Now, this is starting to get eerie like an underwater Jar Jar Binks. The series is sticking to the Star Wars theme as we mark our third episode with ‘The Return of the Sith.’
The sith being Liverpool. As they make the trip to Old Trafford lips are normally quivering for this one but Dom is happy to put this one down as ‘not even a rivalry’. Big words from the big lad as we bring our settled line up into the match in the 4-3-3 formation.
The match starts with the lack of momentum totally removed from the losses at Burnley & Swansea. The lads are firmly up for the match against Liverpool knocking the ball around with ease. Testing Bogdan’s goal, yes Bogdan…great second keeper there Liverpool…
After a strong 25 minutes of play we are in our element and being to attack with a passing style from end to end. De Gea is just as strong with his shot stopping as with his distribution. This allows for a ball to be sprayed across both sides of the field. Eventually across to the right side of the field for a tidy finish after a Bogdan spillage no less.
Service resumes in the second half with Manchester United continually testing Bogdan in goal. It took until late in the game to find the goal with a counter attacking move to make it 2-0. Rooney expertly puts through a ball to Depay who finishes with aplomb after strong overlapping play from Shaw.
Sitting 4-0-1 in the League we head off on our first Champions League adventure with an away game to Wolfsburg. Blind is moved out to left back with Jones starting in the middle of the defence. Herrera comes in for Schweinsteiger with Martial rested for Mata and Valencia in for Depay. The first opportunity of the match sums it up with a strong chance being saved we simply couldn’t beat the keeper. Blind is struggling to get on the overlap at left back. Mata is struggling to fit into the team with Herrera being generally invisible. Copping a goal on the counter attack in the early moments after half time didn’t help either…
Bossing a game and not snagging the win is never pretty but we weren’t left with the same feeling as when Swansea swept us aside. We were in this match and very much could have taken the win. Although rotating the team again showed our limitations. Blind struggling to get on the overlap at left back, Mata struggling to fit into the team in various different roles and Herrera being generally invisible.
Our next match saw an encounter against Southampton away at St Mary’s. The siths again reappear with a black and reddish glow as Manchester United line up in their third kits. Dom states how hard it is to see against the sunset. Lets hope Southampton feel the same way.
A slightly rotated team was put out for the Wolsburg clash but we returned to our now traditional line up. God knows what is going to happen when the fixture pile up of December occurs. Moving onto the match, it is a tight first half but again we start well. We heavily missed the overlapping runs of Shaw against Wolfsburg and enjoy having Blind in the middle of the park again.
Things start well but after 25 minutes the flow of the game is against us. Not getting the service out to the wings, with Rooney losing the ball in deep positions on a number of occasions & general hesitation on the ball. We are almost punished and there is an underlying feeling that we are about to burst into argument. We both agree at half time we made mistakes but are still in the game and regain focus. No black eyes on this occasion.
After half time the boys are raring to go. Mistakes won’t be made like when we visited Wolfsburg. As soon as the ball is kicked off we are on the charge winning it quickly. This enthusiasm leads to a move down the right from Darmian as I charge forward a manual run with Rooney a perfect ball is made for a stooping header between the rather large centre backs. It was a moment of joy as a perfectly timed run paid off. It highlighted the value of co-op mode and gave us a 1-0 lead.
As the 70th minute approached and a 1-0 lead was had it was time to rotate the troops. Mata made his way onto the park for Schweinsteiger, Carrick for Felliani and Lingard for Rooney with Martial moving into the central role.
The final moments of the game required us to hold on us Southampton began to play the long ball game. Fortunately nothing much came of long balls to Charlie Austin. Holding on for a 1-0 win sees us sitting on a record of 5-0-1 in second place behind Manchester City. One could say there is a ‘new hope’ about the league challenge.
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