Well, it feels a bit like Christmas that game. Days of tension, nerves and excitement for a damp squib, over and done with within two hours. A point is absolutely no use to either side but is certainly the fairer of the outcomes. Two points behind fifth, a winning run ended, here is what we learned against Liverpool.
Big game Pogwoes
I’m not sure what happens to Paul Pogba when it comes to big games but he just seems to disappear. Whether it’s a case of him not really being used to playing in them or just not being able to cope with the pressure-filled environment, something goes horribly wrong on the big occasions. Today was arguably his worst performance in a United shirt – especially in the first half – and it really served to the detriment of the side. Quite what he was doing for the penalty only he knows, but his all round play was atrocious. I’m normally forgiving of him when he gives the ball away as two passes later he has created a goal, but today he showed no sign of creating anything other than a stink. I’m sure with time he will adapt and become the player United need on the big days, but for the time being he is far from what is required.
Fellaini made a difference!
I never thought I would type these words, but for playing a part in the equaliser he deserves real credit. And he was actually a useful target throughout his cameo. More of that and the grumbles around his new contract may subdue. All the substitutes made some kind of impact when you look at it and Mourinho deserves plaudits for that being the case.
RoJones may have run its course
Today the pairing that previously looked so solid and compact looked as useful as a toothless comb. It’s been a long time coming (and week in, week out fans predict it’ll be that game the error occurs) but today the mistakes leaked through the gaps and showed themselves. Blame Pogba for the penalty but don’t forget the blundering mess Phil Jones made of clearing his lines that eventually resulted in a corner. Marcos Rojo also reverted to type, forgetting he is nowhere near effective as a footballer but is actually a ‘lump it’ Centre Half. On reflection, it was actually a lucky escape.
A point really doesn’t help anything at all, City losing meant a win was absolute priority today (and not just for bragging rights). The second half was a marked improvement, and United did look a genuine threat that was eventually rewarded justly. Ander Herrera was his usual inspiring self and that foul on Roberto Firmino was really very funny to see. The atmosphere reflected everything about the game, but we fans shouldn’t be down about what turned into a point earned rather than a winning run ended with defeat. It was all just a bit of an anticlimax after the pre-game expectations, but this is why games like this are a different kettle of fish. Gary Neville is right in what he said mind, you get the feeling the old United is on the way back.