Well, Monday evening…its been a busy weekend!
It is so strange seeing Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford playing for a different team. Even stranger is Everton’s new shirt sleeve sponsor – Angry Birds. I’d say the irony of that is lost on Mrs. Rooney. Gedddit??
United are of course without Paul Pogba through injury. Replacing him with Fellaini is like replacing a laptop with a crayon, but I digress. After four minutes Matic fooled the entire Everton defence with a lofted pass out to Valencia. It was almost like a disguised basketball pass. It really looked like he was sending the ball into the box so they can be forgiven for that. Valencia hit a Thunder Bastard strike into the Stretford End. A great start in what has typically been a tough fixture for United.
In truth United never really looked like losing the game after that. Despite having to weather some storms United were in control. Its hard to be too critical of a 4-0 win but I can see online that I am far from the only one not blown away by yesterdays performance.
After 25 minutes Lukaku missed another sitter, it’s becoming a theme. He isn’t blessed with the best first touch but he benefited from a defence lacking in confidence, went past them for a one-on-one…then put it wide. Mata’s through ball was excellent, all it needed was the £85m striker to hit the target from 8 yards. That would have been game over within the first half an hour.
He is getting great service but his finishing really is a problem. When we play better opposition he needs to take those chances. The less said about his attempted chipped shot after the Rashford pass the better.
In the second half, Lukaku came out like a different player. I can only assume Jose had a word at half time. He played very well in the second half. He held the ball up well and played a great pass to Mkhitarayan to make it 2-0. Later he took a poor free kick but was alive to the chance of the ball coming back in, made his way to the 6 yard box, and finished well to make it 3-0.
Overall, Lukaku plays very well but his finishing is letting us down. When it all clicks he will be unstoppable in this team. He is scoring goals so it’s hard to be critical, but it just reminds me of all of those draws last year after dozens of wasted chances. He will only get better in this side, I can’t wait to see it.
What a great problem to have on that left side. This time around Rashford was the one who started, played well and came off for Martial. He came on, tore defenders apart then won and converted a penalty. It seems like it should be difficult for Jose to keep them both happy at this stage of the season but with Europe and two cup competitions to come there will be plenty of chances for both to feature heavily in the team. Rashford and Martial fighting for the same place?? Love it. Both will push each other for that starting place all year. One must start, one must come on after 65 minutes to harass an already tired defence. Fantastic.
Wayne Rooney (who is absolutely finished at this level) ran United ragged at Old Trafford. What will happen when we come up against Hazard for example? The same can be said for Mane and Salah. I shudder to think of what Man City will be capable of against this back four.
I think Jose knew this in the summer. He needed goals first and foremost but the defence is a shambles. Matic and De Gea are covering up so many issues. Bailly has had three bad games on the bounce. He’s becoming a ball watcher. He has no idea what is going on around him and there are countless examples of that again today. I assume this is just a blip due to overexposure to Phil Jones related defending.
Our forwards waste chances and our defenders hand out chances. We will struggle against good teams that will not allow us time on the ball and will punish defensive shortcomings. We have the best midfield United have had in 10 years but potentially the worst back four in a very long time…no matter which four you put in. It’s almost a gamble by Jose but it’s paying off so far. One thing is for sure, there will be no quiet games.
Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted to see these results coming in! However there’s that nagging feeling that this is all hollow and could fall apart at any moment. Tougher tests to come. I want to believe!