“No Pogba, No Party” I said for weeks, Saturday proves that. Manchester United were directionless and disjointed during Pogba’s spell on the sidelines through injury. Having Pogba back makes the whole team play again. United look dangerous again and outside of the horrendous defensive weaknesses we look like we can beat teams into submission again. Unfortunately I think it will take a monumental collapse from Man City for United to climb back to the top of the table. Pogba’s injury in a nothing Champions League game could not have come at a worse time.
I’ll put my cards on the table. I’d rather see United play the Under 21s in the Champions League and go out bottom of the group than see us weaken the team playing on a Saturday in the league. Winning the League comes first, worry about the rest later. There, I said it.
Newcastle were all over United. The key to beating us is to play two up front and to play a high defensive line. We cannot defend as a team and our centre halves are ball-watchers who never pick up runs. There are countless examples of this in in the Newcastle game.
For spells Newcastle pressed high, had numbers up front and had their reward by going a goal up after 13 mins. United then woke up and started to play. Newcastle didn’t have enough when the pressure started to pile on.
Our mate Chris found himself out of position on the wing as a ball was played into the box. Lindelof slipped over to allow the ball to reach Gayle. It was a good finish but he was given plenty of time and space to pick his shot. If he didn’t there were three other Newcastle players there to do the job. Horrendous defending from United again.
Smalling did well at the close of the first half to get on the end of an Ashley Young cross and finish well. Then, moments later at the other end of the pitch, Smalling quite literally just stepped out of the way for a Newcastle player who really should have scored to make it 2-2 going into halftime. Harry Redknapp’s missus would have scored.
Chance after chance went to waste when they fell to Lukaku who eventually ended his run of 7 games without a goal. Mata played a beautiful ball to Lukaku who absolutely battered the ball home from short distance. I’ll be honest…I thought it was going over the bar. He’s been poor lately. He misses easy chances and goes weeks without a goal. Forgive me.
This is not news, it happens to Lukaku every season. He’s a streaky player who scores large numbers of goals in clumps. Lets just hope the pressure of playing for United seeps in so he can rid this from his game. If he can do that we will have an incredible striker on our hands. His overall game was great, he just needs to be a little more composed on front of goal. No panic just yet.
Thank the lord Ryan Giggs! Pogba was back in the starting lineup after months out with an injury. United are a totally different team with him in it. He oozes class with everything that he does. Pogba made his presence felt with a great bit of skill and a better cross to Martial to level the scores.
Pogba bossed this game and had his reward on the 53rd minute. Lukaku played a cross into Rashford (he started the movement in his own half!!) who cushioned a header down to the feet of Pogba who put the game out of sight.
The Pogba/Matic partnership works wonderfully. Both players dictate the pace of the game with pass-and-move triangles all over the pitch. They both regularly pick out forward runs and get the game moving. Gone is the dark sideways passing Carrick era and thank f%$k for that.
66th minute. Zlatan starts his warm up. Old Trafford comes unglued. 7 months ago he injured his ACL and now he’s back. The man is a freak.
76th minute. Zlatan returns. Old Trafford erupts.
79th minute. Zlatan has his first touch. Old Trafford erupts.
Zlatan looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. He seems to be playing in a withdrawn role behind Lukaku. He picked out some great passes and kept things moving even though the game was well and truly over. You could say he…gets the reds excited.
Zlatan nearly scored a spectacular volley in the closing minutes. The stupid keeper ruined the craic. OT would have lost its mind.
Overall, it’s great to have Zlatan back to put pressure on Lukaku. We badly need him. However, having Pogba back is the key. The entire team is built around him. I would argue that we missed Ronaldo less when he left.
It’s great to see the team playing well and playing positively again but I fear it’s already too late. We need to beat City in three weeks or it’s gone. Jose better not park the bus, the fans will want blood if he does. It’s a must win. Sink or swim.
Weekly Chris Smalling Stats – LOL! How is he still playing for Manchester United three managers later?