Ten-man Manchester United ended their season in disappointing circumstances after narrowly escaping from the game against Hull City with a 0-0 draw.
United did make a good start to the match and went close to opening the scoring after three minutes played when Wayne Rooney fired in from 25 yards out. The shot beat Steve Harper but unfortunately for United the ball hit the crossbar. At the other end, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone both wasted good opportunities for Hull.
A dramatic few minutes then burst the game into life. An error by Victor Valdes allowed Paul McShane to tap in but the goal was chalked off for offside. Valdes then produced a fantastic stop almost immediately to deny Ahmed Elmohamady before Hull had another goal ruled out by the linesman’s flag.
After the break, Ander Herrera spurned United’s best chance of the match thanks to a superb block from Michael Dawson moments before Hull’s David Meyler somehow fired over from 15 yards. Steve Bruce’s side continued to create chances and really should have finished one but they couldn’t find a way past Valdes, despite the sending off of Marouane Fellaini late on for a stamp on McShane.
“When I die and they lay me to rest, I’m going to go on the p**s with Georgie Best!”
As ever, United’s away support were in fine voice at the KC stadium. Despite there being nothing riding on the game, the fans were in a jubilant mood. Best, one of United’s greatest ever players, would have celebrated his 69th birthday this week and the supporters paid tribute to the Northern Irishman in the best way possible. George Best, the name says it all.
In the space of 60 seconds, United fans saw the best and worst of Valdes. First of all, the Spaniard spilled Robbie Brady’s free-kick before the ball was eventually tapped in by McShane. Fortunately for Valdes, the goal was ruled out for offside. Moments later, the 33-year-old somehow clawed away Elmohamady’s goal bound header. Valdes may be required to replace David de Gea next season and fans will be hoping he is a bit more assured next term.
Angel di Maria
What a disappointment he has been. Not just in terms of performances or attitude, but the fact that he’s wasted his world-class ability this season. The Argentine would have been delighted to start against Hull following a hugely frustrating campaign but he found himself going off after just 23 minutes played due to injury.
In many ways, the short appearance summed up Di Maria’s season. Awful.
Rooney could count himself lucky not to receive punishment after he appeared to kick out at Brady after the ball had gone. Not the first time in his career, the 29-year-old showed a lack of discipline and another referee may not have taken such a lenient view of the incident. Rooney has undoubtedly done a good job in his role as captain this season but he must still remember to keep his temperament in check.
The Belgian has enjoyed a fine season but his stamp on McShane towards the end of the match was disgraceful. Fellaini will now miss the first three games of next season, which may in fact be a blessing in disguise for United. Van Gaal’s side have often reverted to lumping the ball at his head this term, so his exclusion may force United to find a more expressive way of playing.
Yes, there was little at stake for United on Sunday but that can be no excuse for what was a remarkably mediocre display. If Hull had finished their chances, the scoreline could have easily been an embarrassing one for United. That being said, it could have been worse. Look at the Liverpool result!