United 0 - 0 M'Boro (1 - 3 on penalties)
Darmian Smalling Blind Rojo(Young)
Lingard Perreira Memphis(Martial)
The last time United played Middlesbrough at Old Trafford, I was just 18 years old and I was super excited as I was visiting Old Trafford for the first time. Back then, I watched my heroes win a very dull game through a Berbatov goal. Today's game was as uninspiring but, unfortunately, our boys failed to win.
I agreed with LVG's starting line-up. There was enough talent there to beat a championship side. I was really looking forward to see the likes of Memphis, Wilson, Perreira and Lingard play. Perreira was the best of the four, Lingard was OK, he was unlucky to hit the woodwork late in the game. Memphis and Wilson were crap. The latter kept getting swatted aside by Middlesbrough's players while Memphis didn't really do anything significant. After so much promise, I fear this guy may actually be a flop.....but it's still early days. Both Wilson and Memphis were eventually subbed off. Wilson's replacement, Rooney, didn't really set the world alight. Martial, who replaced Memphis, certainly gave us that spark at the end of the game. In fact we went close to scoring a few times during the final few minutes. To be fair though, M'boro went equally as close.
I can't really say anything bad about our defence. I thought they did well. Smalling was immense as usual. I just hope the 120 minutes he played today won't affect him negatively this Saturday. That game vs Palace is a must win. Romero, the Argentine goalie we would have depended upon had DDG signed for Real, made a couple of fine saves but almost let a back pass from Blind end at the back of his own net. That would have been farcical.
Anyway, despite all the huffing and puffing we failed to bring down the M'Boro house and we had to go to a penalty shootout. Speaking of penalties; we should have been given two penalties during the game but the ref decided to wave play on. Judging by the penalties our players took in the penalty shoot out, had we been given a penalty during the game, we would've probably missed it.
Rooney, Perreira, Carrick and Young took our penalties. We missed 3; all our Englishmen missed. Carrick's penalty was dreadful and the other two weren't as bad but weren't any good either. If only Schweinsteiger was on the pitch, Germans rarely miss penalties. Unless you've got God between the posts, missing three penalties from four generally means that you've lost the game and that was it. Another disappointing League Cup campaign comes to yet another abrupt end.
What have we learned today?
- Play Martial up front.
- Wilson won't make it at United.
- We're shit at taking penalties (we were equally as shit a couple years ago when we bowed out of the League Cup against Sunderland after a few dreadful penalties).
- With Romero in goal, your mind is simply not at ease.
- Smalling may be God's son; he's saved us on a few occasions this year.
- Perreira will become a decent footballer.
- The Refs are either blind or they didn't want to spoil Middlesbrough's efforts on the night. We should have been given two penalties.
- With Chelsea and Arsenal eliminated, we had a good chance of lifting the cup. This may have been our only real chance of silverware this year.
- I thought Fellaini was our best player today.
On to the next one. Crystal Palace await. Come on United!