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Reactions to United’s win over Hull

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.


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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64 Comments

  1. Sparkz says:

    Rooney is not just dropping back due to midfield not doing their job, although that is part of the reason. He should have been told to do that from Day 1. A basic 4-4-2 is a dead formation, and that’s what we were playing for much of the season, with Rooney too high up the pitch.

    Even if you have quality midfielders, they will struggle in a 4-4-2. Arsenal have a brilliant batch of centre mids but they wouldn’t even think about a 4-4-2. You need someone dropping in to help both defensively and to link the play. The only team in the League that can possibly play a 4-4-2 is City, coz their centre mids have the balance of power and passing. But even they get helped by their wingers pinching in.

    Our best performances have come when we had a PROPER number 10. Whether that was Kagawa as a #10 or Rooney.

    Cleverley isn’t a dominating centre mid but he plays a crucial role. He needs to be partnered with someone to do the things he doesn’t. But thats why him and Carrick worked so well together. I don’t care what anyone says, those 2 last season formed a really good combination, especially in the big games and especially when (lo and behold) Rooney was asked to play as a #10.

    In any case, his performances over the last few weeks have picked up so I find it odd he’s getting stick now.

  2. Sparkz says:

    “Ferguson’s managerial ability was genuinely as influential as a chequebook is to other clubs – and seeing as he’s now out of the picture, it’s the chequebook United need.”

    Piece on whether the Glazers will back Moyes in the transfer market next month. http://www.footymatters.com/articles/english-football/premier-league/are-the-glazers-prepared-to-gamble-on-moyes/

    We clearly need a couple of players – the only negative can be that bringing in players mid season can possibly be disruptive. Part of the reason for our poor early season form was that Moyes was still figuring out his best team. If we sign a couple of players then we could be in that situation all over again, and at a crucial time of the season

  3. sir matt martin says:

    Simply put, Moyes has to land a
    world-class central midfielder either in January or next summer. That player must be relatively young, technically adept and effective from box to box. There are a number of players who fit the bill, but one stands out.

  4. Marq says:

    @Sparkz

    Even when City is playing with 2 strikers, they still essentially have 3 in the middle, which makes it extremely hard to play against. Fernandinho the energetic one, Yaya the all rounder and Silva/ Nasri providing the guile. The only player who stays out wide is Navas, and he has the tireless Zabaleta covering and overlapping. On paper, City looks the most complete and balanced team throughout Europe, with the only possible weak link being their left wing back position.

  5. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    A big win, great to see united attack with numbers, but lets not get obsessive about replacing scholes, the player that will need replacing long term is Michael Carrick, he has been one of the best deep lying midfielder for years, so that is the player united need replacing long term.

    Has far has the title is concerned, united may have bitten off more than they can chew getting back into the title race, the main aim is still is a top 4 finish. And if Moyes seriously thinks united can win the title, united must sign a CM, or at least call back the likes of Powel

    But, the bashing cleverly is getting is way OTT, you put cleverly with better players, cleverly seems to step up when there is better players around him. He was a huge player for united last season, forming a formidable partnership with carrick that help win us the league, he is the only player that can do that pressing game, and like it or not, he has been a fixture for united the past few years

  6. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    A journeyman does not just mean someone who moves to many clubs. A journeyman can also refer to someone who is ok but never stands out. He’s always mixed in the rest and is never a major reason for a team’s success. Cleverley is the perfect example of that. He has the team awards but has never been a stand out player at this club and when you consider that our midfield is maybe the worst midfield in the top 9 right now, you see why Cleverley cannot be starting games for this club again. LOL comparing Cleverley to Xavi at age 24? HAHA. Not even going to address that.

    Also playing in a midfield three is all well and good right now because we don’t have the personnel to play in a midfield two but with the right personnel a midfield two can work just as well. Playing a midfield allows us to have the maximum attacking threat upfront with Rooney and VP. While I am not complaining right now cuz Rooney is playing out of his mind no matter where he plays, demanding that Rooney drop back to cover up for inefficiencies in the middle is not using to max potential. Rooney and Van Persie upfront is infinitely more dangerous than Van Persie up top and then Rooney filling in from time to time. Solid midfielder is absolutely CRITICAL in January. We have no more excuses. HAVE to address it right now.

  7. Tommy says:

    http://thepeoplesperson.com/brazilian-changes-tone-on-manchester-united-move-and-rules-out-january-switch/#comment-88271 Not really a shock to see him rule out a move in january, All the Brazilians want to win the Copa Libitadores

  8. Sparkz says:

    @Danny – it’s not a case of “demanding Rooney drop back to cover up for ineffeciencies”. That’s the way we should be playing full stop. Even if we had a world class set of midfielders, a 4-4-2 should still be thrown out of the window. And Rooney should still be playing where he is now (as a number 10/link man). If we need to play him further up the pitch as a centre forward, then we play Kagawa or Adnan in behind him

  9. NairobiRed says:

    Any updates on RVP?

  10. Fletch™ says:

    van Persie is reportedly training this week. Be a big boost if he can make the squad.
    Not that we have been lacking for goals, but still. It’s so important to have a fit squad this time of year.

  11. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    @Sparkz Agreed. Playing a square 4-4-2 isn’t good at all and I for one am glad Rooney is dropping back. Just pointed something out about Cleverley for Matt. The lad is supposed to be a deep lying midfielder in the formation we are playing right now yet he does pretty much NOTHING that resembles being a defensive midfielder. Extremely lightweight, cannot tackle. Sure he presses but that’s the sort of job meant for CAMs. The defensive midfielders are tempo midfielders. They dictate the flow of games and are basically sweepers in front of the back four. Here’s to hoping Carrick and Fletcher can show Clevs how its done.

  12. TopRed123 says:

    No Rooney today. Guess our attack will be spearheaded by Bambi.

    Interesting with this coming out yesterday
    http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Football-News/2013/Dec/Wayne-Rooney-ready-for-Norwich-City-test.aspx

    Que the Rooney to Chelsea rumors starting again.

  13. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    No Rooney!? FUCKKKKK. Please Welbeck have your scoring boots on today. Fletch and Carrick as the deep two for the sake of my sanity please.

  14. NairobiRed says:

    Did Rooney go out drinking again?

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