1. We needed to win yesterday and we did. There would have been no shame in drawing or even losing to the third best team in the country away from home but, with City winning on Saturday, we really couldn’t afford to drop any points. The pressure that was on the team ahead of kick-off was massive and with the exception of the opening ten minutes, we were more or less battered in that first half. Unlike a team ready to succumb to pressure though, we scored at a brilliant time, just before the whistle was blown to end the half. This was a huge result.
2. In the newsletter on Friday I said that Wayne Rooney had to get us going again and he did exactly that. He has now scored twice against Spurs, City and Liverpool this season and three times against Chelsea and Arsenal. He is is a big game player, our most important player and it is no surprise he scored the opening goal. He managed to lose Kyle Walker from the corner and gave Brad Friedel no chance with his header. It was one of the most undeserved leads I can remember but you aren’t going to complain.
3. Antonio Valencia has been far and away our best winger this season, although stats would suggest that Nani and Ashley Young aren’t that far behind him. Valencia is on 9 assists, Nani on 8 and Young is on 7 after Sunday. After Young’s corner lead to Rooney’s opener, having contributed little else before that point, I wondered whether assisting goals justified his place in the team. Last weekend, Nani and Young were pretty poor all game, but both assisted goals in a 2-1 win. How much do we demand of our players? If we win the game because they assist a goal each, can we be annoyed that they’ve put in an average shift? The debate became null and void where Young was concerned though after he went on to score two goals. The first came from a clever throw in from Phil Jones, who had a game to forget otherwise, and a Nani cross. The ball came to Young and he did really well from a tight angle to put it in at the far post. The second was an excellent finish, one to rival the goal he scored in the 8-2 against Arsenal, curling it in to the top corner. Since his injury, Young has been off the boil. Are we about to see him hit the form he enjoyed in his first few games? Hopefully.
4. At 3-0 up, can you remember a time when we less deserved a scoreline? I could hardly believe it when that third went in. On the balance of play, you could hardly complain if it had been Spurs who were winning 3-0, however, when it came to chances, what did they really do? In the 90 minutes, David de Gea made a couple of good saves, but he was hardly bombarded. We put away three chances fair and square whilst the only goal Spurs managed was from a sloppy Ryan Giggs pass. Was I surprised we won 3-1, particularly after that first half? Yes. But the result wasn’t unfair. We created chances and took them and Spurs didn’t.
5. The one real moment of controversy came at 0-0 though when Emmanuel Adebayor had the ball in the back of the net. The ball came at him quickly, he moved his left arm towards the ball, controlled it with his arm, then flicked it in to the back of the net. If a United defender had stopped the ball from crossing the line with their arm in the same way Spurs fans would have been screaming for a penalty, so let’s just put that one to bed now.
6. I would feel happier if United were hitting good form as well as picking up the points, but the priority has to be to keep winning, and with fairly easy fixtures now, particularly in comparison to City, you’d fancy us to do that. United have dropped just 9 points on the road this season. To put that in to perspective, City have dropped 15, Spurs and West Brom 18, and Chelsea and Arsenal 22. When you consider we’ve played all the top teams away from home now, apart from City, that is a real achievement. I usually love/hate this part of this season. This year, I’m absolutely loving it. Roll on the next game…
Made in Manchester is available for just £3. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.