Leicester 5 - 3 United
Rafael Evans(Smalling) Blackett Rojo
Herrera Blind Di Maria(Mata)
Some of the football our team played today was absolutely terrific, yet I'm here posting about another United defeat this season. We threw away a two goal lead twice. A lot of people said that our only hope of doing well this season is by outscoring our opponents. I never really understood what was the fuss about our defense. Why was everyone saying it's too weak? I know our central defenders aren't anywhere near Vida and Rio when they were at their best, however, I thought we were ok at the back. Today's game made me wake up and smell the coffee. That was a harsh reminder that our defense is indeed very weak and should have been bolstered during the transfer window. We weren't playing Chelsea or Man City. We were playing Leicester and we conceded 5. That's already 10 points lost this season to opposition we should be winning against.
We started the game well. Our football was fantastic, the passes were flowing and we scored a couple of fine goals. Falcao delivered an inch perfect cross to RVP as the latter opened the score while Di Maria scored a sublime chip. Our celebrations were cut short as Leicester got one back but I thought that wasn't a problem. The football we were playing made me believe that we'll hit them back with two or three more goals. We did score another. Herrera flicked Di Maria's through ball into the back of the net. Game over, I thought. BUT the ref let Leicester back into the game. I couldn't even believe what I was seeing. Rafael was blatantly fouled by Leicester's striker but the ref let the play go on. Rafael was back on his feet and tried to take the ball. Leicester's attacker dived even though Rafael made no real challenge and the ref awarded the penalty. Unbelievable. I can't believe how one blatant foul was adjudged to be a fair challenge while an inexistent challenge was adjudged to be a foul.
The ref had a stinker of a game. He could have easily sent off De Laet for 3 bookable offenses. Also, Rojo was fouled in the action that led to City's second penalty and Blackett's sending off.
Anyway, after conceding the second goal, United just collapsed. Leicester were all over us from then on. Goals three, four and five followed as we ended the game with 10 men. It was an absolute horror show from the 60th minute on.
So what's wrong? Well, first things first, if the ref didn't award that penalty we would have won the game. However, that cannot excuse the disastrous defending by our players. We WILL score plenty of goals but we won't be winning any points with that calamitous defense. Another problem is the fact that van Gaal hasn't been able to field the same back four in our games due to an unlucky amount of injuries. We need some stability and consistency but I'm afraid that won't happen anytime soon. Evans got injured today, Blackett will be suspended for the upcoming games and Jones is still injured. Rojo will probably have to accompany Smalling at central defense in our next game while Shaw fills in the left back berth. Rojo is said to prefer playing at full back but he wasn't convincing today. He gave the ball away far too often. But he'll get used to the Premier League eventually.
I also expected better from Blind today. He didn't really support our defenders. Herrera was a tad too quiet as well. Di Maria scored one and created another while Falcao assisted RVP and also hit the woodwork. Our colombian still doesn't look sharp so I'll be looking forward to see a fully fit Falcao play in the upcoming weeks. Although Robin scored today, I'm not entirely sure about him starting the games for us at the moment. After last week's performance, I think Mata deserved to play behind Falcao and Rooney.
Conceding 5 against Leicester is very poor. For the first time in our Premier League history, United threw away a two-goal lead to lose. We've been breaking records left right and centre during the past year. Anyway, van Gaal must also shoulder some blame. At 3-1, it was probably time to protect the lead and bring on Shaw or Fletcher.
We're more than fine at the front. We just need some confidence at the back before our season can really kick off. Ultimately, if Leicester hadn't been awarded that penalty, we'd be waxing lyrical about some wonderful Man Utd attacking moves. Instead, we're moaning about our defense. Chelsea are 8 points away from us but we are within reach of the other top 4 challengers. When things click, we can defeat any team in England. Let's hope we learn from our mistakes. Come on United!