Well I can’t tell you anything about cooking now, partly because I just wanted to start this whole thing again, and I wanted to write something quickly – so it is just a short (but hopefully interesting) opinion about the situation.
Just to make it clear and start with something easy – I can’t say that I am satisfied, not at all. To begin with, I said when the fixture list was published that United needed to be in the first four (or in the first three, rather), after five matches, so against Swansea (h), Sunderland (a), Burnley (a), QPR (h), Leicester (a).
Not because of the good results of the summer tour – I don’t really count those matches, we were very determined, but others didn’t, so forget that. Beating Swansea and Sunderland should be done nicely but not easily, then a game against newly promoted Burnley away, which is a bit harder but can be done, QPR at home is a must, and Leicester, well there apply the same as in the case of Burnley – with an exception that one of them may be drawn, as it can be hard to play in the opening part of the season against promoted teams.
And that leaves us with 15 or 13 points, with what we would be top of the league. We could have lost even another three and would still be in the first three. And just to count those points again – it means that even with the lost match against Swansea, we could easily be there, in front of Chelsea (or at least close to them).
So that was my plan for the fist five matches – but not for later on. I expected more points lost on the way later and I expected us finishing in the first four, probably on the fourth or with a bit of luck the third by the end of the season.
And that didn’t go that well at all. We are sitting in the twelfth place, which is worse than the Moyes-year, as we all know.
Still, the future is much brighter, I think. We had a much better summer season – not talking about the matches but about the signings. To start with LVG – the difference is quite obvious to Moyes. After the latter’s five matches the air was starting to thicken around him, he was slowly loosing the team, and he was loosing the grip and his stance – somehow the more game passed the less he knew about his team and about how to turn things around.
The fifth game of the season, and that thrashing at the hands of the neighbours. He had a hard five games, Swansea (a), Chelsea (h), Liverpool (a), Crystal Palace (h), City (a), but from a year’s distance it is all too easy to see the signs. Easy with the contrast you can see if you watch LVG now.
Seems like in LVG we have a manager who has a plan prior to the match, he can change his plan during a match, and he knows what went wrong and what needs to be addressed after a match. Well, as I didn’t immediately wanted Moyes out after the first five games, I would not get carried away no, either. Five easy games (well, compared to those a year ago), and we don’t have many points, spent a hell of a money during the summer and we score enough goals, still don’t win enough – and that leads us to to main point and the fault of the summer – defence.
Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo. Both of them to the left. Minus Rio, Evra and Vidic. And Keane, who plays during the summer, leaves on loan.
And now, before the West Ham match, we are left with Rafael, Shaw and Rojo because of injuries and suspension.
Anyway, the chemistry seems much better than last year, and it is much better since the QPR game. Even that last one v Leicester was a beautiful one – most of the time if you score three away, you can win that match. Clattenburg fucked it up, yes, but still, even after a penalty like that a team like United should be able to… blah-blah-blah.
So. Defence will be a problem, though not that big than one would think. Blackett is the winner so far, Rojo will improve, Shaw will get his chance, Rafael is good, Evans can be much better, we all know, well, Smalling, he can do good things – and if Carrick comes back to form he can be used in the middle of the defence. Not to mention Phil Jones – just hope that he doesn’t get injured that often.
So, we just have to score more than we concede. Easy one?
(Picture from wikipedia)