We’re inviting our Twitter friends, and now resident thought sharer Iwan Lehnert, to share some of their ‘Pre and Post Match’ thoughts with us from now on. If you want to share, get in touch! You can still enjoy my nonsensical, confusing, punctuation buffets below their proper good ones…
Maybe it’s because we’ve been so utterly dominated in two Champions League finals by the best club side ever assembled, but I definitely got the sense that most people expected Real to win on Wednesday based purely on the fact that Spain’s big two exist on some sort of psychologically higher ground above the rest of us mere mortals. To be fair, I bought into it a little. But I thought that we coped with one of the biggest, most talented club sides in the world admirabl, and came out with a great result.
The bad stuff: Rafael and Evra were all over the place. Rooney’s passing was poor (although expecting him to be at his peak when he’s out wide is daft). Too many loose passes. Ronaldo leaping like a gazelle above a human being that must’ve seemed like a black dot from that kind of orbit to score.
The good stuff: THAT goal. God, Welbeck hasn’t half taken some flak this season. I’m not his biggest fan but it was great to see him score. He must understand that he’s in a lucky position because it hasn’t happened often during the last 26 years that someone has had as low a goals-to-games ratio as this and still played regularly (and if they have then they haven’t lasted too long). But Danny’s clearly an exception, and I’m glad that the club’s still confident in his ability.
De Gea was superb. I didn’t even notice that he’d saved Coentrao at first, such was the pace of the ball, but that was some tasty fingertip work (and there’s no way to say that without making it sound dodgy. I’ve tried. Just revel in the save. It were ace). Sure, one mistake in his next match and the tone will change dramatically, but that’s par for the course.
We probably should’ve won. We weren’t amazing, but Van Persie had two chances to give us a lead to take home and didn’t finish as you’d expect. Not that it’s the end of the world, as having performed like that in Madrid, you’d think that we’ll be even better in a few weeks time. But the margins for error get pretty damn small when you reach the second leg, and both teams know that if they win, they go through. No pressure, then.
Two quotes worthy of mention: Danny stating that United treated the occasion like any other game was so deliciously understated that it made me want to hug him. It was the biggest game of the season in terms of stature by some distance, but they treated it as a jaunt to Generic Park. Nice.
Secondly, Martin Tyler reminding me that it’s not actually so easy to suddenly start performing in a big game if you’ve been stuttering all season, no matter how much you might want to win. I still feel that Real’s sheer determination to make something of this season could see them through, but after watching how we dealt with them in their own backyard, and how we’ve powered on since the Norwich defeat, there has to be far more positivity about getting to the quarter finals now.
Typical, that the week I stop predicting a Danny goal, he goes and gets a massive, massive goal! Whether he scores, or not, plays brilliantly,or not … I love Danny. A diamond is a diamond is a diamond. Still love it when he scores too though obvs. Brilliant.
Thought again, despite an initial *gulp* when the team was announced, that on closer inspection the team was a bold one and Fergie consolidated his purple patch of selections. We were set up to attack and on another night could have pulled off the 3-1 win I was daft enough to suggest. The fact we were forced to defend had nothing to do with our line-up, just that Real are really, really good at attacking. We coped relatively well. Rio and Evans in particular were solid. Rafael managed to overcome the first half and show how he’s matured over the past couple of seasons. Do we need to mention David de Gea? OUTSTANDING (we already knew that)!!!!
It took me yonks to get used to the concept of RVP in a United shirt, now I can’t imagine us without him. Rooney, hhhhmmm not so much. Kagawa showed some neat touches, but was out muscled one time too often. Carrick after the troublesome first half, did what we expected for the most part and Jones did exactly what he was put in to do. I would have personally preferred Cleverley in the midfield, but hey, not going to go there.
Our discipline was superb. Think Fergie can definitely chalk that up as a clear victory over Mourinho.
David the other Bifurcator pointed out, in the pub, and I agree, that Fergie has yet again been at his mindtastic best with all the love for Ronaldo. Making sure the overwhelming emotion of the occasion for Ronaldo and all that is emphasised at every opportunity by Fergie himself and as many of his playing staff as possible. Smart stuff.
The second leg is going to be even more exciting!!!
MOTM: De Gea.