Oh what an Easter we’ve just had. Much better than last year’s Easter, when L’pool won the league and United were hanging desperately onto many teams’ coat-tails in the fight for a European place finish.
Even before United played against Aston Villa, we were already bouncing in delight as last season’s Easter Champions L’pool had lost 4-1 at Arsenal, ‘slipping’ further behind in the race for a top four finish. When the starting eleven were announced, Van Gaal continued to show his cojones by picking a team that has been producing in the past few weeks, and leaving the most expensive player at the club, Angel di Maria, on the bench once again. United were in total control straight from the kick-off, though they had to wait just until before half-time to break the deadlock.
This came after some good work by Young and Blind, who found Herrera in the box. The Spaniard controlled the ball well before shooting into the corner of the net.
The second half was more of the same, and apart from one Villa chance where they could have equalised, United were by far the better side. This was confirmed when Di Maria, who had come on to replace Young, crossed into the box and for once Rooney’s first touch was an excellent one. After controlling the ball, he swiveled and hit an unsaveable shot into the top corner. With ten minutes to go, Villa got their first corner of the game and made the most of it when Benteke’s shot went underneath De Gea to get them back into the game. Though it could have been a nervy finish, United stayed in control and Herrera got his second and United’s third goal with a couple of minutes left to secure a fifth consecutive win in the league and move them up to third in the table.
All-in-all it was another encouraging performance by United, and with just seven games to go it bodes very well if the side continues in this form even with harder games coming up. Looking at the way the team played, it’s obvious to mention man of the match Ander Herrera, who seems to have got into Van Gaal’s good books again by understanding his ‘philoshophy’ and becoming the “60 metre midfielder” that the team needed so much. There’s also Fellaini, who as we mentioned a few weeks ago does everything the manager asks of him, and does it well. Some of his ball control was brilliant on Saturday, proving that he’s not just a bush and a chest. As for Angel di Maria, though not in his best form, the cross for Rooney’s goal was his tenth assist in the league, which puts him second only to Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas in the assist table.
In other games, Chelsea beat Stoke 2-1 to widen the gap at the top, even though Charlie Adam scored the bestest greatest goal in the history of football ever (at least that’s what many in the media wanted us to believe, as I don’t even think it was better than Beckham’s lob against Wimbledon); as already mentioned, Arsenal beat L’pool to jump into second place and give Brendan Rodgers’ side a second defeat in a row; City lost 2-1 at Pardew’s Palace to fall nine points behind the leaders, and down to fourth place in the table at the same time; Southampton lost 1-0 at Everton and Tottenham could only draw 0-0 at Burnley that at least saved L’pool from falling further down the table; Sunderland’s Defoe scored a wonderful volley that gave his side a 1-0 over North-East rivals Newcastle; and QPR won 4-1 at West Brom, then drew 3-3 at Aston Villa to keep their survival hopes alive.
In other football news, FIFA have dropped proceedings against the FA’s Chairman Greg Dyke after he returned a £16,000 watch given to him by the Brazilian FA during the 2014 World Cup as it violated their ethics code (yes, they have one!). If only they were so strict with other ethics code violations eh? Just a slapped wrist for Dyke then (a watch less one of course)
Wigan Athtletic have sacked manager Malky Mackay less than five months after Dave ‘I broke my leg once’ Whelan appointed him. Just two years after winning the FA Cup, their downward spiral continues apace. Can only feel sorry for the few thousand fans that turn up to watch them every week. Oh well, at least they serve lovely pies at the DW stadium.
Back to United news, it’s been announced that keeper Ben Amos has returned after a quite successful loan spell at Bolton, where he even won the club’s player of the month award in March; it’s also been confirmed that three of United’s four games in May have been moved to be shown on TV; and former United legend Roy Keane has pleaded not guilty over an alleged ‘road rage’ incident involving a taxi driver.
United now have two big games coming up, starting with the Manchester derby before playing away at league leaders Chelsea next weekend. The game against champions City will be played on Sunday the 12th of April (4pm UK time), and we will be hoping that United get a sixth win in a row while handing City a fourth away defeat in a row to consolidate third place in the table… COME ON UNITED!!!