Bayer 0 - 5 United
Smalling Rio Evans Evra(Buttner)
Valencia(Young) Giggs Jones Nani
|Best Performance So Far This Season|
First things first, I did not expect that. We played Bayer Leverkusen, a team which is currently sitting 4 points behind the mighty Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. I thought it was going to be a hard game and that's quite understandable given that we were playing in Germany against the second best team in their league. The Bundesliga has been given rave reviews time and again by football experts and that, I thought, made the prospect of beating the league's second best team quite daunting. But then again, the table does tend to lie during this stage of the season. Just look at who's number two in the English Premier League. Second best team in England? The table must be havin' a laugh!
Anyway, today's game was a little more than a walk in the park. Our players were disciplined and worked for each other. That's what made the win look so easy. Rooney and Kagawa were excellent. Valencia was equally as impressive and Nani gave a solid performance and scored a very good goal. Jones helped the back four while Giggsy was instrumental in calming the play and delivering very good passes. Our back four had a few hesitant moments at the start of the game but luckily Leverkusen failed to capitalise. On one occasion, just before our first goal, Rio was caught in two minds and if it wasn't for Evans we could be looking at a very different scoreline.
Kagawa deserves some recognition for his display today but, for me, Rooney was the man of the match. Why? Well, he had a say in 4 of the 5 goals. He notched a hat-trick of assists and was quite unfortunate not to add his name to the scoresheet as well. His beautifully lofted ball found Valencia for our first goal. Then he hit the perfect free-kick into the box, which was headed into the back of the net by one of Bayer's players. That free-kick was perfectly weighted and hit with the right amount of power, it would have troubled any defence in the world let alone Bayer's which was having an off day. Roo then had his shot blocked and from the resulting rebound Johnny Evans found the net. A few minutes later it was some clever play between Kagawa and Rooney that carved open Bayer's defence and from Wazza's pass, Smalling placed in an empty net. Not a bad day at the office for Roo, eh?
Now, on to Kagawa. As soon as RVP recovers, he'll obviously be thrown back into the starting XI and that would either mean Kagawa will have to drift to the left or else be left out of the team altogether. After this game, Moyes will surely be thinking hard about how to integrate Kagawa in an XI with RVP and Roo in it. Our Japanese is evidently not as effective on the left flank and today we all witnessed his class when he plays off the striker. I think he won us 10 free-kicks and most of them were in dangerous positions. While I'll be the first to admit that today he was allowed much more freedom than he'll ever be given in a Premier League game, I must say that he has really impressed me. I'd love to see him played in this position again, just to know that his performance today was no fluke.
It was a relief to see United keep going for more. During several games this season, we failed to go in for the kill and opted to defend a slender lead. On some occasions, that tactic helped the opposing team get back into the game and we dropped a few points as a result. What we saw today was an excellent attacking display. You know it's been a very good day when you see Evans' and Smalling's name on the score sheet. More of the same please!