“They was Robbed!”By: Ian | September 3rd, 2012
Ok, with a match as dramatic as Utd vs Southampton yesterday, the most important thing in a review is to focus on the real key issues, the elements of the occasion that held the most influence. So it is impossible not to mention the presence of new signing Nick Powell on the bench. Could he possibly make his League debut?…Oh, no, wait,…that’s page 5 of my notes….
For Sir Alex’s 1000th League game, a trip down to the south coast was arranged as a little treat. Pensioner weekend breaks are very popular there apparently. Sir Alex was having none of that however, and instead insisted on playing the local side. In that vein, the team were sent out to hopefully mark the event with a nice win. De Gea was dropped for Lindegaard, to give the former a break after the 3-2 win against Fulham and Van Persie again led the lineup.
The match began at a nice tempo, with Utd pressing forward encouragingly. A lofted ball from Carrick over the defence bounced away off Van Persie’s shin, but the momentum was promising. Southampton, as league newcomers, had unfortunately not been sent a copy of the script and a whipped cross into the Utd box allowed Lambert to rise and nod past Lindegaard. The cross was very good, but Rafael was playing too narrow and given his height, the striker got the ball with ease. 1-0 to Southampton, and deservedly so.
Utd didn’t have to wait long for an equaliser. A driven cross by Valencia saw Soton’s right back slip to allow Van Persie time to control on the chest and volley into the goalkeeper who kindly deflected the shot into the corner. This would not be the first slip of the afternoon on a wet pitch for which Clyne had definitely picked the wrong studs. 1-1.
Lambert went close again with a nice volley and so did RVP with a too-high curler and a close free kick. Evra also forced the keeper into a save from a header, but he isn’t due a goal for at least a few more seasons by defender rates. The end of the half tailed off and the score was declared level at half time.Two early second half chances fell to Utd through Kagawa and RVP, but it was Soton who restored the lead from a floated cross. Evra slipped and Schneiderlin nodded home. 2-1 to Soton, with no complaints from Utd’s point of view, they were the better side. Utd’s passing game was second-best to Southampton, which was surprising praise indeed to the newcomers and their fight.
Cleverley and Kagawa left the action to be replaced by Nani and Scholes. And given the game’s dynamic change, I would not say RVP was the man of the match (a statement agreed with by the man himself). It was Scholes who completely changed the action. His first pass led in Van Persie to force a decent save. The keeper then made a error, allowing Nani in and for Van Persie to be felled in the box. Penalty!
Usually, the first notion a keeper has that he has encountered a Van Persie penalty is when he sees a replay of it on Match of the Day. So, there weren’t many expecting anything other than a powerful blast into one of the corners. What we saw was a casual chip, non-central, that was palmed away. They look excellent when achieved, like Pirlo in the Euros, but the player looks like a complete idiot when they don’t. Utd did not look like getting anything at this stage.
Chicharito came on for Welbeck, something that should have been the case at the start, and he nipped through for a good chance. His pace started causing gaps to appear. Deep into normal time, a Rafael cross found Ferdinand who headed against the post, but Van Persie was there to tuck in the rebound. At least we got a draw out of nothing.
Someone clearly started passing around the Champions League 1999 posters, because a fortunate corner into stoppage time found Van Persie lose his marker and power past the keeper. Cue delirium and a hell of a lot of deflation for the Southampton players, who gave all they had, but Utd finished the game with another 3-2 win.
The penalty miss became irrelevant. Why RVP chipped it we shall never know, nor does he apparently, but that doesn’t matter now. Three points. The passing game, despite Kagawa’s attempts, was not good enough until Scholes’ introduction. The manager seems to have current faith in Welbeck, but I personally think Chicharito causes more problems for defences and deserves more games and starts. The defence, despite looking like one now on paper, is still doing its Swiss Cheese impersonation, so for all the goal-scoring euphoria, our goal difference has now increased 100% to 1. As tasty as comebacks are to watch, a more comfortable win against Wigan after the international break would be nice too.
Your thoughts below please. Posts will resume after the international break, which I would say might disrupt Utd’s fluidity and momentum, but we haven’t seem to have found any yet.