It was a Super Sunday after a controversial Saturday as the footballing community was divided thanks to the antics of Diego Costa and Gabriel Paulista’s naive way of handling the provocation. Social media had an outrage branding Costa as a disgrace to football and it acted as a spring board for Super Sunday. Clash of 2 Dutch Maestros, one who is arrogant (Louis Van Gaal) and another one who has a madness to his arrogance (Ronald Koeman). The Warning shots had been fired by Koeman saying that “We know that Pelle is very strong and normally he’s stronger than Blind is or stronger than [Marcos] Rojo is.” The Saints were coming into the game with a goal less draw at West Brom and United come into the game with a bitter sweet memory of local derby victory and a horrific injury to their promising Left back Luke Shaw. As the English media dubbed it was the ‘Clash of 2 Ego Monarchs’
Analysis of Ronald Koeman’s win over Louis Van Gaal
Ronald Koeman had publicly stated that he is going to target Blind and the first 30 minutes of the game looked as if Pelle was showing Blind that he is too small a game for him. Both Managers decided to start with a 4-2-3-1 notably Anthony Martial starting his first game in the premiere league and Wayne Rooney making his comeback after a small knock in the derby game. The White Pele seemed like a man on Mission but just like Chelsea considered as favourite for the season it seemed like a mirage. Morgan Schneiderlin was returning back to the place where it all began for him and the home fans showed no mercy or loyalty as he was booed more than once in the whole game. A lot of hype was surrounding on Pelle and Mane, a reported transfer deadline target for Manchester United and the lad turned on the heat and turned it in style.
How it unfolded at St.Mary’s?
Manchester United started the game brightly with a quick attack but was nipped at the bud thanks to first of many horrible pass by Wayne Rooney whose wings were clipped by Wanyama throughout the game. Saido Mane was always having a go at the United backline and the midfield and he was catching Morgan off his ground and running past Carrick as if no one existed. His quick release of the ball caused a big problem to Matteo Darmian who was up against Mane and Tadic as they caught the Italian completely on the wrong foot most of the times.
For the first 30 minutes it seemed Manchester United have been hit by a whirlwind named Pelle and the so called ‘beckham’ prodigy James Ward-Prowse delivered an absolute peach of a cross. It started on the right when James Ward-Prowse’s fine right-footed cross was barely challenged by Rojo, now covering for the injured Luke Shaw. David De Gea produced a scintillating save and as the age old adage goes ‘Chance of a rebound results in a chance of a goal’ and Pelle swept it back in under very little pressure at all.
It seemed that Pelle was in the mood and Orio Romeu passed the ball into the feet of the Italian and he turned on the other side to unleash a powerful ground driven shot just to be denied by the woodwork. Probably some divine intervention saved United or else it would have been 2-0 and goodbye to Manchester United.
Martial had shown his quick feet on 31 minutes when he embarked on a run that ended with a poor pass. Jose Fonte’s miscued clearance Morgan Schneiderlin headed the ball back into the United box where Mata, isolated on the right, was offside. Maya Yoshida tackled but in Vain as Anthony Martial switched gears to leave Van Dijk clueless of what happened and the Frenchman opened his body and slotted home a very deserving and thumping goal. The half time commenced and then began an extravaganza of “philazaphee” football.
The Philazaphee Football
Right from the word go, Manchester United began the second half with some purpose and intent. Anthony Valencia had replaced Darmian which was declared as a tactical switch by Louis Van Gaal and it proved crucial as the quick and pacy Ecuadorian shut Saido Mane and was too hot to handle for Tadic. The Clock struck 50 mins and Anthony Martial was oozing fire for United and it was a horrible back pass from Yoshida, but that boy Martial was on it in a flash, composed himself and slotted past the keeper. Cue the re-emergence of the chant by away fans “what a waste of money” mocking the cathedral city in the south. The clock was running and the tempo was picking up and suddenly the Saints broke in a gist and a corner resulted in “Dave Save” as the Pl’s one of the best center back of last season headed a superb ball asking David to pull a point blank save. To add to that first icing on the cake was presented by Manchester United’s new Mr calm Bastian Schweinsteiger who put some amazing display of passing. It was more of poor man’s Barcelona version of Tiki-taka which led to the goal the 45-pass extravaganza was finished by Mata for United’s third after Depay had hit the post. It was beautiful to watch and it felt like the kind of goal you employ a Dutch manager to coach your team to score. It was 78 mins and Memphis Depay was presented with a golden opportunity to break his PL duck and his free kick was just on top of the bar and the MUFC supporters have to wait some more time till this young Dutch prodigy opens the scoring.
Ideally it should have been a winning goal for United but the Saints attempted a comeback and they showed their intent with a brilliant second goal and it was that man from Lecce and Koeman’ s prodigy Graziano Pellè scored an absolute Centre forward goal from a Mane’s cross when there was barely a defender near the Italian.
Final 5 minutes of Added time and United looked to make hard for themselves they went from awful to awesome in some ways with a little help from Southampton but then reverted back to a nervous bunch in the final moments before seeing it over the line.
Thanks to David de Gea and Anthony Martial! Van Gaal has got himself off the hook after the disappointment of PSV. The old wily Louis Van Gaal had one up on his fore foe Ronald Koeman and the final shots fired by Koeman as he was asked about Martial, Koeman replied that the Frenchman was indeed a good finisher adding, with a smile, “but when you pay that kind of money, you can expect something.” It was just a good thing Van Gaal was not in earshot. A sobering thought for Manchester United fans caught up in the early stages of Martial mania: in the Premier League era, only Louis Saha and Federico Macheda have scored two goals in their first two matches for the club.