That win was HUGE. After a very bright opening half an hour where chances were created and passes were nice and sharp, the remainder of the game was quite a drab affair, which is in complete contrast to what we normally have become accustomed to. Normally the start is slow and the ending is good, so starting sharply was nice… that is until it became apparent that we could not score. Squandered chance after squandered chance resulted in the players beginning to lose heart and become resigned to yet another poor result away from home. That is until out of nowhere Tim Krul decided that if indeed he is to be David De Gea’s replacement, he would quite enjoy a season in the Champions League, and gifted the ball to Ashley Young to tuck away and send the travelling United fans into raptures. So here are my three heroes and three villains for that massive win against Newcastle United.
David De Gea
I am now resigned to the fact that he is going to be gone in the summer. Newcastle United only had two shots on target, and thought the saves were impressive, the most vital bit of work the Spaniard did was closing down an onrushing Emmanuel Rivière one minute before half-time. Going in a goal down would have been soul destroying for the reds, but as it happened the teams remained level until the closing stages thanks to big Dave. It was Rivière again who caused De Gea to save smartly just after the break where he spread his body in Peter Schmeichel fashion and pawed out for a corner following a free kick that was nodded on to the back post to the lone Frenchman. He is now making huge saves at important times, and not just the spectacular ones in the top corner, and this summer we are probably going to have to replace the irreplaceable.
Yet another solid display from the rejuvenated Young. He created three chances for his teammates, had two shots on target, was relatively accurate with his nine crosses and was always trying to be inventive on the left hand side by taking on his opponents with the ball. He did his job going back too, making two interceptions, one clearance, and a couple of blocks. Hardly his best display of the season but this piece is finding the three heroes and three villains against Newcastle United, and you can hardly get any more heroic than scoring a winner in the last minute of a hugely important game.
Angel Di Maria
I don’t think he was especially good, but when the narrative of his struggles have been exaggerated to the levels we have seen in the last few days, even a semi-decent performance needs mentioning. People will think… what in the fuck are you talking about?… but I will simply remind them that had it not been for WOEFUL finishing from Wayne Rooney (twice), a HORRENDOUS offside call from the linesman and an EXCELLENT stop from Tim Krul denying Fellaini, Di Maria could have ended the game with FOUR assists. He did his job and created chances for his teammates, it is not his fault that events conspired to let him down. I’m not blind, and I can acknowledge that he wasn’t great in terms of passing and dribble accuracy, but his job in the team is to create for others, so I’m not just going to jump on the bash Di Maria bandwagon, he was OK.
Yes, he spat at him, he knew what he was doing and the FA were right to charge him. I don’t give a shit about that. I’m not going to follow this pathetic media narrative that somehow having someone’s saliva on your shirt or face is worse than having their metal studs inches deep in your thigh muscle. It’s just not. People need to grow the hell up. What bothered me about that whole incident wasn’t the spit, it was the pure moronism of Evans to give Newcastle United a reason to play. They offered absolutely NOTHING up until the point of spitgate. They were like a little puppy rolled on their back waiting for a belly rub. It is completely insane that any United player do anything to fire up their opponent at that stage. I get it if the game is ultra competitive, a player will want to let his opponent know he is there and posture, much in the way Diego Costa does on a weekly basis. BUT WHY ON EARTH DO IT AT ST. JAMES’ PARK WHEN THE CROWD ARE QUIET AND THE OPPONENT ISN’T OFFERING ANY THREAT?!?!?! WHY?!?!?!?! Ugh… apparently the FA want to make an example of him and give him a 6 match ban, but the joke is on them. In fact, I’m thinking it might be worth United making a frivolous appeal to see if we can get it increased.
Before everyone starts going batshit crazy, yes, I acknowledge his HUGE input towards the goal. His desire and his effort in chasing a loose ball, causing chaos for the goal, did not go unnoticed (even if he was the one who lost it in the first place). What I cannot forget however is how wasteful he was throughout the whole first hour of the game. He quite simply should have had a brace in the first half and though it’s not really his fault that the linesman waved him offside, it was just typical of the fact that it was not his day. Sure, his never say die spirit was inspiring at the end, but does that mean it should be forgotten why he needed to run like a mad man in the last minute of a piss easy game in the first place? They were not even particularly difficult chances. Fans have been harping on for him to play up top for weeks, and highlight that it is his energy up top which is resulting in the increased number of chances United have been creating. It leads me however to question if indeed the chances are created because of his energy up front, or if simply his absence in midfield is allowing more talented midfielders do the job properly. This game was typical of Rooney though, lots of energy and effort, but virtually no quality. I personally believe there is a place for him up front, but not as a lone striker.
He actually played quite well for the most part, but I have talked in the past about how intellectually challenged our defenders are, no need to hash it out again. We all saw what happened in the tenth minute. Just imagine you are van Gaal. You have spent about 4 days thinking up a plan of action, planned training sessions to combat particular strengths of the opponent, you have asked Ryan Giggs to do his video analysis, you have picked the team and made the team talk… all for Chris Smalling to spunk it all away after NINE MINUTES by clattering Emmanuel Rivière, going in for a totally unnecessary and unwinnable challenge. It is the definition of sabotage! Of course he didn’t mean it, but these defenders never mean anything, there is no accountability in there, just mistake after mistake waiting to happen.
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