No Canaries Were Harmed In the writing of this report – although Mark Bunn did get a boot.
League title number twenty is going to have to be earned. United have earned the lead they have and everyone was bound to be talking about Real Madrid, but we should not overlook any team and we certainly didn’t yesterday.
If there was ever any doubt just who was in charge at Old Trafford, and there probably wasn’t by the way but, be in no doubt where the power lies; in the hands of the man Sir Alex fi Govan.
Not playing Ryan Giggs yesterday was a masterstroke, it reduced many a ‘special pullout’ in the morning newspapers to bird cage lining by the evening AND angered the BBC who had prematurely shot their load with a montage that Gary Lineker wouldn’t shut up about. There is one man who decides the team, BBC, but you already knew that.
It was clever to keep that moment for later because it now falls on Tuesday and makes the Real Madrid game not so much about the returning Ronaldo, now it’s about Ryan. It takes the sting out of the return of our one time hero, and gives the focus to our all time legend. It is not even important how much of the game he plays, whether he starts or comes on from the bench, it is just about his involvement and what that means. Norwich, no disrespect, was not big enough, Real was big already.
It was clever too because it created opportunities in the wider scheme of things. Shinji Kagawa found his moment and took it magnificently. The first goal was something, yes he meant it because RVP was absolutely setting the ball up for his own shot, Kagawa went for it and hit the back of the net. The second was gorgeous and I have to admit I was harsh on the third upon viewing as it happened. I thought when Rooney found him, Kagawa’s first touch was unduly heavy and lead to him rushing in with the keeper before that quality finish. The good thing about the television screens right in front of my seat is that I could immediately see it was an intentional move and not in any way a heavy first touch. You can see Kagawa never breaks stride, never speeds up and never worries when the ‘keeper makes his move, it was a calm confident quality finish to a quality move and shows just what we’ve got in Shinji if he can remain away from the injury table.
Wayne Rooney was in the mood yesterday too, he was involved in all the good United did; his pass sent Robin Van Persie through against the Norwich ‘keeper, he linked with Valencia and Anderson in that mad passage of play where you just wanted someone to find the net, he went one on one with Bunn and set up Kagawa for his second and third. Danny Welbeck was probably looking for the return pass from Rooney but it’s hard to deny that Kagawa was a better option given that the man completed a hat trick. Rooney’s goal wasn’t bad either, the celebration was a bit shit though.* The Given to Score money was on the Shinji being subbed after his second goal, Fergie doesn’t seem to like hat tricks.
United yesterday were boring in large parts, but boring is exactly what we wanted going into next week. In the opening months of the season we were craving a few dominant performances, demanding that we put our rivals to the sword and yet kept it tight at the back. Yesterday we got just that, maybe it didn’t feel as dominant or crushing as we would have liked but we cruised when we had earned the right to.
Final word should go to the visiting fans. They were brilliant, it’s more fun when they have a sense of humour and Norwich’s supporters certainly did. There random bursts of ‘we’re the riiiiight side, we’re the left siiiide’ made me giggle and so did them pointing out United were ‘nothing special, the scousers got five.’
It’s good that we can laugh, because it all gets very serious on Tuesday.
In a bit. GTS