Monday, May 18, 2015

"Review on Manchester United performance V/S Arsenal, 1-1, 17 May 2015”

United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Mata, Blind, Herrera, Young, Fellaini, Falcao.

United subs: Valdes, Blackett, McNair, Di Maria, Januzaj, van Persie, Wilson.

Arsenal XI: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.

Arsenal subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Rosicky, Wilshere, Walcott.

It is definitely an improvement in terms of table position for Manchester United comparing to last season under David Moyes. But the display from the team is rather disheartening as the final scoreline is 1-1. Chris Smalling wore the captain armband for the first time in his United's career in the absence of regular captain Wayne Rooney and deputy Carrick. Despite the good start in the first half and leading by 1-0 with a goal from Herrera in the 29th minutes, the performance from the team in the second half wasn't good enough or unlucky to hold on with the lead. The stand-out player from the match is the consistency and performance of Ashley Young although the sparkling combination of Herrera and Mata is worth mentioning. Fellaini does what he does best, and he was also involved in the build-up leading to the goal scored by Herrera.

What a sad ending to Falcao United career when he was taken off in the 60th minutes for Van Persie! Although he will be fondly remembered by the fans but it just did not penned out the way he would have wanted to be. And I won't blame him for not scoring enough despite his huge wage during his loan stay for a season. It is just that his entry into English football was kind of late and his comeback from the serious knee injury doesn't let him be the fearsome striker he used to be. He would have loved to score judging by the way he started the match but the team style of play was totally not in sync with his movement. Unfortunately, his pace was also slow for a traditional number 9 striker and therefore, the chances of him scoring keeps on diminishing as the match progress on. It was a nice standing ovation from the crowd when he was substituted. At least, the fans will fondly and proudly say Falcao used to play for United.

The main problem with the match is the lack of experience defender and a goal scoring striker. Midfield is alright as of now but it should be OK when Michael Carrick returns although it won't do no harm if United can bring in Vidal or Strootman in the upcoming summer window. The understanding and combination between Mata and Herrera is an advantage for the team. Their understanding was quiet noticeable during the match especially in the first half and the lovely exchanges of one touch football in the 48the minutes of second half was an absolute delight. Fellaini in the starting line-up is like United playing with 12 players because he such a threat to opponent penalty area. When Herrera scored the goal in the first half unmarked with the cross from Young, two players of Arsenal were marking Fellaini instead of one.

In the defence area, Smalling, day by day is transforming into a reliable centre back for United but his partner Jones is rather falling in the company of Johny Evans. In fact, there were two instances of Jones which could have altered the result in favor of Arsenal. That is why; United must pursue Matt Hummels at any cost in the upcoming summer window. Valencia, effectively managed to keep Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez ineffective during the course of the match. Although his pace is quiet terrifying but his final cross is the weak link to his play. I hope he turns up good with his crossing as his full back position in the team will be up for competition in the new season. I'm not sure why Marcos Rojo was replaced by Tyler Blackett in the 73rd minutes. After all Marcos Rojo was doing his job well. Unfortunately, the replacement produced the own goal by Blackett from the shot of Arsenal's Walcott in 82nd minutes thereby making the scoreline 1-1.

David De Gea again produced a wonderful save in the second half of Arsenal's Giroud close range weak strike. All the talks of David De Gea signing for Real Madrid obviously panic the crowd because he has been performing consistently throughout the season. And if not De Gea match saving saves during the entire season, United winning the fourth position in table for champion's league could have gone either way. I'm still hoping he will sign the new deal and stay with United for many years. It seems De Gea was injured during the match and he was substituted by Victor Valdes playing for the first time for United in the 74th minutes. And sadly, Valdes didn't have a clean sheet debut because of the deflected own goal from Blackett. Anyway, it was not his mistake.

I'm rating the team performance two and half out of five because the match should have been won but a draw is not a desirable result in Old Trafford especially for the fans.

The upcoming and the last match of the season for Manchester United is on 24 May 2015 against Hull City (Away match). The Match will start at 7:30 PM (IST).

Thank you. Have a good night!

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