What a massive, massive disappointment and a huge opportunity missed. The first 20 minutes should have seen United out of sight and then playing 10 men should make it somewhat easier for Mourinho’s men. You can’t help but be massively disappointed and it could well go down as a Saturday completely ruined. Here is what we learned this afternoon.
Big problems in little Manchester
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was atrocious today, and he’s more than allowed to have a bad day for all he does for the side, but who was there to step up? Who looked like scoring aside from him? Anthony Martial threatened once or twice, Rooney should have been far more clinical and much less selfless but otherwise, there was nobody at all. Marcos Rojo scored the goal and it says it all. Paul Pogba was utterly awful all game and showed nothing of a goal threat as he continuously refused to have a go. It was all so frustrating and nowhere near acceptable from anyone on that pitch today.
Phil Jones the blunder man
Quite harsh to single out Jones, but it’s more for the penalty than anything else. He was rash at best with his challenge, and it has ended up costing the side 3 points. But as I stated initially, to single Jones out for criticism is very unfair and he actually had a solid game that aside. In fact, no member of the defence played poorly, including the returning Luke Shaw (who even looked less rotund than he has previously). The attack and midfield is what let United down today.
A game ruined by a referee nowhere near in control, and horrendous attacking play on the part of United. Kevin Friend did nothing to cover himself in any glory, and both sides should have had players sent off (Ibrahimovic for his stupid elbow on Mings, and Mings for his horrible stamp on the head of Ibrahimovic. Neither act is welcome in football and retrospective action needs to be the next course), and the penalty awarded to United was a soft one. But that doesn’t matter, Ibrahimovic should have torn the net from its pegs and into the Stretford End. Boruc played like Gianluigi Buffon today, but United didn’t test him enough. This conclusion is becoming as disjointed as the attacking today was, and it’s semi on purpose.
The annoyance felt by such a lacklustre display against another side United should be thumping at Old Trafford is huge, and 7 home draws needs looking at and addressing by Mourinho if he is to reach his potential as United manager. Pogba has to mature and soon, like it or not he is viewed as a lynchpin to the attack and is a player that his teammates look to make things happen. Rashford was poor when he came on, and the absence of Herrera was felt there I feel. Let’s hope there is a draw at Anfield later because if there isn’t the task becomes far harder than it ever needed to be. Perhaps challenging on so many fronts is finally taking its toll?