Sometimes the tale of the returning man doesn’t always work in the way you would want it, when that man is on your team. It was the case today as Henderson was given a start over De Gea against the club he duly served for two seasons prior. A poor touch in front of his goal and a good press from Oli Burke meant that McGoldrick was able to put the hosts ahead. This tale, however, is something that Man Utd have told all season. We came back and came back hard. Rashford smashed in the first, Martial poked in the second and Rashford came back for his second, which Ramsdale fumbled in. For the majority of the game, the passing moves that we littered throughout the match was beautiful. Yet we almost ruined it when McGoldrick also got his second, courtesy of Lindelof heading the ball onto him. In the end, Henderson made up for his error with a last minute save that again gave us all three points on the road.
On The Road Less Travelled By
Call it lazy, crazy, great mental fortitude, whatever. This United side have done it the hard way on the road, giving up the lead on all six occasions throughout the season. While a recurring theme of sluggish starts is a horrible habit that this team needs to shake, their ability to continually find a way back only bodes well. With all due respect however, the opponents on the road have been Brighton, Newcastle, Everton, Southampton, West Ham and Sheffield Utd respectively so the strength of opponent may play into this quite stunning fact that United have broken the history of being the first PL side to go behind and win six consecutive games. An encouraging fact from all of these is that outside of Brighton and the first half of West Ham, they were not games that the Red Devils were largely outplayed in. Even when you look at the nature of the goals, three were set pieces (Brighton, Southampton, West Ham) and two freaks (Newcastle and Sheffield Utd). The reasons why it keeps happening? Well the mental side of the team not being completely ready or partaking in a spot of overconfidence has been addressed ad nauseum. In terms of player quality, you may look at the lack of controlling figure marshalling the middle of the pitch, to bring some calm to the opening mins of the half so that the opposing team doesn’t get a leg up in the preceding thirds before advancing and punishing in our defensive third. With regards to the tactics, the lacklustre press we have so far employed under Ole will just add to the home side’s intensity. What the main issue might be is anyone’s guess but United are taking the road less travelled by when they go away from the Theatre of Dreams and it’s not making all the difference but that difference is enough.
The science behind it is boring but the crux of making electricity is with magnetic poles. Tonight, we saw that the magnetism between the offensive partnerships was able to create some electric football. While we have bemoaned creativity being lacking in quantity, quality and variety, when the best players we have are all on song, there is seldom a team in the country that can withstand it. The first shock to the Blades system wasn’t even the first goal but the first chance, as Rashford latched onto one of Bruno’s many wonderful passes, he skewed it over the bar but the blueprint became clear. It’s the bread and butter movement of any attacker: the short burst into space, once you have bent it correctly to stay onside. The latter part was difficult for a while but then came Lindelof’s lovely lofted lift, which Rashford showed the utmost respect by producing the velvet touch a certain retired Bulgarian striker would have been all too proud of. The signature Rashford Romp followed and Man Utd were level. Bend your run and burst into space on contact of the ball was the modus operandi again for the second but it was Martial this time, missing his first strike but getting the reward for his movement by being presented with the chance to poke in and put us ahead. It is something we have been asking from for the pair for a while. Both are very good at making the outside to in run off the left hand side when there is quite a bit of space to stretch their legs but the other patterns of movements have not been there on a consistent basis but it was tonight. Not just for the goals but in creating space for others and creating angles for passes down the channels to take us up the pitch, it was very good from them both in that regard and hopefully it is something we saw more of in the future.