Monday, 25 May 2015

DAMP SQUIB

Well that was energy sapping wasn't it? We tried and failed to kid ourselves that Manchester United would put up an end of season ball of a performance to sign off 2014/15 and yet the reality was that a team devoid of motivation to go for the kill was always going to, well, not really go for the kill.


Louis van Gaal, probably in defiance of any suggestion of having settled on formation, sent out United in a 4-1-3-1-1 with Daley Blind as close to the back four as Phil Jones' shadow. Victor Valdez made his full debut whilst Angel Di Maria made a rares start wide left in a somewhat mish-mash shape that saw Ashley Young inside-left.

Suffice it is to say that for all the pace and attacking intent in the team, United hardly got going. Take Wayne Rooney's first half shot that tipped over the crossbar and Ander Herrera's couple of drives out of the highlights reel and you will be left with pretty much nothing else of note regarding United. Except of course the season wouldn't be complete without Marouanne Fellaini getting himself sent-off at least once. The elbow-heavy Belgian has had a few let off this season but it was hard to make a case for his defence this time when he stuck one in, late, on Paul McShane. Given the size and hence obvious weight of the hair-laden number 31, it was easy to see why his victim needed all of 8 stitches before he could resume play. Louis van Gaal rightly slammed his second substitute and confirmed that he would start the season in the stands. For Marouanne, his sole prayer should be that United do get to miss him in August, for he has made it easy for the manager to work around his inclusion in what could yet be a new look team at the start of next season.
It was awful for a lot of the players on show yesterday. Victor Valdez and his central defence plus Ander Herrera were probably the only ones that deserved a pat on the back. The former Barcelona custodian showed all his experience in dealing with more pressure situations in a match than he would have in all of his time at the Camp Nou. His performance was topped off by a couple of top class saves that did enough to blur our memories of a first half clanger in which he dropped the ball from a cross. He did do enough though to win the highest rating on the day. 

Angel Di Maria lasted all of a few first half minutes and had to be withdrawn because of a hamstring injury. It's fair to say this league has taken a right old toll on him. Wayne Rooney, just from injury, had another stinker of a game in what we have come to believe as his best position, upfront while Adnan Januzaj tried to to flicker but was all too often repelled by the sheer raw effort of Hull.

There shall be a wider and more contextual look into Manchester United's season this week but little of it shall have anything to do with this particular game. The job was done well before yesterday and the verdict on Louis van Gaal was handed out last week. There is no point therefore in looking any more into Hull vs Manchester United yesterday if only because of the damp squib it was.

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