…though it was hardly a roar and more of a whimper.
Once again, Mourinho started Ibrahimovic, Martial and Captain Rooney up front, with Mata, Fellaini and Pogba in midfield. In what could have been a tough game against a side that just like United had won its first two games of the season, United huffed and puffed all the way through but Hull hung on for most of the game.
Chances were missed by Zlatan, Captain Rooney and Pogba and the later it got into the game, the more it seemed like Hull would get an undeserved point from this match.
When Marcus Rashford replaced Mata with twenty minutes to go, United pushed more players forward to try and find that elusive goal. It duly came two minutes into ‘Fergie Time’, when Captain Rooney, who up to that point had hardly done anything positive of note, did an excellent job in skipping past a Hull defender and putting the ball on a plate for Rashford to score the winner in his first appearance of the season. Cue bedlam in the away stands as the players ran to them to celebrate such a late goal that kept United’s 100% win record intact after three games.
It was great to see our manager and the rest of the bench enjoy the moment too, though personally I still can’t get used to seeing Jose Mourinho celebrate goals scored by United!
If we had to pick three players that performed better than the rest in this game we’d go for Daley Blind, who kept his usual calmness and dealt well with everything Hull threw at him and Bailly even though conditions weren’t good; Paul Pogba, who covered a lot of ground and pushed forward when he needed to; and Marcus Rashford for obvious reasons. Others who played well were Valencia, Fellaini, Bailly and Shaw.
Martial, Mata and Captain Rooney were far from their best, but we know that they can play a lot better than they did against Hull, so here’s hoping there’s a lot more to come from them sooner rather than later.
In the other games in the Premier League, Chelsea kept the pace with United by beating Burnley 3-0; Manchester City did the same when they beat West Ham 2-1 in a game where Sergio Aguero elbowed Winston Reid, an incident that he’s been charged for by the FA; Arsenal beat Watford 3-1 for their first win of the season; Champions Leicester won 2-1 against Swansea; Everton won 1-0 at home to Stoke; Tottenham and L’pool drew 1-1, the same scoreline as Southampton-Sunderland and Palace-Bournemouth; while West Brom and Middlesboro played out the only goalless draw of the weekend.
The transfer window is now thankfully closed until January. Looking quickly at the Premier league clubs’ dealings on deadline day, Tottenham signed Moussa Sissoko (who many thought was a done deal for Everton), Stoke got Wilfried Bony from City (who also sent Nasri and Mangala out on loan to Spain); England saviour Jack Wilshere has joined Bournemouth on loan; and even weirder, Chelsea have got David Luiz back from PSG for a fee of £32m! Having cost them around £21m when they got him the first time from Benfica, that’s a total of £53m they’ve spent on him (though they got £40m when they sold him to PSG just two years ago). His agent Giuliano Bertolucci will be laughing all the way to the bank. Conte’s side also got Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina for £23m.
In other news, as we mentioned in this ‘column’ a few months ago, it’s now been confirmed that Franz Beckenbauer is being investigated for the suspicion of fraud, money laundering and corruption. Though ‘Der Kaiser’ denies any wrongdoing, we doubt the Swiss prosecutors would have opened a criminal investigation against him and three others if they didn’t have enough evidence.
On similar lines, a charity commission probe into the Didier Drogba Foundation is coming to a close after it was alleged that less than £15,000 out of over £1.5m in donations had gone to help causes in Africa.
Back to United related news, Bastian Schweinsteiger has played his last game for his country Germany. He was given a rousing send-off in the match against Finland. He has also been named in United’s 25 man list for the Premier League.
Andreas Pereira joined La Liga side Granada on a season’s long loan; as did his name sake Joel Castro Pereira, who’s joining Belenenses in Portugal; meanwhile, Will Keane and James Weir have both left United to join Mike Phelan’s Hull on permanent deals. While we hope that Keane and Weir are a success at Hull, we look forward to getting the Pereiras back in the United fold as better players.
We don’t have domestic football to look forward to this weekend, but there should be a few interesting matches in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup if only to watch how United players do while representing their countries. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they all get back to Manchester fully fit and ready to go for the derby… COME ON UNITED!!!