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Reactions To Victory Over Norwich

1. That was probably the least enjoyable game of the season so far, with United playing like a group of strangers. To be fair to Norwich, they set themselves up well, with nine men behind the ball all the time, but we were lacking ideas when it came to breaking them down. You’re going to have those games every now and then but it’s not particularly encouraging when it follows the performances we’ve seen against Stoke and Basle. Still, we haven’t got a settled XI, we do have injuries, and we shouldn’t put about knee jerk reactions. We got the points and that is far more important than a performance.

2. Sir Alex Ferguson claimed changing our defence every week was the cause of our issues against Basle. Then yesterday changed the keeper brought Evans in and played winger Antonio Valencia at right back. Anders Lindegaard made a great reflex save after a shot was deflected towards goal although his erratic distribution suggests that David de Gea shouldn’t be worrying about losing the #1 jersey just yet. There were several mistakes across the back four and better opponents would have made us pay. However, one of these mistakes lead to one of my favourite moments of the match. Phil Jones had to cover for Evans, but instead of rushing to the player and leaving his man unmarked, he patiently waited until the last possible second before making a superb block. I love him. But you knew that because I say it every week.

3. A player who I regularly express my love for had a disappointing day and more or less found himself redundant. Chicharito’s job is to play on the shoulder of the last defender but was offside pretty every time the ball came to him. In 65 minutes on the pitch he had just one attempt which was blocked. He’s had a stop-start beginning to the season and this will no doubt have an impact on his form, although not being able to get a basic thing right like keeping onside is very frustrating. Has he lost his starting place to Danny Welbeck now?

4. One of the few highlights of the game was Danny Welbeck’s substitution, which saw him complete as many passes in 25 minutes as Hernandez managed in 65, as well as scoring the goal that sealed the result. He played in a lovely ball to Park who returned it for the tap in. Can we get really excited about this local lad now? He’s scored 5 goals in 8 appearances this season and looks up for it every time he plays. It really seems to have paid off sending him to Sunderland for the year. He went a boy, came back a man and I love seeing his name in the starting line-up.

5. Another player who benefited from a year out on loan and whose stock is rising every week is Tom Cleverley. He hasn’t played since our 5-0 win over Bolton but with every passing game, with the manager trying out unimpressive combinations of central midfielders, more and more expectation is building. He should be fit by Liverpool but you wouldn’t imagine he will start at Anfield. He can’t come back soon enough though, with Ando and Fletcher doing little to make that position theirs.

6. It was Anderson who got that all important goal though, with the midfielder setting himself a target of 10 goals this season. You wouldn’t put money on him scoring with his head, but that’s exactly what happened, after a Giggs corner was headed on from Jones and Rooney. It was a massive relief after struggling to find a way through before then.

7. Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young have the highest goals and assists in the league this season. With Young missing and Rooney having an off day, it is no surprise this had an effect on the performance. Rooney’s obsession with trying to score a chip drives me mental. One on one with the keeper, he gave it a go, only for the ball to sail over the crossbar, but harder to forgive was his decision to try a chip when Welbeck was waiting for a tap in. United are ahead of City by just one goal. Just put it in the back of the net Wazza, off you’re arse if you must. To his credit, he played some excellent long range balls to the right wing all game but all in all, he wasn’t at the races.

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. bayobuya says:

    I am worried about the power that referees have to completeley, singlehandedly hand matches to some teams. There are no enquiries made afterwards and nobody is supposed to say a word. Everton were robbed and I can see that happening to us very easily on the 15th, a red card to Jony Evans in the 20th minute.
    FIFA should introduce video technology coz some of the shit we see from referees is nauseating and is determining who wins the title. At the end we will be complaining on bloggs but the referee gets away with it, doesnt have to explain his actions and if the Gaffer comments they will slap a three match ban to keep him out of the derby.


  2. bayobuya says:

    I thought Nani was too unselfish by his normal high standards infact there were times after he had romped in a couple of wasted crosses when I wished he could be a little more selfish and try to take players on and go for goal himself.
    That was not the type of game where Chicharito can flourish as Norwich were deep in their half even Berbatov would have thrived better in this one as he can hold up and look for a pass. Danny is superb!

    Am just wondering why Fabio isn’t being considered for rightback?

  3. theRedIndian says:

    Scott how did you forget Giggs’ long balls!! they were things of beauty. i counted atleast three times when he almost played our strikers into 1 on 1 positions. Rooney’s chip effort came from a giggs ball.. although it was a defensive error which finally handed him the chance. Giggsy is in a scholes avatar

  4. What??? says:

    Well said Scott, agreed 100%. Until the starting 11 becomes more permanent we have to be happy being undefeated after these games. Don’t be fooled by these last few games, we’ve shown great character to win them without even hitting top form.

    With Hernandez, he has been slightly off this season but thats to be expected. He was world class for Club and Country last season but he’s only human and has more to learn in the EPL. I’d say his link up play in the final third is one area he can improve on, but at his peak last season he also played some brilliant passing football. He’ll emerge a better player. Meanwhile Danny is meeting all expectations, scoring goals and seizing his chance. He’s much more suited to linking up play and switching positions. and like Gary said he’s got a brilliant footballing brain too.

    Agreed on Cleverly’s importance. I can see how Anderson can frustrate, but 86% pass completion ain’t bad for a shit day v Norwich is it? Eitherway, he must do better, and to be fair he already has against Spurs and Arsenal. The thing is, Carrick plays best with Giggs and/or Fletcher, because its clear who sits back and who gets forward. Its reliable. But Ando in that system has his movement and passing options restricted, because with Tom they both swap roles constantly and cover more ground. One sits deep when the other goes, then they swap and the other player pops up instead. Even when both get forward they retain the ball so well its not a problem for our defence. They look brilliant together, very exciting.

    This international break is perfect timing, as having a makeshift back four hasn’t helped. Also, if Smalling, Vidic and Rio were all fit, maybe we would have seen Jones or even Fabio play some role in midfield to cover Tom. We’ve actually got more options than we think, especially with so many players coming back. If we can go to Anfield with our first choice team I can only see one winner there.

    (Ideally – Rooney, Welbeck, Young, Ando, Tom, Nani, Smalling, Vidic, Jones, Evra, De Gea)

  5. John Tring says:

    That was the worst of the lot so far. I dudn’t think Utd could go one worse after Basel. Defence is bad of course, Rio is history but just how rubbish is Evans? He’s a liabilty and poor Jones had to save the day time and again. Evans was responsible for most goals recently conceded. He’s slow, can’t read the game and purely useless. Midfield is ponderous, Fletcher is going backwards, Carrick can’t run, Anderson is hot and cold in the same match, mostly cold! Why exactly SAF didn’t buy a proper right back and a decent midfielder is beyond all Utd supporters. So, Cleverley is now solution to all ills? How clever is that? All the hoopla and hype needs to give way to hard reality. Man City will be very very strong all through because, player for player, they have the best squad. Utd only have experience and spirit but that can do only so much. Good luck to all of us Utd fans globally.

  6. bayobuya says:

    Rio cannot be a bad player overnight, he just not as fit as he used to be and I think as long as he doesnt have to play every game he is not history. Also think he made a difference coz after he came in the only threat from Norwich was the one he intercepted.Other than that there was a bit more organisation and stability in the back four after his introduction.Lucky for us he has been dropped from England and should be fit for Anfeild. I would like to see Rio in that back four for that game coz experience will be vital.

  7. King Eric says:

    John Tring – Bore off. You used that “clever” line last week. Just tell me one thing pal. How many trophies have won in your managerial career? Cheers.

  8. Fibes says:

    John Tring – Don’t kid yourself that you’re speaking on behalf of ‘all United fans’, you prick. You’re not. Just because mummy didn’t listen to you, doesn’t mean we will.

    SAF will see the job through. Once this next phase of youngsters has been fully blooded you will see exactly why we didn’t buy anyone else in the summer, you will see why we didn’t need to sink to the level of Shitty and hoard a load more players.

    Shitty may individually have the most talented players, but it doesn’t make a team, they’ve paid little attention to the character of the players they bring in, their season will fall apart before long. Yet, look at United’s summer signings in terms of character, what they add to the team:

    Ashley Young – works hard tracking back, his game is all about service and delivery. Gives 100% every game.

    Phil Jones – Conan. Talented as, but also humble, feet on the ground, very likeable. Will run through brick walls for the team.

    De Gea – Remember that penalty save against Arsenal, how all the United players crowded around him? Can you imagine a reaction like that for Joe Hart? Or if Balotelli/Bellamy/Argie Troll score? Didn’t think so.

  9. King Eric says:

    Fibes – Tring is a bitter mate, we worked that out a while ago.

  10. WillieRedNut says:

    @Denton 3.16

    Not De Rossi! Energetic, I said. Young and hungry. De Rossi doesn’t fit that bill. ;)

  11. Marq says:

    The one thing I wish will happen immediately. Rio to quit the National team. He is already not playing much for us, what makes him think he can still do it for both club & country?

  12. AK47 says:

    Jonny Evans was diabolical!!! I can’t believe the way he defended at times, going to ground when there was no need to, ending up with him being left for dead.
    He was defending as if he was a centre forward who’s playing in defence.

    The lad needs to up his game!

    Anderson’s passing has gotten wayward, it’s every since David Pleat wrote that article in The Guardian, his passing has gone awry.

    Valencia needs to put the ball in the box quicker, he takes too long to put a cross in.
    Nani had an off-day and we struggled, Giggs came on and we improved.

    Rooney and chico were poor, but to be fair, i don’t think they were fit. Rooney should have had a penalty though.

    I thought Fletch had a good game, getting minutes under his belt is doing him wonders.

  13. wiuru says:

    The Dippers are convinced they have won already ,we have been so poor .

  14. stpercival says:

    Anderson needs to lose some weight. He looks a bit fat, this may be affecting his game. Nice header, but long term…I dont think he is going to cut it. He has played well with Tom C, but its too early to tell how that relationship will work out long term. We keep saying we a need a CM, but he is our CM.

  15. mp says:

    I think Roony should be dropped off the starting XI after his bad performance last sat….if SAF rule apply to everyone.

  16. mp says:


  17. Jd says:

    denton davey

    Hi, A nice stat there fella, but I would be careful about using these
    types of stats to prove a player had a good game. Those stats are very
    misleading especially when used in isolation. If a players passes the
    ball backwards 2 yards to their defence it counts as a completed pass
    yet it really hasn’t told you anything about their game at all, when you
    can clearly see passing the ball backwards 12 times in a game and
    getting 100% passing doesn’t make them a great player. Plus pass
    completion often shows as much about the person receiving the ball as
    passing it.

    His touch looked off and his short forward passes went badly. I agree
    with you about the Norwich defence, but that is what lesser teams will
    do. A united player – esp of his quality – should be able to unlock
    these defences.

    I also agree with you he needs to run at them more as it is a great
    strength of his, but I’d like you provide further analysis of why you
    thought he didn’t have a poor game


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