Fellaini and Januzaj shine but otherwise new season, same United

Author: Doron

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Crystal Palace came to Old Trafford as international football ended and the good stuff returned. They’re the first of the promoted teams United have faced this season and in some ways provided a bit of relief after the intensity of Anfield and with Man City to come next weekend. Palace were forced into one change with Mariappa starting whilst Moyes brought in Fabio, Anderson and Rooney (who had to wear a headband to protect the scabbing cut on his forehead). We welcome comments from both sets of fans.

Double (league) debuts

Only one place to start and that’s with the first two substitutes, one making his United debut and one his league debut.

Fellaini was brought on with a little under half an hour to go. Although United were in control, as they had been all game, there was a sense that the midfield didn’t ever quite have a grasp on the game. Even Carrick, who still was picking out glorious passes and even introducing the odd turn, wasn’t quite up to his normal standards. With Anderson off, Fellaini sat deep allowing Carrick a bit more freedom to shirk his defensive responsibilities and focus on moving the ball around.

There’s no doubt that he made a difference, he got his body in the way of opposition players and won headers on a few occasions. It wasn’t necessarily the kind of game that required a physical presence but that he can offer some strength in that area was clear. Even on the ball he was solid, a few nice long passes, some sharp link-up play and one volleyed shot that had been neatly controlled. Most intriguingly, despite not being on the pitch that long, he saw a lot of the ball and played a pass every 42 seconds – more often than any other United player usually manages. One assumes Cleverley will return to the side midweek but Fellaini’s first start won’t be far away and there’s no doubt Moyes will want him in against City next weekend.

We saw plenty of Januzaj over the summer and he finally got a chance to show he was ready to do it in the league too. He came on a few minutes after Fellaini and clearly has earned the trust of the coaching staff as United were still only one goal ahead. There were certainly less risky options on the bench.

Deployed out on the left wing, not necessarily his favoured role, he wasn’t shy and quickly settled into doing what he did all last season for the U21s. He demanded the ball off his team-mates and ran at defenders, jinking in and out so he could get into a crossing or shooting position. His end product at times could have been better but that seemed irrelevant, that he was full of energy and was entertaining made a huge difference to the game.

There were moments of maturity too – one touch passing moves and clever movement. Being the kind of player he is, sticking in one place isn’t his thing so at times he was picking the ball up centrally off the centre backs. He ultimately won the free kick that Rooney converted to seal the game but even after that he wanted another chance and another goal. There were naturally moments of immaturity too, he has a tendency to either hold onto the ball too long or run himself into dead ends but they’re minor points. He may have to be patient in terms of getting other opportunities and there’s no doubt playing a newly promoted side with only ten men helped but he’s getting closer to being ready to start games.

United strike lucky

Referee Jon Moss had a good game, pretty much all his decisions were correct with one pretty important exception. Ashley Young had picked up a loose pass and burst through onto goal when he was hauled down by Dikgacoi. Mr Moss awarded a penalty and showed Dikgacoi a red card although there was one issue, it seemed the foul took place outside the penalty area.

That there was a foul and that Dikgacoi had denied a goal scoring opportunity is unquestionable. Sure, there may be fans who think it was harsh on Palace but it was the correct decision and an important one to get right given that Young was already on a booking. Where United got lucky was in the awarding of a penalty over a free kick and Holloway can feel rightly aggrieved by that part of the decision process.

New season, same United

Everyone’s desperately looking for changes in how United play this season compared to under Alex Ferguson. As we’ve already seen, there’s definitely been an emphasis on pressing higher away from home but in general little’s changed. Those who say United are crying out for creativity in the middle have probably forgotten that they said the same thing last year and the year before. Similarly, the way today’s game panned out, it was reminiscent of many a games from recent years.

It seems to happen against the league’s weaker sides too – the slow start, lots of possession and plenty of territory but few chances. Sides come to Old Trafford to defend a draw rather than try to win first and foremost and Palace are no different in that respect. Their coaching staff tried to get them to press high in the first half but as United had the ball, their players naturally just sat deeper. The way such a game goes usually involves the away side tiring, United throwing on more attacking players and eventually getting a few goals in the second half. Or the away side makes a mistake which ended up happening in this game and in the end United could cruise the second half with de Gea not having to make a single save all game. There may be a new manager with some new coaches but with mostly the same players, changes are few and far between. Maybe at City next week we may see the biggest chance with potentially three genuine centre midfielders used together.


Some may have expected more of a ‘performance’ and thrashing with Palace coming to Old Trafford but Moyes made decent use of his squad and took it as an opportunity to give minutes to Fabio and Anderson. With Leverkusen, Man City and Liverpool all coming up in the space of eight days, getting Rooney through the full game was vital particularly with Welbeck having some knee trouble. Other important players also missed out: Jones, Rafael and Kagawa who had flu.

Although neither goal was from open play, that both strikers who started got a goal each is only a good thing. Add to that the substitute cameos, the clean sheet and the fact it was a win and it was a decent game from United. There’ll be much more to come and with Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday, hopefully they’ll be on the end of a more intense and clinical performance.

19 Comments on Fellaini and Januzaj shine but otherwise new season, same United

  1. Exactly, completely agree. We’ve been grinding out results for at least 1 season if not 3. Moyes just needs to be braver in who he picks in the 3 behind RVP. I’d love to see Janujaz, Rooney, Kagawa with Fellaini and Carrick sat. Whoever he goes with, he needs to get them to cut out the high crosses from out wide, there’s been waaaaaaayytoo much of that over this first 4 games and even an idiot can tell we have nobody capable of getting on the end of those. Leverkusen will be interesting

  2. Maybe capable isn’t the right choice of words, as clearly are strikers are capable, but the crossing has been poor is what I’m getting at.

  3. Yeah!….the crosses/pull outs from d flanks hv been sub-par. Valencia was awful offensively today, I’ll rather hv nani or zaha take his place in subsequent matches. Proudly utd.

  4. Really? Not able to break us down until the ref gave you two free shots at goal. Not saying that we were worth any points but you lot were appealing. Hey but if you lot are happy with that then clearly 25 years of Premier League money rots the brain.

    Kid falls over his own feet and the ref gives a free kick for Rooney to score, but when he actually gets through and has a shot he hits the corner flag. Hey but you clearly have a superstar in the making. Least I’ll wake up tomorrow with some dignity.

  5. You have spoken well. Januzaj was so impressive, Fellaini, a rock in the United’s midfield. Waooh, what is left now is giving Zaha a chance in the right flank. I am sure he would perform as Januzaj did and better than Valencia.

  6. Ye same old typical united performance ffs. Sickbof watching such ruubish football time and time again. We as fans deserve better and todays performance vs a rerrible palace side was nothing short of dosgraceful i have to sau. Yes its so bloody early in the season. Yea we have a new manager but ffs. Come on. Nothin seems to go our way at times. Xorners, decisions etc. Same old ujited. Bit if a piss take imo but fuckin hell its just very frustrating i have to say. Janzaj was absokule boss! Quality little player! He kooked so at home and it was as if hed beeen playing at ot for years. Made itlook so easy. Confident player with alot of flare. Hope his utd career soesnt go the same way as oogbas did. Same can be said for ravel. Can see it going that wayly though unfortunately. Hell get fed up with the kin game time hell get tjis season and will look eksewhere.standard. fellaini looked great. Big strong lad. Exactly what we ned. Hope he has a greatcareer atbutd. Ando had his chance but he simply blew it big tim ash young is simply a disgrace to the united shirt. Bloody hell. What is wromg with the lad? Pains me to see him wearing rhat fakous red shirt! Not good enouhh. Pity kagawa was ill. Wazza was shocking apart frpm his fk. Wasjt sharp at all which was expectwd but stil couod have done so kuch better. Poor from the lad. Valencia has it all besides for a bloody defent delivery/cross. Frustrating.

    Cannit wait like for nani to get bacjbijvkoved. Same can be said for good ol shinji kagawa.
    All very well havin a massive squad but 5 good wingers. 5 good centre bacjs. Impossiboe to keep all happy. All in all a typical ujited perfprmance against a pathetic palace side. Kmew wed only win by a smal margin. Called it b4 the game. Takes the piss

  7. @max – were you pissed when you typed that?! 🙂

    Anyway, “Sickbof watching such ruubish football time and time again. We as fans deserve better” – there’ll be fans older than you and I quick to remind you of how we once used to play…

  8. When you think of the United team that Fergie left, it is nothing to be proud of. He never bought a midfielder since Hargreaves retired. A few years ago after United won the treble Fergie stated that you must bring in a world class player in every season to keep everyone on their toes. But since the Glazers took over he has only brought in one. VanPersie.
    Fergie left Moyes with a good half team with a lot of strengthening needed.
    United lost Pogba because they would not pay him what he wanted. Juventus now are going to give Pogba a rise for his consistency in the team. He will get a rise on his £800000 a year he is recoeving now.

  9. Sorry, a 10-man mighty Crystal Palace and the Champs ( looking more like Chumps these days with a clueless manager ) struggle hard! No wonder even a mediocre Liverpool can beat Utd. Midweek CL match will probably expose Moyes even more. But this is not his fault. He has been asked to do a job he’s nowhere near qualified. It’s like asking me to drive a Redbull instead of Vettel. I still don’t understand why and how SAF had the power to impose Moyes on Utd. What happened to due diligence and proper evaluation? Who are actually advising the Glazers??

  10. moyes is 4-4-2 man like ferguson was so no wonder we are at the same stone age level regarding creativity in midfield – problem is these dinosaurs coaches like moyes haven’t got a fucking clue how to use them , we have kagawa after all but all we hearing from mr moyes is pathetic excuses like flu this time:D

  11. terrible style of football – long baall and aimless cross from extremely poor valencia and young – this is that we got so far from moyes…

  12. @minimal – you say so many things without any substance, a meagre 8% of our passes yesterday were long balls and of them, over half were made by de Gea. That’s no different to anything else we’ve done over the last 20 years. I wonder why you even support United because you’re never happy!

  13. Using a samsung and cant type for shit on this thing. Just a typical piss take of a performance from united really. Should actually be used to it by now. I said before the game it would be a low scoring win and thats exactly what happened. Sick of follwing every fucking news story that comes out of united and then i have to sit and watch such a shite perdormance. Not very cool i must say. The team needs games. Thank fucj leverkusen is in 2 days time. Not looking forward to city away. Not the beat time to go there. Hope we can perform but not getting my hopes up…

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