1. Before today, Hull had conceded 3 goals at home all season. The team closest to that is City with 5 goals conceded at home, followed by Liverpool and Arsenal on 6 goals. You probably would expect the league’s best defensive record at home to belong to a club in the bottom half of the table, but Steve Bruce should be applauded for the job he’s done with the newly promoted side. So, with such a great defensive record, it was vitally important that we didn’t make any silly mistakes and conceded unnecessary goals…
2. To find ourselves a goal in less than five minutes was a joke. To go 2-0 down with less than quarter of an hour played was unbelievable. “Champions, you’re having a laugh!” the Hull fans sung gleefully. The first goal came from boyhood red James Chester, who joined our club when he was 8-years-old, coming from United supporting parents, before being sold to Hull when he was 21. Alex Bruce, another red and son of former captain Steve, got up to head a corner back towards goal. Chester lost his marker, Wayne Rooney, and fired in from close range. Whilst the defending for that goal was bad, the defending for the second was a joke, with Jonny Evans left with his head in his hands after his lame intervention deflected a tame, De Gea bound shot in to the back of the net. An absolutely horrendous start.
3. Wayne Rooney has been our best player this season and today he came up with the goods yet again. His first contribution was the perfect cross from Chris Smalling to put us back in it, the defender doing well to out jump the Hull defence to pull a goal back. With 13 minutes played, we were 2-0 down, but 13 minutes after that we were level, thanks to a fantastic strike from Rooney. Evans played a lovely ball forward to Rooney, who linked up nicely with Danny Welbeck, before smashing the ball in from distance. There was a tiny gap for him to aim at, between the defenders, goalie and woodwork, and he managed to strike the ball perfectly. That’s 18 goals and assists for Rooney this season, a record only bettered by Luis Suarez. With every passing week, the decision to cling on to him, despite his preference to leave, is proving to be more and more important.
4. David de Gea was probably the hero of the day though, with him commanding the box and making some fantastic saves when it all started to get a bit edgy in the final five or ten minutes. Our hearts were in our mouths when he came rushing out, only to make little contact, but then he won possession back with his feet. His reactions are fantastic and it’s great to see him winning points for us.
5. There were a handful of players who did little to impress today though and thankfully we got away with that. Other than the ridiculous defending to concede those early two goals, the idiocy of Antonio Valencia kicking the ball away at the end was frustrating. With Rafael, the right side of the pitch was starting to look really dangerous over the past few weeks, but with the defender hobbling off injured early in to the first half and Valencia now suspended for a couple of games, it’s back to square one. Fortunately, Ashley Young, who has had a few good games on the trot now, did well again, particularly on the right, so hopefully he can maintain this form. Darren Fletcher was another who let the game pass him by though, suggesting maybe it’s a bit too soon to rely on him, but with Michael Carrick returning, the workload should be shared now.
6. This was a huge result for United, a huge result for Moyes, to continue a run of good performances more recently. It’s a worry to see us give away such sloppy goals, but a relief to see us make amends. It will be a boost for the players’ confidence and it means Moyes will get a bit of a break. “You’re getting sacked in the morning” rung around the ground at 2-0, a popular chant for opposition fans when we’re struggling, but we came out on top yet again. We need the teams around us to start picking up dodgy results, but this is certainly a better period for United, so let’s hope we can keep it up.