It was tense and horrible, but also glorious to boot. A second win in three games (sounds better if you say it like that), but what did we learn?
We Can Grind Out A Win
It’s been doubted by a lot of people this season and in the past, but that ability to keep hold of the 3 points in an adverse position found its way back. We weren’t able to last weekend, so it may just be a flash in the pan, but it was refreshing to see us finally do it. A point is that it was a circumstance thrust upon us by our Captain, something we’ll cover later, and yet that did not phase the players who showed great resolve. It was horrible to have to sit through, but encouraging to watch.
The Defence Encouraged
Though slightly involved with the last point, it’s important to touch upon, especially after the debacle of the King Power Stadium. Marcos Rojo had a nightmare at left back, his complete lack of discipline cost us big time. Yesterday he was exactly what we needed there. Solid in the first half and moments preceding the sending off, and entering the end of the game (where we naturally started sitting back) he could be seen stepping out and telling his fellow defenders to do the same. Paddy McNair, too, had a dream debut. Not just his last-ditch header that seemed almost impossible to execute, but the rest of his game. His runs forward from the back proved fruitless but showed great initiative and his general defensive play was good. If Tom Thorpe is better, I can’t wait.
Wayne Rooney And Robin van Persie
He’s a lesson in one. I’m afraid I’ve stuck by him throughout, even yesterday until I saw replays I was adamant it wasn’t a red card. What can be said. He’s meant to be our captain, he’s meant to set the example for the rest of the squad to follow. After 10 years service he is our longest-serving and most experienced player. And then he petulantly kicks out because the referee didn’t give a decision for his team. A six-year-old would do that, a 28-year-old should know better. The last straw has to come at some point, I think he’s about there.
As for Robin van Persie. He scored but could anyone look any less interested in something? If he isn’t walking he’s stood still. When we were down to 10 he offered us nothing by way of an outlet. Bar his goal he didn’t trouble Adrian to any extent. He’s in the same boat as Rooney. There’s a final straw for him too, and again he isn’t too far away from it.
Di Maria was quiet but still sensational. Falcao was full of energy and unlucky to not score and to be sacrificed for Rooney’s stupidity. Rojo was superb, Blind not bad (bar the back pass). I can’t go without mentioning de Gea and their goal. It was not a foul on him, it was just a blunder of epic proportions, but then he did make a smart save to make up for it. A win was deserved in the end. Nolan was offside, and we showed great fight in the end. Hopefully it’s a building block and Juan Mata can show the world why he should be playing and Rooney shouldn’t. Bring on Everton.