After a first half of such incompetent tedium, a very pissed off United following roared 4-4-2 and Attack, Attack, Attack-Attack-Attack from the upper tier of the School End at Loftus Road. This was a statement intended to ring in the ears of the United players as they walked off the pitch. Watching the first 45 minutes, it was difficult to see who exactly was in a perilous relegation battle and who had aspirations to play in the Champions League next season. It was a diabolical first half performance
QPR last beat United on New Year’s Day 1992 in a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, the day after Sir Alex Ferguson’s 50th birthday. It was a match that nobody who was present at will ever forget. At no point yesterday did they look anywhere near repeating that feat. On 22 minutes of what was, until then, a cagey game, Ryan Giggs robbed Adel Taarabt in midfield to feed Robin Van Persie, whose shot was parried by QPR’s Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César. Rafael followed up with a first time shot from 25 yards which has to be a contender for goal of the season. It was a goal that reminded me of his compatriot Éder Assis. If he had been wearing his native colours of Yellow and Blue instead of the Red and Black of United, we would be seeing that goal every fifteen minutes on SKY Sports with something like Black Magic Woman by Santana playing in the background.
(1) David De Gea
David De Gea saves against Athletic Club at Old Trafford
By the half time of David De Gea’s first class debut for United at Wembley in the 2011 Community Shield, he’d made two bad mistakes which had given City a 2-0 lead. The following week he’d made another bad error against West Brom which had contributed to their equaliser and the knives were already out for him. Undoubtedly a good shot stopper, his lanky physical presence and his early reluctance to assert his authority in the penalty area had people thinking United had signed another Massimo Taibi. Every keeper makes mistakes but any new keeper who comes to Old Trafford is going to be immediately, unfairly and virtually always negatively compared to the two great United number 1’s of the recent past, Peter Schmeichel and Edwin Van Der Sar. De Gea made further expensive mistakes against Basle in the Champions League, Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup and against Blackburn Rovers for which he was dropped immediately after. A couple of weeks later, De Gea had an inadvertant stroke of luck when the solid and reliable looking Anders Lindergaard, who’d taken De Gea’s place, suffered an ankle ligament injury. I believe this was the turning point for David De Gea. Since then he’s looked a better and more confident keeper and he’s made some outstanding saves, most memorably in the last minute at Stamford Bridge from Juan Mata and at Ewood Park with three world class saves in the first half alone. For all the doubt expressed about David De Gea in the first half this season, only once has a mistake of his actually cost United points and that was against Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve. As bad a mistake that was, that day, with the exception of Danny Welbeck, there was a whole team of players in red that had a stinker. I’m hoping our doughnut loving new keeper spends the summer getting to grips with his position at Old Trafford and has a long future there.