isn’t that important after all.
United now host Swansea on Saturday (3pm UK time), six weeks after that last win against Watford. While we hope that they start the New Year with a much needed win, we also hope that you all have an excellent 2016 with many more smiles than we’ve had so far this season… COME ON UNITED!!!