Jones Smalling Blackett
Lingard(Januzaj) Fletcher Mata Herrera(Fellaini) Young
The last time I posted on this blog was when we bought Shaw and Herrera. That's almost two months ago. Since then, Germany became champions of the world, we've won 6 friendly games against decent opposition and Ed 'watch this space' Woodward has failed, once again, in the transfer market.
I was so pumped up before the game; I loved what I saw during pre-season and, if I'm honest, I thought our game today was going to be an easy win. But it has been a while since our side managed to stroll to an easy win at Old Trafford. The good play we witnessed during pre-season made us believe that we're on the way up so today's defeat was not expected at all. We had some injuries, true, but we were 'only' playing Swansea. The players we had on the field should have done the job. We weren't direct in our approach and only managed 5 attempts on target during the game. That's quite poor.
The excitement I had before the game has now turned into total dejection. I'm quite worried because what I saw today was almost the exact way United played under Moyes. With our backs against the wall, we started to play the long ball system. That's definitively not the attractivefootball we were promised by van Gaal. I'm not saying we won't improve because I believe we will but that performance, especially at the back, was something to be concerned with.
United had plenty of possession but our players created very few chances. Swansea were always chasing the ball but they still managed to get their noses in front. Our defending before the first goal was abysmal. Ki was given too much time and, in the end, DDG had no chance saving the shot. We needed someone creative and LVG opted to throw in Nani instead of Chicharito for the second half and reverted to a 4-4-2 system. Suddenly, Januzaj sparked into life and started causing Swansea some trouble. Problem was that he was far too selfish on too many occasions. The Belgian opted to shoot in situations were a pass would have been optimal.
Rooney got us back on level terms and was unlucky not to score a freekick. However, against the run of play, it was Swansea who got back in front and they managed to defend their lead until the final whistle. That was our first ever league loss vs the Swans, that's a new record broken by van Gaal. Moyes would have been proud!
With RVP, Evans, Valencia and Shaw in the side, we are definitely a team good enough to get back in the top four. However, if we have some sort of injury crisis, similar to what we are experiencing at the moment, we'd be in deep trouble. This game confirmed that we need at least TWO more players. A defender and a midfielder. I love the fact that Blackett was given a chance to play today but he showed he's too inexperienced for this stage. Without looking at his team mates' position, he just gave the ball to Swansea (they had a freekick) who played the ball early and scored the second goal. That's a schoolboy error. He also played the ball too long. He'll eventually learn from his mistakes but, till then, we desperately need someone with experience to play at the back.
Last season we started with a fine 4-1 win against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. That game gave us false hope that everything will be OK post-Fergie. We all know what happened next. Today we started season 14/15 with a loss. From this stage onwards, we should definitely be on the up. We're at the bottom of the league, there's no other way we can go! Come on United!
P.S. Jones was United's best player today.