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Reactions to United’s victory over Aston Villa

1. Well that was a relief. Not just three points in the bag but United actually looked like a half decent side again. I made the trip to Aston yesterday and wasn’t entirely sure what I had in store for me. We’re so hit and miss that you genuinely couldn’t rule out us absolutely thrashing Villa, or getting absolutely thrashed by Villa. Thankfully, it was the former, with United good for the three points after putting in a great performance.

2. Danny Welbeck was named Man of the Match after scoring two goals and working tirelessly up front all game. After scoring two goals on the opening day of the season, we’d all hoped for better luck for him in front of goal this season, but it’s taken until now for him to find the back of the net again. Still, with Robin van Persie out for a month, him finding a bit of form couldn’t really come at a better time. The first goal came from a Rafael da Silva cross which Adnan Januzaj was desperately unlucky not to head in. His effort came back off the post and Welbeck was the first to react. Just minutes later, the Longsight lad put us 2-0 up, after getting a toe to an Antonio Valencia cross. Let’s hope for more of the same in the coming games.

3. Whilst Welbeck was Gary Neville’s Man of the Match, Tom Cleverley was probably equally as deserving, following a great performance from him. Whilst we shouldn’t get too carried away with ourselves, given the poor quality of the opposition, it was still pleasing to see him take control of the game. His passing was spot on all day, with him completing 25+ more passes than anyone on the pitch with an impressive 94% accuracy. He took bossed the midfield, in the way that he did in those brief appearances at the start of the 2011-2012 season, and it was great to watch. Wayne Rooney played in a lovely ball to him but with a tight angle, he still had work to do. He struck the ball so nicely and had the keeper beaten at his near post. He ran to the away fans and had to be stopped from jumping in with us. That’s what you get when you have players who have spent their lives dreaming of scoring for the team.

4. Our wingers looked fantastic. Antonio Valencia was possibly aided by the appalling left-back, but he looked like a world beater again. Charging forward whenever he got the opportunity, delivering dangerous crosses and playing with total confidence. He’s gradually been improving this season, certainly in comparison to last season’s form, but this was easily his best performance of the season. He should have had two more assists to his name though, after putting it on a plate for both Rooney and Welbeck, only for them to pull their shots just wide of the post. Adnan Januzaj on the other wing looked almost as threatening but was hampered by the Villa players chopping him down when he got on the run. The fans sung his songs more than any other player though. He is such an exciting player and his stock is certainly rising.

5. It was great news to see Darren Fletcher was named on the bench, having not played for the first team since Boxing Day last year. He warmed up at half-time and the fans sang his name on repeat. His every touch was cheered once he was subbed on and he went on to have a great 20 minutes. Every bit of praise seems to come with a reminder that Villa were poor, so the same has to be said here, but Fletch looked totally composed and as though he had never been away. How fantastic would it be if he came back as a proper option for us in midfield? I won’t get carried away though, despite being desperate for it to happen.

6. United were certainly worthy winners, but the early chances fell to Villa. They’d had three or four shots on target early doors, even though none of them worried David de Gea, and you had to wonder whether it was going to be ‘one of those days’. De Gea made a great stop in the second half and had a bit of a ruck with Agbonlahor after being shoved off the pitch to concede a corner. The defence didn’t really put a foot wrong though after those initial jitters, with Jones and Evans really putting the pressure on Vidic and Rio for their starting places. Rafael da Silva was fantastic behind Valencia on that right wing too, with United so much stronger offensively and defensively with him at right back.

7. This weekend, Chelsea had one former youth team product in the team (John Terry, who made his debut 15 years ago), as did Arsenal (Jack Wilshere) and City had none. It has to make you proud to see Welbeck and Cleverley playing and scoring, as well as good performances from Evans, Fletcher and Giggs. Let’s hope the extra passion these players show for the club can help compensate for what we’re lacking in ability.

8. There’s no point talking about us ‘kicking on’ and building on this performance, because our form is ridiculously inconsistent. But it was still pleasing to see United put in such a good performance. Everything went right for us and it is reassuring to see we are still capable of playing like that. Whilst there are fans on internet forums and Twitter calling for Moyes to be sacked, the away fans were in full voice supporting the manager. Let’s hope that faith in him can be rewarded with more games like Sunday.

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. GingerPrince18 says:

    Spot on Scott! Good day at the office.

  2. GingerPrince18 says:

    A.Pereira scored a wonderful goal for United in the FA Youth Cup.

  3. GingerPrince18 says:

    And Wilson scored a wonderful solo goal too. The future is bright.

  4. RedHanams says:

    Missed my 1st United match this season as I was on a road trip on that day! Followed it on twitter though! Understand why Scott’s being tentative. Been a bit hit and miss season so far, but hopefully, we could see more of same workrate and dedications from the players through this hectic period and get those points on the board.

  5. LexxyOfficial says:

    The last paragraph says it all really’ making it look like those critical of Moyes and his decisions aren’t United fans too. Ridiculous

  6. Fletch™ says:

    Too right Scotty lad! “”Well that was a relief”"

  7. TopRed123 says:

    7. This weekend, Chelsea had one former youth team product in the team (John Terry, who made his debut 15 years ago), as did Arsenal (Jack Wilshere) and City had none.

    No points are given for having English or home grown players in the team though. It’s a stat that some might find appealing but utterly pointless in the end. If they aren’t good enough they simply aren’t good enough. Why force someone in to the team just because of nationality or background? The massive influx of foreigners to the premier league is the major reason why it is so entertaining. It is a massive pool of diversity which is great. Fact is that since Rooney not one decent English player has been produced (no, Wilshere is just fat and Barkley has played, what, 15 games of premier legaue football).

  8. Fletch™ says:

    Anyone who doesn’t understand the value of home grown doesn’t really get football in my view.
    The reason why Dortmund, and Barca are successes IS because they have home grown lads who will expend every fiber to keep defend or cover a pass when needed. Bayern Munich actually have the same.
    Successful sides of the past (Liverpool of old were built on similar models. The Real Madrid’s and Chelsea’ seem to run out of gas way more than Footy manager or the bookies would suggest. Occasionally putting together exceptional runs of form (like Arsenal did with the Henry side) but not sustaining.

    United tried it in 2002 with Veron and and a mix of other imports, but they faded fast and Fergie, always the pragmatist settled on a model, less galactico, and more functional. Developing some outstanding players like Ronaldo, and almost pulling it off again with Pigue, Pogba and Morrison, only to be stifled by modern footballer issues and agents.

    Scott is quite right to highlight Danny Welbeck and Cleverley, but also United Youth products like Rafael, Giggs, Januzaj and Evans who all started.
    Danny was nothing less than sensational in his true position. Can’t imagine anyone on the side putting away either of his reaction finishes.

    Ask yourself why Tottenham is considered a failure with 120m in new signings, or why Real Madrid, Arsenal, and Chelsea, maybe City last year, are falling short for all their money spent.

    Hard not to see the importance of home grown in League play. Pop over to internationals and you will see the benefits of homegrown quotas to national teams in the Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish leagues.

    True enough that “No points are given for having English or home grown players in the team”. But make no mistake, Barca, Bayern, and ManUtd win points all the time by fielding staunch home grown talent on cold days down to Stoke, or in the mud and snow in January or February when titles are put to bed…. won or so often lost.

  9. wayne barker says:

    Great post Fletch long term success and stability comes from having a decent youth system otherwise just becomes a revolving door of Rent Boys and spending millions upon millions just to try and maintain a certain level.Utd get lads young and teach them the Utd way that’s the reason of all the success in spite of being outspent year after year by these Rent Boy clubs.God knows how many millions have been spent for duds.Give me the likes of Danny,Tom C,Rafa,Jones etc coming good everyday of the week instead of some 40 mill Rent Boy who doesn’t give a fuck

  10. Redfrog says:

    @Fletch. I agree with you. Even if I’m not english or british I always hope that United develop home grown talent and I like Clevereley and Welbeck because of that. I’m very pleased for their goals and we can see on who we can count on this difficult time. Players home grown or developped at the club are always a bonus in terms of heart, loyality etc. It gives an identity to the club, which is the most important in my opinion. When you look at City, PSG (I’m from paris) etc. you can just see that this is the kind of club which is build on money and which has no identity. Personnaly it is disgusting for me. Every Big club has a good core of players from academy because you build a good structure from the ground. Maybe it is not a coincidence that the Madrid who won two times the champions league ten years ago had the kind of Casillas and Raul as players, even through they were the Galacticos.
    I wish our two lads from Manchester a long and succefull career at the club.

  11. Tommy says:


    Spot on mate, I would rather field 11 homegrown players who care than 11 foreigners who dont, Clubs like United, Barcalona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Dortmund have core values which involves bringing through homegrown talent!

    1. We have been hit and miss (Mainly miss recently) but hopefully the next few weeks we can build on this and put a good run togther so we can be more hit than miss and start to climb the table.

    2.Its what happens when you get yourself into the box, you are more likely to get on the end of crosses and now with RVP out, Danny may be the one to step up, hopefully this is the start of a goalscoring run!

    3. Clevs was excellent throughout his best performance for United for some time, It helped not having a center back as his midfield partner tho hopefully he will keep this form going over the festive period.

    4. Valencia was the motm for me, he roasted their leftback time and time again and he is easily the best winger at this football club, hes looking near the form of when he was the player of the year quality from him, Adnans a special talent and I admire the fact that when he gets kicked he gets on with the game, occasionally he looks as if hes out of his depth at this moment in time then other times he shows why the manager picks him, Its better to use him in and out of the team due to his lack of experience.

    5. I was shocked Fletch was named amongst the substitues but equally delighted, He did well for 20mins but like Scott said Villa were poor especially at 3 0 down so was just the right game to bring him on in. I hope hes on the bench again at Stoke and gets another 20 mins of first team football under his belt!

    6. The defense was quality against a handful in Bebteke, although I feel more confident when Vida is in and less we see of Rio the better, Rafas partnership with Valencia is one of the strongest areas of the team. I love Evras personality but it really winds me up when he goes forward but then just jogs back like he does not have a care in the world.

    7. Always a pleasure seeing academy players, its quite embarressing seeing the rent boys, shitty and le arse having none in. As Fergie once said I always value the players we produce over the ones we buy.

    8.”There’s no point talking about us ‘kicking on’ and building on this performance, because our form is ridiculously inconsistent” Disagree scott we should be looking to kick on especially with West Ham, Norwich and Hull the next 3 games and @Lexxyoffical, Scott is right it is those on social media and sites like RoM are calling for Moyes head,he still has the support of the match goers especially the away fans who were in top form as per

  12. NBI Red 21 says:

    I largely agree with that, Valencia was my MOTM though Welbeck and Rafael close behind.

    It’s interesting that when Welbs reacts quickly he puts it in the net yet sometimes when he seems like he has time he falls over or miss hits or gets tackled. People will laugh but I think as I’ve said before that Welbz can be a player like Henry. He has that trickery, pace, he can run with the ball and pass in tight spaces. I am not saying he is anywhere near that level now, but his ability is there and I hope unlike Nani mentally he makes decisions on the pitch that allow him to exploit his natural talents to the max. I was beginning to give up on him as a striker but he’s shown he is still capable.

    Very keen to see Ravel clock up with West Ham. He had a bit of a bust up with Zaha on international duty but I am hoping his relationship with the rest of the young players is strong enough to may be tempt him back if he’s worth it.

  13. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ Fletch – i agree with you re home grown players, but to clarify I assume you also mean overseas players who come here at a young age like the twins and Januzaj so they are bought up through the Club like Messi was at Barca, or did you mean just English kids?

  14. Aunn says:

    We definitely played better with Rooney dropping to midfield, distributing play. IMHO this made the difference between this game and Everton/Newcastle, where midfield was almost non-existent. Moyes seems to be sticking to 442 for too long

  15. drv3011 says:

    Someone posted a link to this fellow,neymarshaircut’s blog a while ago.I must say his reactions and player ratings are spot on like Scott’s and hilarious.

  16. NBI Red 21 says:

    Speaking of local lads, AVB’s grandmother was an English lass from Manchester, his Portugese family are wealthy aristocrats and he is a descendent of a Baron and Viscount. He was a neighbour of Sir Bobby and put his footie tips under his door age 16. Sir Bobby took him under his wing and made him a scout which lead to him choosing football over University. Quite interesting. Does that make him a local manager?And how cool is Sir Bobby.

    Spurs actually had 1 more point than same stage last season and were closer to the top – 8 point off vs 16 last year at same stage, when he got fired. I guess Levy was not happy with goal difference. Or that the 7 new players were not fully integrated. Erikson was a popular name for United buy on here a while back. AVB has not done as well as Redknap ranking wise however, I was surprised Spurs fired Harry and hired a young coach who had got the chop and lost the dressing room at Chelsea who went on to win the CL and FA Cup without him. Levy probably gets a rash if does not fire someone every 2 years. Expecting Di Matteo as Spurs boss now. Maybe a good place for Ole to cut his teeth though, would lobe to see what he could do.

  17. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ drv3011 – That was very funny! He’s right though about Jones and Evans looking solid and in sync with each other, that picture of Jones and Rafael…well…passion eh?

  18. drv3011 says:

    @NBI Red 21 – hahaha well its all in good humour,and this guy has got a lot of that.That picture of Jones and Rafa isn’t even the worst of the lot considering that he posted an illustration of a topless Jones with an exaggerated facial expression and protruding tits on another thread.I’d recommend his blog to any United fan who loves a bit of crude humour.

  19. samuel - united WE stand says:

    I’ve always been adamant, danny welbeck has the all round game to match most top forwards. Power, pace, agility, imagination and overall technique… He can play that lone forward excellently, he has the ability to be a platform for attacks to be built and has the added bonus of a high work ethic. What’s eluding him a top top player is the composure needed, he rushes everything despite having the instincts to get into the position, he needs to be calm but ruthless. One thing’s for sure, his best role is as a centreforward and he had a very good season there when he returned from his loan spell. This is not about him coming through the system, welbeck is only a margin away frok being a key player, he has all the attributes. He now needs to start showing more potency up top, hopefully he’ll do so.

    Valencia’s performance was good, rafael certainly played his part with a complete fullback display. Galloping like a train up and down, he is a key figure for united.

    One thing about the villa game was, all the players were in their rightful position, that actually brings balance to the side. I think the win doesn’t take away the issues united have though, strenghthening the central mid has to be priority, I think when united get that sorted and are able to orchestrate games then it gives the players further forward an opportunity to kick on. It is important moyes spots the right calibre of players. They don’t have to be ready made or big names, potential with high quality central midfielders would do.. Any ready made purchase can be made in another window added with the return of nick powell, jesse lingard and more stepping up from the youth system, it could be a real strong squad again if moyes makes decisive decisions.

    James wilson is one huge talent. The pace and guile from him is fantastic but he blends it with good overall technique. Seems to specialise in the art of the solo goal, surely he’ll soon be a constant regular in the under21′s and then step up to the first team. Andreas perriera is quality too, a playmaker in every sense. He needs to kick on and progress. ben pearson is another one too, real combative dynamo in central mid but still very good on the ball, I think he typifies what united need but no pressure, he needs to keep developing. The united youth system has hige potential, they need to step up their game and be ready for first team, rafael adnan and several others have shown you can step up to the first team even at 18, up to moyes to hand them a chance.

    Regarding the draw for CL, it’s a good one for united but any team at this stage will not be poor, olympiakos will pose a threat, hopefully united can navigate it.

    Next game is at hull.. Expect a sterner test over there, they are difficult to beat at home, it is the type of game in which you must be ruthless.. Before the hull game though is the league cup match vs stoke. Another tough one, hughes will get his players fired up. It will be interesting to see what team moyes picks.

    All in all, I wouldn’t get carried away by this performance. The inconsistency has to vanish first before “kicking on”.

  20. kevk24 says:

    @Fletch, good post.

    On the match; It was a good performance by everyone. I wont say that Villa were poor, I choose to look at what the performance will do to our confidence. Morale will be helped with this. Again I am so happy about Fletcher.

    @Samuel, Vidic will be in for the supposed bruising encounter at Stoke.

  21. Scott Brown says:

    On the last point, from where I sit in the ground I’ve not heard one mention saying that Moyes should go. When I turn the radio on or look on the internet, it’s everywhere.

  22. Alexander Hr says:

    But not the best (again) performaced from old Pat…….. he’s always late for covering albrighton…and yes that because Giggs and januzaj can’t cover the area that Pat left behind when he go up. But still that’s not an excuse. he was beaten several time and always be the weakest part for united flank nowadays.
    need to figure that out. the reason why our right flank give Luna nightmare, was rafael and TOni made an excelent combi…….if we had that in our left, that would be amazing

  23. Tommy says:


    Old Arry would of quit Spurs if they hadnt sacked him, He would never agree to work for a director of football, he said that in todays paper and made a valid point, The manager gets the sack because the new signings havnt clicked even tho it was the director of football who chose the players yet he gets off without the chop!


    Totally agree with regard to Wilson, Hes the most talented forward to come through the ranks in years, I know youre a fan of Will Keane but Wilson got a better chance in my opinion of making it to the first team but as with all young players its how they react when they step up to the first team, Wilson has become a regular in the under 21s in last couple of games and scored a free kick against Blackburn in their last outing, I only see him in the youth cup this year in the under 18s defo a under 21 player now!


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