Last OT match for 2023 ends on a positive note

Man Utd 3

Aston Villa 2

The last match of the calendar year at OT gave us a 5-goal thriller at OT with United emerging winners after being 2-0 down at HT. Given the recent form, there was a sense of deja vu when Villa went ahead after 21 minutes and it seemed all over when 5 minutes later they went 2-0 after our defence, once again, was static and conceded from a dead ball situation. This United side needs to take a serious look at the defensive set up as we are leaking goals from every situation. Add to that that Onano does not seem much better than DDG in commanding his box and we’re in some serious trouble.

I do not know what happened in that dressing room at HT – whatever it was, as opposed to previous matches, it worked this time round! United were aggressive from the start and although we did create some chances in the first half, we absolutely went for it in the second. I saw high press and energy and we started going forward with an urgency that was unseen so far this season.

We thought that we had pilled one back when Garnacho rounded the keeper and scored on 48 minutes but it was riled out by VAR. Ganacho was not to be denied on the night and on 59 minutes he slid the ball through. 1-2 and 30 minutes to go. We can do this, I said to myself. 12 minutes later Garnacho’s shot was deflected and it was 2-2 as OT erupted. Surely we can’t come from behind and win it? I actually feared that we would sit back at this stage – not on the night.

On 82 minutes, Hojlund finally scored his first goal in the EPL when he reacted quickly and beat the Villa keeper to his right. You could see what this goal meant to the boy, and his teammates celebrated with him, as did OT, and as we did at our supporters club in Gozo.

United held on for a great comeback win that will give some respite to the manager. We need to be more tight at the back and this is something that ETH should address on the training ground. If we show the same energy shown in the second half on a consistent basis, there is room for hope.

Let us hope that this is somewhat linked to the SJR effect and a new era is about to start – maybe I am being too optimistic at this stage, but we have to keep the faith.

Saturday away at Nottingham is another test…NUMQUAM MORIBIMUR!

Robert Mizzi Blog Numquam Moribimur