Arsenal 1 - 2 United
McNair Smalling Blackett
Valencia Fellaini Carrick Shaw(Young)
Di Maria Rooney
|The Captain with a Delightful Finish|
That was a big big win today. Arsenal would have gone 4 points ahead of us had they won. Instead we've got ourselves in a top 4 position after a very disciplined display. We create very little and, admittedly, rode our luck but worked very very hard and that earned us the three points. Arsenal may feel hard done by but that's what happens when you miss so many chances. The Gunners could have been out of sight by the 30th minute but a combination of poor finishing and excellent De Gea interventions kept us in the game.
Smalling has been the butt of many jokes but he was absolutely brilliant AGAIN today. He made two stupid decisions which ruined the game for us vs City but he was outstanding vs Chelsea a week earlier. He did quite well in two big United games and I still hear people mumbling that he's not a good central defender. He's not great, definitely not, but he's a good defender and it's about time people start realising this. I thought he was excellent today. Fellow central defender Mc Nair gave his absolute best and made some important interventions. The level of maturity he's showing in his play is a joy to see. Let's hope he develops into the defender he promises to be. Our other academy graduate, Blackett, looked shaky at first but grew in stature as the game progressed. I was watching Match of the Day a few minutes ago and the pundits showed how good his positioning was during the game. Well played.
Unfortunately, Shaw had to be taken off fifteen minutes into the game. Starting the Englishman was a gamble that did not pay off. I read that was our 40th injury of the season. Unbelievable.
Valencia was solid throughout and had a big say in our first goal which, by the way, was a Gibbs own goal even though our Ecuadorian tried to claim it. Valencia's shot was definitely going wide had it not beed deflected by Gibbs. Fellaini was brilliant on some occasions and dreadful on others. But he's someone who has become a very important first team player in van Gaal's Manchester United. That goal vs WBA has done him the world of good. He looks confident....finally. Let's hope he keeps on progressing.
Carrick was his usual self but looked exhausted by the end of the game. His game plan was to play it simple and that's exactly what he did. Well, that's exactly what he has always done. I love this footballer. On the left side, Young had his best game since we thought he had become Messi in the pre-season games. Rooney ran his socks off and scored a very good goal. He could have had an assist had Di maria, who was mostly average, finished better when one-on-one with the goalie. RVP? Invisible.
To go to the Emirates, with so many players missing, and still win is a decent achievement for van Gaal. I thought his tactics were spot on once again, like they have been for all the big matches. That was van Gaal's finest hour as a Manchester United manager. Let's hope our boys build on this win and go on a good run. Oh by the way, bravo De Gea. Man of the Match. What a goalie we've got!