Told you we’d be alright! Here are ten more reasons, this time explaining why we triumphed at Old Trafford.
1. Gareth Bale – Man of the Match and with two assists and a goal against his name it’s hard to argue. Contrasting his performances this week and last, his days as even a part time left back are surely behind him.
2. Speed – With Bale, Lennon, Walker and Vertonghen available whenever we broke, we had the legs of the United midfield and backline. And one shouldn’t forget Defoe, whose runs for the first two goals made space for the scorer and whose work with the ball and lay off led directly to the third.
3. Blame it on Rio – No, not the unfunny Michael Caine ‘comedy’ of the 1980s, I mean the Twitter diarrhoea sufferer whose lack of understanding with his partner Evans meant there was space aplenty for our whippets to exploit. Vertonghen was only allowed to get anywhere near Lindegaard thanks to the huge black hole between the two centre halves, he was almost sucked into the six yard box by gravity. Ferdinand’s performance won’t have led the watching Hodgson towards a rethink; no doubt he’ll be able to sum up what he thinks about it in less than 140 characters though.
4. Foy – What a piece of work that bloke is. The second half penalty appeals were about as realistic as Rooney’s new rug. The first half one though, Vertonghen on Nani; nailed on, (like Rooney’s new rug?). Not sure that entirely makes up for the shopping list of transgressions at the Britannia last year but it’s a start.
5. Barn Doors & Banjoes – Rooney, Van Persie, Evra. All had good chances to equalise, all had either the Stretford End reaching for their hard hats or Friedel plucking the ball from his midriff. Bale’s drives into the corner showed them how it’s done.
6. Steven Caulker – Composed, and assured. Three and a half games in nine days and fine performances in all of them. He provides an aerial presence at both ends of the pitch that, especially when he eventually plays with Kaboul, will have even Tony Pulis losing sleep.
7. Lady Luck – Vertonghen’s goal came via a flick off Evans, Carrick’s near post header could’ve gone anywhere. Those are the only fortunate interventions I can recall, the rest of United’s mishaps were down to their own incompetence. But then I am biased.
8. Attitude and belief – Sandro and Dembélé, Caulker and Gallas. A foot in there, a header here, a chase and a harry. It all adds up. The players kept positive and kept going even when Nani and Kagawa’s goals looked like the heralds of the oh so familiar OT collapse. Defoe’s lack of ability to provide much of an option as an out ball and a bit of a breather meant that the pressure in the last thirty minutes was relentless, we hoofed too much as a result, never once though did we completely panic by losing shape or giving away silly free-kicks.
9. Sandro and Dembélé – The former’s dispossessing of Van Persie with a perfectly executed tackle in a dangerous area led directly to goal number two after the latter picked up the loose ball, rounded an oncoming home midfielder like he wasn’t there and moved it on to Bale. There was much to admire in Man Utd’s second half performance not least of which was the passing and energy of Scholes. Thanks to the display of these two, most of it took place well away from the danger areas. The shortly returning Scott Parker will do well to break this partnership up.
10. Fergie – As I said before, Man Utd’s patient second half display was impressive and no doubt some strong words from Ferguson led to the change in attitude, but to leave Rooney out from the start and then take Giggs off, a constant thorn in our side over the years, they were mistakes that can’t be covered up no matter how much injury time is played.
Well done chaps, keep it up. COYS.
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