No Pleasing Some People – Manchester 22nd November 2014

This was a great win for United. Lucky, very lucky but a great win, and the luck has been overdue this season. Arsenal can (and knowing them, will) moan endlessly about the referee, Mike Dean, missing Marouane Fellaini’s push on Kieran Gibbs. This in turn led to United’s first goal, and then to Wojciech Szczesny’s rib injury. They will, like Match of the Day, conveniently ignore Jack Wilshere sticking his beak into Fellaini in the 30th minute. This was twelve minutes after Wilshere had sniffed at a chance of putting the home side in front when one-on-one with David de Gea.

United fans celebrating outside the stadium after the match

The longer Arsenal went without scoring, the more the anxiety rose within their team and supporters. United, with an inexperienced and makeshift defence, were in a state of siege in the first half. David de Gea was again outstanding. When United went in front with a Kieran Gibbs own goal in the 56th minute, the home side and fans visibly lost heart. The goal, which came from an Antonio Valencia ball which he just clobbered across the Arsenal box, was as comical in much the same way that Manchester City used to concede daft goals. Valencia’s delivery, (it would be too generous to call it a cross or a shot), was so far off beam that for a split second, I believed that Danny Welbeck was back in a United shirt. The goal, which went in off Gibb’s shin could be described as a smash and grab, but that doesn’t give it due credit. I don’t believe I have ever seen a side play 56 minutes of a match and go a goal in front without having a single shot on target all game.

With Arsenal frantically chasing the match, United got a break in the 85th minute reminiscent of the way Cristiano Ronaldo used to terrorise the Gunners. Fellaini fed the ball to di Maria, who in turn slid it past Nacho Monreal to leave Wayne Rooney a lone forty yard run at Damian Martinez. The Scouser made no mistake as he lifted the ball past the Argentine keeper. Rooney returned the favour to di Maria in the fourth minute of injury time to leave him one-on-one with his compatriot in the Arsenal goal. Di Maria tried being too clever and dinked the ball wide when he should have put United 3-0 in front. A minute later, Olivier Giroud scored a belter on a half volley from a Mikel Arteta ball to beat de Gea on his near post.  

As per usual, United fans travelled down to London in great numbers. Both The Coronet and The Hercules Tavern on Holloway Road had a happy and noisy contingent of Reds in them pre-match. Some United fans had gone down to the match in fancy dress. This consisted of (amongst many others) wearing horses head masks. Maybe some locals thought Ruud van Nistelrooy was amongst them. Others had a look on their faces of utter disbelief. All of it was a good laugh.

Getting home, I watched a re-run of the match on SKY. Hearing Martin Tyler’s commentary when United scored was like listening to a news reporter describing a funeral. He was gutted. It was a beautiful sound.

The equine division of the Red Army in the World’s End in Camden   Before the match, some of you may have been worried about the injuries to United players during this excuse of an international break. We shouldn’t worry though as on Tuesday, Ed Woodward had some good news for us. Daley Blind might be out for six months with a knee injury, but you’ll be delighted to know that since the Dutch midfielder joined United, his Twitter followers have gone up by 72%.  

Which lead to this belter from Daniel Harris:

Other great news to come from Woodward is that Angel di Maria and and Radamel Falcao have seen a massive increase in Google searches for their name (as shown below):

This made me feel a hell of a lot better when I saw the ‘tackle’ on di Maria from Nani when…(sentence could not be completed due to medical intervention)

United went into this match with a crippling injury list. Daley Blind, Radamel Falcao, Marcos Rojo, Rafael da Silva were amongst a catalogue of names unavailable. The feeling amongst Reds was almost unanimous before the game – a draw would be a decent result against an Arsenal side that hadn’t lost at home in the Premier League since August last year. This was a fantastic result for a United team that haven’t won an away match since beating Newcastle United 4-0 at St James Park last April. The win was ground out through the brilliance of De Gea and the resilience of half a side that were playing out of their natural position.

Ashley Young replaced Luke Shaw in the 16th minute with United’s back to the wall against a rampant Arsenal attack. He was brilliant. Fellaini also had an excellent game. He imposed himself and was the nuisance of a player that he was at Everton. Arsenal didn’t know how to deal with him. Both Fellaini and Young have had their fair share of criticism in the red shirt so it’s only right to say how well they did at Arsenal.

To my amazement, I’ve seen and heard some of my Red brethren moaning about the performance. A 2-1 win against Arsenal away from home with half the friggin’ team injured? No pleasing some people. Whatever happens on the pitch though, you can’t beat life as a travelling Red.

7 thoughts on “No Pleasing Some People – Manchester 22nd November 2014”

  1. Too right, it was a great result Murph. Let’s hope it instils some much needed confidence to kick start the rest of our season. I’m at a loss to think any fellow reds could fail to be impressed with that win with the team we were forced to put out .

  2. Anyone who complains about a victory, any victory, no matter the circumstances, has had little to do with football at any level. The ‘beautiful game’ is what yo dream about. 3 points with half a team missing is the real thing. The patch work quilt that was our defence, should be proud of themselves. Lucky? As above, you get nothing without it. But tactically I was impressed. Get used to the Reds playing in the formation to suit the opposition. When a full squad is available, we could ‘really shake em up’ with a cup run. Confidence will grow from this. This was no fluke. It was f,,kin hard graft that won those points. PS any thing that gets up sneers Morgan’s ample nostrils is fine by me

  3. What a day. What a 2nd half performance.

    Little sub-note: There were as usual hundreds of ticketless reds who travelled with no real hope of getting in the ground. Tickets were gold dust. However one lad who doesn’t want to be named managed to sort himself one, and then decided to pass it on to another lad who, in his mind, “deserved it more”. Incredibly unselfish thing to do.

  4. Cheers Murph.
    possibly the most one-sided first half since the 2005 cup final, then on about 30 mins we seemed to realise we are allowed to attack, too. Thought thre three at the back all deserve credit, although i’m yet to be convinced at playing with three at the back. Some paper report gave them 5, 5, and 6 (blackett) out of 10. Ah well. De gea was again spot on.

    Should do them the world of good in confidence and hopefully we can start to put a run of games together with a similar team, but not holding my breath on that front.

    Maybe it was the international break, but it felt like a new start yesterday and a big win, the boozer i was in was absolutely rocking, which, considering the league is pretty much gone, suggests we think something could be just around the corner.

  5. VG got this spot on. More Sexton than The Doc, but just what we needed. Every one seemed to be of one mind. Not pretty but we should applaud this show. Van Persie was not his self, but he stuck to his task. A different game a different plan. Good blog Murphy.

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