Manchester United 3-1 Hull City
The last home game of the previous season, of course, saw us celebrating our twentieth championship and bidding a fond goodbye to Alex Ferguson. No championship this time, of course, but the goodbyes to departing club captain Nemanja Vidic were loud and heartfelt. It may be the last time we see Ryan Giggs in a Manchester United shirt too, although his performance when he brought himself on as a second half substitute suggested he could produce at least another year of occasional performances of some distinction.
For his last home game as interim manager, Giggs surprised many by elevating James Wilson and Tom Lawrence from the Under 21s. Following his excellent performance at Liverpool last week, Lawrence unquestionably deserved his chance and certainly didn’t disappoint, but Wilson, an outstanding prospect, snatched the opportunity with both hands, scoring two goals before being replaced by Van Persie in the second half.
His first came when he pounced on a Fellaini nod-down from a Adnan Januzaj free kick. The tactic had almost worked earlier in the first half and it beggars belief that Fellaini hasn’t been used more in this way on set-pieces this season. While his performance was again fitful, he clearly looked more comfortable in a more advanced role and he had a hand in Wilson’s second too: Januzaj’s surging run down the right led to him setting up his fellow Belgian, whose show was parried by Jakupovic only for Wilson to dispatch the rebound.
A fine long-range goal from Fryatt brought Hull back into the game before Giggs came on to play a significant part in securing victory. His pass to Van Persie allowed the Dutchman to restore the two goal margin and he almost got on the scoresheet himself, an excellent free kick brilliantly saved by Jakupovic.
With Louis van Gaal set to be announced as Manchester United manager next week, his Netherlands side through various world cup bets are going into the tournament as 33/1 to lift the World Cup. Ryan Giggs is set to be announced as Louis van Gaals number 2.
The match on Tuesday night was one of those occasions that was about far more than the game itself, but one that was unquestionably lifted by the performance of Januzaj. As well as having a hand in both of Wilson’s goals, he was easily the most dangerous player on the pitch and his performance, along with his young colleague’s brace, emphasised the considerable talent that exists at youth level in the club at the moment, suggesting that the answer to the Reds’ on-field problems may at least partly exist within the club rather than solely in the transfer market. We’ll see. For now, we at least ended a dismal season at Old Trafford on an emotional high.