…Oh, wait, nobody told some of our players that, who in the past few days showed what many of us already knew – they’re just not good enough to wear the United shirt.
First things first though. Our weekend started with the exciting news that Angel Di Maria was indeed joining United from Real Madrid, and though it was partly due to PSG not being able to spend the millions needed to buy him because of Financial Fair Play rules, and him being pushed out of the club he’s played so well for in the past four years, he does seem happy enough to be joining one of the biggest clubs in England.
So we all looked at the Sunderland game with renewed optimism, as the club were at last showing intent by buying a genuinely world class player to try and get back into European football sooner rather than later.
Though the starting line-up looked like it still had holes in midfield and at the back, we were looking forward to seeing van Persie, Rooney and Mata play together again. The players still seemed slightly lost playing the new system, but when Mata scored a tap-in from a decent Valencia cross, we thought our luck was looking up. For fifteen minutes at least, when Jack Rodwell was left all alone to head in from a corner. After that, chances were few and far between, though United might have had a claim for a penalty in the second half.
When the game ended in a 1-1 draw, we were relieved more than anything. At least we didn’t lose another game, and got a first point of the season. Though not happy with the outcome, we had a feeling that this could be the start of much better things to come (and we were still happy with the Di Maria news).
When the signing was officially announced on Tuesday evening, we were all smiling, even after seeing the starting line-up facing the MK Dons in the League Cup. With the players on show, we thought it wouldn’t be easy, even against a League One side, but were glad that players like Welbeck, Kagawa, Powell, Vermijl, Keane and James were getting a chance to stake a claim for a place in the proper team. Until the game started…
What a shambles that was, and so frustrating to see players who should know better not even look bothered.
The two main culprits in this category for me were Anderson and Chicharito. Now, I’ve always like those two, and hoped that they’d become real stars at United, but there comes a time when you realise that it’s not going to happen. We know that they don’t want to be at the club, but as long as they’re getting their wages they should be putting an effort in. Louis van Gaal did say that he’d give everybody a chance, he’ll probably have realised that they need to be moved on now. The problem might be that someone like Anderson would prefer to sit on the bench at United with his high wages, rather than move somewhere where he’ll get less money for actually playing. The club might have to do ‘a Nani’ with him, where they’ll still pay his massive salary while he’s elsewhere.
Welbeck should have done better too, though with a seemingly ‘lifeless’ Chicharito next to him he might have had an excuse as he seemed out of sorts (maybe he’s resigned himself to moving away from the club he loves?).
Jonny Evans might be excused as he’s not fully fit and will get back to his best with more games, but the mistake that lead to the first goal was one that you wouldn’t expect from a kid, never mind a player with such experience. I always thought that he looks much better with a steady defender next to him (he was immense at times with Vidic or Ferdinand next to him), but he should now be showing that he’s good enough to be the main man at the back.
As for the youngsters who played last night, hopefully they will learn a lot from this, and will show that they do deserve to be part of the squad.
Yes, it was ‘only’ the League Cup, but with United hardly having any midweek games this season, it would have been nice to make the most of it, if only to give the young players a chance of more playing time.
Elsewhere in the league, Chelsea and Costa got another win against another newly promoted team; Arsenal came back from two goals down to salvage a point at the ‘much-improved’ Everton; Spurs beat a hapless QPR 4-0 to go top after two games; and last season’s runners-up Manchester City beat Champions L’pool 3-1 on Monday evening (or was it the other way around?), to at least give us something to smile about in the past week (admittedly through gritted teeth).
We now face Burnley at Turf Moor (on Saturday 30th of August, 12:45pm UK time). After the Sunderland game I was still optimistic that United can go there and get a good win, but after the League Cup disaster I’m already getting slightly edgy about it, even though Van Gaal will have a totally different team out there.
Still, we’ll hopefully see Angel Di Maria make his debut for United, creating much needed chances that will be converted into much needed goals.
Here’s hoping for a first competitive win of the season… COME ON UNITED!!!