Reaction to the game…West Bromwich Albion (A)

by Sam Peoples

1. 3 points away from home. This was such a rarity last season where United only won 5 times on the road. To start off with a victory away in the Premier League was a perfect start. It may not have been a display on par with the Community Shield performance but it was a winning performance nevertheless. We overcame a stellar effort from a West Bromwich Albion who were full of confidence going into the game after a pre-season and considering Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all drew on the opening weekend, it couldn’t have been a better match to sneak in a late winner courtesy of a deflection. Top effort all round.

2. Injury woes. SAF has immediately confirmed that Rio Ferdinand will be out for 6 weeks and Nemanja Vidic for 2 weeks. Considering we already had the news that Rafael was out for 10 weeks, it seems like the traditional defensive injuries have came back in swift fashion. This season, however, is different; we won’t have to rely on Carrick stepping into a centre-back role as Jones, Smalling and Evans are all ready and waiting to take their chances. Both Jones and Evans held their own in their cameo performances today and it looks likely that one of them will partner Chris Smalling in the centre of defence if both our starters are indeed out. It is really comforting to know that our young ones really are ready to take on the big time.

3. Age of the squad. When the game kicked off today, the United starting XI had an average age of just 24.5 and boasted 6 England internationals amongst the ranks. The youth at United showed what they could do after they tore City a new one in the Community Shield and they held their own today. Having a bench consisting of Berbatov, Park and Giggs just goes to show how strong this United squad could shape up to be this season; it would be blind foolishness to hope that Giggs could run out for 90 minutes every week still, oh how we all wish he could, but it seems like Ashley Young is building a great understanding with Rooney very quickly and the pair contributed significantly to both of United’s goals today. The only way is up for this squad.

4. David De Gea. Now I am only highlighting De Gea here because of how much furore erupted on Twitter after Shane Long pinched an equaliser for West Brom against the run of play. People have to get their heads out of the clouds and fast; anybody who expected a 20-year old Spanish goalkeeper to settle immediately into the Premier League is a fool. Becoming a world class goalkeeper takes years and coming into the hardest, most physical league in the world when you don’t speak the same language as your defence is not the easiest of starting blocks. De Gea should of got down earlier and kept out what was a relatively straight forward shot from Long but his nerves are clearly struggling to hold up but as soon as De Gea walks out in front of the Stretford End, I think his mentality will improve exponentially. The West Brom crowd harrowed him and pressured him as much as they could, as any home fans would do an away goalkeeper who looked vulnerable, and it clearly got to the lad. I have every faith that SAF has bought the best possible replacement for Edwin Van Der Sar and I just hope that everyone at Old Trafford will lift his performances up to the levels we all anticipated on his arrival.

5. Ashley Young and Luis Nani. They couldn’t have had more opposite performances today really; Young looked sharp and ready to receive the ball and keep his movement fast and unpredictable but Nani seemed lacklustre, which surprised me greatly. After his performance against City in the Community Shield last week, we all expected Nani to be terrorising defences by running straight at them but he only managed a passing success rate of 69% and no notable dribbles to even talk about. Young got an official assist to his name and can take the credit for United’s winner as well – all in all, a fantastic debut to have, especially away from home. Nani will be angered by his own performance no doubt and will hopefully use it to re-vitalise himself for next week.

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