Crystal Palace 0 - 0 United
Late post but I didn't really find any time to update my blog during the weekend. I was really looking forward to this game. Living thousands of miles away from Old Trafford means that I only experience a proper match day once every season, at most. By proper match day I am referring to waking up early, having some breakfast, walking to a pub nearby Old Trafford to sing some songs and drink a beer or two and then, obviously, head to Old Trafford for the game.
Pete Boyle, a guy who leads chants at The Bishop Blaize, visited Malta last Saturday. The Bishop Blaize is a famous bar a stone's throw away from Old Trafford. Prior to a United game, I always visit this bar whenever I am in Manchester. Anyway, Pete Boyle was invited to lead some pre match singing at a local pub in Malta so I thought this would be a great opportunity to experience something similar to match day in Manchester.
We met a full four hours before the game at this bar. The chanting was fun, the drinking was better but the game was downright boring. I can hardly remember a decent attempt at goal from our side. What the hell was that?!
Crystal Palace are renowned to be quite hard to beat at Selhurst Park but they've only won twice this season and lost three. Not that impressive a record now, is it? The least I'd have expected from our boys was to actually test their keeper. Did that happen? No.
A lot are criticizing LVG which is only fair. A couple seasons ago, people were crucifying David Moyes for our team's below par performances. We have to keep in mind that the Scotsman was given much less money to build his team and he was shown the door inside his first season. With that in mind, I think that all people questioning LVG's tactics are right in doing so. With the money invested in this squad, you'd expect to see your team attack the opposition rather than just passing sideways. I am not that kind of fan that calls for a manager's head so I'm not even contemplating in doing so. However, you do wonder whether this guy's too hard headed to admit that his tactics aren't really effective when we attack. We're too slow.
To be fair with LVG, he did manage to build a solid defence. Our keeper hasn't conceded a PL goal in 270 minutes and what people were saying in summer was our weakest point has turned out to be our forte. But back then no one imagined the improvement Smalling would make and that DDG would actually stay at OT. Our defenders have been excellent this season. The only dreadful defensive performance I can think of was against Arsenal when we conceded two goals inside the first five minutes. Other than that game, I've been quite pleased with our back four.
The problem is when we attack. Why play Martial on the left when he can be much more effective up front? Why not drop Rooney if he's not performing up to standards? If Depay hasn't hit the ground running, why not play Young in his position? Why are we so slow when trying to attack our opposition? It's a difficult one for LVG but something needs to be done. Football is all about entertaining the crowds. We are used to playing champagne football and there will come a time when the excuse that a team is in the "process" of being built will be too old.
CSKA next. A win is a must. Come on United!