West Brom 1 Manchester United 2 Premier League, The Hawthorns. Sunday 14th August 2011.
WEST BROM is never an easy place to go any point in the season but maybe earlier was better because the team seemed to take the confidence from Citeh game into today. Their early play was bright and their passing was fast and inventive. Ashley Young should be exciting every Manchester United fan out there, he has taken to life at the club brilliantly and he’s already got the confidence to boss the wing, take a shot or two and give a little flick around a defender to start an attack (even when the defender in question decides to block him). England will never get a lot of credit on GTS but I think the national side deserves some credit here. The fact that Ashley was around a lot of the squad before he arrived will have helped him. The struggles of former reds like Forlan and Veron won’t be an issue for Ashley, for a kick off there is no language barrier (except maybe in winter when Sir Alex hits the scotch on cold training mornings, although to be fair he talks just as fast sober). He’s getting a kick out of playing with better players on a regular basis and we are seeing the benefit of that.
Tom Cleverley is another who is growing in front of us and hopefully will continue to do so. His passing was superb and he wanted to get involved. Paul Scholes wandering off into the sunset seems to have come at the right time for Thomas, as he seems eager to help the team every time he is on the ball. Sir Alex Ferguson is showing again that if you grasp your chance when it is given, he’ll largely stick with you. This summer was a far cry from the outrage at the departures of Ince, Kanchelskis (one year after my Dad paid for his name on the back of my shirt), and Hughes; but O’Shea, Wes Brown and Paul Scholes are no longer around. OK it may not be to the scale of that summer day at Villa Park but the baton has been handed to Evans, Jones, Young, Cleverley and Fabio and Fergie’s going to see how far they can carry it.
David De Gea will make headlines for his role in the West Brom goal. Big deal. Do you remember Les Sealey? Blimey he had me stressing on more than one occasion let me tell you but there was no question he was a good ‘keeper. Peter Schmiechel didnt exactly have a great first game with us either. David is 20, it’s too early in his football career and his United career to say these things shouldn’t happen. Shouldn’t is a word that ought to be removed from the dictionary, it puts pressure on whenever it’s used. To say He shouldn’t be making these errors is simplistic and wrong, it would be better if he didn’t make these errors, better? Of course we’d like no problems at all, to be world-class from debut and forever onwards. That won’t happen. He is 20 years old. He is playing for the best team in England and for once, unlike with VDS, we got him when we should have. Given what happened to David today, it’s perhaps a bit ironic that in the West Brom goal was last man the media knocked during his time in the United net. The difference being, that time, they were correct to do so.
Of far greater interest should be the injuries to Rio and Nemanja. Even two games in, there seems to be a pattern of the young un’s growing into the spaces in the first team. This trend will have to continue with the absence of the two men in the centre of defence.
In a bit… GTS