So the new season started, and it was just like the old season! United lost at home after an average performance; conceded a couple of goals due to defensive mistakes and hardly created any chances at Old Trafford. We even finished the game with Fellaini playing up front, and hoofing the ball up to him in hope!
It all combined to make this United’s first home defeat on an opening day for 42 years. United started well enough, and seemed to be taking the game to Swansea from the start. As time went on though, Swansea seemed to be growing in confidence, and when Sung-Yueng put the Welsh side ahead, the pre-season optimism began to disappear. Van Gaal brought Nani on for an ineffective Chicharito at half-time, and things improved slightly.
When Rooney equalised, we thought there could only be one winner after that. Doubt any of us thought that would be Swansea, who went into the lead again with twenty minutes to go and held on for a ‘famous’ victory at Old Trafford. Though Van Gaal’s changes at half-time seemed to do the trick, taking Herrera off and putting Fellaini on seemed a bit strange, especially as the game went on. Players like Fellaini need to make the most to impress whenever they get a chance, and he certainly didn’t do that on Saturday.
Same can be said about Chicharito, who unfortunately seems like a player that doesn’t want to be there anymore. Even his smile is gone. We can bemoan the fact that Swansea’s first goal could have been disallowed for a foul by Bony on Jones, and that United might have had a penalty in injury-time, but we can’t rely on such decisions going United’s way just to salvage a point at home against the likes of Swansea. The team has to play much better than that to make sure any ‘wrong’ decisions don’t have a say on the final result.
Elsewhere, last season’s top four all won, and though Arsenal and L’pool huffed and puffed at home against a Pulis less Palace and Southampton respectively, they still managed to get the three points. Meanwhile, City started the defence of the title by getting a 2-0 win at Newcastle, while Mourinho’s Chelsea proved too strong at newly promoted Burnley, with Diego Costa opening his scoring account in the Premier League in a 3-1 win.
Back to United, there was a bit of a meltdown on social media on Sunday, when many decided that the Glazers are the problem and should walk out of the club that’s making them millions of pounds for their own pockets. While we’re glad that more people are opening their eyes and seeing what is really happening to the club we love so much, it seems a little too late to think that they’ll sell the club and move on just because many are jumping onto a bandwagon that was derailed when it was going forward at full velocity a few years ago.
Football (soccer) lovers they might not be, but clever business people they are, and the Glazers won’t sell United as long as the club is like a massive cash cow. With the money the sponsors are giving them, it will be a long while before they start even thinking about calling it quits from Old Trafford. Of course, if results keep going badly, sponsors might think twice the next time contracts come about.
As I write this, Marcos Rojo has been confirmed as the latest signing for the club from Sporting Lisbon, and while he might not be world class, he should be good enough to shore up United’s defence, something that was shown up as weak on Saturday, what with the injuries and the new system. If Van Gaal buys players like him, that are of a certain level and fit into the system he wants to use, I’m all for it. Nani has gone the other way in exchange, and while we will miss his flicks and tricks that were occasionally effective, I doubt any of us will miss the inconsistency in his form and the frustration he filled most of us with.
I still think we have good enough players to fight for a top four place. Another possible signing before the end of August would see more improvement in the squad, and it would mean United have signed four new players this summer, not far off from the five or six we need to start challenging again. Moving ahead, United play at Sunderland this Sunday (4pm kick-off UK time). Though they should be strong enough to get a win at the Stadium of Light, we have to be wary especially after losing the first game.
If United do win, they might catch up with a few teams already, as Arsenal are playing at Everton, and City face L’pool on Monday night. Here’s hoping that United get off the mark points wise, and we’ll be talking about the team and the football rather than the Glazers on Sunday evening… COME ON UNITED!!!