I wasn’t sure about how to start this week’s post, as I was slightly disappointed after the Arsenal game, yet was still considerably happy that at least United didn’t lose their last home game of the season. Then the club held the annual award ceremony on Tuesday night, and Louis van Gaal made us all sit up and notice with his end of show speech. It soon made us forget the negatives from Sunday’s draw and look forward to next season already.
Looking at the match at Old Trafford against third-placed Arsenal, with both teams knowing that a top four place was already secured, this was a chance for Wenger and Van Gaal to go for a win that would give them a good chance of finishing third (or even second in Arsenal’s case).
We were quite optimistic when we saw the line-ups, though also worried a little as Arsenal’s starting eleven looked a lot quicker than United’s. Once the game started, those worries were soon gone as United were by far the better side. If anything, it was the Gunners that looked out of pace, and when Herrera scored from an Ashley Young cross after half an hour, it looked like there would only be one winner.
The second half started as the first half ended, but United couldn’t turn their dominance into goals and they paid for it with less than ten minutes to go. Just a few minutes earlier, an impressive Rojo had been replaced by Tyler Blackett, and straight after Victor Valdes made his league debut for United when he replaced a hamstrung De Gea. By then, Arsenal had come into the game a bit more, and they sensed that they could get something out of this game. That happened when a Walcott cross took a huge deflection off Blackett that gave Valdes no chance of saving it.
When the final whistle went, we felt somewhat deflated as Arsenal were there for the taking, and United didn’t capitalise when they were by far the better side. On the other hand, at least this draw meant that United have kept their unbeaten run in the league against Arsenal going. We had other things to think about as well, like Falcao seemingly bidding farewell to the United fans when he was taken off after an hour.
Many also seem to think that this was De Gea’s last game for United. I’d like to think that he loves United enough to stay at least for next season, and Van Gaal’s honesty in saying that De Gea might want to join his family and girlfriend in Spain might actually be a bit of bluff from our manager, knowing that a new deal is close to being agreed (or maybe I’m clutching at straws).
In other games, outgoing champions Manchester City beat Swansea 4-2 to consolidate their second place in the table; Gerrard’s street party fizzled out like most of his Premier league seasons as L’pool lost 3-1 at home to Pardew’s Palace; Tottenham and Southampton both won to give themselves a chance to overtake Gerrard’s Brigade in fifth place; Newcastle lost their ninth game from ten to take their fight against relegation until the last day, while Leicester drew 0-0 at Sunderland to confirm their own safety.
Looking at other football news, Raheem Sterling has apparently told L’pool that he wants to leave, with Manchester City at the front of the line to sign him up. Unless this turns out into one of those summer transfer sagas, he could be going from last season’s champions to last season’s champions to at least have a chance to play in the Champions League next season.
Newcastle fans are planning to stay at St.James’ Park after their last home game of the season against West Ham to protest against the club’s owner Mike Ashley. You have to feel sorry for their plight, but they’ll probably end up celebrating if their team wins to stay up in the Premier League.
Back to United, David de Gea has won the club’s player of the year award for a second year in a row, while Juan Mata won the goal of the season award for that lovely finish at Anfield (since renamed Juanfield by some United fans); and as mentioned earlier, Louis van Gaal then went onstage and made us forget most of the negatives of the season with a speech that made everyone stand up and listen.
He managed to show everyone in less than ten minutes what us supporters have been missing since Sir Alex retired – a manager that knows what he wants, and will do anything in his power to put United back where they belong, at the top of English football. So yes Mr.van Gaal, we will pay attention to the manager. Hopefully the players will too, though he’s already warned the squad that this will be a ‘rough summer’ as a few of them will be let go to be replaced by others that are better.
While talking about United, congratulations to Warren Joyce and his U21 side that have been crowned Champions in their section of the Premier League; and youngster Andreas Pereira who won the club’s player of the year award in their category. Well done also to Jesse Lingard who has been selected for the England U21 squad that will be playing in this summer’s European Championship.
We now look forward to this Sunday, the last match day of this Premier League season. United travel to Hull (3pm UK time like all the other games). Here’s hoping that we end the season with a win, though Hull desperately need the points to have a chance of staying up… COME ON UNITED!!!