Dec 21

Welbeck bursts West Ham’s bubbles

Tag: Match Reports @ 5:28 pm

1153905-18096639-640-360Getting excited about beating West Ham at Old Trafford might be a damning verdict of how far the mighty have fallen this season but, on the other hand, the current campaign isn’t one for people who like to cherry-pick moments worth celebrating, therefore we should all sit back and enjoy today’s positives before getting on with the Christmas shopping.

For there were positives aplenty today.

Apart from the result, which interrupted a two-game losing run at Old Trafford and saw United scoring three goals at Old Trafford for only the second time in the league this season, David Moyes’men offered one of their best performances of the season on home turf, taking the game to their opponents, rather than sit back and wait for something to happen, as they had done against Everton and Newcastle.

From the very start, United’s tempo – a lot higher than in previous home games – and slick passing restored an aura of familiarity about the team, with Wayne Rooney playing off Danny Welbeck as he had done at Villa last week, while Adnan Januzaj and Antonio Valencia provided the width United desperately lacked against Everton and Newcastle.

Moyes’ insistence in placing emphasis on wide players paid off almost immediately as Januzaj’s cross was poorly cleared by West Ham’s defence before falling to Tom Cleverley who, unmarked in the middle of the box, must have thought he had scored, only for Adrian to produce a stunning save to deny him.

A ready-made target for criticism this season, in the last three weeks Cleverley has shown his game possesses a much more enterprising face and after solid and energetic displays against Aston Villa and Stoke the 24-year-old delivered another good performance today and one can’t help but thinking that he’s so much better when flanked by the likes of Phil Jones and Rooney, than when picked in a 4-4-2 formation.

Playing behind Welbeck, Rooney displayed his usual range of passing and set up United’s opener, returning Welbeck’s back-heel flick into the path of the England striker, who calmly finished past Adrian to notch his first Old Trafford goal in 14 months and his third Premier League goal in two games.

Welbeck turned provided soon after as his pass found Januzaj, who sold James Collins down the river, before dispatching the ball past the West Ham keeper to clinch his first goal at Old Trafford, as United looked to run away with the game thanks, in no small part, to West Ham’s abject performance.

Poor as Big Sam’s men were, however, Januzaj’s goal was a moment to be savoured – his dives less so – and was greeted by a raucous rendition of the “He comes from Belgium” chant.

Having almost scored a third, when Valencia – another player seemingly on the road to recovery – skied Rafael’s cross just before halftime, United went close twice in the early stages of the second half as Welbeck was inches away from converting Januzaj’s sublime ball, before Jonny Evans saw his header cleared off the line by Mark Noble, as United had West Ham on the ropes.

An injury to Danny Welbeck looked to have partially spoilt the afternoon as Javier Hernandez replaced Welbeck, before Ashley Young came on for Januzaj and, believe it or not, produced the second cracker of the last four days.

Valencia’s cross found Rooney at the edge of the box, before Rooney slipped the ball to Young who hit it first time, sending it thundering past Adrian – something, he probably wouldn’t have attempted a week or so ago, but the goal against Stoke seems to have got lift his confidence.

United then simply trudged along, until Carlton Cole was criminally played on-side by Alexander Buttner – who had replaced Patrice Evra just moments before – and scored West Ham’s first goal at Old Trafford in six seasons, to give the scoreline a less daunting look.

United’s fourth consecutive win in all competitions was another step in the right direction and one that will make the Christmas roast taste a bit better.


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Tags: Match Reports

6 Responses to “Welbeck bursts West Ham’s bubbles”

  • Welbeck looks like Henry sometimes. Tall, energetic, quick and technical. Some other times he is crap. I still believe in him. His touch and composure were great today and he was roaming all the time as always. I can’t wait to see more of this, cause I really like this guy’s attitude. To my eyes, he is a good kid with a joyous face, ready to do whatever is needed for the team.

  • @Dan
    What exactly was good about Cleverley’s performance?
    Either I don’t know football or I’m watching a different game? I really can’t see it. What I notice is he supposedly under instruction to emulate Paul Scholes by “keeping the ball moving”. For this he has an abundance of “senseless” passing (as if he never has to have the ball). I will give him credit for a high pass success rate – but that is because he never tries anything (typical production factory worker). In that sense maybe he has some “solid displays”…but its as boring as hell.

    • @Karl: He definitely isn’t world class, but I thought that in the last couple of games (vs Villa, Stoke and today) he looked a lot livelier and more enterprising than he had done at any time during the season. I’m still not entirely convinced by him, but I think he’s looked better with Jones alongside him and Rooney just in front of the midfield.

      • @Dan: I think I understand what you’re saying. I agree he does look livelier (in a sense that a person notices him more) but to me still he is like a lively headless chicken because I truly cannot see what his contribution is to warrant his 1st choice inclusion. Maybe I’m just in a frustrated mood??? But my take on his performance (and I watched the game as if I’m playing fifa in career mode with Cleverley as my player):
        ” Another useless performance by Tom Cleverley.
        Poor positioning (defensively and offensively)
        ‘Could not establish who he was marking – if any’
        No defensive cover
        No creative display
        0 tackles
        0 interceptions
        0 positional cover for overlapping players
        0 balls collected from defense
        0 balls carried out of midfield
        0 conversions from defense to attack
        0 attempts to connect midfield to forwards
        0 penetrating passes
        2 good “off the ball” runs into the box
        0 dribbles
        3 forward passes
        20,000 backpasses
        90 minutes of “headless chicken” roaming around ”
        Oh, and 1x good shot on target

    • @Karl: From my point of view… Man Utd performance is improving in midfield because of Rooney is playing deep.

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