So, much nicer viewing six days on from THAT last week. After a week of change, here is what we learned today against Norwich.
Dave De Gea
Another tremendous performance from the ever improving Spaniard. Laying more claims that he can be a United legend before too long. Confident on crosses, punching one bravely and catching the other impressively, he pulled off another very confident save late on and left confidently where needed. Almost caught out by a big deflection off Phil Jones, but otherwise a quiet day and a well deserved clean sheet for a man almost destined to be named player of the season
I won’t lie, I let out a groan when I saw Ferdinand and Vidic named in the starting XI, but I was pleasingly proved wrong by the aging pair. Vidic looked solid and confident, winning a fair few headers and shutting out first van Wolfswinkel and latterly Hooper and Elmander. Ferdinand was the same, confident and strong and looking unbeatable, not even the obligatory Ferdinand mistake occurred today. Evra finally decided to defend, and when he did he reminded us of what he used to be way back when, attackingly he offered a fair bit and his pace caused problems. Jones at Right Back showed why he is the preferable stand in ahead of Smalling, Redmond is a quick player, but Jones never once gave him opportunity to exploit his advantage. Again when attacking he was effective, an assist for Mata’s first with a lovely ball into a dangerous area. There were one or two lapses late on as Norwich hunted for a consolation goal, but otherwise nothing too troubling.
I should start this section off with the biggest revelation of the game – ASHLEY YOUNG BEAT A MAN. Back to the starters. Valencia was poor first half, failing to beat the first man on a number of crosses and not looking at the races, but all was forgotten in the second. His ball back for Mata’s second was a delight having shown desire to get to a deep cross from the left. Had a few bits of lovely interplay with Rooney and Mata (reminding us how good we are when we look to penetrate) and looked much like the Tony V of old. Kagawa again was poor, and far too lightweight, his encouraging performances of three or four weeks ago have well and truly dissipated. Tried a few nice touches, but again showed that he may not be suited to life in England. Cleverley didn’t have a complete stinker. Swung hopelessly at a good opportunity in the first half, gave the ball away a few times, but also chipped in with a couple of challenges here and there, however, if the rumoured interest from Everton is indeed true he should definitely consider a move to Merseyside. Carrick is another who failed to play for Moyes but today found his jeu de vivre and his cute passing style was back. Linked up marvelously and played a part in almost every meaningful attack we had. Defended well to boot, poses big questions about his season and where he has been. Mata came on and, well, scored 2. Says everything about his appearance really, played very well and showed that, when played in the right position and allowed to flourish, he really is THAT good. Young was the other change. He beat a man, had a decent effort seen just wide, looked almost competent as a professional footballer. Sent one horribly wide, but to criticise him too much today would be harsh, another one that needs to move on however.
Where to begin. Danny had two efforts very well saved by Ruddy, one in the first half and the other in the second, both similar chances and not a great deal more he could have done with them. Won the penalty of course, maybe a rather soft one, but he did well to spot the mistakes and profit from them. He showed the hunger and desire that has come to be expected of him, has to stay in my opinion, as a squad player he offers an effective change and some pace. Wayne Rooney had a very good game, buried his penalty with aplomb and finally shot from outside the box (or inside the box as that has been lacking recently) and scored from it (slip assisted possibly). Tried a delicious chip that was about a foot away from perfection. When he dropped back in (somewhere I would like to see him play a bit more often going forward), we learned he can do it in the middle and still affect things around the goal and also be key to anything coming through that area of the pitch. Hernandez again looked sharp and nippy, should have buried his chance at the end, and even though it had little bearing on the result, a striker of his quality should score that every time.
To Wrap Things Up
The post Moyes era off to the best possible start then. The first half was poor mind, and seemed as though it was a sideways step getting rid. Whatever Giggsy said at half time worked, and we looked so much better and penetrative and played (I’m going to have to go for the cliché, sorry) THE UNITED WAY. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. There are big changes still need making whoever is in charge, replenishment is imperative this summer. The tweet going round calling Giggs our saviour is also ludicrous, lets not get too carried away with things, the players have to take more responsibility for what has been this season that people think. Still, it’s nice to be able to watch Match of the Day tonight isn’t it?
By Matt Henderson
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