- What a fantastic game of football this United-Villa encounter was on the first day of 2021. End to end stuff especially in the second half had fans of both teams on the edge of their seats for sure and it was a spectacle for the neutral supporters. United were better for most of the match but Villa also had their patches of superiority and they never threw in the towel. There has been harsh criticism for OGS by the media in the past two years and sometimes also from United ‘fans’ but it is fair to say that the project Ole has commenced two years ago is starting to take shape. Forget the results for a second, and also forget the improvements being made in the Academy set-up, what Ole has brought back from the Ferguson era is the attacking mentality this team plays with. There is genuine belief in the players that they can score one goal more than the opposition and they are always looking to go forward and put the opposing team under pressure when we have the ball. Ole has given back to the fans the excitement of watching our favourite team by setting the team to play ‘the United way’. Kudos.
- I am also liking the substitutions being made by the Manager. McTominay was not at his best today and United needed some experience in that midfield. In comes Matic who played an excellent half an hour in trying to control Jack Grealish. Five minutes from the end, Daniel James is introduced for Bruno and maybe some United fans raised their eyebrows – Ancelotti comes to mind – with United holding a slim advantage. James came in on the left side of United’s midfield and clearly his task was to nullify the overlaps of Matty Cash, the Villa right full-back who was a real threat to United’s defence. Then in injury time, Tuanzebe replaces Fred – another majestic performance by him – and the substitution had two objectives. First to slow down the match and ease a bit of pressure from the players, and second to add extra inches to United’s team in the last couple of minutes at a time when Villa were expected to start throwing in crosses from all over the pitch. United managed to see off the Villa pressure and now reach the same points tally of Liverpool at the top of the table.
- Special mention for two players today. Eric Bailly may have found himself a couple of times out of position when defending but he was magnificent in the last minute of injury time to block a certain equaliser from Davis of Villa, just two metres from goal. Fantastic play. The second mention is for Paul Pogba. Since his agent opened his mouth to say that Pogba will leave United soon, Paul started producing again for United. Against Villa he had a hand in both goals. Paul released Wan-Bissaka on the flank for the latter to assist Martial in scoring the first goal, and was fouled in the box to win a penalty, which was converted by Bruno. At times during the match, he was unplayable, spraying the ball to colleagues over the whole pitch and constantly looking to release teammates. On this form, it’s going to be difficult for Ole to keep him out of the team, unless he intends to give him a rest.
Looking forward to receiving your thoughts on the Facebook page. GGMU!
Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.