Three points! Just about…By: Ian | August 26th, 2012
Utd got their points campaign off-and-stumbling at Home against Fulham yesterday afternoon. While the three points were taken, there were two very different aspects to the victory which, while boasting an array of attacking talent, also featured a defence as nervous as a man who’s just given the extremely valuable family teaset to Rob Green.
Nani, as expected, failed to make the squad entirely after the Everton match, with Rooney, Welbeck and Scholes moving to the bench. Some fuss was made about Rooney being there, but Sir Alex claims both he and Van Persie just need some game time to get up to speed (a move that has since become immaterial, at least for a month)..the well-fed Anderson, the energetic Rafael and Ashley Young came in to feature.
The game started disastrously with a free kick for Fulham on the edge of the box. Bryan Ruiz slid it across and Duff guided it into the bottom left-hand corner. Young claimed he was pulled over, but it was no more than the usual scrapping in the box for a free kick, and the defending was atrocious, just highlighting, as if it needing doing, Utd’s current fraility there.
There I was thinking our closest rivals this season would be Villa, when up popped the new boy. A powerful cross from Evra found Van Persie with his back to goal. With no right to score, RVP did exactly what we’d bought him for and guided the ball brilliantly on the volley into the top-right, prompting a loud roar from the crowd. A delightful goal that will no doubt feature in ‘Goal of the Month’ competitions.
A slightly alarming moment came soon after, with Fulham’s Petric sprinting in on De Gea, with the latter performing a tidy bit of skill to evade the oncoming striker. Lovely footwork, but you don’t want to see a goalkeeper having to do that too often! Utd got into the lead minutes later, with Van Persie, on corner duty, whipping it in and after a poor clearance, Cleverley’s long range shot being parried into Kagawa’s feet for a simple tap-in. Claims of offside were incorrect and 2-1 stood, with the two goals costing Utd a mere £41m.
Another move, seconds later, seemed destined to finish in a goal, and indeed it did, but an offside one for Rafael. It was marginal, but correct. The Brazilian, who wanted to attack more than entire team did against Everton in the week, was not to be deterred as a Young cross fell to him at the back post to head past Schwarzer. 3-1, and looking comfortable.
Utd, however, seemed determined to make life difficult and, with the second half underway, Fulham suddenly remembering Utd’s defence is made out an Airfix kit. A simple cross was flicked in, and Petric just stood and made collecting difficult, and sure enough De Gea and Vidic got in each other’s way leading to an own goal off Vidic’s heel. I’ll let him off given he hasn’t played for such a long time, and the fact that he is the one defender we have, and the one defender, moreover, who hasn’t really played with De Gea, given his injury. It was a lesson in communication.
This made for a nervy end to the match, with Dembele (he’s like tall – Alan Hansen) causing problems as he did all game. De Gea was called on further, but helped seal the three points.
Sadly, despite only being brought on for the last twenty minutes, that’s all the football Rooney will be getting for a while after suffering a nasty gash from a trailing boot. It didn’t look nice, and it is reported that Rooney will be out for a month. I was going to mention something about the club’s other strikers, particularly Chicharito, getting game time, but this is less important now. The relief is that Kagawa looked excellent and more than capable of providing the play-making skills that Rooney would otherwise provide. Sir Alex stated prior to the season that no one would out-score Utd this year. That may be true, the attack was sizzling at times, but the defenders can’t get fit quick enough to protect the goal difference.
Thoughts on the match below, thanks.