United 0 - 1 WBA
It’s a late update to this blog but I spent my weekend at a local farmhouse and I obviously didn’t bother take my laptop with me. My laptop only reminds me of the pending University work I have to finish before the end of this month. I looked forward to our dead-cert win vs. WBA. The farmhouse didn’t have cable TV so I had to make do with a shitty internet stream. I was worried that the stream would ruin the great football I was anticipating from Manchester United. It turned out that Manchester United ruined my Saturday evening with another mediocre performance.
To have Rooney, Mata, Herrera, Di Maria, RVP and Falcao and fail to score in three consecutive games is a disaster. These three defeats followed six wins on the trot so we cannot say that our players were lacking confidence. If someone’s having a confidence issue at the moment, then it’s me and thousands of other reds. I was starting to really believe in this team but everything has gone belly up in a matter of three weeks.
Our play must be really predictable because after our good results vs Liverpool, City and Tottenham, all teams came out with a plan to overcrowd their defence and counter attack us. Chelsea did it and won with their only notable effort on goal, Everton did it and scored three and WBA defended very well, had a goalie saving everything that came his way (including an RVP penalty) and managed to score via a deflected set piece. We were unlucky, true, but we weren’t really creative and lacked that killer final ball.
If we had to take one common denominator in our recent wins and the winless three game run it is Michael Carrick. He was playing in all our games we won in the past couple months and he was missing for our three most recent games. Anybody who still doesn’t value Michael Carrick is an imbecile of the highest order. It will be a grave error if LVG doesn’t look for a replacement this summer. Blind cannot play the Carrick role and Herrera is a player that is most suitable playing further up the pitch. Currently we don’t have anybody in our squad who could fill Carrick’s boots when he’s injured. Carrick is well in his 30’s now and he’s bound to be on the injury list more often. If we don’t manage to get an apt replacement, then we’ll be in deep trouble next season.
I didn’t mind the Chelsea defeat. We played well at the home of the then champions elect. I am, however, truly disillusioned with what’s happening at the moment. I don’t know if it’s just me but, after the games vs Everton and WBA, I did wonder whether our wins against the big guns were despite of LVG rather than because of him. LVGs plan worked against City, Liverpool and Spurs and there wasn’t really the need for a plan B because our opponents had to attack us. However, in our recent defeats LVG’s plans didn’t work and he didn’t look like he had another plan. Against WBA we kept trying what he had already tried throughout the game. LVG must accept that teams now know how to defend against the tactic that brought him 6 straight wins.
Thankfully Liverpool have been dropping points too so we’re still 4 points ahead of them and they’ll be facing Chelsea next week. With three games to go, I just hope LVG and the boys get back on track and get the points needed to get in Europe. Then we’ll go again and start a new page next season. Till then there’s plenty of work to be done.