Last night, for one of the first times this season, I was on the edge of my seat. The football was flowing and we were playing at a higher tempo. If you were a neutral, it was no doubt a terrific game to watch. United were good value, and over the first 60 minutes looked the more likely team to go on and win the game.
Valencia and Blind both went missing for the first goal, and Blind was giving the ball away carelessly in dangerous positions, but overall United were playing exciting, attacking football, and scored a great equalizer with a stunning cross from Di Maria perfectly finished by Rooney.
At the break, I was thinking a United win was on the cards. We had put in an 8 out of 10 performance over the first 45 minutes – maybe my highest mark of the season so far. Then stupidly struck. What was Valencia thinking? He placed a perfect pass to Welbeck, giving De Gea no chance, and Welbeck slotted the ball into an empty net.
So now, with 30 minutes to go, we had to go in search of another equalizer, which I nevertheless thought would come. In fact, whilst totally peeved at the way we conceded, I still thought we would win the game. Of course, I hadn’t accounted for another moment of madness by Di Maria. OK, the yellow was maybe a little harsh, but he went down way too easily, and in truth I don’t think the ref made a bad decision in the 95 minutes. To tug at the ref’s shirt was just pure stupidity, and not only cost us this game but could potentially cost us that top 4 place. Until that point, I thought Di Maria was looking a little more like the player we know – probably because we played at a higher tempo that most definitely suits his game.
We have won many games this season that we haven’t really deserved to, conjouring up points without any danger of excitement. Last night was more like United – we played some good stuff, and overall we were unlucky to lose. I don’t know which you would prefer – personally, last night gives me more hope than many of the victories we have had this season, and if United play like this, improve where they are vulnerable and make the right signings, I will be behind the manager all the way. But if we lose playing that boring football and fail to get top 4, I am really not sure I would be backing him for another go in the United hotseat. If he does fail us this season and he’s given another chance, I just hope he knows the players he wants – players who can keep us on the edge of our seats, rather than sending us to sleep.