* Three defeats in a row
* Crisis in September(?)
* Einsteins in the Media
Remember when United won their three first league games just after beating Champions Leicester in the Charity Shield and we were getting giddy at the thought of winning the Premier League even though it was only August? Those were the days eh? Wait… That was just two weeks ago?
After the heady heights of August, United lost the derby before losing their first Europa League tie in Feyenoord. Then they travelled to Watford for another test in the league.
The United line-up looked strong enough and although Watford were on form, we were hoping to get back on track to stay close to the teams at the to of the table. Unfortunately the players seemed less confident than many of the United supporters as their play seemed very disjointed and Watford sensed that they were there for the taking. Apart from Pogba hitting the crossbar, not much was created by Mourinho’s side in the first half. When Martial lost the ball on the wing before half-time in what could have been given as a free-kick for United, some of his team mates were caught out of position and Capoue drove a shot past De Gea to put the home side ahead.
Going into half-time one goal behind, we knew that United needed big improvements to get anything out of this game. Though they did get better and equalised through Marcus Rashford, it wasn’t good enough to thwart Watford who went on to score twice more to make sure that United went back to Manchester with a 3-1 defeat and their tails between their legs.
Most of the players got rightly criticised after this game as they didn’t even seem to put a fight in, and though many thought that it was unfair that Rooney got the brunt of it, you’d expect the captain to lift those around him up when needed most. That is something that Rooney seems to lack (apart from his loss of form over the past few seasons).
On Wednesday United travelled to Northampton for a League Cup tie. In what many saw as a potential banana skin, United dominated throughout the first half and went ahead through Michael Carrick, but made sure that ‘crisis’ talk continues as The Cobblers were given a penalty just before half-time from which they made it 1-1.
Thankfully United proved too strong in the second half and as the League One side started tiring, Ander Herrera and Rashford both scored to put United through to the next round with a 3-1 win.
Though it was only Northampton, this was a much needed win as at least it halts the slide and stop talk of a club in crisis at least for a day or two.
Interest in this competition grew as soon as the draw for the next round was made as United will be facing neighbours City, which at least gives Mourinho another shot at his nemesis Pep Guardiola. Other tasty ties in the fourth round are Chelsea-West Ham and L’pool-Tottenham.
In other Premier League games, said City kept their 100% win record as they beat Bournemouth 4-1; Klopp’s L’pool impressed again in their 2-1 win at Chelsea; Arsenal won 4-1 at Hull; Champions Leicester beat Burnley 3-0; Tottenham stayed towards the top of the table by beating Moyes’ Sunderland 1-0; Southampton beat Swansea by the same score; Palace got an impressive 4-1 at home to Stoke; West Brom beat West Ham 4-2; and Koeman’s Everton won 3-1 at home to Middlesboro, meaning there were no draws in the weekend’s ten games.
In other news, Iceland will probably not be featuring in ‘FIFA 17’ as their FA didn’t accept EA’s ‘paltry’ offer of £12,000 for the rights to add their country’s team to the game. Considering the money EA makes from such games, you’d have expected them to offer more money to one of the teams that lit up our footballing summer.
City have been reported to FIFA by Argentinean side Velez Sarsfield for the alleged trafficking of one of their youngsters as 16yr old Benjamin Garre has joined the Manchester club. Velez say that City tried to get him when he was still 15, breaching FIFA rules on the transfer of minors. Though City say they did everything by the book, the Argentineans want FIFA to take the same steps against City as they have against Real Madrid and Atletico this summer. We expect Guardiola to hoard a few players this January just in case they are indeed banned from signing players in the future.
Back to United, Jose Mourinho called out a few ‘Einsteins’ after the win at Northampton, saying they are trying to delete 16yrs of his career and forget about United’s unbelievable history to instead focus on three bad results in one week. We are all for our manager defending United where needed, he just needs to get some of the players he manages on board now and make them fight for the shirt and the club.
United play twice again in the next seven days. They first host Champions Leicester at Old Trafford on Saturday (12:30pm UK time), and then welcome Ukranian side Zorya to Manchester on Thursday evening (8:05pm UK time). We will be hoping for two wins that will get United back on track in both the Premier League and the Europa League… COME ON UNITED!!!