That was a lot of fun wasn’t it? How do we not get even more excited about the season ahead after a pretty entertaining and effective display by the youngsters? Without getting too carried away since this is after all, only the second game of the season, here are a couple of quick takeaways from today’s game:
Not too shabby considering we were missing our first choice backline (minus Evra). This was supposed to be our Achilles heel what we a young error-prone goalie behind an inexperienced defensive pairing. Boy, did Jones and company go to work. Our 19 yr old summer arrival from Blackburn played like a true veteran reading the game and coming up with timely tackles and interceptions. He was my favorite signing of the summer and I felt somewhat vindicated (simply because Young was doing so well and we hadn’t seen that much of Jones prior to today’s game) with the shift he put in today. This surely has to signal the beginning of the end for Rio. The thought of seeing Jones and Vidic together in the backline for the next few seasons is a mouthwatering prospect. With all that said, both Smalling and Evans put in admirable displays as well with neither one looking out of place against top level opposition.
He looked more assured than he had been in prior games. Then again, Tottenham didn’t exactly pose the kind of aerial assault that West Brom adopted last weekend. I was surprised they didn’t attempt to drop more crosses into the box and force De Gea to make the decision on whether or not to come out and punch the ball and risk being upending again by some of the opposition. Facing a forward in Defoe’s stature probably helped limit the number of crosses that he would have to face all night. While he looked better than before, it remains to be seen how he’ll fare going against the likes of a Kevin Davies, Kenwyne Jones or Didier Drogba. On a far more positive note, his distribution was accurate and confident. For the most part, he handled backpasses from his defenders with relative ease and displayed a cool head even when a player in white would try to close him down rapidly. He does look like he has a very calm head on his shoulders, which will surely serve him well once he fills out a little more and gets acclimated to the physicality of the English game.
Welbeck & Berbatov
Sure, he looked a little out of sorts in the first 45. But his contribution in the second half was simply amazing and demonstrated the kind of potential that compelled Ferguson to start him ahead of Berbatov for the 3rd consecutive game. A well taken header off a pinpoint cross from the equally impressive Cleverley opened up the scoring for us. He then helped finish a very pretty move with a delicate backheel onto an onrushing Anderson to curl into the corner and effectively end the match as a contest. His pace and constant movement will surely see him get the kind of minutes that he craved after some blistering displays on loan at Sunderland last season.
In contrast, poor Berbatov continues to bide his time on the bench. This after PSG announced that they made an inquiry for the Bulgarian only to be turned down by United. As great of an attitude that Berba has taken to this whole situation, surely he too must feel that a run of Carling Cup games is not the kind of competition he stayed at United for. What must surely have felt like the ultimate insult was to not even get a run out against his former club on a day when the only other forward on the bench with him was one who wasn’t even slated for full recovery until later this month. And even then, the said player (Chicharito) was given some minutes out on the field while last season’s top scorer languished on the bench. How long can Berba stay happy as well as be effective, without getting some quality game time?
Undoubtedly, there were probably another 20 or so positives (Rooney’s performance, Anderson’s continued growth, Young’s impressive start to the season) that we could have come away with after tonight’s entertaining performance. United played in a manner that was so fun to watch that it almost felt like reconnecting with an old friend whom we haven’t seen in years. The United style of play looks to be enjoying a revival brought about by the youthfulness of this season’s squad. It’s back and hopefully, here to stay.