Manchester United 4 (Evans, Evra, van Persie, Hernandez), Newcastle United 3 (Perch, Evans OG, Cisse)
Happy New Year. Seven points clear atop the Premier League after 19 games this season. Any fan who isn’t happy with that is one deluded individual. It might not have been the most vintage of seasons from a performance perspective but we are certainly playing well when we need to.
Manchester United have fallen behind in 16 out of 27 games this season, but have only lost five. We have recovered 24 points from losing positions.
Our form this season hasn’t come in full games – I see our best form coming in certain periods in every match. There are plenty examples of this. Aston Villa away, Newcastle at home and Southampton away spring to mind. This current team is not built to win matches 1-0, it is built to simply score more than the opposition, no matter what it takes.
It has certainly made for a thrilling season so far and if it can combine with the return of a fully fit Vidic, it will have all the hallmarks of a title winning team.
Groundhog Day. Bill Murray might not be in this particular version but Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are. Ferguson once again went for a midfield four that included both Scholes and Giggs. Unsurprisingly, we were poor.
Newcastle strolled it in the first half with us having no tempo in the midfield. It wasn’t until Tom Cleverley came on to give us energy in the middle that we started to dictate more of the game before Javier Hernandez popped up with the winner.
It is starting to sound like a broken record now but Ferguson simply can’t play with Scholes and Giggs in the same team any more. They don’t have the legs for it. Giggs’ 20 minute cameo performance against Swansea surely showed Ferguson how to get the best out of the Welsh veteran. The same goes for Scholes who really thrives when United need a game changer from the bench. Although, Giggs did improve considerably in the second half in fairness to him, so credit to him for that.
Hernandez may have saved us with another last gasp winner but to avoid us getting into that position in the first place, Ferguson needs to put more trust in the youth and use the veteran experience at the right time.
Javier Gunnar Solskjaernandez. Another dramatic game and another late winner from the Mexican magician. Hernandez has now scored five goals in his last eight appearances for Manchester United as he continues his rip roaring form this season.
He has shaken off the name tag of being a super sub with his goals from the start and in the midst of Robin van Persie’s stratospheric rise at Manchester United, Hernandez is making sure fans don’t forget about him. His infectiously positive attitude and smile is so refreshing to see and it isn’t hard to see why fans love Chicharito.
There is nobody else in the squad you would rather a last minute chance fall to than Hernandez. His natural goalscoring ability is just wonderful and he is such an important member of the squad. Rumours have been rife of him potentially moving to Real Madrid – no thanks. We’ll keep our little pea, cheers.
Goalkeeper tombola set to continue. David de Gea has been putting in some good performances recently but I would be surprised to see him start against West Brom in three days. In the past two games, his parried clearances have dropped straight at the feet of Michu and Perch who have made no mistake.
I’m quick to praise De Gea when he has a fine performance so his mistakes have to be highlighted too. You can argue that Carrick’s misplaced pass was as much to blame but De Gea has to do better with his parried clearances. Lindegaard is likely now to get the nod against Steve Clark’s impressive West Brom on December 29.
Carrick continues to orchestrate. It was his pass, bypassing six Newcastle defenders, that Hernandez latched on to to score the dramatic winner at the end. It was a beautifully weighted ball, a work of art but not out of the ordinary for Carrick, who does it week in week out.
Quite how he is so criminally underrated is beyond me. Without him, our midfield would be non existent. His game is about ball retention, breaking up the opposition and protecting the defence, not about orchestrating our attacks. That is why the partnership of Cleverley and Carrick is so fruitful because they compliment each others game styles like Yin and Yang.
He was one of my players of the season last year and has continued to do the job nobody else wants to do this year. He is Manchester United’s Mr Muscle, and long may he continue.