Today’s result was as routine as any before the match at Anfield and we all know from what has happened throughout this season, an international break can make or break momentum. All you need to do is ask United or more recently Arsenal or Spurs. The match did expose that one vital cog United was missing on, one Mr Paul Pogba – the swag is back. The MOTM for me was Marcus Rashford for the two very incisive, selfless moments. My thoughts on the match and the rest of the match day can be summarized as below:
- There is still life left in Arsenal. It was a deserving win against a team who were on upward trajectory.
- The return of Pogba has brought back the expected swagger back to the United side. Say what you may, but the ease at which he controls the pace of the game gives a boost to every single one of those United players. Now the wait is on for a similar performance against one of the bigger teams.
- Martial and Rashford can start together and both of them have their own way of influencing the game. The way Martial lures in 3 defenders every time he has the ball at his feet is proof of respect the he garners from his fellow professionals. Rashford at the same time works so tirelessly for the team and times can be so frustrating.
- First goal conceded at OT, Zlatan returns and Lukaku ending goal drought being the other highlights.
- It’s not often that a traveling team comes in with an intention to play attacking football. Credit to the Magpies there and there will be other teams who would come in and try block United out and that would be when we can really gauge the attacking intent of the team.
Oct 21, United at Huddersfield Town FC.
- Injuries are part and parcel of the game and we have seen teams manage it better than how United is handling it right now. There is a terrible lack of ideas when a player who is supposed to be an integral part of the team goes off. Today, the Jones injury was the turning point.
- Although the injury did play a vital part, United were still not in the game prior to that. There was not anything meaningful till the last 15 minutes of the game.
- Martial and Mata were out of sorts from the word go and up front there was never anything to suggest that United were threatening. I cannot even say that Huddersfield played out their hearts as they didn’t have to !
- The last second block off Smalling (of all the people) summed up the day for United.
- If todays match proved anything, it was the importance of Pogba, Fellaini and the defensive duo of Jones/Bailly in the team. Today should have been the day Martial announced his credentials ahead of Rashford but honestly he didn’t even show the desire to have a go at it !
Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, Sept 30, 2017
- As routine a United performance as you would ever see against a club which now holds the record for the most number of minutes in the start of a season without scoring a goal. Things are not going to get any better for them as they travel to Stamford Bridge next.
- What impresses me the most about this United is the speed at which they hit off the blocks from the word go! Palace with yet another horrible performance was never going to stop this United juggernaut, without Pogba.
- I thought I would never say this but Fellaini was the standout performer for United today. The more I see him play for United the more he makes me eat my own words, however, I still do maintain that he is a squad player (a very valuable one though) and should not be starting games for United unless absolutely necessary. Nothing quite extraordinary and yet not a foot wrong.
- Its an ode to our depth when we can bring in the Player of the season Herrera and the enigmatic Martial to close of games. Its such a refreshing sight!
United @ Stoke, Sept 9th
- The Bailly/Jones pairing which was immaculate for United for the first three matches was culpable for both the goals that Stoke scored today. These kind of defensive frailties would be exploited by bigger teams
- Herrera makes his first start of the season after the player of the season performance last year and I daresay Mata was benched for the role he played in Perreira going off to Valencia on loan against Mou’s wishes.
- The second half, for most parts, was played by United with an eye on the match on Tuesday and it was there to be seen. Stoke had the clearer of chances and but for some accustomed De Gea magic, United would have been staring at a defeat long back.
- There was a serious lack of quality in the crosses when anybody other than Valencia attempted it and sadly there were too may of Valencia’s crosses that were wasted at the back-post, due to the stubbornness of Rashford and Pogba as they failed to make the runs.
- Rashford today was a one trick pony and was always trying to peel off the last defender, trying to make those runs. The mazy runs at the defenders from either wings were sorely missed.
City should now be considered firm favorites to win the league this season with the way they have been stepping it up game after game.
- Pogba is slowly and steadily becoming the midfield gladiator that United thought they were buying when the World Record transfer fee was broken last year.
- It was a dominant first half but United simply lacked that finishing touch. There was one instance in the first half when Blind had to hold on to the ball for more than a couple of seconds waiting for somebody in Red to attack the penalty box. United needs to be more dominant while attacking the box.
- I am still waiting for the time when both Martial and Rashford are allowed to ply their trades through the two wings. Mou might be inclined to give it a try if the two kids were a bit more consistent with their performances.
- Schmeichel makes it 3 saves out of the last 5 penalties and if that is not special, i wonder what would ever be! One interesting stat is that he apparently has made more penalty saves at OT when compared to his Dad :O
- The goal however, came through an unexpectedly poor moment of marking by Leicester. Rashford himself might have been a bit surprised when he was left unchallenged and the ball just skipped past the melee of players.
- My MOTM for the day was one Mr Phil Jones. He was always kept on his toes by Vardy and during the later stage Slimani. He was assured throughout the 90 minutes and never shied away from a single challenge. He dominated the air and turf so well that his partner Bailly had one of the easiest outings yet. To his credit De Gea kept us assured that he had not dozed off out of boredom when he made the first real save at the 93rd minute and thats why kids he is the best in the world for me.
10-0 to start the season. #United
United @ Swansea, August 19th, 2 Cents.
- Everything was just like old times, United were up against an inspired team, who to their credit pulled up their socks and got on with their business just hours after selling off their main man to a record transfer. The high pressing with which they started the match was more than an inconvenience to United and if it were any of the last three seasons would have been good enough to leave United in a frustrated heap. For United, when your manager names the same staring 11 for a second match, you did tick a lot of those story points in the first match and United just shifted the gears into the second half.
- This United team is built around two individuals – Pogba and Rashford and it’s high time both of them realize that and get done with the antics that poor temperament brings to their game. They simply cannot go around moaning and rush into rash tackles just because a couple of decisions didn’t go their way. They need to realize that the team relies on them and just shrug it off and get on with the game.
- It has just been 2 games into the season and yet the impact that the Matic signing made is already pretty evident. He is the primary reason why most of the match was played in the Swansea half.
- The set-piece defending from United’s perspective left a lot to be desired. Matic, Bailly and Blind were left rooted to the ground while trying to clear the ball and this was probably one of those areas which would need some work as we work our way towards stronger teams.
- Martial has more than laid forward his credentials and absolutely deserves a nod in the starting 11 from Mou. His arrival just changed the complexion of the game when meaningful ball possession was converted to more meaningful numbers on the scorecard.
The way this United team slowly ground down a resilient Swans and then switched on to overdrive after the 80th minute was like beautiful classical quickly getting replaced by heavy metal. Matic (8), Lukaku (8), Mikki (9), Pogba (7), Martial (9), Bailly & Jones (8 each) had a brilliant game whereas Mata, De Gea (not at all his fault) and Valencia had one of the quiter games.
Manchester United 4 vs 0 West Ham, Aug 13th, 2 Cents:
- The urgency, the flair and the dominance has sneaked a peek for the first time in so many years. United dominated with the performance of the weekend.
- Mikki, Matic, Pogba and Rashford were there closing down every time WestHam got a touch on the ball. The urgency was there to be seen and for the first time in a long time we did not take the foot off the pedal after scoring.
- Rashford is my main man. He was there available, making the runs. getting back to defend and going at it direct at the West Ham defenders. He made the space available for Lukaku to cap of a wonderful OT debut.
- Mikki seems to have gotten his swagger back. The way he waltz past defenders is such a joy to watch and one player of whom i expect a lot this season.
- How on earth did we get hold of Matic? One upgrade in the middle of the park and the rest in front got upgraded automatically ! He was there foiling every single counter attack by West Ham and was instrumental in the flair-rich show put up by Pogba in the midfield.
Yes, this is just day 1 of the season but the show is on and what a display it was. It was a marker laid down in the boldest of fashion. I am so damn excited about the new season. GGMU.