…his simple game philoshophy,
Forget about our worries and our strife,
I mean Van Gaal’s philoshophy,
Old Louis’ football recipes,
That brings Van Gaal’s philoshophies to life…’
It all seems to be falling into place, at least result wise, and after United had the worst start since football started in 1992 (thank you Sky), they now sit in third place after beating Southampton away from home.
The game started well enough, with Van Persie pouncing on Fonte’s back-pass and putting United into the lead after just 12 minutes, but that was as good as it got in the first half. After that, it was lots of misplaced passes, bad positioning, lack of composure and an all-round under-par performance that made it easy for Southampton to dominate the rest of the half, and it was no surprise when Graziano Pelle equalised after half an hour. The defenders were all over the place, and Smalling getting injured didn’t help. Fortunately Van Gaal saw what was happening, and took McNair out of the firing line by bringing Herrera in before the half was over.
The second half was more of the same, though United seemed more resolute and steady. When Van Persie got his and United’s second goal with twenty minutes to go, we thought we could get a fifth win in a row, but it was backs to the wall until the final whistle, and though Southampton didn’t get as close as Stoke had a week earlier to make it 2-2, it was still a nail-biting finish (or finger biting for those of us who ran out of nails already).
It was a great sigh of relief when the game finished, and we couldn’t care less about how bad United had played. Ok, we could, but we were too happy in the knowledge that we were up to third in the table.
Of course, the media were all over it, going on about how United had only three shots in the whole game (worst since whenever), and were totally outplayed… What many didn’t mention was that United were the only team to get an away win in the Premier League all weekend, a win that takes them above the same Southampton in the table. When you see stuff like that, you begin to realise that United are back, and the club is indeed hated, adored, but NEVER ignored.
Looking at performances, Fellaini reverted to last season’s ‘Bambi on ice’ version, until he improved in the second half (going by successful passes); Juan Mata did well when the team was going forward (which wasn’t often), though he needs to be doing more when United are under the cosh; David de Gea and Robin van Persie were by far the best two from the very few who actually played well. Other than that, the less said about the others, the better.
But a win is a win, and the Premier League table doesn’t lie, does it?
One thing worth mentioning is the away fans. They’re always loud and proud, wherever and whenever United are playing, but they sounded even louder this time, and could be heard all the way through. Well done one and all, especially after travelling so far away on a Monday night (Wait, you mean not all United fans live in London?).
Elsewhere in the league, leaders Chelsea lost for the first time this season when Newcastle beat them 2-1 to wipe the smile off Mourinho’s face (not far from showing his true self); City beat Everton 1-0 to move to just within three points off first place, though they’ll be worried about Aguero’s injury (he’s out for about four weeks); Arsenal left Stoke with their tails between their legs after a 3-2 defeat; L’pool found a wall after turning yet another corner, this time drawing 0-0 at home to Sunderland; Tottenham got the same score line at home to Crystal Palace – This all meant that it was a great weekend all around for United, as they’ve gained points on most of the teams around them.
Further down the table, Aston Villa beat Leicester 2-1 to go up to eleventh, just two points behind L’pool and Tottenham; meanwhile, Redknapp’s QPR climbed out of the bottom three by beating Burnley 2-0.
In other news, the best English midfielder ever couldn’t help L’pool make it through the group stage of the Champions League, as they drew 1-1 at home to Basle to finish third in their group, just one point ahead of the mighty Ludogoretz. Oh well, at least they’re still in Europe. Here’s hoping they enjoy those ‘famous European nights at Anfield’ in the Europa League.
QPR hit the headlines when one of their players, Steven Caulker, got injured during the players’ Christmas lunch. Depending on who you believe, he slipped over, or there was a fight. These Christmas party shenanigans do seem to follow Harry Redknapp around, don’t they?
Looking at United news from the past week, the club has been drawn away at whoever wins between Yeovil and Accrington in the FA Cup 3rd round. Hopefully this will be the start of a decent cup run, something we’re all yearning for as it’s a trophy that hasn’t been won by us since 2004.
Edward Glazer has put up three million club shares for sale. Apart from the fact that this only amounts to about 2% of the whole club, it means that Mr. Glazer could be pocketing nearly £30 MILLION, while United’s debt will still be over £350m as not a single penny will go to the club. And people wonder why the Glazers are not well liked by most United fans?
And now we look forward to United’s next game, when they face last season’s Easter Champions L’pool. The game is at Old Trafford on Sunday (1:30pm UK time). Personally, it’s one of my least favourite games to watch as I’m always on tenterhooks when United face L’pool, a lot more than usual. But here’s hoping for a sixth win in a row that would set us up nicely for the busy Christmas period… COME ON UNITED!!!