United haven’t lost at Villa Park since a League Cup match in October 1999, which resulted in a 3-0 win for Villa. I say this as if ever United could’ve come a cropper at Villa Park since that night, it would’ve been today. Everton and Newcastle have both recently lanced long held unbeaten records at Old Trafford for United. With those results in mind, it wasn’t beyond the realms of ridicule that Aston Villa could end another long unbeaten run for United. That was the feeling ’til just after kick off.
United beat Shaktar Donetsk last Wednesday night in as low key a game as you can imagine at Old Trafford. Maybe the midweek result, courtesy of a rare Phil Jones goal, gave a United a badly needed confidence boost,something that had been badly lacking in the previous two games. The talk quietly emanating out of Aston Villa fans before the game was that United were there for the taking. There weren’t many United fans of my acquaintance who disagreed with that opinion. What nobody had banked on was just how bad Aston Villa would be. I’m sat here scratching my head like Stan Laurel wondering how Villa have somehow managed to beat both Arsenal and Man City. From what I saw today, Villa are garbage.
View from my seat amongst the Villa fans in the Witton End, as Wayne Rooney is about to take a late corner for United
Continue reading Behind Enemy Lines – Birmingham 15th of December 2013
Last Saturday, West Bromwich Albion beat United in a league game for the first time since March 1984. At half time yesterday, Sunderland looked like exorcising another long standing hoodoo when they were winning 1-0 and looking good for their first league win against United since March 1997. Three minutes after Sunderland went into the lead in the fourth minute, Craig Gardner robbed possesion off Phil Jones in the midfield. If Gardner had been more decisive in possesion, United would have been 2-0 down before they’d even realised the game had kicked off. Emanuele Giaccherini forced a brilliant save from David De Gea in the 34th minute. Ten minutes later, Giaccherini shot high from six yards when it was probably easier to shoot on target. Apart from a volley from Nani on 21 minutes, which he fired across goal, United never looked threatening. The second half began nearly as badly as the first, on 48 minutes, Adnan Januzaj was booked for a dive in the Sunderland eighteen yard box. Having seen it again on Match of the Day, it was that poor a dive as to make Ashley Young’s recent efforts look convincing. Seven minutes later, Januzaj redeemed himself by calmly sidefooting Patrice Evra’s low cross from twelve yards, past a stranded Kieron Westwood. On 62 minutes, Januzaj scored the winner with a brilliant volley, low into Westwood’s bottom right hand corner from eighteen yards. After Uniteds erratic start to the season, todays result gives me great confidence that United will be playing Premier League football next season.
United players walking over to the fans after the final whistle (photograph courtesy of Stuart Gwilliam)
Continue reading Walking By The River Wear – Sunderland 5th of October 2013