Swansea City 1 (Michu), Manchester United 1 (Evra)
Where is Antonio Valencia? Our Player of the Year last season has not turned up at all this year. An air of inevitability comes with him nowadays and it seems that he just doesn’t have confidence in his own ability any more.
Instead of taking a player down the wing like he did with devastating effect last year, he doesn’t make decisions. More often than not, a three second stand off with a defender is followed by a backwards pass.
He must know that standing and deliberating without any real decision is the wrong thing to do. Nani, however frustrating, will always choose to do something and get it done. Whether it is successful or not is irrelevant because trying and failing is far better than not trying at all.
It shows how important confidence is with a player, especially a winger, who has to trust in his own ability to beat his man.
What happened to Rooney? Well, that was one of the worst performances I have seen from Wayne Rooney. Even his normally predictably reliable short passing game was shot against Swansea. He couldn’t make the simplest of four yard passes to team mates.
Ever since his return from the gash injury sustained against Fulham, he has been resurgent alongside an ever impressive van Persie but that stalled dramatically on Sunday. Ferguson has always said that Rooney only gains match sharpness through playing continuously, so I fully expect him to play against Newcastle tomorrow but it is worrying how poor Rooney played even if it is a one off.
Unsurprisingly rusty Vidic. The game against Swansea was Nemanja’s first start for three months so it was hardly a surprise to see that he was off the pace, a few yards short of his full locker.
It might have been a bit of a poor team performance but the sheer fact that Vidic played a full 90 minutes is a silver lining. Clean sheets are all but a distant memory for us but the return of our captain is the missing piece to our defensive jigsaw.
If Manchester United can combine the lethal strike force of Rooney, van Persie, Hernandez and Welbeck with the defensive stability of a resurgent Vidic most likely alongside Evans, then we will have all the foundations required for a title winning season.
Now, that’s how you use Ryan Giggs. Every time I see Giggs’ name on the starting sheet, my head falls into my hands. At 39 years of age, the wily and boundless engine he once possessed isn’t there anymore. However, that isn’t to say he has not still got it – and a man of the match cameo against Swansea showed that.
His 20 minute performance was sublime. In a game we struggled with creation, he danced around Swansea’s penalty area and caused them all sorts of problems. His guile and attacking penetration will never leave but it is far better used towards the end of a game when an opponents legs are tired. This cameo against Swansea showed that, and I hope Ferguson uses him in a similar fashion more often.
Ashley Williams knew what he was doing. Simple. No discussion really needed about it. He looked down at the ball only inches away from Robin van Persie’s head and he kicked it, full pelt, safe in the knowledge it would most likely hit van Persie.
He wouldn’t of died, a slightly embarrassing exaggeration by Ferguson, but it was definitely dangerous nevertheless. Unsurprisingly, the FA took no action.