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Reactions to United’s victory against Real Sociedad

1. When David Moyes was appointed the manager of Manchester United, our biggest concern was his lack of experience in Europe. Whilst the new manager hasn’t done as well as we would have liked in the league, our results in Europe have been spot on. Bayer Leverkusen are currently on the same points as European Cup finalists Borussia Dortmund and one point behind German and European champions Bayern Munich, yet we beat them 4-2 at Old Trafford. Away to Shakhtar in Ukraine we picked up a point, after probably deserving all three, at a ground where no English team has won before. Real Sociedad are not a great side and we didn’t put in a brilliant performance, but we were clearly the better team and managed to pick up another important win. We essentially need to win one game from our remaining three to qualify for the next round, which is a great position to be in.

2. Jonny Evans and Phil Jones were two stand out performers for me again last night, playing with a composure and maturity beyond their years. With the silly mistakes that have been all too frequent for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, you have to wonder whether this is the changing of the guard for our defence, with the youngsters looking more than capable of holding their own.

3. It was reassuring to see a big improvement in Wayne Rooney’s performance after his game against Southampton. He was the driving force behind our only goal of the game after dancing around the Spanish defence. Such delicate footwork saw him twist and turn between the defenders before his shot came back off the inside of the post. Thankfully there was a Sociedad defender there to put it away for us. Javier Hernandez was there waiting had the defender not done the job for him though. The lack of ability to finish across the team was a worry though, with us hitting the woodwork a couple of times and seeing good opportunities go begging. Hernandez will be particularly disappointed that he didn’t make the most his start in Robin van Persie’s absence. He had a great chance to put us 2-0 up but, typically, was offside when he scored.

4. Shinji Kagawa was given a rare start and did more than Chicharito to make Moyes consider playing him again. He has been largely overlooked this season but had a good game yesterday. It maybe wasn’t as good as people are saying it was, so desperate for him to become the player we all think he is capable of being, but we were certainly shown glimpses. He did well on the left but came in to his own when moved centrally behind Rooney for the last ten minutes or so. He should have scored, making a hash of his chance when clean through, but his eagerness for the ball and to bring it forward was a definite positive. We noticed in games last season that when he hit the hour mark, he’d start to go missing, so it was great to see improved stamina which meant his best part of the game came at the end. Can Moyes justify dropping Rooney or Januzaj to accommodate Kagawa? Not yet. But let’s hope he’s given more opportunities in the cup games and from the bench in the league to show what he is capable of. Moyes was singing his praises after the game so maybe this is the beginning of change for Kagawa.

5. Last night saw the launch of the singing section in the South East quadrant, in a bid to improve atmosphere in the ground. The section that is usually filled by away supporters apparently has the best acoustics which is why that spot was chosen. With 6,000 Spaniards sitting above them you had to wonder whether they would be drowned out, but they actually did a good job. The noise carried all the way to the other end of the ground and even had the Stretford End echoing the chants started down there. Plenty of people will be cynical about it and mock the very idea of needing a singing section. But I’d rather people take the piss out of that and us actually start to have a really good atmosphere than just take the piss out of it being quiet. “The singing section was very good,” Moyes said after the game. “They were heard and they were noisy. They did something similar at Celtic and it has been really good. It is important. If you are an old-fashioned supporter you want to sing and you want to join in. Sometimes you need people to start it.”

6. There were lots of grumbles, from myself included, when Giggs was named as a starting central midfielder. But he did a job for us last night, despite the odd few “typical Giggs” misplaced lobs forward. When you compare that display to Marouane Fellaini’s at the weekend, the Belgian has got to be scratching his head. If a 39-year-old winger is doing a better job than you in the centre of the park, you should be worried.

7. It’s hard to believe that the officials chosen for Champions League games are the best Europe have to offer. Even with extra officials there behind the goals they just couldn’t seem to make a decision between them and when they did it too often seemed to be the wrong one. I’m not calling bias here, because the Sociedad players and fans were complaining as much as we were. Rafael da Silva was subbed off early as a result, with his hot head and that bonkers ref meaning disaster was on the cards. Chris Smalling did well when he came on though. He could start week in week out for most clubs so it’s a shame for him to have such a small role at United.

8. With three games played in Europe, we have more points than any of the other English teams have managed, and we sit top of the group. Apart from a dodgy spell early in to the second half, United controlled the game and have put themselves in a great position to qualify. The ideal scenario is that we beat Sociedad away next month, meaning we can rotate our squad massively for the final two games to free up key players for the league, whilst giving those who haven’t had much game time the full 90 minutes. Looking good in Europe though. Onwards and upwards.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. John says:

    @FletchTHEMAN…mate, you don’t like Japanese, do you??..Talk some sense man!!

  2. The Truth says:

    Okay listen guys this ruse has gone on long enough. As some have figured out, I post on here under another username. I even have conversations with myself using my two usernames! It’s been a lot of fun but the joke is getting old so I’ll admit it. My other username is WeAreUnited. Well done to those who sussed “us” out.

  3. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Love Japaneses. Lived in Japan for a year and speak a bit.

    The Kagawcenti ladies and gentlemen. Evidence not needed for them then.

  4. FletchTHEMAN says:

    *** japanese ***

  5. denton davey says:

    WeAreUnited @ 16:04: “I know you’re only discussing, but maybe keep it by yourself so you don’t look like a fool (on this occassion only so don’t get it wrong) to even wonder was RVP a one season wonder, when he’s our top-scorer and he hasn’t even hit top form.”

    I’m not in disagreement with you about RVP but one has to wonder how the manager is going to fit together his six forward options – RVP, TheWayneBoy, KagawaBunga, Nani, Chicharito, AdnanJ, not to mention others like AV25 and DannyTheLad (and NOT TO MENTION AshleyBloodyYoung !)

    SAF “rotated” his options and generally got it right but most other managers have found a four-some that clicks together and stuck with it. It would seem that TheWayneBoy is going to be almost-guaranteed as much playing-time as he can handle which creates knock-on issues for some of the others since when Rooney gets what he wants then it becomes a jig-saw puzzle to figure out how to fit in RVP and Chicharito and KagawaBunga – or which ones to leave out.

    Of course, injuries happen but if Moyes goes down the non-SAF road (i.e., non-rotation) then several very, very good players are going to have their noses pushed waaaaaaaay out-of-joint. Some will accept that kind of treatment but others won’t and will bridle at bench-time.

    So, what if it’s Moyes’ view that a front four of Chicharito (leading the line) with a 3″ of AdnanJ and TheWayneBoy and KagawaBunga interchanging between-the-lines is his best option. What happens to playing time for RVP ? Nani ? AV25 ? DannyTheLad ?

    I have no clue what might transpire in these circumstances but it’s not impossible that the other three might be on the outside looking-in. Will this be tolerable for them ?

    In any event, what transpired last night just re-confirmed my (unpopular) opinions that TheWayneBoy would serve the T-E-A-M’s best interest by morphing into TheScholesRole and that BigManSmalling should start ahead of MrJones. As I’ve written before – ad nauseum, so it would appear – the up=side of these two changes would mean a rough patch of “learning” for Rooney/Jones but would go a long way to restoring balance in the on-field T-E-A-M.

  6. FletchTHEMAN says:

    It seems the Kagawacenti have latched on to me. Have at it lads.

    But do read my posts.

    I agree that Kagawa had a good game. I agree with Scott if you actually read his comments, that Kagawa had a very good game at times.

    I agree with all that.

    My only point from the off, is that the Manager needs to find a place for him that works.

    Nani is miles ahead of Kagawa and the team hasn’t been built around him. You could argue that Rooney hasn’t had the team built around him.

    Read the posts. I am just saying its the managers job to pick him, not yours, not mine.

    That is the evidence this season. Pretty weak to say I don’t like Japanese. Just laughable.

  7. The Truth says:


    “I agree that Kagawa had a good game. I agree with Scott if you actually read his comments, that Kagawa had a very good game at times.

    I agree with all that.”

    Actually you’ve changed your tune. Here is what you posted after the match last night:

    “As for you Kagawa lovers.
    Neil Ashton not much impressed. Have to agree with him. But always room for improvement and tonight showed some bite. Probably helped by a completely obsessed referee mind. Kags won’t get this kind of protection in the EPL.”

    Then you posted an article that was scathing of Kagawa’s performance.

    Could it simply be that you’re full of shit?

  8. RedEric says:

    As Scott stated, Jonny Evans and Phil Johns were stand out for me as well.
    Apart from his defensive work, Evans again displayed composure with the
    ball and his distribution was sport on. So far better than Rio and Vida and to me
    He was simply MOM

  9. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Dearest “Truth”

    I post loads of articles. Most of them I don’t agree with. Where did it say that I have ever agreed with a single thing Ashton said?

    You need to take a MUCH bigger view if you want to go toe to toe with me.
    Been watching United since the 60s. Players have come and gone. The players who get your attention first have to get the managers attention and keep it.

    Big man on blog is it? Toddle off. You think everyone on here is fine to have a go at. You need to start turning on a light in that small corner of your pea sized brain called Reason.

    I am not the enemy. And I certainly will speak up for myself.
    Neil Ashton? Give me strength.

  10. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    I don’t think Januzaj should play ahead of Kags. There is room for both and don’t think Januzaj should be playing full games ye, he disappears after the hour mark when he does. The problem for Moyes is formation and how many strikers we play. It’ obvious with the players we have one striker works better with a second coming on if needed.

  11. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    I don’t think Januzaj should play ahead of Kags. There is room for both and don’t think Januzaj should be playing full games ye, he disappears after the hour mark when he does. The problem for Moyes is formation and how many strikers we play. It’ obvious with the players we have one striker works better with a second coming on if needed.

  12. WeAreUnited says:

    @the truth you’re way too funny HAHAHA

    I do respect your effort on getting us upset haha. god job, bravo

    now fuck off.

  13. WeAreUnited says:

    @denton “I’m not in disagreement with you about RVP but one has to wonder how the manager is going to fit together his six forward options”

    I agree, but it seems that he prefers rooney and rvp upfront which is not a bad thing, but when rooney hits that dipping form then he’s really a waste on that position, that’s why he was dropped by SAF last season.

    and then comes Kagawa into play, but as I and Rukky mentioned the million dollar question about the “kagawa/roo/januzaj question”

    RVP is for me a no brainer, no matter what, you can’t sit him and Chicha who I think is a wonderful player with attitude just has to get used to it. SO the rest, well it’s good we are not on that position but then again I am happy to have these kind of problems!

    we’ll see.

  14. WeAreUnited says:

    @nbi your comment about Januzaj is absurd “don’t think Januzaj should play ahead of Kags. There is room for both and don’t think Januzaj should be playing full games ye, he disappears after the hour mark when he does.”

    how does he miss after an hour? he has played as a starter 2 times and the first time he scored on the hour mark his first and later his second, so how the hell he misses on the hour mark?

    in his last game, he was tired but it was only his second game as a starter and it showed of course because of his age.

    I get your point, but don’t make absurd observation which are far fro mthe truth. When he plays 25-30 games and if drops his play after the hour mark, then you can critisise him not after 2 starting games.

    cmon put some effort into it.

  15. WeAreUnited says:

    after I revelaed that The truth is John, now The Truth goes on writing that he uses me as his other username, amazing stuff, you can’t make this shit up, really.

    I got you upset didn’t I? when I figured you out haha.

  16. redriderCH says:

    it was one of the better games for us this season (and there were far more worse games than good) and we should ve scored one 3 or 4 goals. still i think if sociedad was that worse or we so good in the attacking play…we ll see
    the team WILL definitely improve during the season and yesterday we saw kagawa,chicha,evans,jones and smalling giving us a good look what they re capable of.few of them had their first start under moyes and showed him that they re more than just an alternative.
    we all (players&supporters) should stick together this season we all know its a new situation otherwise it doesnt work-CUM ON UTD

  17. John says:

    @WeAreUnited..How are Dectective Richard Cranium??..

  18. John says:

    @WeAreUnited..How are you Detective Richard Cranium??..

  19. King Eric says:

    John – Fuck off you snide cunt and take that other odious bastard Truth with you. You aren’t wanted or welcome on here. You have made the place a fucking joke.

  20. Random says:


    The “Kagawacenti ” was a good one.

    Personally, still feel the guy needs a run of games at number 10. And he needs a passmaster and midfield boss. With the kind of passive approach we have to playing central midfield, where we do not snatch the ball but harry the opposition to wings/corners, I do not see Kagawa fitting in. Too many constraints. He needs to be fed, and he needs people around him.

  21. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Random, Well said, couldn’t agree more. Hope Moyes agrees. We will see.

    New Post up. See “all” you lovelies over there! :)

  22. King Eric says:

    Fuck me what an absolute nutter John is! Like a kid with tourettes piping up with nonsensical , snide garbage. Horrible cunt.

  23. John says:

    @King Eric…so why are you here in this thread you pig??

  24. The Truth says:


    Hahahahaha you absolute fucking scrotum.

    “I post loads of articles. Most of them I don’t agree with. Where did it say that I have ever agreed with a single thing Ashton said?”

    Right here, fuckhead:

    ““As for you Kagawa lovers.
    Neil Ashton not much impressed. Have to agree with him.”

    What a nauseating twat you are.

  25. In David We Trust says:

    OK performance, still waistful and the side still does not seem to have that cutting edge, still for me Moyes is still very conservative in his approach, he still has got to take risks when the chips are down

  26. RedEric says:

    It breaks my heart to see the level of infest this blog has become
    Worse than any infectious disease you can ever think of
    You don’t have to ask how old someone is, goes without saying
    Have nothing to live for so they are barking and backing each other all the time all day long
    Compliment each other and gang together to gang down their enemies
    Proud of their nemesis without care how it feels to the rest of us who don’t like this fight
    This site has become nothing more than advertisement corner where Scott is concerned
    And a war field for the rest of participants and until Scott grow balls to correct this mess up
    Every valuable ideal that made this blog stand out among others will vanish
    Its a big shame to this beautiful club to have such pathetic followers

  27. John says:

    It floods my heart with deep sense of satisfaction and pride to see constructive criticisms freely expressed in this blog. I am also clear that our club have more than 300 millions followers and this itself means loads of diverse opinions.

  28. CTRED says:

    Good lineup, proper subs, good formation, good results. All credit to Moyes. Before Kagawa moved inside in the last 10 minutes, he floated there regularly when Rooney was not dropping deep. Effect was to have 5 in midfield all the time against the spanish team. Don’t know if this was direct instructions by Moyes but if so it was good.

    Still a worrying lack of finishing. We should have put the game away in the 1st half.

  29. mav says:

    Gosh, I understand some people dont like moyes and others are overly defensive about hin but its just annoying to come on here and the second comment is from troll John.

    Him and his like are so embarassing, go away guys, we get it moyes sucks etc etc

  30. keanoisdaman says:

    Rederic….well said…..its full of trolls,plastics and know nothing dickheads….its not even worth reading most of the time.

  31. The Truth says:


    Sorry about the colourful language earlier, it was out of order.

  32. pin_shmin says:

    I thought it was a good performance. Much more attacking play – very direct at times getting the ball to the forwards quickly which was great (especially compared to the WBA match where we passed everything square). It really should have been at least 4. We hit the woodwork twice (as you have said) and as carrick quite rightly said, the margins are so fine…. on another day Chico would have had at least one; and Kagawa the same.

    Rooney’s performance was back to what we have seen this season; love your points about Giggsy and Fellaini and the ref who was absolutely stinking! (loved Neville’s comment about him thinking he was star of the show…)

    Quality Article…. (as always!!)

  33. StretfordEnder says:

    We can be happy we won but if we play like that again, the likes of dortmund, munich, real, barca wont have any mercy, we would get destroyed and that’s the unfortunate truth all we can do is stick by moyes.

  34. Bobby Charlton's Combover says:

    I wasn’t overly impressed with Kagawa. He did well but he wasn’t outstanding by any means. The 90 mins will be a huge boost for him though. I think what he really needs is to play in the middle. He contributes out on the left but he doesn’t make an impact.

  35. DiegoForlanDK says:

    I feel those of you who only think Kagawa did OK wednesday night are missing what he actually did for us. I think he was immense, no less. Alongside Rooney our best on the night. Why? We’ve had obvious difficulties in our possession play. Without Kagawa our attacking possession play look panicky at times. No one looks so reassured on the ball like Kagawa. He doesn’t care if three opponents are trying to pressure him. He keeps calm and doesn’t lose the ball. Wednesday he gave us a composure to our attacking play that I feel we’ve been lacking for some time now. As far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t only Giggs who relieved Carrick of pressure, it was Kagawa as well. So in my opinion he was a massive contribution both going forward but also in relieving our central midfield for pressure.

    I really hope seeing him in the starting line-up against Stoke.

    Have a good one guys

  36. thymm50 says:

    In my own opinion, I think Wayne Rooney’s best position is behind the striker or playing from the left (like Ribbery). DM should play RVP or Chicha as the top strikers, while Rooney and Welbeck should play from the left. My line up would look like this : De Gea, Rafael, Smalling/Vidic, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Fellainni/Cleverly, Kagawa, Rooney, Januzaj, RVP in a 4 – 2 – 3 -1 formation. Rooney from the left, kagawa behind RVP, Januzal from d right.

  37. jaznaj says:

    i have been following this blog for sometime now and now some comments bout kags realy are doing my head in… personaly i wud love to see moyes grow some balls and play rooney on the left rvp #9 just behind him kags… yanuzai on the right… consevertive tactics dont work for me and for a club the size of united… i want that 2008 united back…


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