By Barry McEvoy.
1. Something’s Up With Valencia
We’ve always known that he has trouble using his left peg, but he usually manages to counter-act that by taking the ball down the line. Not this game. He seemed afraid to take his man on, which is completely unlike him. He was determined to cut inside and play it through the middle. Which doesn’t work due to his aforementioned lack of talent on his left foot. I don’t know if he has a defensive mindset after his stint at full-back, if his injury is in the back of his mind or if it’s these white boots he’s wearing, but he’d want to sort it! The Galati left-back really wasn’t all that good, so I’m sure he was delighted to see Valencia not bringing him down the wing then doing him for pace on the inside at every opportunity. Any time he could inside he just made the centre of the fielded too crowded for any productive play to happen. If this is the new Valencia, then I want a refund and the old one back!
2. Stats Are Great
They really disguise a bad performance. Well I wouldn’t say it was a bad performance, the defence were assured and Galati did really well in their efforts to contain United. Manchester United had over two-thirds of possession for the majority of the game, sounds great doesn’t it? Yeah, it sounds great, but unfortunately it was a result of Arsenal-esque tip-tap passing between the half-way line and the opposition box. Frustrating. United had made over two-hundred passes by half-time, but didn’t have one proper chance. It was typical of the game. Tedious passing between the midfielders and then losing the ball once it went to Rooney or Hernandez, they were just too easily boxed out by the Galati defence. Galati played something akin to the Irish international team, ten men behind the ball and then try to scrape something off a set piece.
3. Carrick and Anderson Doesn’t Work
It just doesn’t. I’ve often defended these both of these players after bad performances. They are both very talented players in their own right. But they don’t suit each other. Carrick doesn’t get himself about enough to cover the gaps that Anderson leaves behind him when he goes on one of his adventures up the field. It puts too much pressure on the defence, especially with two attack-minded full-backs in the defence like Fabio and Evra. Anderson tends to get lost with the ball at his feet too much. When he played alongside Cleverley he always had someone there beside him if he was in trouble, but Carrick doesn’t offer that option. They had some decent passing plays, to be fair, but neither of them had the killer pass that Cleverley can offer the team. I feel bad about this paragraph, considering I believe that Carrick played very well tonight with his passes out wide and some of his defensive play. This is my least favourite United midfield pairing at the moment, despite them being very good players.
4. Evra’s Back to Himself
About time and all! Last season was a disaster and his form didn’t improve for the beginning of this one either. Last season he was constantly caught out of position by opposing wingers and that affected both the central defenders and the centre-midfielders that had to cover for him. Since the Stoke game he has gotten back into his stride, he was one of the best players on the field in the Liverpool game, Dirk Kuyt had very little luck against him and he also provided a constant threat on the attack for United too. He was possibly the best attacking player on the field against Galati, he made a number of penetrating runs and was always there to offer Nani an outlet ball. He never really lost the ball in a dangerous position as he seemed to be more aware of his positioning than before. He looks a lot more interested in the game recently, to me he looked like he had fallen out of love with the game since the French fiasco at the World Cup. I can only assume he has bucked himself up due to the versatility of the young defenders at United, most of whom could certainly do a good job at left-back given the opportunity.
5. Rooney is the Key
Most of us probably thought this already, to be fair. But tonight proved it. He didn’t have his best game in a Man United shirt, but he still won us the game to an extent. He won both penalties and was brave enough to step up and slot both of them into the net. He spent much of the game coming deep to receive the ball, which can work a lot of the time, but on occasion it can leave his striking partner somewhat stranded, which it did in this game. Hernandez got very little service and any ball he did get was lost because he had little or no support from Rooney. Despite his overall performance he came up with the goods once again, forcing Galati to concede two penalties. Although there was suspicion over the second one, where some claim he dived or went down easily. I still haven’t seen a replay of the one so I can’t comment on it! His form of late may not be matching that at the beginning of the season, which he hit with a bang, but as long he keeps getting results like that who can complain?
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