1. Well done Chris Smalling. Ahead of the game there were worries that our 21-year-old new signing was going to struggle with the height and strength of Kenwyne Jones, who scored at Old Trafford with Sunderland last season. The lad didn’t put a foot out of place though. I don’t mean to get carried away with myself but right now, Smalling has all the makings of a Rio Ferdinand replacement. He’s got nice feet, he’s strong and he’s so calm on the ball. Really stood out.
2. We played some lovely football at times but we were generally frustrated. Not an awful lot of opportunities were created and the pattern of being overrun in midfield continued. We certainly looked better for having Nani in the team though. 11 assists and 6 goals in 16 league games. When Valencia comes back next month, let’s hope he can hit the ground running. Can you imagine them both back on our wings?
3. After Gary Neville’s shambolic performance against West Brom, Ryan Giggs clearly didn’t want his old chum to face all the stick alone, so put in his own dreadful shift. Too many attempts at clever flicks that he couldn’t pull off and his passing was poor. I’m not suggesting he is finished like GNev but he’s got to do better than that.
4. The defending for their goal was really poor. Nobody picked Dean Whitehead up at all and really, it should have been Vidic. Evra was covering Delap, Fletch was on Jones, and Vida just seemed to float between the two. Smalling had been forced out wide, which maybe threw Vida a bit. Fortunately, it didn’t cost us, but they’ll be looking at the tapes of that this week.
5. Chicharito always seems to score, it’s incredible. Play him from the start, bring him on as a sub, and he always seems to get in to the goalscorer positions. One flaw has to be his body strength though. He is so easily pushed off the ball so hopefully Sir Alex is ordering him to the gym.
6. Playing this game early meant we got to see a clearer picture of how great our advantage is over the teams near us at the top. Having played a game less than City, three points clear of them. Then on the same games, five points clear of Arsenal, eight points clear of Spurs and incredibly, nine points clear of Chelsea.
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