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Reactions To Victory Over Swansea

1. Having lost three games in a row, with the papers telling us we have to go back to 1961 to find the last time United lost four consecutive games, the pressure was on yesterday. The players and manager keep talking about how the results are unacceptable, but very little seemed to be changing. It was so important for us to win today and it’s funny how a dreadful season can make victories at home against midtable opposition feel like bloody fantastic achievements. If there’s any silver lining to our current position, it’s that every goal we score feels brilliant. A 2-0 win at home against Swansea last season would have been met with total indifference. This isn’t a feeling I want to get too comfortable with but I’ll grasp at any positives I can for now.

2. Super Danny Welbeck. There’s no one in the squad I enjoy seeing score more than him and now, with 6 goals in the past 6 games, there have been a few things to smile about over the past few weeks’ doom and gloom. He’s started 11 games in the league this season (played in a total of 15) and has 8 goals and 1 assist to his name. In all competitions, he’s 3 goals away from equalling his best ever season at United, but has played 20 fewer games so far. His goal came after Adnan Januzaj won the ball back for United after Swansea tried to get us on the break. He swung in a cross which Patrice Evra directed towards Welbeck, only for him to use the deftest of touches to beat the keeper. Welbz should have had two goals though but fluffed a great chance in the first half at 0-0. Lovely work between Januzaj, Valencia and Rafael meant it was on a plate for Welbeck, but he dragged his shot just wide of the post. It feels like everything that Welbeck does instinctively, he does brilliantly, but when he is given chance to think about it, he cocks it up. Still, in the absence of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, we are so fortunate to have a player like him who is banging them in.

3. Whilst Welbeck’s effort was faultless, resulting in a standing ovation from all four stands and his name sung when he was subbed off with a couple of minutes to go, Januzaj really stole the show. Having started behind Welbeck, he was pushed out wide in the second half, a role he has grown more familiar with in his first team appearances, and was brilliant to watch. His contribution to the second goal has already been noted, but it was his cross which lead to our first goal too. When he runs at players they don’t really how to handle him and it’s great to see. Having watching Adnan last season, it was clear he was head and shoulders above most other players at their level, but it’s hard to judge where he would fit in at Premier League level. As it stands, he’s the best player we have available by some way. Thank goodness we tied him up on that five-year-deal so he isn’t leaving for free this summer!

4. It may be hard to believe, but during this awful run of results, I don’t think United have played that badly. Or maybe I should say that badly in comparison to how we’ve been playing over the past couple of years. The difference is, with Ferguson at the helm, we’ve had that late push in the last 10 minutes and more often than not get the result we wanted. We haven’t looked good, we haven’t played with anywhere near the urgency you would expect, but I think three defeats in a row paints us in a worse light than the reality. Being entirely honest, that first 45 minutes, at times, was some of the worst football I can remember United playing. There was absolutely nothing going on, with us unable to keep the ball for longer than a pass or two and look entirely void of any passion or determination to get the game won. We still created more chances during this time though, with Januzaj hitting the woodwork with a freekick and Vidic getting nudged in the back to deny him a free header from a few yards out. The turnaround in the second half was huge though, largely thanks to Shinji Kagawa and Januzaj swapping positions, but all of the players seemed to raise their game and that was such a relief to see.

5. Kagawa showed some familiar glimpses of what it is that keeps some fans raving about him and urging others to stay patient with him. In the first half he was fairly awful, like everyone else, but he started pulling the strings more in the second half and playing some lovely balls in. He should have had a goal and assist to his name too, but two fluffs cost him. The first came from Chris Smalling (“he’ll wear what he wants” sung the Stretford End) after Kagawa played in a perfect ball. Smalling has already successfully scored a chance like this in the past, when starting our comeback against City in the Community Shield a couple of years ago, when he beautifully cushioned the ball in to the goal. Yesterday he just skied it over. Kagawa should have scored himself after doing everything right. He got in to great space, he beat the keeper, but then lost his nerve at the last minute and saw what should have been a buried shot come back off a defender on the line.

6. Antonio Valencia will be pleased to have got on the scoresheet again, although it probably would have been harder to miss. Smalling proved that players can miss from positions you would think are impossible though, so thankfully Tony buried it. Kagawa’s header forced a good save and Valencia slotted it away. In front of goal, he’s been far more effective since ditching the number 7, but he isn’t finding our players with his crosses.

7. The support Moyes is getting from match going fans in fantastic. Even at 0-0, when the players were struggling, “now every single one of us, will stand by David Moyes” was sung on repeat. It might not be to the liking of United fans on football blogs and internet forums, but the fans inside the ground, going to the game every week, are getting behind Moyes, just as Sir Alex Ferguson instructed.

8. Awful first half but an impressive second half. It was a relief to see the players with a bit of fire in their bellies second half. Robin van Persie watched from the stands and whilst we’re without him, and Wayne Rooney, we can be pleased with any victories we pick up. Now we have a nice easy trip to Stamford Bridge to look forward to…


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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18 Comments

  1. Gazzer says:

    First things first – I’m first!!

    More seriously, I was very impressed and heartened to see Fletcher play so well – he made everything possible for others

  2. Gazzer says:

    One other thing – Chicharito needs to find something else to do other than to be on the shoulder of the last man and keep getting caught offside. As Michael Owen found out, it’s not enough these days to simply be a lethal finisher – you need something else to your game. About the only time I’m happy to see Chicharito lurking is when the ball is bouncing around in the box and I know he’s going to put it away.

    Finally, Januzaj is giving us something to be cheerful for during what seems like being a long long disappointing season.

  3. m09538061 says:

    Our support showed its class again backing Moyes & the boys even some of the media are saying what top fans we are.I remember the scousers booing and insulting Hodgson.The scouse media mafia never mention that.
    Onwards to the CHAMP20NS league,League cup & maybe just maybe League Title 21

  4. Sparkz says:

    Jesse Lingard one of the 5 young English players tipped to break through this year – http://www.footymatters.com/articles/english-football/premier-league/five-young-english-players-who-can-break-through-in-2014/

    Was great to see him on the bench yesterday. I know Zaha by all accounts hasn’t shown the temperament to play for Utd yet (which is understandable – going from the Champo to Utd is a big step)…..but because Lingard’s come through our own Academy, this shouldn’t be a problem. Same with Januzaj – he was already here for 2 and a half years so he already knows what the club’s about. Hopefully Lingard can follow the same route.

  5. Fletch™ says:

    Welbz is DatGuy over the last couple weeks. Don’t think we could ask more with 7 1st team starters crocked.

    To his credit. Welbeck heralded other, including much maligned Kags:

    Danny: MUTV: “I thought Shinji was the difference in the second half, Once we moved him to the middle he looked like he was at home and he really switched it on for us. He made a massive difference.”
    via the Mirror

    Important for the lads to be supporting each other.

  6. femi Folorunsho says:

    I think We only need to keep winning games to reduce the pressure on us,but not only that, also the fans should never boo the coach They should try and support him.By doing that I believe he will still perform beyond our expectations.

  7. Only 1 Utd says:

    I’m happy to see Moyes is making movements to get rid of the deadwood in the team and therefore if Moyes gets rid of players I’m sure we will see players coming in which I’m absolutely delighted about. Marchisio and Cabaye to replace Cleverley and Anderson would not give us an oustanding and world class midfield but with Fletch and Carrick it would give us something to build on and is good enough to get us in the top 4.

  8. Fletch™ says:

    Sparkz, Top comments on Lingard. Really happy he made the bench for an EPL match although it is clear that with 7 1st teamers crocked you would expect a couple appearances from the reserves.

    Lingard is a top academy product. Hope he gets a chance to show something this year and push on from there. Imagine he will be off on loan next year, but a good look in at the first team always bodes well.

  9. Tommy says:

    1. Winning was all that mattered irrespective of the performance but scoring the goals was a relief to be honest but the win was all important.

    2.Its great that Danny is finding the net more often these days, His confidence is sky high now, He missed a glorious chance 1st hald but the 2nd was a great instinctive finish. Well done Danny and kp it up, Its interestin that Negrado for Cty has scored 1 more goal than Welbz but has played 5 more matches yet everyones going on as if Negrados the best thing ever hahq.

    3.Adnan started coming into his own when he moved from the centre to the left. He wasnt getting much of a kick first half but when him and Kagawa swapped positions their was more fluidity in the team and a high tempo. I must say I also disagree I am a regular at Under 21 games and I must say if someone said last season that Adnan was going to be dominating games in the premier league this year, I would have said your crackers, I am delighted to have been proven wrong.

    4.I actually think the games against the West Broms, Newcastles, Spurs and Evertons etc have been very evenly matched but we havnt had any luck to be losing them, Sure we havnt played well but to lose them all? We didnt really deserve that. Although I think the first half half yesterday was like a chess match and about as exciting as one (Sorry chess fans)

    5. Kags was pulling the strings in the 2nd half and dont see the point of him being wide left hes wasted out their so I really dont want to see him wide left. He should have scored tho and you wont see a worse miss all season than Smallings.

    6. Valencia understands the game better than the other out and out wingers we have, Right place right time thats no fluke he found himself their, He should be getting on the scoresheet a few more times between now and may.

    7. The match going fans are the most important fans (Might be unpopular saying that on here but its true) As long as hes got our support its what really matters its when you lose the hardcore element is when managers lose their jobs, altogether now “EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US WILL STAND BY DAVID MOYES”

    8. 1st half was the worst we have played in a while, 2nd half was the best since Leverkuson!!

  10. Fletch™ says:

    Rumors that Gundogan is talking with United and the virus about a Jan move.

    Assuming Dortmund would part with him, worried about his injury not being properly assessable this soon.
    Hargreaves redux then?

    Rumors that United will be in with a 24m bid. Couple players you might want ahead of Gundo, but probably not available in January.

    Interesting.

  11. tallestreD says:

    Much needed win really. Can we play both halves in every game like we did during the second half of this one? We certainly can. I’ll stick to this line up against Chelsea. Onwards and Upwards

  12. goat08 says:

    @ Tommy.

    Re point 7.

    In point I agree with you and in point not. :)

    1. I think the OT fans are the most important ones as to address what is the general feeling about Moyes (maybe there are chats what could be better) but it is obvious (I am saying that from tv viewer point of view) that they are 100% with manager – and for me this is the indication that he has needed support.

    2. I would disagree that they are the most important of all fans – fans from abroad cannot come on regular basis, some other cannot because of finances, some cannot because stadium capacity is limited.

    Still I think the match going fans are the spine of the fan base.

    As to the game. 1st half made me really worried. 2nd half finally sigh of relief. Hope this will roll for couple games.

    One thing that I would like that some goals now come through the middle of the field.

    Win over Chelsea would be the biggest morale boost this season (this win would be bigger than Arsenal win so far).

  13. goat08 says:

    I would say that I was one that put most blame on Moyes, in other post there was link to great article that put some more thought on this into my head and my views changed a little. I admit to that.

  14. Tommy says:

    @Goet

    What I was meaning was not to disrespect, I meant for the players point of you the fans can be the 12th man and actually boast the players performance by gertting behind the team. Obviously the fans from all over are important certaintly from a monatary point of view but the players cant hear insults from elsewhere only at OT. Its amazing when I hear other clubs struggling and the fans are on the back of the players after 2 minutes of a match I think to myself if you get behind the team maybe you wouldnt be struggling. Our fans are the best in the world!

  15. Tommy says:

    Juventus coach Antonio Conte has insisted that if Claudio Marchisio was to the leave the Serie A champions, it would not be until June.

  16. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Nice to see the fans be the 12th man, as this brutal season comes to the half way point. But this overhall of this so called squad seems really too far fetched, when you rebuild a squad you do not rip apart an entire squad in one go, its got to be a slow process

  17. Marq says:

    I think Scott you missed out on mentioning Fletcher. He did the simple things very well along side Carrick and compared to Cleverley, Fletcher offers that slightly longer passing range that allowed us to stretch the game out wide.

    Without going into the Cleverley “whether he is good enough” debate, I think the best person Cleverley can look up to is Fletcher. When Fletcher first broke into the team, he was nothing more than running legs, a skinny one at that. Heck, Fletcher even got lambasted by the Keane, but he stuck by his game and along with the faith Sir Alex showed in him, he came to the fore to become our most important player for 2 seasons. One would imagine we would have been able to deny City their title if we had Fletcher in the squad, and they might have been in ruins by now if they didn’t win that title.

  18. matrixvampire says:

    The best thing about the game was that Adnan did not fall down on any challenges. That is a good sign. Kagawa has been always good at playing in mid just behind the striker, but can he do the same of teams like City, Chelsea. We might find out next week against Chelsea, if he plays. I am hoping we could get back some injured players back in the team. The subs are not good enough at a moment.

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