1. Ahead of kick off I asked for a usual 4-0 over Wigan but was wary of the chances of this happening. Five teams have been better on the road this season which is a shocking record for a side hoping to be named champions. Thankfully our home record is immense but when even a trip to the JB leaves you feeling a bit nervous, you know there are problems. The first twenty minutes seemed to justify these nerves, with Wigan coming at us time and again and forcing some great saves from Edwin Van der Sar. It’s a shame for them. If they were playing any other team but us today, I’d feel sorry for them, because they do play football in the right way. Still, despite all their pressure, they never really looked dangerous and United made them pay for not converting their dominance in to chances.
2. Chicharito scored against the run of play but it set United up nicely for the win. As Roberto Martinez admitted after the game, when his players went in 1-0 down at half time despite having the better chances, it was hard to take. Nani, who was shifted to the left wing for a change, rang down the wing and played it in to the near post. So often, our players run behind their markers or to the back post, but Chicharito showed more intelligent and effective play by running forwards. Got away from his man and had a simple enough tap-in. His second goal killed off the game after a nice one two with Wayne Rooney. Rooney’s return pass to him was perfectly weighted to split the defence in half and leave Hernandez one on one with the keeper. There was no way he was going to miss from there. He’s now the 9th highest scorer in the league despite such limited playing time.
3. United went with a more ambitious formation than the ones we’re used to on the road, with two strikers up front, although it’s hard to measure how much more successful this was. Obviously the result suggests it was but that could have been very different without two great first half saves from Van der Sar. Darren Fletcher wasn’t any better on the right wing than he’s been in the centre of the park and Paul Scholes didn’t boss the midfield as hoped. On the upside, I perfectly though Michael Carrick looked better and Nani, even on his less favoured wing, put in a good shift.
4. It’s about time the country’s press started tipping Nani for the player of the year awards. 23 games, 9 goals and 14 assists. Compare this to the players are London based press are ranting and raving about. Nasri on 21 games, 9 goals and 1 assist and Bale on 23 games 7 goals and 1 assist. Nani is blowing them out of the water. Some people criticise him for his greediness but today he assisted our first, hit the woodwork and struck inches away from the post. When you’re as effective as him he should be afforded the opportunities to be greedy, particularly when you consider how hard he works to win the ball back if his greed in front of goal doesn’t pay off.
5. Wayne Rooney got another goal to his name but it is his ‘challenge’ on McCarthy which will get the attention, particularly because his contribution generally was fairly poor. His first touch was disappeared and his other chances on goal were blocked or straight at the keeper. Whilst other players are guilty of far worse and go unpunished, Rooney’s actions were stupid. He needlessly used his arm when the ball had gone, which I hope was the reaction to something previous, otherwise it makes him look even more ridiculous. It was Dimitar Berbatov who raced away with the ball after a perfect long range Darron Gibson pass who set Rooney up, selflessly passing for the tap in when he could have gone for goal himself. The priority for Berbatov is the team so well done him.
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