They said the Christmas spell would be hard and perhaps the Sunderland game lulled us into a false sense of security as West Brom have given us another tough game.
Things looked good after Wayne Rooney put us ahead early with a nice little header. They’ll discredit you everywat how as I saw it described as bouncing off his head! He definitely meant that and you could see the relief as it had been 1,418 minutes since Rooney had scored from open play!
Things kind of went down hill from there as West Brom clawed their way back into the game with Morrison scoring a thunderbolt of a goal. Things could have been a lot worse when Gary Neville could have conceded a penalty and been sent off having fouled Dorans in the box.
This match if ever showed that Gary Neville’s best days are behind him, there was much confusion when his name appeared on the team sheet and any apprehension was confirmed throughout. Jerome Thomas tried to have a go at him using his pace but that being said he has played a part in both of our away wins!
Things could have got even worse when Rio also gave away a penalty after bringing down Thomas but thankfully Odemwingie managed to put his penalty wide and we made them pay when Javier Hernandez on for Dimitar Berbatov was left alone in the box to head home the winner.
Hernandez despite not getting much playing time remains a threat whenever he is on the field, his goals are proving invaluable looking at the Valencia and Stoke games especially. It is a shame that he has such competition ahead of him as I’m pretty sure nobody would be unhappy to see him in the starting line up week in week out.
Our defence was shaky at times but Vidic and Rio did their best in the middle to hold us together. There was a moment in the second half when Ferdinand dispossessed one of their rapidly advancing players and played it off as calm as you like, it was remarked by a pal of mine that there isn’t likely to be a defender as polished or as composed as Rio in the English game for a long time and it’s true. Vidic too was monumental again, always there to get his head on the ball and snuff out danger. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, he is turning in captain’s performances constantly as the armband appears to have taken his game to another level. Our season relies as much on these two staying fit and together as it does on anything else.
Looking at the team and performances who would have we would have been saying we miss Nani this time last year? He can be stressful to watch sometimes but he definitely adds something to the team that we have been lacking against Birmingham and today. Obertan stepped in but in all honesty didn’t impress me at all. He was easily moved off the ball and his final ball wasn’t that great either. He is definitely a player that needs a run of games before you can see his best but at this point we aren’t afforded the luxury of allowing a player to break in, we need people to perform straight off the bat especially with these teams breathing down our necks.
Next up is Stoke on Tuesday at Old Trafford, Rooney picked up a knock at the end of today’s game so we may see Hernandez start with Berbatov, whoever does start I would hope and expect we put in a better performance than we did today.
How we miss Nani. Our midfield was dire and devoid of pace. Nani gives us that and a far more dangerous goal threat.
No standout performers, but Rooney was probably MOTM. Too bad Gibson and Obertan have done little to give Fergie a reason to play them more, though Gibson was the better of the two. Fair enough, there aren’t many who can play well when only used every few weeks, but you’d still hope for more.
We really miss Nani AND Valencia. I can’t wait for the day when those two will be able to start together.
Our bgisegt advantage is Old Trafford. The crowd next Tuesday will be absolutely fantastic, come on you reds!