Manchester United 2-1 Southampton
David de Gea
Good distribution, seemingly better at getting his point across to the players. Has an absolutely match-winning save at the end from Rickie Lambert’s free kick. Seems much more secure and stakes his claim much more at the back. OK, what am I doing here..? This is David de Gea.. I’m supposed to blame him for something which wasn’t his fault, right? Backpass from Carrick was due to poor communication from De Gea. Has to deal with those better. Definitely off in the summer. Give me Victor Valdes. There.
Billy Meredith/Duncan Edwards/Bobby Robson was having a pretty bad time out there. His defending is good and he’s a mammoth when facing his attacker one on one, but he gets way too eager with offensive runs. He’s not abysmal but he’s caught somewhere between having a mediocre game and a bad one. Leaves acres of space in midfield for Southampton to utilize becomes he gets way too giddy. The youth these days, eh?
Well, where do we start? He’s bossing Rickie Lambert at times only to go missing completely in the aerial game, seems afraid of tackling, rushes out and leaves room in behind him, can’t clear a ball even if his life dependant on it. Was taken off for Rio Ferdinand. And Rio Ferdinand started warming up midways through the first half. And it was only him warming up. No one else. Obvious problem. Shape up, Chris!
Interestingly enough, Nemanja was pretty bad too. He’s not commanding, he doesn’t seem to be feared, he was weak in some of his duels, seemed uncertain of himself and struggled throughout the game. It might be that the injury really has set Vidic back in terms of wanting to go “balls out”, but that was Nemanja Vidic’s bread and butter. It’ll be interesting to see if Vidic is trying to develop a new style of defending due to his physical setback in the way players such as Alessandro Nesta had to. For Nesta it worked like a charm, that remains to be seen with Vidic.
Evra did what Evra does. Overlaps, leaves room, is afraid of committing against the winger, lets off a shot that was nowhere near the intended target, breaks up play a few good times. Still can’t cross into the box, though. Vintage Patrice Evra, in other words.
His intentions are good. You can see the idea behind every pass and flick and trick he does. It serves a purpose. The issue with Anderson is when those things don’t come off the way they were intended. He becomes a liability. Especially when he struggles to track back and become dynamic, as he was today. He can be the brain behind Manchester United’s passing game, or he can be the root to the demise and suffering of many a red heart. Versus Southampton he was leaning more towards suffering.
Now, the backpass was obviously David de Gea’s fault. We’ve established this. I’ll still be a bit controversial in saying that Carrick’s pass back could’ve been harder, there could’ve been more communication. Breaks up play like no one else, distributes the ball well, makes everything tick. However, he was found out a bit in the second half when Southampton applied a massive pressure in the centre. Carrick was caught out a few times. Carrick getting caught is to Manchester United what Homer Simpson is to the chances of a meltdown at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
In the ancient Asia there was a time where no one ruled. In search of their ruler a farmer named Gordias made a knot that was so complicated to untie that he who would manage to this would become the ruler of Asia. Many tried, many failed. In 334 BC Alexander the Great confronted the task. His answer? He drew his sword and cut the knot in half, effectively untying it. He was now the ruler of Asia. If establishing play, making space for yourself, playing througballs to your teammates and patching together a free flowing attack is a Gordian knot, then Shinji Kagawa is Alexander the Great.
Just wasn’t his game. Great a tracking back and really wants to impress but he just can’t come up with the goods. You really wanna see him succeed and somewhere in there there might be a world class player. But he just can’t get it out of him and he tries too hard at times. Makes good runs and could perhaps have had a shot or two on goal but passes it up. Just wants to impress a bit more than he needs to. Struggled.
What does he really do? He scores goals, yes, but does he do anything else out there. Against Southampton you couldn’t really point to anything particular about Rooney except his goals. Which is good in a way but for a player labeled “world class” by many it’s a bit odd. Would have expected him to grab more hold of the attack than he does. Seems to leave much of the responsibilities to the players around him. Didn’t have a bad game but it wasn’t anything astonishing either. Two goals means three points, regardless.
Robin van Persie
For all the majestic touches, beautiful passes and season-defining moments you’d have to expect Van Persie to hit a period in which he’d struggle. That might be now. He’s not terrible at all but he just seems to struggle to get involved. This might be due to having Kagawa and Rooney behind him, meaning he can’t involve himself deeper in the game. It may also be the fact that he often found himself on the wing as is the interchanging system United played in this game. He’s a constant threat, plays through Rooney on a couple of occasions and should’ve scored a point blank header against Boruc. Not one of his best games for United.
Came on for Chris Smalling in the 63rd minute. First involvement is a horribly sliced pass which almost ended up with Southampton being through on goal. Was good on the ball and tried to play United out of defence but to no avail. Seemed a bit too laid back at times but his routine and experience was vital for United in the dying minutes.
Replaced his Brazilian countryman Anderson in the 68th minute. Suddenly the right side seems a bit more secured and Southampton move their attacks over on United’s left. However, Rafael struggled with getting into the game and gave the ball away easily on a few occasions. Did offer a compact choice both out wide and when moving in to defend alongside Vidic and Ferdinand when his winger tracked back.
Coming on in the 73rd minute for Shinji Kagawa. Immediately contributed with width and crosses into the box and was close to getting an assist had Van Persie not been flagged off. Had a 20 minutes for United and wasn’t afraid of helping out on the defensive end either. Though not the best defender, he tries. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.
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