What we Learned from Manchester United v Chelsea Clash

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Here are some points from yesterday’s match. Feel free to share your own in the comments!!

  • Wayne Rooney of old is back:
    • Running the channels, harassing defenders, playing long diagonal balls, making tackles deep in United’s half, and blasting shots from range. If there was ever an indication that Wayne Rooney is getting back to his old self, last night was certainly it. Rene Meulensteen recently commented that everything needs to be right in Wayne’s world on and off the pitch.  With a performance like that, you could certainly say Rooney is focused and determined. He looks set to stay now.
  • Manchester United are a special club:
    • Mourinho said it and Moyes affirmed it. This is a special club and we also have special fans.  To give that amount of support to a player who seemingly wants out says a lot about our fans’ loyalty to players ’til the very end.  Although there were some boos back in May, the Old Trafford faithful have taken heed of Sir Alex’s comment to back our new manager and applied the same to Wayne. They let Rooney know the appreciation we as fans have for him and his performance was spurred on with incessant chanting from the crowd.
  • Mourinho’s tactics:
    • Much has been made of Mourinho’s starting line-up and the fact he started with no recognised striker. You could certainly speculate it was mind games and a gesture to Rooney saying “come here, this spot is waiting for you”. From a pure footballing perspective, it seemed Mourinho thought Schurrle’s movement and the support from midfield would draw out United’s backline and leave gaps but United remained compact and organised.
  • United’s tactics:
    • Tactically, not much has changed from last season. However, one major change was the frequency in which Valencia and Welbeck drifted towards the middle of the pitch along with more emphasis of play in the middle of the pitch as well.  Welbeck /Rooney would sometimes drop deep to help Carrick and Cleverley with numerical disadvantage in midfield.  What Moyes has added to the team is also becoming clearer. There was more intensity to our game and for all the criticism this team has received,we dominated Chelsea throughout the whole match.  Our tempo didn’t seem to fade as we continued to play quick, one-touch passes through midfield and from the wings.
  • Cleverley & Welbeck:
    • Tom gets a special mention for a great performance.  While it wasn’t an amazing attacking display from the England international, he harried Chelsea’s midfielders but also made sure his positioning  was disciplined and coincided with what Carrick was doing too.  The pair seemed to share an understanding in pressing, dropping deep, and supporting the flanks and strikers.  Cleverley moved play along well while taking up good positions deep in midfield and he made a few interceptions.  According to Squawka Football, Cleverley had around 9 defensive actions with 55% being interceptions.
    • Welbeck had a disappointing game and if he is going to feature more in Moyes’ team selections, he needs be more composed and display more conviction in his game.
  • Low quality match:
    • Although it was an enticing match, the quality on show was very poor. There were a lot of misplaced passes, loose touches, poor crossing and passes to no teammate in particular. Both sides were quite wasteful in the final third and was more possession-based more than anything else.  There were definitely some moments of quality from the home side (Rooney shot from long range) but neither keeper faced much danger throughout the 90 minutes.
  • No Kagawa?
    • I too was a bit surprised to see Kagawa not feature in yesterday’s match. There seems to be a real genuine worry that the Japanese midfielder is not in Moyes’ plans.  However, we have to keep in mind that yesterday was only our second game of the season. Kagawa’s preseason has been stop-start.  He had Confederations Cup earlier in the summer which also delayed his preseason preparations.  Yesterday was also a chance for Moyes to stick it to Mourinho regarding Rooney. He mentioned that he only planned for Rooney to play for around 60 minutes but such was Wayne’s enthusiasm, Moyes was in no position to take him off. If Kagawa isn’t getting many games come October, then I would start to get worried. For now the season, has just begun.

Thanks for reading.

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  • I too worry about our Kawaga also Chico . I wonder where he fits into the plans ,if at all ? He is a more likely to score goals than Welbeck.

  • Patience Terry. The coming months will say alot about how Moyes uses our big squad. He’s never had that before.

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