Reaction: West Ham 2-2 Manchester United – How do we do it?

by Sam Peoples

Robin van Persie. It’s only the start of January and already we are running out of superlatives to describe the deadly Dutchman who once again scored a vital goal for United last night from the bench. Arguably, it was one of his finest goals. He picked a 50 yard Giggs pass out of the air with an elegant, cushioned touch before rifling it into the far corner with his “weaker” foot. Incredible.

Few transfers have ever had such a first season impact as van Persie. We all expected him to be lethal in front of goal but nobody thought he could spearhead the season. £24 million is laughable in hindsight. Right now, who would you put above him in terms of world football? Messi, Ronaldo and Falcao? He’s the epitome of world class and it is about time he earned some silverware.

NB – The pass from Giggs was dreamy. This December, when being used a substitute correctly, he really has shown what he can still bring to the team.

How do we do it? There may be better squads in the world but nobody has the resilience of Manchester United. To continuously come up with late goals, even against the odds, with alarming regularity isn’t luck. A goal never looked like coming yesterday – there was no urgency in the squad, no creation of chances and it seemed that West Ham would win. Then, Giggs popped up with a pin point Hollywood ball that was only bettered by van Persie’s touch and finish.

You just simply can’t write off United in any game. It is what makes United so exciting to watch, that belief in your gut that no matter what, we still can pull a goal out of nothing. It is our trademark that has been on show so much already this season and judging from our early exploits,  the squad is really hungry for successes this year after last seasons disappointment.

Same goal conceded, twice. Crosses and set pieces were always going to be how West Ham scored against us. Their physical approach played into our weakness this season and it was on show again yesterday. However, to concede an almost identical goal twice is extremely poor.

To be fair to Joe Cole, his crosses came in low and hard with pace so all Collins had to do was direct them but he had three yards of space on both occasions. Ferguson obviously put Smalling in at right back to give extra height but it’s not going to work if the players aren’t tight to their men?

De Gea didn’t have a chance at stopping either goal.

Strange game for Rafael. The last time that Rafael played as a right winger was against Arsenal when Fabio partnered him on the left wing. They both had fantastic games, so I thought he could have had a great game against West Ham there. Wrong.

Rafael had little to no service with everybody over hitting passes to him. Smalling didn’t link up at all and Rafael was left isolated without overlapping support. When Scholes was substituted, Rafael dropped back into a central midfield position and looked uncomfortable from the moment he was there.

The introduction of Giggs finally allowed Rafael to drop into his preferred right back position but by that point, it was too late for him to settle. Not his fault at all but he was out of sorts all game due to chopping and changing his role.

Cleverley’s goals. Ferguson told Cleverley that he needed to add goals to his game and he has since duly obliged. Last night’s peach of a finish was his third goal this season and he is really coming into his own in the United midfield. A run of games without injury is allowed Cleverley to properly find his feet and stamp his authority.

Cleverley and Carrick is the best midfield partnership we have at the club right now as they perfectly balance each others style of play. Last season, we saw what potential he had before Kevin Davies assaulted him and effectively ended his season. So long as he can stay injury free, this season can potentially be the full emergence of Cleverley as a key United midfielder.


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