- Derby Day Delight
- Youngsters are a Shining Light
- Pre-Season Tour announced
The city is yours, the city is yours, twenty thousand empty seats… oh how the United fans sang on Sunday afternoon. It was an excellent pick-up as only three days earlier United had been knocked out of Europe by our biggest rivals L’pool.
Though most United fans were not very optimistic that the team would get something out of the derby, spirits were raised when the line-ups were announced and Fellaini was not in the starting eleven. Question marks were still asked as Juan Mata was starting on the wing, with Jesse Lingard in a central midfield role. Those worries were soon thrown out of the window as Mata was connecting well with his range of passes and Lingard was running the City midfielders ragged with his speed and intelligent runs.
When after a quarter of an hour, Mata found Rashford with one of his passes, the Manchester youngster still had work to do, but made everything look easy as he turned Demichelis with his speed then stayed calm to beat Joe Hart and put United ahead. Surprisingly City seemed out of sorts, and though they created some half-chances, it was United that might have doubled their lead as they should have been given a penalty when Rashford was tumbled over by Demichelis before half-time.
Things got even worse for Demichelis in the second half as Joe Hart was stretchered off early on after he got injured trying to clear what is known as a ‘hospital pass’ by the Argentinean. Just three minutes later, he was taken out of his misery as he was replaced (thankfully for us by Bony). In the last twenty minutes City pressed for an equaliser, but apart from a couple of very close shaves from Aguero, United were hardly in much trouble. When the final whistle went, we were ecstatic as it’s always great to show the ‘noisy neighbours’ that no matter how hard they try, Manchester has always been and will always be RED. Marcus Rashford made sure he shows them that as he became the youngest scorer in this derby since football was invented in 1992.
Apart from Rashford, Martial had his usual very good performance; Jesse Lingard played one of his best games for the first team; ‘Mike’ Smalling had another towering performance against one of the top strikers around, even if he could have been sent off in the second half; Daley Blind played well after a couple of error-strewn displays; Mata had a solid game until he was replaced by Schweinsteiger; and Schneiderlin showed why he should be a mainstay in United’s midfield as he went about doing a great job in annulling many of City’s threats.
Though this win might not change the fact that Louis van Gaal’s ‘philoshophy’ hasn’t been working at United, it shows that he has done some good work while at the club, not least by giving the youngsters a chance. At least most of them have United in their hearts and even if not up to a certain standard (yet), they’ll always do their best for the club.
Looking at other games in the Premier League, Arsenal got back on the winning trail by winning 2-0 at Everton; Tottenham showed why they’re the team in-form by winning 3-0 at home to Bournemouth; Leicester took another step towards the title with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Pardew’s Palace; West Ham got a 2-2 draw at Champions Chelsea, who equalised thanks to a dodgy penalty decision; L’pool snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they went from 2-0 up to losing 3-2 at Southampton (good to see Klopp celebrate Mane’s penalty miss like he had won the league when L’pool were still two up); Stoke won 2-1 at Watford to climb over L’pool into 8th; Norwich won 1-0 at West Brom to take themselves out of the bottom three; Swansea beat ‘relegated’ Villa 1-0 to move away from the relegation area; and the North-East derby between Newcastle and Sunderland finished in a 1-1 draw that doesn’t help either club in their fight to not go down.
In other football news, German football legend Franz Beckenbauer is the latest name to be investigated by FIFA’s ethics committee. He and five others are being investigated for their part in Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid. This all stems from a ‘missing’ £4.8 million that might have been used to buy votes for Germany. Good to see such investigations take place, though this will just be the tip of the iceberg.
Jonaz Gutierrez is suing Newcastle over disability discrimination after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in late 2013. He says that the club did not play him on purpose so as not to trigger a new one-year deal as they saw him as a possible liability. If true, the club and those around it should hang their heads in shame.
Back to United news, it’s been decided that the FA Cup replay against West Ham will be played on Wednesday the 13th of April as the original date had to be moved due to UEFA not being happy with it being played on a Champions League night when another English side was playing. So much for ‘the magic of the FA Cup eh?
It’s also been announced that the club will be doing just a short pre-season tour in July. They’ll spend eight days in China, where United will face Borussia Dortmund and neighbours Manchester City as part of the International Champions Cup.
There will be no club games this weekend as it’s another international break, where most European countries will be playing yet more useless friendlies. At least we’ll have South American World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifiers to keep us entertained. We can only hope that United players on international duty will come back fit and ready for our next league game at home to Everton (though Schweinsteiger has already been sent for a scan as he injured his knee while training with Germany). Until then… COME ON UNITED!!!