United 3 - 2 Stoke
Smalling(Valencia) Jones Evans Evra
Nani(Januzaj) Cleverley(Chicharito) Carrick Kagawa
|His starting XI let him down but Moyes changed the game with three excellent substitutions. Well done Moysey.|
Our players are giving me, as well as other millions around the world, a torrid time. Some of the play was unbelievably sloppy. Heck, even Carrick gave the ball away quite often. We were very poor for 70 minutes but did well during the final 20 minutes or so.
Our midfielders were poor. All of them. Kagawa? Inexistant. Cleverley? He misplaced one pass after the other. Nani? Reluctant to play the ball early and on a one man mission to score from the halfway line. While I understand that Kagawa is not particularly keen on playing wide left and Cleverley's talents are limited, I just can't understand why Nani, who I believe could be an excellent footballer, doesn't try harder. He was so poor yesterday that the crowd booed him off the pitch. To be honest, that was a shameful thing to do. You just don't boo your players. That's something Arsenal supporters used to do during the past 8 years. It's so ironic to boo one of your own players and then sing that Manchester United will never die. Proper supporters, I believe, don't boo their own players and I just hope that this doesn't happen again because it is the first step towards having a soulless club. You know, a club just like Chelsea. So, criticize? Yes, criticism is healthy. Boo? Never in a million billion years. That drags the supporters' reputation as well as the club's name down to levels of small clubs.
And criticize I will.
Our defenders weren't any better than the midfielders. Smalling had a nightmare on the right while Jones and Evans failed to extend their recent positive run at the back. At the front, RVP was quiet but still scored a decent goal while Rooney put in a lung busting man of the match performance. Thank Christ we managed to keep hold of him. Also, De Gea was absolutely brilliant. Stoke could have been out of sight by half time if it wasn't for our Spanish goalie.
|Hernandez did what he does best.|
I criticized Moyes' subs last week so it's only fair to praise this week's changes. He made 3 very effective changes. Januzaj changed the game with his direct play. Valencia's power brought some stability to the right hand side and his overlaps were a breath of fresh air. Smalling doesn't really do overlaps. Chicharito came on and scored the winner and, as I said last Wednesday, that's exactly what he needed. Rooney might not like it, but we looked a better team when he played in the middle of the park. I'd love to see Roo play in that position again but I think Moyes fears a backlash from Roo and therefore I don't think we'll be seeing Wayne play in that position anytime soon and, unfortunately, that'll happen even though Rooney, as a midfielder, is miles ahead of Fellaini, Cleverley and Anderson.
Overall it was a good win. That's what Manchester United is all about, we're used to turning results in our favour and that's what we did yesterday. Our players didn't give in and that's pleasing to see.
Next game is vs. Norwich and, while I'd like to see some youngsters, I think that Moyes might field an experienced team to try and build on the momentum of two consecutive wins. Regardless, I'd love to see Zaha play some part. I don't know what happened, maybe Moyes doesn't think he's good enough yet, but I watched him play during pre-season and I thought he was really good. So I would really be happy if on Tuesday we're given a glimpse of what the future holds.