Saturday, 23 September 2017

Southampton vs Manchester United post match

      Manchester United have beaten Southampton Football Club at the St. Mary stadium in a rather tight match at the south coast of England. It was a tough and hard fought win to go second on the table behind City who won their game 5-0 against Crystal Palace. Chelsea are also maintaining pressure on the Manchester clubs with a tremendous 4-0 away to Stoke City.
      The game started with on a mediocre note but we had the better chances throughout the first half. We took the lead in the twentieth minute when Lukaku converted his own rebound off Forster. It was a brilliant cross whipped in by Ashley Young who is looking like a good fit at left back. We did threaten after the goal but it wasn't enough to double our advantage. Southampton had a couple of shots on goal but nothing to bother David De Gea.
      In the second half, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly had to put in an extra shift to keep Southampton's incessant attacks at bay. It looked exactly reminiscent to what happened against Everton and Swansea but this time, we sat back for the entire game. When the token Martial for Rashford substitution was expected, Jose subbed in Smalling much to the surprise of the fans and Pellegrino alike. That was the movement that set the tone for rest of the game. It was a typical Mourinho move to defend the slim lead and the boys at the back did it splendidly. It did give a few nervy moments which included Fellaini clearing the ball off the line.



      Today, let us talk about the team as a whole. Because unlike the previous games where all the plaudits were shared by the frontline and Matic, this time all the players worked hard for the result. Today it looked like a proper team effort as opposed to Lukaku, Martial and Rashford banging in goal up front.
      De Gea turned up every time he was called upon and and made three vital saves. He kept a clean sheet which showed that he did his job to the tee. Well, nothing lesser was expected of one of the best goalkeepers in the world. It is an absolute shame that he didn't make the FIFA three man shortlist. Bailly and Jones were nothing short of splendid and put in world class performances throughout the game. They were called upon multiple times during the death. Our fullbacks were a let down as compared to the rest of the team. It does feel a bit unfair because Young played the cross for the winning goal but they did allow Tadic and Redmond to cut in a lot.
      About our midfield, it feels redundant praising Matic and Fellaini every week but what a game those two played. They never let our defence be isolated and were involved in winning the ball back every time Southampton pushed up front. As mentioned before, Fellaini also cleared a ball off the line in the second half. Our attacking midfielders for today were Mata, Mkhitaryan and Rashford. They, along with Lukaku did their job well by getting a goal but today was more about the defence than the attack. So that would make my man of the match Phil Jones for his brilliant resilience.
      When the final whistle was blown before my heavy sighs of relief, a few doubts did come to mind. Even when Southampton were hogging possession, we did break a couple of times and with the adjustment of a few details, we could have scored. But why did Jose show Southampton respect and sit back. In my opinion, there was no need to bring on Smalling. We could have brought Martial on and finished the game off.
      Yes I do know that we can not play mint football every week and get 4-0 results. The league is long and sometimes we do need to churn out a result. But this time it looked like Jose was taking this risk on purpose and that was unsettling. What if Romeu's shot across goal had gone in? It was probably to test the mentality of the players as we have a tough October coming up. Either way, it was sad to see us sitting back while City were scoring 5 past Palace. Anyway, that is all for this time. Our next game in the league is against Palace while City host Chelsea. So that is a consolation right there. Onto Palace!