Manchester United Monthly – in Five Minutes or Less
We left off last month with the September 2nd win at Southampton and this time we will review all the news from the end of the International break to the October 2nd Champions League match with CFR Cluj.
September 15th vs Wigan – This match was a particularly important match for Man United for a variety of reasons, but most notably the inclusion of Nick Buttner at LB, as well as the first glimpse at seeing Nick Powell. To have both net on their debuts, well, it doesn’t get much better than that! Of the two, I felt Buttner showed there was more to give as he in my eyes was the man of the match. United routed Wigan 4-0, completely out-classing their opponents. However there was a dark spot in the match for me, as I felt Danny Welbeck dove in the penalty area and was unfairly awarded a PK. I know it’s part of the game, and works the other way around, but I just hate calls like these. Regardless, justice was served as Javier Hernandez missed the PK.
September 19th vs Galatasaray – United started off strong having Carrick strike just 7 minutes from kick off, but other then that United didn’t look very impressive at home. They won the match 1-0 but Galatasaray definitely provided troubles and it seemed like United still hadn’t gained their form outside of England, which is something they must do quickly after last year’s early Champions Leage exit!
September 23rd @ Liverpool – Derby day! Definitely a controversial derby it was when the Devils travelled to Anfield on a night remembering the 96 victims of the Hillsborough tragedy. In the 39th minute Liverpool’s Jonjo Shelvy was given a straight red for a tackle on Johnny Evans where Shelvy ultimately dug his studs into the inner thigh of Evans. But this didn’t stop Liverpool at all as they seemed to continue to be the better side and even scored off a beautiful Stevie G, turn-and-volley. Luckily for United Rafael curved a nice one off the post and into the twine to equalize. The game continued fast-paced and thrilling until the 80th minute when Antonio Valencia bolted into the Liverpool penalty area and hit the ground quite easily with a minor nick to the heel gaining United a chance to win from the penalty marker. RVP neatly delivered the game-winning goal. I didn’t like the call by the ref, and I belive United were lucky to receive the call and escape the match with 3 points.
September 26 vs Newcastle – Capital One Cup match was all about the return of Wayne Rooney to the line-up for the first time in over four weeks. Rooney played 75 minutes, but was inserted to gain some form back. Why? Well, looking at the manner in which he played – a relaxed and “un-Rooney” like style. How often do we see that? The Devils won the match 2-1 picking up goals from Anderson and Cleverly. We also saw many new faces debut to the likes of Vermijl, Keane, Wooton, Brady, Tunnicliffe, in addition to follow-up performances by Buttner and Powell. It was another great experimental outing for the Devils!
September 29 – vs Tottenham – A thriller at Old Trafford! Spurs won the battle 3-2, but football fans were treated to plenty of action right off the bat. Spurs scored just two minutes in, and then doubled up with a Gareth Bale beauty in the 32nd followed by a 3 goal, 3-minute flurry – Nani 51′, Dempsey 52′, Kagawa 53′! Late in the match Van Persie appeared to have equalized, but was correctly called offside by the line judge, also Rooney and Carrick both hitting goal posts to add to the excitment! United fans will definately be upset that earlier in the match Nani should have been awarded a penalty and a new jersey perhaps after Vertoghen harshly tugged upon Nani’s jersey in the penalty area taking away a scoring opportunity. My response to that is, sometimes we get the calls sometimes we don’t, no need to whine or complain, it was a great match none the less!
October 2nd vs CFR Cluj – The Romanian champions came to Old Trafford with the likes of famous Romanian Georgah Hagi saying “Cluj cannot be taken lightly by United”. Well, it looked as if United were still having trouble against foreign teams as Cluj jumped ahead 1-0 just 16 minutes in. After that, however, Manchester controlled the game with 72% ball possession. Although they carried the bulk of possession, they only won the decision 2-1. Despite not getting a tremendous result and still not looking at all impressive in their second Champions League match of the campaign, United had one major plus to this match – both goals were scored by Robin Van Persie, and both were set up by Wayne Rooney. Can we say they’ve clicked???
My thoughts: United had another sub-par month (given their expectations). They continue to struggle keeping the ball out of their net, and don’t have any creation in the midfield. With Vidic going down with another injury they are in major trouble. This team needs a healthy defense – they have no choice but to buy some in January if Glazer will cough up more money.
But it’s not all bad – have Rooney and RVP clicked? Maybe it’s too early to deliberate, but let’s just enjoy their form as of late. Cluj is a weaker opponent so we definitely need to see more from the pair. And there is also Kagawa, who continues to impress.
Overall, they don’t look like champions in England and could be in lots of trouble when they start playing some tougher competition in Europe. We are probably going to hear the same thing all year if the roster stays the same… lacking a healthy defense and need more creation in the mid.