First of all, despite a disappointing opening game to the season, I don’t think there is anything major to worry about yet. In fact there’s nothing minor to worry about yet – unless it becomes a regular occurrence. Last night we were beaten from a goal at a set piece by a very physical Everton team. We may have been poor in some areas but, very pleasingly, David De Gea looked confident and pulled off a number of brilliant saves to keep us in the game. If it wasn’t for the Spanish lad then it could’ve been a lot worse.
Unfortunately the forwards didn’t put in the type of shifts they should do. Rooney, unsurprisingly after his summer of fast food, booze and cigarettes looked overweight and off the pace. Nani was poor and had one of those games where everything he did just frustrated the fans. When he has games like that it makes you wonder how he can be so magnificent at other times. Nani on top form and Nani in average form is just such a big difference. Obviously the system we were playing meant Welbeck was playing out wide, where he looked okay and did his job of stretching Hibbert and causing Jagielka and Distin a few problems well. However, his position is a forward and he is much more effective playing through the middle than out wide.
A big mention has to go out to Shinji Kagawa though. He had a brilliant game and looks like he could be our own version of David Silva, Juan Mata or Eden Hazard. His passing was excellent and he looked like he could make something happen every time he had the ball. In the midfield, Tom Cleverley played well in a deeper role, with some good tackling and passing. Unfortunately for us, both him and Scholes are too similar to play together. He also missed that golden chance when Kagawa laid it back to him, if only he had laced the ball instead of side-footing it, he may have had his first goal for the club. One of the things Cleverley has really lacked has been goalscoring and, when chances like that come along, he really should be burying them.
Our next three games now look more favourable with Fulham and Wigan at home, separated by Southampton away. We always knew that this first fixture would be tough and hopefully now the next few games will give us a chance to adapt our new shape to fit our style. There’s a good chance to get 9 points out of the games, and the season will then be back on track. Don’t panic, we’re only one game in!
Published with permission from The Devils of Manchester.