The skies above the industrial city of Manchester during the weekend could have been sky-red. Both United and City were not afforded ...
The skies above the industrial city of Manchester during the weekend could have been sky-red. Both United and City were not afforded the luxury of knowing her neighbour's result as both teams kicked off their matches at the same time.
Manchester City ambushed Bournemouth to put five goals past Eddie howe's side but couldn't keep a clean sheet, Raheem sterling got a first career hatrick in the thumping. Pellegrini and City fully earned their title favourite tag.
Manchester United recovered from their shock defeat to Arsenal to put three unreplied goals past Everton away from home, nowadays its a big deal when you look at United's poor away record last season under of 4 wins in 14 as of March. Things have looked to change with United winning 4 of their 7 away games this season thus far.
The win at Everton was anything but routine though the scoreboard would largely disagree, this was a fixture that would potentially make or break what has looked to be a steady progressive ship under LVG.
Defeat to Arsenal couldn't have come at a better time with the appointment of Jurgen Kloop while the subsequent carnival that followed his arrival spared LVG and his team the kind of reprieve the media love to hand to teams of manutd's size add a manager of LVG's ego. Nonetheless that chance was lost and would not be regain at least for now as United are back on track.
Wayne Rooney had not scored at Goodison park since march 2007, an odd 8 years ago but the news of Howard Kendall's death Everton's most successful football manager would have left a bitter taste in the mouth of Rooney who had been a boyhood Everton even recently playing at club legend Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial match earlier this season.
Rooney was restored to central role and went on to score his side's third goal in the second half after Schneiderlin and Ander herrera both scored in the space of four minutes in the first half.
Both first half scorers were breath-takingly impressive and it was great having Schneiderlin and Herrera back, Schneiderlin broke up play brilliantly while Herrera increases United's tempo for the best part of 80 minutes.
The win came as a welcome surprise to Louis Van Gaal as he admitted to the difficulty in preparing for this match. He conceded to holding 10 to 15 meetings with his players in preparation for this game. Knowing LVG too well that point could well have been a cheeky reply to the scrutiny he faced in mid September when news broke that his players were often bored by excessive amounts of meetings.
When a team plays the way Manchester United did at Goodison it's usually hard to find under-performing players, everyone hit top gear to beat a very good Everron side. Ander Herrera, Anthony martial, Schweinsteiger and De Gea were the most outstanding that afternoon, however players like Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones deserve full marks for blending into the side as if they've been staters all season add a season debutant in Jese lingard who came off the bench to replace Juan Mata at halftime.
"They played very well, I have to say that, but it was not for nothing that I kept Rojo here because he was injured. He had not played 90 minutes for me this season, it was his first 90 minutes, and also for Phil Jones. These changes were also question marks before the game, I didn’t know if they could play for 90 minutes." - LVG
Rojo in particular deserves lots of credit, a fan favourite and United's best center halve last season. Quite surprisingly Rojo has found himself on the pages of transfer stories and one can understand why.
His late arrival in preseason didn't sit well with the manager and rumours surfaced he got on the wrong end of LVG for nondisclosure of a hamstring injury in late September. Given that players who in time past have irked the manager have ended up leaving the club or been frozen out, Rojo's future was up for debate.
Van Gaal has stated his admiration for multifunctional players and given his preference for a left footed center halve to pair a right footer Rojo should be safe for now. When fit, Luke shaw is Van Gaal's automatic choice at left back.
The Argentine's performance at left back on Saturday means he's the man to fill that role while Shaw recovers, his pace, forward passing and physicality means he can comfortably be United’s left back while shaw recovers. If for anything he can be satisfied by his manager's remarks post match.
The team travel to CSKA Moscow in search of their second win in the champions league, three points would put them in charge of a group that has already threatened to have banana skin at every corner.
"I am a very happy coach because I have seen a lot of good individual players in my team. That also gives confidence for the matches against CSKA Moscow and Manchester City.”
Van Gaal has suggested he won't be making too many changes to his winning XI, on the back of what we saw in the weekend they look ready.
Yubby Nduonofit is a freelance writer and the author of Counter Attack desk. Follow him on Twitter @yubbyThePundit