West Bromwich Albion 5-5 Manchester United: Crazy but almost perfect

By at 7:04 pm 19/05/2013

Goodbye, Sir Alex. That’s it. 1,500 games done and dusted. The book is finally closed on the greatest managerial career of all time.

When Manchester United walk out against Wigan Athletic in the season opening Community Shield, it will be under David Moyes.

It might not have been a win but it was typical Ferguson. Thrilling, exciting, nerve jangling, tense and full of goals. Would we have had it any other way? It was the first time both teams have scored five goals in a Premier League – breaking records right to the very end.

He may have taken a bow in front of the away fans at the final whistle but it should have been the other way around. It is hard to comprehend history when you are watching it in front of your eyes but in a few years time when we all look back at the Fergie era, we will begin to understand just how incredibly lucky. 1986-2013. We are not worthy.

januzaj-giggs-scholesScholes, Giggs and Januzaj – past, present and future. The 18-year-old Belgian starlet earned himself a place on Manchester United‘s bench for the first time in his career and it caps off what has been a brilliant season for the youngster after being named Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year.

Scholes came on for a swansong and got his traditional yellow card on the way. That’s the last time we’ll see the ginger prince in action which is truly sad but the time is right for him to hang up his playing boots and help the likes of Januzaj and other youngsters blossom in the academy under a new  coaching role.

As for Giggs, he’s still got it. He came on and made an instant impact as he always does, even bagging himself an assist when his pin point cross found Hernandez.

It would of been typical Ferguson to give a debut to Januzaj on his final game in charge of United but the madness of the scoreline meant he had to put Ferdinand on.

Ferguson had a youth academy graduate in the match day squad for all 1,500 of his games as manager. He promoted youth all the way up to and including his final game.

Shinji Kagawa in preferred position. Wayne Rooney didn’t travel with Manchester United after being given permission to be with his pregnant wife Coleen which allowed Kagawa to play in his preferred role behind the striker.

And he looked superb. Clearly more comfortable in his natural position, he was dangerous from the first minute. He got on the end of Chicharito‘s brilliant cross in the sixth minute to put United ahead and throughout the game, he was a constant thorn in West Brom’s defence.

I can’t wait to see Kagawa next season. Rooney’s departure would mean the #10 role is completely his but even if he stays, he will get plenty of game time and after settling in for one season, he’ll no doubt start to show more of the Kagawa that tore the Bundesliga apart with Dortmund.

Valencia’s swap deal. There’s life in the Ecuadorian yet. In the past five or so matches, Valencia has had a bit of a purple patch and showed some of the form that made him the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year in 2012.

And today against West Brom, he did it all from the right-back position. He seems to thrive when allowed to play a wing-back type role because it allows him to run at defenders with more pace rather than receiving the ball in a standing position.

It isn’t as if Valencia will get to play there on a regular occasion and he was only there today thanks to Rafael’s ban and Smalling’s injury but it is good to see that Valencia has still got it in him. At points this season, we all thought that he had completely lost it but he hasn’t.  Hopefully under Moyes, Valencia can make a swift return to his full flowing best because the signs are there that he can.

Linde-gaaaaaaaard. Five goals conceded and ultimately, Lindegaard was responsible for a few of them. The Dane’s performance was poor to say the least.

Ferguson played him to give him a chance to show himself and he couldn’t of done anything more to damn his own chances really. Remember when fans were split and there was a debate about who was our number one goalkeeper? Yeah – me neither.

Although I don’t want to see Lindegaard between the sticks ahead of De Gea any time soon, Eric Steele said that the goalkeeping situation at United is the best position it has ever been in and if having Lindegaard in the team has helped De Gea blossom into the goalkeeper he has been this season, then why change it?

It seems that Lindegaard is happy to play second fiddle at United behind De Gea. If he wants to continue with that next season, then so be it.

Photo: Twitter/Mark_Froggatt


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