- Own Goal Delight
- Another Blank at Old Trafford
- Premier League Round-Up
How happy did we feel when Watford’s Troy Deeney scored that own goal in the last few seconds of Saturday’s game, just a couple of minutes after he had equalised to seemingly take a draw and a point against United? Only to feel so frustrated four days later when the side couldn’t find a way through against PSV.
Let’s take it from the top… When Van Gaal said that Martial, Rooney and even Fellaini would miss the game on Saturday, we were a bit worried as that meant that United hardly had any strikers to start the game with. When the line-ups were announced, it was nice to see Jesse Lingard start up front with Memphis, while Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Herrera and Mata were filling the midfield spots.
United started strongly, and after just ten minutes were ahead when from an excellent Herrera cross, Memphis volleyed the ball into the net. More chances were created that should have been scored, and for once United were giving us much joy by the way they showed intent. That was until Herrera got injured with less than half an hour gone. Replaced by Marcos Rojo, Van Gaal had to change tactics and formation accordingly. That said, Watford hardly did much until the half-time whistle went.
In the second half, United sat quite deep and if not for De Gea and some good defending, especially by captain for the day ‘Mike’ Smalling, Watford might have equalised as they mounted the pressure in the last twenty minutes. When Rojo made a rash challenge in the box with less than five minutes to go, the referee had no choice but to point towards the penalty spot. Deeney stepped up to make it 1-1 to the joy of the thousands of Watford fans and the tv and radio commentators who at that moment decided that United had just thrown their title aspirations away, as you can’t win the league by dropping points like that. That was until the team really stepped up, and could have easily scored twice before our Deutschland Fussball Meister had his shot turned in by the same Deeney who went from hero to zero in a matter of minutes, while most of us were screaming our heads off as no points were going to be dropped. 2-1, three points, and back to winning games late in the day.
On Wednesday United hosted PSV in a Champions League Game knowing that a win would put them through to the next round. Martial and Rooney did start this time, and United were decent in the first half. Unfortunately they didn’t convert any of the chances they created, and apart from a few golden chances in the second half (the best of which was skied over by Jesse Lingard), we were witness to forty-five minutes of mainly turgid, passive football. With Schweinsteiger being replaced by Fellaini, United had even less ideas on how to get through the packed PSV defence, and kept passing the ball to Smalling who passed it to the wings, who passed it back to Smalling, and so on and so forth.
When the final whistle went, quite a few supporters were booing, and though personally I’d never do such a thing, they could hardly be blamed after the ‘performance’ they had just seen.
For all the good players we have in the squad, none of them seem willing to take a risk or do something different other than playing it safe, and even then passes were going astray. To also see the team captain not picking the players up and pushing them to another level only makes it more frustrating.
In other games in the Premier League, leaders Manchester City were trounced 4-1 at home by Klopp’s L’pool; English Autumn Champions Arsenal lost 2-1 at West Brom to push them down to fourth after Cazorla did a John Terry and slipped while taking a penalty; Leicester impressed again when they won 3-0 at Newcastle to go top of the league, while Jamie Vardy scored for the tenth game in a row, just like Ruud Van Nistelrooy had for United in 2003; Chelsea beat Norwich 1-0 to climb up to 15th place in the table; Tottenham put a show on in their 4-1 win against West Ham; Swansea saved a point when they came from two down to draw 2-2 at home to Bournemouth; Everton trashed bottom club Villa 4-0; Stoke won 1-0 at Southampton, and Sunderland surprised many when they won by the same score at Crystal Palace.
In other news, Barcelona dominated ‘El Clasico’ by beating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Bernabeu, putting more pressure on Rafa ‘Facht’ Benitez; and the FIFA ethics committee are seeking a lifetime ban for both Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. Here’s hoping this will be the start of a real clean-up in the FIFA corridors.
Back to United, James Wilson has joined Championship club Brighton on loan until the end of the season, where he’ll hopefully play often in his quest to eventually become an Old United regular; De Gea and Rooney (tsk, tsk) have been shortlisted for the FIFPro team of the year; and the tenth anniversary of George Best’s death was commemorated by thousands holding their phones up with their flashlights on at Old Trafford in the seventh minute of the PSV match. Though I doubt the United legend would have approved of something many saw as tacky, I suppose it was one of just a few highlights during the game.
United now play away at leaders Leicester on Saturday evening (5:30pm UK time), where we hope that they play some proper football and entertain the fans on the way to a win that would take us to the top of the table… COME ON UNITED!!!