Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.
Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances I have been VERY lax in reporting what is going on in the Manchester United world. Not to make excuses, but part of the problem was that I was just getting over the shock of how the last season ended. Not the championship of course, that was determined in early May…but the retirement of the greatest manager in English football history caught me by surprise in a big way. We went from having a manager going in for surgery to no manager, to a new manager in about two days. It was a whirlwind couple of days for those of us in red.
Then of course there was the “Rooney Saga”. Most all of the daytime soap operas, or as my mother would call them, the “stories”, have been cancelled, but after all the drama in the off season, it appears that the stories have been resurrected using the Premier League as a background. First Rooney asked for a transfer. Then he didn’t. Then he was going to PSG. Then he wasn’t. Then he was going to Arsenal, but who really ever believed that? Then he was definitely going to PSG, no wait I mean Chelsea. And all the while United kept saying he’s wasn’t going anywhere, which turned out to be what happened.
So, without going into excruciating detail here’s where we are so far:
I’m starting with a rant here. I know that the BPL schedule is supposedly generated by computer randomly, but I really don’t think it would upset tradition too much to allow the previous year’s champion to open the next year at home.. allow them to raise their banner and get the new campaign kicked off in front of the home fans. This is hardly a new idea, many sports leagues around the world do it this way. Let’s throw this tradition in along with the new goal line technology that finally moves the EPL into the 20th century (better late than never I guess).
The opening weekend at Swansea City could not have gone better for United. Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck scored two goals each, three of which may end up as goal-of-the-year candidates: Van Persie’s brace, Welbeck’s chip. Bony got a consolation for Swansea late to deny De Gea a clean sheet, but all in all a good beginning.
David Moyes (affectionately known as “not Sir Alex”), after continuing the tradition of United managers complaining about stuff, matched wits with Chelsea’s new-ish manager Jose Mourinho. Neither came away with the win as the teams fought to a scoreless draw. Chelsea was very content with the draw, which became drearily obvious over the course of 90 minutes. Both teams were more concerned with keeping their defensive shape; the majority of the few scoring opportunities went United’s way. It was a disappointing watch. This match was an early opportunity for Moyes to announce his intentions, but he played more to “not lose” than to win. Moyes did seem to make a statement by putting Rooney in his starting XI against the squad he was supposedly about to transfer to, which appeared to put the rest of the rumors to bed. For better or worse, Rooney will be a Red Devil this year – it all hinges on whether or not Moyes can appease the moody Rooney.
“Where have all the goals gone?” For the second week in a row, United failed to score – though this week it cost them the full three points.
It was excruciatingly hard to watch United try to respond to Daniel Sturridge’s 4th minute goal. Rooney was ruled out of the match with a head injury that he got during training, and the midfield had no answer for the Liverpool pressure. That is not to say that United had no chances; Welbeck, who has already played much better this year, put two on goal, but unfortunately right at Mignolet, and RVP just missed a corner from Giggs that he should have put in the back of the net. Probably the best chance of the day happened right after the break when Young gathered in a ball that Liverpool failed to clear, but his half-volley was deflected by Glen Johnson. Mignolet had an oustanding match in goal – this would have been a 6-1 United victory in the Pepe Reina era.
This past weekend David Moyes finally got his first win at Old Trafford as the manager of Manchester United with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace. In fact it was his first win ever at Old Trafford.
Robin van Persie started the scoring with a PK after Kagisho Dikgacoi fouled Young in the box. There really was not much the referee could do but award the kick as it was pretty obvious. Then Rooney got on the score sheet as well with a brilliant free kick. Rooney was in the staring XI rocking a chic, Petr Cech designed headdress. His free kick was a thing of beauty and really sealed the deal against a relatively-game Crystal Palace side.
Since I started this entry with a rant, I’ll finish with one as well. Hopefully, the management at United will do a better job in the January transfer window than what they came up with for the summer one. Fellaini? I’ll try to reserve judgment, but it is not going to be easy. I’ve always thought him a punk frankly, but I guess it is better that he be a punk for us than against us. Lump that in with the Rooney saga, the failed signings, and Arsenal nabbing Mesut Ozil… Sure was a long summer.