Fire in the belly!

One of the most rousing comebacks by Manchester United in 2019 has to be beating Southampton last night. What was encouraging was the grit and determination shown by players who have got an opportunity to shine in the time of injuries.

Lukaku for all the right reasons had to take a good part of the blame for the first half of the season due to a dip in form and fitness thanks to the World Cup in the run up.

Nevertheless, players like Dalot, Pereira, Scott and Romelu have really upped their performance. Lindelof is king at the heart of defence.

For the first goal though, I thought De Gea was slow off the blocks. Despite it being a really good strike, I would still expect De Gea to get something more despite being blinded by Shaw. Nevertheless, he was beaten by a class free kick from Ward Prowsie.

Moving to top four in the fighting manner that we have means we go in with confidence to Paris. However champions league seems done and dusted. It does give some players an opportunity to play in the big stage and build for the season ahead.

Dogged when down

Having watched all the build up to the game over two hours, as I packed my suitcase for my flight tonight, when I finally started watching, this was not exactly the first half I expected.

Players falling one after the other. I am not going to discuss much of the first half that has been a stop start affair. Four injuries and interruptions. This is Liverpool’s game to lose now. But this is Manchester United, so let’s see how the second half pans out.

Second half was all about game management. All the players who had the opportunity to come in did a fantastic job. The work rate has been absolutely massive.

Probably for the all buildup, the only man of the match was injury, but it’s gone better for us than for them. GGMU.

First draw in Ole’s reign

The moment I read the lineup against Burnley, I knew, this was going to be trouble. Of course having played two back to back games with nearly the same squad, rotation was no doubt going to happen.

But it has been a while since Romelu spearheaded an attack. Despite his world cup heroics and his bulking up, he has been a shade of his last season and World Cup form. Having been dropped and Rashford taking the opportunity to lead the attack with both hands, he essentially did not have a way back into the team.

But what was pivotal in this game was the lack of movement in midfield and the link up from defence to forward line.

Mata offered a different dimension, but the dynamic football exhibited by the pacy forward line and the skilled box to box Pogba, was not on offer today. Rom offers little up front nowadays. Even balls which are booted up to him, he struggles to even keep defenders at bay. It is amazing what a dip in form he is having.

In open opportunities in the box, he is left wanting. He needs a break, but looks like it will be a break from being a MUFC player soon, the way things are going. It is solely up to him now to resurrect his career or soon he will be done playing for this jersey.

The lack of impact became all the more obvious when Jesse and Alexis came off the bench. The impact on the game was instant and direct.

Of course the scenes would have been different had Rashford scored some lovely opportunities early on. But should we really push for a third place finish, Rom is likely to be of use only off the bench.

Seven wins in a row!

I was planning to write a review up yesterday but stalled as I got occupied with work. One of my colleagues ran into traffic and couldn’t make it to work on time.

I did not watch much of the first half and certainly missed both the goals. I caught up in the last half hour of the game. What I did notice though was the players of the attacking mentality were tiring up a bit.

Nearly naming the very same starting line up from the Spurs win, Ole wants to keep the momentum rolling. That is why I believe it is essential for us to kill off teams in the first hour so that the players can have bit of a respite with keep ball or ringing in the subs.

Some of the players also end up unnecessarily picking up knocks, like Rashford opening up his knee towards the end.

While the nervousness was palpable when they pulled one back, our keeper was never really troubled. I have waited really long to see Victor lead the central partnership and it’s good to finally see a manager allowing him to play his style of defending.

Young continues to put in unbelievable shifts for his age at RB. Dalot exhibits the usual naivety of youth. Lingard is just brilliant as a false 9. He has the best one touch football in our entire attacking line and had he been in the positions Pogba had to strike the ball yesterday, there was no doubt at the bare minimum, the keeper would have been worked.

Pogba was a bit off the mark yesterday. And Albion did bring in changes in the second half that did effect our performance.

Nevertheless, its good to be back in the mix up top and fighting. Arsenal thumping Chelsea means the doors is now wide open to top 3.

Tottenham Manchester United January 13 2019 Review

Team News

We have pulled up a proper attacking line up up front with clearly pace written all over it. With Ole’s intent to solidify defensively, it is highly likely we are going to play on the counter attack.

First half

Spurs look to play their natural game. We play absolutely solid with men behind. There is no crazy fever going up, but the press from midfield and above is massive.

Players demonstrate plenty of confidence moving forward and also on the ball. The series of good fixtures and solid wins has definitely confidence oozing with all players demonstrating good quality on the ball.

Whilst Spurs seem to demonstrate more energy going up front trying to create chances, the stoppers Matic and Herrera have been solid so far.

Ashley Young is yet again leading from the front, solid in defence. De Gea’s distribution though has been awful so far.

Just to culminate the half, an absolute peach of a spread from Pogba to send Rashford on the clear. His first touch is brilliant. One on one he has only one corner to attack and he does it brilliantly. What a beautiful strike.

One has to admit, Ole has literally unlocked Pogboom. The idea to play Jesse through the middle. If I were to say, out of Martial, Rashford and Jesse, Jesse has the best first touch. And with the pace and commitment they burn, oh boy these boys are absolutely loving it in Wembley!

Spurs really suffering with Winks and Sissoko in their lineup. Stark drop in quality in that team. Injuries always impact results.

Pogba unlocking defences, with Martial, Rashford and Jesse to choose from. Who is Lukaku?!

0-1 HT

Second half

Tottenham have started strong understandably. United needs to cope with the pressure. We need to score the next to put this to bed. Killing time is a good start.

De Gea twice called into duty. Kane had a Rashford moment, but with poor shot precision, doesn’t beat the Spanish keeper. I just love how powerful and a box to box player Pogba is. The complete midfield package.

Young delivers a peach and Pogba stays at 6 yards to head it straight to the keeper.

Passing under pressure at close quarters has been top notch from United. Absolutely killing the ball with the touches. United is beautifully dictating play now. Pogba is growing more and more dangerous in the second half.

The second half is fiercely competitive and the game is swaying with chances on both sides. Such an enthralling and captivating game. De Gea keeping united in it so far. Difference is the lack of incision of Spurs on goal today and the dogged perseverance of the United backline.

Nothing pleases me more than watching a keeper catch a free kick. De Gea on fire! United needs to stay dogged and play keep ball up front. The performance of De Gea today seems to be the turning over his abysmal world cup form which he carried over to club with a series of outstanding saves in the second half.

I am running out of space for the number of saves De Gea is pulling off!! I think second half will be remembered only for the doggedness and resilience United offered.

Ten minutes to go and Dalot is coming on. Looking forward to the tactics now. We need 3 points now. Nothing less.

With the changes both teams have made, looks like they both have run out of gas. Only an error is gonna lead to a goal now.

De Gea De Gea De Gea …. unbelievable. Spurs keep finding his feet.

And yes. We eventually pull it off. 6 wins in a row. Beaten a top 6 team. #GGMU