United kept up the pressure on Man City yesterday evening with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.
United hold a dominant record over Villa at Villa Park having failed to lose there since 1995/1996 and this was reflected in yesterday’s game as United ran the show from the start.
The match was one of United’s finer performances in sometime, and the only downpoints can be the injury to Javier Hernandez and that we didn’t add to our solitary goal.
A performance like that puts United in good stead ahead of the game with Basel where you hope United can perform similarly but find the net with more frequency.
Lindegaard in goal
Anders Lindegaard was selected in goal last night and whilst he had little to nothing to do was it a tactical move?
Villa often throw their big centerbacks Richard Dunne and James Collins forward at set pieces and with the added threat (I use that term as loosely as a sari!) of Emile Heskey perhaps Sir Alex decided on Lindegaard ahead of De Gea.
Saying that De Gea has been through the rigours of a cold, wet and windy evening in Stoke and I mean Messi couldn’t handle one of those…
Phil Jones and Chris Smalling
I should be as excited about two fully grown men as I am about these two.
In Phil Jones we have ‘the future’. Yesterday was an apparent advertisement for why he should play in midfield and seeing him break into the box to score our goal was a sight to behold.
A brilliant head on his shoulders coupled with his ability is the recipe for success.
I said it the other day and I stand by it, in light of Phil Jones I think people forgot how good Chris Smalling is. Dominant against Crystal Palace, he is maturing into a quality defender. Against Palace late on he pushed forward down the right but showed on various occasions that defending is his forte with tackles and interception galore.
Both are still learning their game (neither of the two have played 100 games) but are already so good, a couple years developing and we have Rio/Vida Mk. II
They will continue to tell you he is rubbish, he can only pass side ways and all that kind of nonsense but slowly and not so silently Michael Carrick has been ‘rebuilding his reputation’ with a number of solid performances. Yesterday he put in tackles, intercepted and passed the ball forward and did so effortlessly.
In a 2 man midfielder partnership, he and Jones dominated Villa’s midfield 3 and that’s not something we can say often.
Carrick can blow hot and cold, he had a hot spell last season too, but his assured play in these past few matches has been very encouraging and we will definitely miss him in Switzerland midweek.
Rooney’s lack of goals
The last time Wayne Rooney scored a league goal was on the 18th September against Chelsea, since then he has scored just 3 times; 2 of those coming in one match and both of them being penalties so what has happened to our hot shot?
Rooney as ever is the kind of player that needs a spark to get back into the swing of things and it’s not like he has looked out of sorts. Yesterday he had a chance to get back on the scoresheet and saw a shot fly past the post as well as narrowly firing over the bar.
Rooney will get back to scoring but it needs to be sooner rather than later, at the start of the season when Rooney was firing United looked a lot more dangerous. United haven’t looked as dangerous when Rooney hasn’t been on form, Rooney hasn’t been scoring because United haven’t been playing well as a team.
Vicious cycle I think they call it.
A late cameo from Danny Welbeck gives us in hope in light of Rooney’s inability to find the back of the net and Javier Hernandez’s injury.
Danny, coming back from a muscle strain, looked lively as he danced through the Villa players only for Guzman to pluck the ball away from his feet and later was unlucky not to find himself on the scoresheet as Rooney released him seconds late thus his effort was deemed offside.
His 5 goals this season would probably be a fair bit higher had he not suffered with injuries and with United in this current situation, Welbeck must take the chance being presented to him.