- Beating Swansea
- Januzaj Return
- Adidas Comments
Oh what a relief. After not winning for eight games, including a whole December without a single victory, we started the New Year with a win. Yes, UNITED WON A GAME AT LAST!
Following the decent performance against Chelsea, in which at least United kept a clean sheet even if they still didn’t win, it was the turn of Welsh side Swansea to travel to Manchester. Though they were just one point above the relegation zone, we were slightly cautious about this game as United had lost the past three meetings against the Swans, all to a 2-1 score line, and after the defeat at home to Norwich, we felt like United could slip up against anybody.
It was good to see Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger starting again, and with Rooney, Martial, Mata and Herrera starting too, it seemed like United had an attacking line-up out. The first half was typical of this season’s performances though, as hardly any chances were created, and none of the keepers had any saves to make until Fabianski was tested by Rooney just before half-time. Failing to score in the first-half yet again meant that United hadn’t scored in the first forty-five minutes of a game at Old Trafford for a ninth match in succession (Mata being the last to do so against Wolfsburg in September).
Thankfully things started a lot better in the second half as a good Ashley Young cross found an unmarked Martial, who headed in to put the home side ahead. When it seemed that United were in control, Swansea equalised through Sigurdsson with twenty minutes still to play. For once we felt that United could still win this, and only seven minutes later Captain Rooney brought everyone to their feet when he back-heeled a Martial cross past Fabianski to put United ahead again. Though Fabianski himself nearly equalised in injury-time, Rooney’s quick thinking finish proved to be enough to give United a first win in nine games, six weeks to the day after their last win away at Watford.
More than joy, this win brought much needed relief to the fans that have been suffering with every defeat and draw since November, and at least made sure that we started 2016 in a much more cheerful way than we ended 2015.
Another positive was that Rooney’s goal was his 188th in the league, which makes him the second highest ever scorer in Premier League history, and also puts him just eleven goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United record.
Though this doesn’t make everything look rosy, we can only hope that it’s the start of a positive run in which United can climb back up into the top four, then hopefully kick-on from there. Even if it wasn’t the best of performances, it was a vast improvement (though that’s not saying much) on the way United played in December, especially in the defeats against Norwich and Stoke, and a continuation of a good display against Chelsea.
Looking at other results from the Premier League, Arsenal struggled to a 1-0 home win against Newcastle to stay top; Leicester failed to score for a third game in a row when they could only draw 0-0 at home to Bournemouth; City came from behind late on to win 2-1 at Watford; Everton and Tottenham played out an entertaining 1-1 draw; Klopp’s L’pool lost 2-0 at West Ham, with one of their former ‘legends’, Andy Carroll getting one of the goals; Champions Chelsea showed they’re not as average as many seemed to think when they played United last week as they won 3-0 at Pardew’s Palace; West Brom beat Stoke 2-1; Norwich won again, this time 1-0 at home to Southampton; and Sunderland won the battle of the bottom two when they beat ‘already relegated’ Aston Villa 3-1.
The main football news this week seems to be the sacking of Rafa Benitez by Real Madrid. Now, as much as we like to laugh at Mr.Fachts, it shows how Florentino Perez operates as he deflects attention from his own incompetence by getting rid of someone he had employed himself just a few months ago after getting rid of one of the best managers around in Carlo Ancelotti. As for Zidane taking over, his tenure will only be measured against what Barcelona win, no matter how well he does.
In the English League Cup, L’pool and Everton have taken one goal leads after the first legs of the semi-finals as they beat Stoke 1-0 and Manchester City 2-1 respectively.
In other United news, Adnan Januzaj had his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund terminated and returns to the club this week. We will be hoping that his attitude will have changed for the better as having one player who thinks he’s already made it big is bad enough, two of them would be terrible. We’re looking at you, Memphis.
Meanwhile, adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer had his say about United’s style of play. While he might have a right to do so, we’d like to hear his company’s opinion about the FIFA scandal seeing as none of his cronies has uttered much about a company that adidas give hundreds of millions of pounds to as an official sponsor. This week alone FIFA’s ethics committee has opened proceedings against secretary general Jerome Valcke, another of Sepp Blatter’s colleagues. We won’t be holding our breath though.
United’s next game is an FA Cup one as they start this season’s campaign at home to Sheffield United (Saturday 5:30pm UK time). After that they travel to Newcastle for the next league game on Tuesday evening (7:45pm UK time). We will be hoping that by the time we write the next post United will still be in the cup and also have another league win to talk and smile about … COME ON UNITED!!!