This fixture last season was a tough, tense game taking a last minute effort from Park Ji Sung to seal all 3 points, but this time around United weren’t in the mood to drag it out.
Goals from Wayne Rooney and Nani ensured that the afternoon would be a relaxed one following the stress of Wednesday evening.
The knives have been out of late but today United showed the fight spirit we are famous for to let everyone know we aren’t quite done yet.
This was one of our better performances of late. Whereas in previous games we struggled for goals, today they flowed and although we were still slightly wasteful in front of goal, the 4 we did get will be a massive burden removed from the team.
Much has been made of our inability to find the back of the net and against Basel the fact we couldn’t find that final pass or apply the finish meant we went out, so everyone will be happy to see a little more ruthlessness.
We are expected to struggle in Vidic’s absence, anyone would considering how good a defender he is, but if Ferdinand can regularly perform how he did today, we might not miss him as much as we should. For a player being written off, Ferdinand showed there is still plenty more left in the tank as he made it look easy.
Plenty of fuel for the ‘Play Phil Jones in midfield’ fire today too. He seems to be developing a a solid partnership with Michael Carrick; the energetic and battling Jones providing the perfect foil to Carrick’s cool, intelligent play. Jones covered every blade of grass today and whilst some may feel the buzz around Jones is excessive, it is performances like today’s that justify it .
Today things seemed to be going right whereas on other days maybe a pass wouldn’t reach it’s intended target or a shot would be blocked/saved so it’s good to see things going our way!
Nani remains a frustratingly brilliant player. Last season he showed that he is more than capable of being a United player despite doubts earlier in his career. This season he has shown it in drips and drabs but he seems to be getting in the swing of things now.
On Wednesday he was trying to get things done against Basel and he carried it on today but whereas on Wednesday his efforts were not rewarded today he ended up with 2 goals and an assist.
Nani is one of our few game changers so he needs to be on point and firing at all times, if he is we will be a force going forward.
If we are going to discuss Nani then we have to discuss Valencia.
Earlier in the season it seemed Valencia would be the player to miss out with Nani doing well and Young starring but nothing is certain in terms of positions as we have seen.
I, like many of you, haven’t been impressed with Valencia recently. He hasn’t looked himself and his contribution has been well below what we have come to expect of him but today he was a class apart.
In one of his best games since returning from injury, Valencia got 3 assists and had us feeling like it was 09/10 again. Because of his speedy return from that horrific injury suffered last year, Valencia hasn’t been given the chance to get back into his groove.
It also has to be remembered that he was injured at the start of the season too but when fit and firing Valencia is a huge asset to the team and is capable of performing how he did today on a regualar basis.
We’ve been complaining lately but Rooney finally found the net today, and hopefully it is the start of another hot streak.
Rooney will be well aware of what was being written about him in the papers but when your luck changes it changes. Looking at both of his efforts today, last week they would have been blocked or hit wide but hopefully it’s clicked for him.
Rooney is very much a form player and as we saw at the start of the season when he is on his game he will fill his boots so lets hope we don’t have to wait as long for his next goal(s).
United will be proud that Zeki Fryers made his Premier League debut today, coming on for Patrice Evra. The 19 year old academy graduate became the first United player born after Premier League started to play in the league.
Zeki has impressed in the Carling Cup making his first team debut and has now made his Premier League debut too so this season must be a dream for him. United have a history of promoting from within their own ranks so he will be confident that there will be more appearances to come.
United haven’t quite erased the memories of this week yet but beating Wolves 4-1 is a start. December is a hectic month but all of our fixtures are winnable. A trip to London sees us take on QPR and Fulham in succession whilst relegation battlers Wigan and Blackburn visit Old Trafford.
This season is still very much alive for United, we have had some huge setbacks and although the press will have you believe otherwise, Man City can still be caught.
Nothing will atone for crashing out of Europe like that, but come May if United are atop the table it will be an after thought.