Romero lies face down as he concedes a second goal as Swansea City beat Manchester United again
It was a case of history repeating itself, again, as Manchester United succumb to a good Swansea City side in what was Louis van Gaal’s toughest test yet in what had been a decent start to the 2015/16 season. Juan Mata opened the scoring having got on the end of a Luke Shaw cross, but Swansea hit back through man of the match André Ayew after another great cross by Gylfi Sigurdsson. The winner came four minutes later, when Ayew provided a sublime outside of the boot pass to play in the energetic Bafetimbi Gomis who fired a tame shot past the helpless Romero.
United could not find an equaliser and van Gaal took off United’s most creative player, Juan Mata, to inject some pace on the right hand side with Ashley Young. Ander Herrera was also unlucky to come off in place of Marouane Fellaini as United went more direct. Wayne Rooney, was a peripheral figure throughout the match – but could have scored an equaliser as he broke free of the Swansea defence. Ashley Williams, who was excellent throughout the match, recovered to tackle the United captain, who felt he should have won a penalty – but the truth is, Rooney should have got his shot off quicker.
Its now three wins on the spin for Garry Monk against United as we enter the final hours of the summer transfer window. There should be particular praise for Garry Monk and what he has done at Swansea over the past twelve months. They play an attacking brand of football and have made some shrewd signings, who made a real impact yesterday.
- Wayne Rooney’s last league goal came in early April against Aston Villa
- Ayew first opposing player to score against United since Puncheon for Crystal Palace in May
- United haven’t beaten Swansea City since January 2014
The need for a goalkeeper
There are no two ways about it. If David De Gea is in goal, he stops Gomis’ effort. Romero has come in on a free transfer from Sampdoria and been the main benefactor from an abysmal situation. De Gea, Manchester United’s best player for the past two seasons, hasn’t played for the club in a competitive game since coming off injured against Arsenal in May due to Real Madrid’s interest in the Spanish keeper. The Spanish club know De Gea wants to leave, they know his contract is up next June and they are very clear that they do not want to pay United’s £39million valuation of the player.
So I don’t agree when you only say, or want to write, that the goalkeeper today was not so good. It is not like that.”
– Louis van Gaal on Romero
Romero’s performance yesterday highlighted why United need to hold on to De Gea for at least another season before investing in a top quality goalkeeper. The only other option for United would be to invest, now, in a big transfer offer for Hugo Lloris, but there surely isn’t enough time for Edward Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, to sell De Gea and bring in Lloris before the window shuts at 6pm on Tuesday? The United boss was quick to defend his Argentine goalkeeper, but the harsh reality is that a keeper of De Gea’s class would have made the save.
United fans anticipation of how this story will play out now surely turns to anger, considering we are already four games into the new season and the issue still lingers. De Gea, who is a fan’s favourite, obviously wants to leave the club – otherwise he would have signed a new contract by now. United do now want to look weak and sell one of the club’s most important players at a cut down price, but the saga has gone on far too long now and United are being impacted on the pitch by the decisions of both Louis van Gaal and David De Gea. Romero was never brought in to be the club’s first choice goalkeeper and, although he has played in a World Cup final, he doesn’t look like he can step up to be the natural successor to De Gea.
A tale of two striker: Rooney and Gomis
Ayew was the standout performer of the day, but Bafetimbi Gomis offered an energetic presence up front, which was in stark contrast to Wayne Rooney – who again felt the brunt of fan criticism following another lacklustre performance. Gomis was a handful all afternoon and although Chris Smalling, who again put in a good performance, won a number of ariel battles and stayed tight when Gomis had his back to goal, the Frenchman got most of his joy when he played on shoulder of Daley Blind who could not keep up with the Swansea front man. A brilliant run, followed by some close control and a dribble past the helpless Blind resulted in a shot just wide of Romero’s goal.
But I’d be absolutely staggered if there wasn’t a striker brought in. It has to happen.”
– Gary Neville on United’s striker situation
Wayne Rooney was again quiet and rarely threatened Fabianski in the Swansea goal. United fans were hoping that following his three goals away in Brugge, Rooney would push on and open his Premier League goal scoring account for 2014/15, sadly it was not to be. United’s attacking options are limited. Javier Hernandez will surely be on his way before the 6pm deadline, as van Gaal clearly doesn’t fancy the Mexican – who was such an impact player when under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson. James Wilson is still very inexperienced, whereas Fellaini – despite the conflicting opinion of the United boss – isn’t a forward. With Robin van Persie and Falcao gone, United haven’t strengthen up top – which is something that needs to be addressed before the end of the transfer window.
Who is available at this late stage? United have been linked to a £36million bid for Monaco’s Anthony Martial – a young 19 year old striker. Ed Woodward will really have to pull one out of the bag to rectify the situation. With regards to Wayne Rooney, he is better playing off another forward as a number ten, rather than leading the line as a number nine. He may get better service if Juan Mata was playing behind him, rather than as a right winger – however, Louis van Gaal prefers to play to little Spaniard on the right in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Rooney wasn’t alone in being below par, with Memphis Depay cutting a sorry figure on the left hand side, rarely taking on Kyle Naughton on the outside and offering little creativity. He was excellent against Club Brugge at home, but needs to put in a good performance in the Premier League in his very early Manchester United career. He will be a top player – but needs to do better than
Louis van Gaal also needs to invest in a centre half to partner Chris Smalling, who has been excellent so far this season. Daley Blind has done a good job, but isn’t a centre half. John O’Shea was a utility man who was often deployed a full back, central defender or even as holding midfielder. Those players are a manager’s dream, but unless you’re Lothar Matthaus – these players rarely excel in one position. Blind has done a job as a holding midfielder and at left back, but is surely only a stop gap before United invest in a world class centre half to fill the void left by Nemanja Vidic, who departed over a year ago now.
5 talking points from the game
- Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay disappoint in 2-1 loss to Swansea City
- Romero isn’t a long term solution for United in goal
- Louis van Gaal outwitted by Garry Monk who shifted from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-1-2 after Mata scored
- Who is Anthony Martial and will he be a Manchester United player by Tuesday at 6pm?
- United need a goalkeeper, central defender and striker to challenge for the title this season