I don’t know what just happened.
Big Away Day Blues
When you look at Man Utd’s form in the big games this season, it has been split essentially between whether we play in front of our own fans or not. At home, with only Chelsea to play, all four of the traditional top six have been dispatched of. Away from home, however, they have been unable to pick up a win. A solitary point, courtesy of Casemiro’s last minute header, at Stamford Bridge is all we have for our efforts. Nketiah struck late to see that we went without anything at the Emirates and the debacle of the Etihad need not to be remembered. So despite the good form, going to Anfield was always going to be a difficult just simply focusing on that context.
Now, when we look at the reasons why United don’t seem to take their form away from home in the big games, there are plenty of reasons. The season has been great considering the point with which we have come from but this is still a team in progress. They are unable to play in enough different ways that a top team can. Right now, this team plays best when games are stretched and it brings the best out of the attacking players we have. The sloppiness on the ball today was up there with the worst of the season. Casemiro was as guilty as anyone and has been throughout the season but usually, there are bits of quality dotted that can somewhat justify it but that was non-existent today. The usual suspects were at it, in Fred and Fernandes, with their shoddy pass completion. Shaw descended into madness in the second half and was lucky to see out the game, via substitution or being sent off by the referee. Martinez and Varane had their worst games in a United shirt today.
If United are to get to the next level then they will have to manage to get through games like today from a tactical and performance point of view but the change in mentality has been lauded just as much and that was probably more disappointing than anything. There are ways to lose football matches and losing a Liverpool game should make you as heated as possible as a United player so in one aspect, seeing the care in that regard is more than we saw last season. The madness that the team descended into in the second half was remarkably bad. The petulance in the team was embarrassing. Fernandes, Shaw and Martinez were criminal. It was disgusting to watch at points seeing the way Fernandes carried himself. At one point, he literally walked back when he lost a challenge. He even remarked about not being taken off at the end. When I began writing, it was 3-0. The fact that it managed to end up being 7-0 is just something that words cannot even elucidate.