Man United 1-0 Real Sociedad: sign of things to come with some partnerships?

Author: Doron

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It’s strange how Europe has so far has been a welcome distraction from the attention that’s come with the side’s league form. Against Leverkusen and Shakhtar United were good and with Real Sociedad coming to Old Trafford, expectations were that United should be winning this one. Moyes made four changes from Saturday with Valencia, Giggs, Kagawa and Hernandez in for Nani, Fellaini, Januzaj and van Persie. We welcome comments from all fans.

Evans and Jones – the future?

On Saturday, amongst the gloom we singled out Evans’ performance as being one of character, quality and leadership. For the second game running he was paired with Phil Jones and there are emerging signs of some understanding and potential between them.

In many ways the pair complement one another – Jones the more physical and Evans the slightly more controlled. Both are quick, strong in the air and more than able and determined to carry the ball out of defence. Whilst Evans has the better timing and sometimes the better reading of the game, Jones has started to show that he’s capable of bullying strikers and like Vidic, he’s determined to ensure he gets to the ball first by whatever means necessary.

At full time, Rooney was quick to praise the defence, marking them out ahead of any of the attacking players. It was a well-earned clean sheet and Sociedad’s forwards were restricted to efforts from distance on the most part. With Ferdinand and Vidic both injured it’s more than likely this pairing will start again on Saturday and another good showing against a notoriously physical side could see the emergence of a new first choice partnership.

Giggs goes on and on and on and on

We (the blog) or maybe more accurately, I, have been only too quick to point out when Giggs has had poor games, usually in the middle. It’s only fair then to acknowledge a contrasting, ageless performance from the centre of the pitch.

The way the games go means that what happens in the second half performance-wise, tends to get remembered as the benchmark for describing the overall performance of a player. Giggs’ second half was at times phenomenal – he made use of the space that opened up as the game got stretched and combined that classic body swerve and style of running with telling passes and flicks that came off. As if being transported back in time, there was more than one occasion where three or four Sociedad players were left trailing in his wake.

That said, his first half had been iffy – shown by his much improved ball retention in the second half (83% passing accuracy vs. 91% passing accuracy). At times he’d played other players into pressure or much like Aaron Ramsey last night, tried to dribble his way out of trouble in a dangerous area. However the improvement as Carrick sat deeper and space opened up was noticeable and he started to control proceedings in the second half with no signs of fatigue. One of those performances that makes you appreciate the fact he’s still playing – a joy to watch even now at nearly 40.

Kagawa and Rooney show class

With just over ten minutes to go, Hernandez was replaced by Ashley Young who went out to the left hand side and then it happened… Kagawa actually played in the number 10 role behind Rooney. To that point, Kagawa had already been influencing the game positively. Whether he’d been told to drift in from the left or he’d done it naturally, it was working and he’d been linking up with team-mates well, creating chances and should have scored a couple of goals himself from being in the right position and a well-timed run.

Until Kagawa’s move centrally, Rooney had been in that role, playing with the freedom to express himself and influence those around him. His mazy run and shot created the fortuitous goal early on and he’d been at the heart of everything that was good about United. He looks lean, fit and seems to be happy which is enabling him to play some really good football of late (last Saturday seemingly a rare exception).

When Kagawa came centrally behind Rooney the excitement levels went up a notch. Rooney suddenly became a threat even further forward, bursting past Sociedad players like he was 19 again. His link-up with Kagawa in particular was excellent as Shinji started to pick up the ball in great places and find space with ease – it suddenly became so obvious to see why this is his favoured role. With van Persie rested, United oddly looked much more mobile and the movement up front was better. It allowed us to use a proper attacking midfielder, albeit briefly and it was great. The intelligence of the play between two good footballers may just provide Moyes with food for thought although it would be wrong not to acknowledge that Real Sociedad really didn’t put up a particularly testing challenge.

Conclusion – still not clinical but it was fun!

One nil scorelines don’t always suggest entertainment and excitement but that’s what United gave to the fans tonight. Moyes managed to get the side playing quick, attacking football and if he was to criticise the team for one thing in particular it would be the failure to get that second goal again. It should have finished up as a win by four goals but just the one, Martinez’s comical own goal early on was enough in the end.

Like Kagawa, it was better from Antonio Valencia too on the right hand side – crosses, pace and power were even countered by some subtle flicks which are very unlike him. More of the same against Stoke on Sunday please – the same intensity, the same pace but just some better finishing. Somewhere round the corner we’re going to beat a team by a good few goals and it’ll feel like a weight off everyone’s shoulders.

5 Comments on Man United 1-0 Real Sociedad: sign of things to come with some partnerships?

  1. All round solid performance by the lads. Very unlucky numerous times. Kagawa pure class in last half hour or so. Buzzing for the lad. Needs a consistent run of games in his preferrered pos and he’ll flourish. Rooney valencia evans all very very good. Same can be said for giggs in the 2nd half continues to prove his crtics wrong. Thought carrick was quite sloppy at times. So too was rafael. Actually thought smalling did better than rafa when he came on to be fair. Hernandez disapointing. Goodwin. PLeased for the lads and moyes but kets not get ahead of ourselves here. I expected more from sociedad. They were pretty average to be fair. Encouraging signs though. Zaha?? Wonder what the lad has done to moyes? Mystery!! Such a talent wasted! Onto stoke now and 3 points is a must obviously. Good luck lads

  2. I feel it was clear that when we purchased Kagawa, the idea was to play him behind Rooney in the same way that they did in the last ten minutes of last night’s game. RvP’s unexpected arrival at the end of that transfer window would have pushed that plan aside and Fergie, having just lost the league on goal difference, took the opportunity with both hands. Naturally the arrival of RvP meant that Kagawa and Rooney would have to compete for one role, and so it was Kagawa who was sidelined, or who played a bit-part role in the season much to many people’s frustration.

    It’s quite strange how many people don’t see having such great options as a positive, not something to deride the manager about. It’s been virtually impossible to fit them all into the same team.

    My feeling is that if we wanted to accommodate all three players into the starting 11 it would have to either be by playing a “christmas tree formation (which then requires width from the fullbacks – and for the start of the season we were without a proper right back), or by playing Kagawa tucked in on the left in a 4-2-3-1 (again, requiring a left back who stretches play and a left-sided central midfielder (like Giggs did last night) who can shuffle up into the pocket of space Kagawa leaves behind). If United had been able to sign Baines in the off-season that shape could have worked quite well, but obviously the double-change of CEO and Manager was quite disruptive.

  3. kagawa must play in the hole no10 and rooney fuck off to the right van persie no 9 nani left simples, the problem is moyes doesnt have a balls to tell rooney fuck off to the right.

  4. I think that 4-2-3-1 is the way to go BUT going down this road is not without complications – principally what happens to Chicharito/RVP/DannyTheLad if TheWayneBoy is going to be the “1” and KagawaBunga plays “in the hole” behind him ?

    SAF kept the faith with a “rotation” system but will the new manager ? If Moyes decides that he has to get attacking rhythm from a stable attacking quartet then he’s going to have some very, very unhappy campers.

    Furthermore, so far the new manager has brown-nosed TheWayneBoy BUT what happens if Rooney won’t sign a new contract and reiterates his desire to leave at the end of this contract ? Do you risk pissing-off the other three (Chicharito/RVP/DannyTheLad) by putting your-eggs-in-Rooney’s-basket ?

    I reckon that there are some interesting times ahead.

  5. Rooney, RVP, Kagawa and Chicha can fit into MUFC if they realise that in the modern football era with so many games we need a big squad. As long as no one player dictates that he MUST play every game then it’s form and horses for courses. That’s when the manager needs to be strong and not be seen to favour any particular player even though he’s not playing well. The jury is still out as to who rules the team now. SAF was successful as he laid it down very clearly that he ruled and he would not have any player take over the team. Interesting times ahaed for Moyes and the team!

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