And here we are again, basking in another win at the weekend. This time the ‘victims’ were Everton, though as usual things didn’t go too smoothly.
We were happy with the starting line-up as Mata was replacing a suspended Wayne Rooney, with the captain’s armband passed on to Robin van Persie. It was also good to see McNair start again as he had done very well against West Ham.
As usual, United came out of the blocks quickly, and created a few good chances that weren’t converted. That was amended when Di Maria scored his third goal of the season from a Mata assist. Just before half-time, Everton got a penalty for a Luke Shaw foul on Hibbert (I still think it was a harsh decision). This was the seventh penalty given against United in 2014, more than any other side. As Baines stepped up to take it, I couldn’t see any other outcome apart from him scoring, as he had with his previous fourteen penalties. Thankfully De Gea thought otherwise, and made a very good save to make sure United went into half-time still leading.
The second half was a different story again, as United fell a bit deep and let Everton back into the game when Naismith equalised. We weren’t worried though, as with the players we have up front, we knew they could score more, and they duly did when a Di Maria pass (shot) fell into Falcao’s path, who gratefully hit the target to score his first goal for United. It was excellent to see his celebration, as you could see his relief and joy at scoring for a club he’s enjoying being at. After that, Everton pushed for another equaliser, but thanks to our excellent keeper, United still lead 2-1 when the final whistle went.
If it wasn’t for De Gea’s brilliant saves, Everton might have well got at least a draw from this game, but thankfully they didn’t, so we can smile and look forward with more optimism, though we have to keep the excitement in check as there’s no games this weekend.
Our new players, still getting accustomed to the pace of the Premier League, seem to be lasting a bit longer as every game goes by, so hopefully they’ll start going the whole hog soon enough.
Thanks mainly to David de Gea’s wonderful display against Everton, United have now won two games in a row for the first time since Van Gaal became manager. Up to the last few minutes, I was thinking that Rafael, Blind, Di Maria and McNair (who looked like a seasoned pro in dealing with Lukaku) were all worthy candidates for the man of the match award, but when ‘dodgy Dave’ made those saves, it was pretty much an open and shut case.
In other games in the Premier League, Chelsea walked over Arsenal to beat them 2-0 without too much hassle. The talking point from this game was about Wenger’s push of Jose Mourinho. Arsenal might have done better if their players had shown some of the passion (or was it frustration?) their manager did. Also, can anyone imagine how the media would have reacted if it was Mourinho that had done the pushing instead?
L’pool managed a 2-1win against United’s next opponents, West Brom; City won 2-0 at Villa; Pochettino’s Spurs beat Southampton 1-0; while the three bottom clubs all failed to win again, meaning they stay propping up the table (though they’re all just two points behind seventeenth placed Everton). This all means that United are now in the top four for the first time in over a year.
With Chelsea and City being first and second, positions which will probably be the same come May, United are quite well placed to get third place, though there’s still a long way to go.
Still with the Premier League, apparently the bigwigs are thinking about playing games abroad, though the idea this time is to play a regular fixture rather than come up with a 39th game. It still reeks of greed, and I’m not sure how season ticket holders would feel if a ‘top-tier’ game is moved to another country just so the league can make more money.
Back to United related news, club legend Roy Keane has made headlines because of his new biography. As bad as some of his statements might be, it was obvious he wasn’t going to go soft as that doesn’t sell books, and wouldn’t fit in well with his image. Also, many of us (generalising) knock the club and players nearly every day on social media, Keane is just clever enough to use his stature to make money out of it.
Our player of the week, De Gea has admitted that he considered leaving the club because of the early criticism he was getting. I can imagine how some ‘journalists’ would have been patting themselves on the back if that had happened, thinking that they knew he wasn’t good. Thankfully he stayed to ram that criticism back down their throats, though I’m sure a few of them still can’t admit that he is indeed a world class goalkeeper.
On to this weekend, where unfortunately domestic football takes a back-seat once again, as international football is being played all over the world. The Euro 2016 qualifiers are being spread over SIX days. Seems like UEFA are doing their best to make sure that the fans are alienated some more, as the boring games (of which there will be many) are not taking place on just two evenings now, but nearly a whole week.
Oh well, we’ll just have to hope that the United players representing their countries will come back to the club fit and healthy for next week’s trip to West Brom… COME ON UNITED!!!