So after a pretty decent March taking maximum points from our Premier league games including Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle, this month wasn’t going to get any easier in terms of fixtures, it was the local derby against City at home, Everton away, Chelsea away and Aston Villa at home.
But what a start! Aston Villa at home, and alas we have points again and a good performance to boot. A quite first half but not real issues for United a powerful 25yd effort from Rojo was on target and only a fingertip save by Guznan stopped us going ahead within 20 mins. Herrera however converted some good work from Blind with a low shot past the keeper to put United ahead just before half time.
Falcao and Di Maria – back on the bench for this match were introduced around 70 minutes in and on the 79th minute Rooney spun and shot high into the net to complete a nice piece of solo work to put United 2-0 up…Benteke decided he wasn’t happy with United coasting through the match and 60 seconds later scored past De Gea who probably could have done a little better, but given the season he has had – I am allowing this mistake! At 2-1 I wasn’t feeling like United were in control but also didn’t feel like we were going to give it away – luckily Herrera’s edge of box shot flew past the keeper for a second time in the match and the 3 points secured…next week though was the biggie against local rivals City and a big performance is needed considering we lost earlier in the season.
The month just got a whole lot better! Against what some believe to be our biggest and closest rivals (although many purists including myself still believe the Liverpool fixture to be bigger from a historical point of view, I mean it’s only in the last few seasons that ‘Citeh’ have even come close!) a 4-2 win at home. The United faithful have waited a good 3 seasons to knock city down a leg or 2 and we did it in style. Although we did go down early when Sergio Aguero slotted home after Silva and Milner cut the United defence in half. Luckily Young who has had a resurgence of form this season and if keeping Angel Di Maria on the bench, equalised in the 14th minute and from there a tidal wave of possession and attacking football seemed to have City all over the place. Fellaini but us ahead 2-1 in the 27th with a header that possibly should have been saved.
Going into the second half 2-1 up we needed to come out strong and we did just that – Hart saving well of a Rooney freekick and a Carrick shot, but luckily for United we managed to get a 2 goal advantage through Mata (marginally offside by a whisker) slotted past Harts near post. This was the cushion we needed, as we knew city would still come back strong and push all the way. Smalling had other ideas though and thought the 2 goal cushion wasnt enough – so decided to slot a 4th goal past Hart off a Young freekick. 4-1 was looking like a great start to April – until Sergio Aguero decided to dampen the score with a 90th minute goal to make the final score 4-2. I will still take that and the blue moon certainly wasn’t out that evening.
Well our month had got off to a great start, and we wanted to continue against Chelsea, it didn’t, but I can’t be too up happy. To keep it short and sweet – Chelsea won 1-0 and without Hazard (the scorer) and biggest threat on the pitch by a mile the score could have been completely different.
Falcao started up front and Rooney played in the middle due to injuries but the rest of the team was prety much the same as the previous few matches – Mata keeping his place alongside Herrera and Young keeping Di Maria on the bench (I wonder if their is an off season story developing here?).
United could and should have taken the lead early on when Rooney fired wide off a Luke Shaw cross (incidentally – the little game time Shaw has had whilst battling fitness, he has been very impressive and if he can keep fit the battle with Rojo for the left back position could be an intersting one).
Without much luck Hazard cut through the United defence like a hot knife through butter and finished a lovely solo goal to put Chelsea ahead. That is how it stayed for the rest of the match – with 70% possession away from home you should be at least scoring or creating a number of chances however we really didn’t threaten – Chelsea almost ‘Parked the Bus’ from minute one and you could count the Courtois saves on 1 hand. Disappointingly dominant performance without any really spark.
Off the back of a good performance against Chelsea even though we lost, we were full of confidence going into the Everton game at Goodison, always a tough away fixture but we have been playing well and there was no reason we couldn’t force a result. We were beat 3-0, however the worse point was we were easily the better and more dominant team throughout the whole game similiar to the Chelsea game, we created many chances and didn’t really have too much defending to do.
The difference was obviously they converted all the opportunities and we didn’t, and with the team we had out including Rooney, Falcao, Di Maria and Mata their is a concern that we couldn’t finish any of our chances. Everton on the other hand went ahead early on through a defensive mix up between McNair and Blind and within 5 minutes were 1-0 up. Valencia was easily beaten by Stones (too easily) to convert the 2nd before half time and McNair again was cut open to expose De Gea for the third.
A bad day in the office – not converting chances, being dominant but making silly and costly errors in the defence to expose De Gea who was a bit helpless to save any of them really. In the off-season I really believe the defence is the weak link still and if we can just get a couple more slightly experienced players at the back it could make a world of difference.
Going into the final month of the season with 4 games to go United sit in fourth place just above Arsenal and whether or not we finish 4th is entirly in our hands. We still have work to do to secure it but personally I think we are going to – Come on United!