Goalkeepers dominated the discourse both before and after the Tottenham game for different reasons. With David de Gea was dropped, the vowel-tastic Sergio Romero drafted in despite playing less football than Brian Clough in the past year. Chin-scratching pundits sagely looked to Arsenal and decreed the purchase of Petr Cech to be the best signing of the summer.
They are saying something different now.
Louis van Gaal will be quietly satisfied with the weekend as he wakes up this Monday. United have got three points and Chelsea and Arsenal have not. Whilst this is not the time for great rejoicing, there is still plenty to take heart from. A mild rejoice is in order.
For starters, Van Gaal’s United have a habit of playing 6/10 football and still getting a result. Of course, there is great thirst for performances to follow, but a consistent lucky quality suggest there is more than luck at play. This knack will get United further along than others.
Considering the match included five debuts and four Premier League bows, the result is even more welcome. Those would be valid excuses for a poor outcome and one can understand why “Lucky Louis” was willing to sing When I’m 64 in his press conference. Perhaps though, he had not expected Kyle Walker to execute the ice-cool finish that delivered his birthday victory.
A quick word on the debutants. Darmian looked sensational and assured, as did Luke Shaw on the opposite side of the pitch. LVG is famed for his use of full backs and those two could provide both the solidity and forward thrust he demands.
There is a lot to like about Memphis Depay. He looked furious about being substituted and considering his youth and the natural authority his manager has, I loved the impudence. He was involved in the build up to the goal and if he is half as good as he thinks he is nobody will remember Leo Messi in twenty years. I approve.
Schneiderlein didn’t make the strongest impression on me but in fairness it took Michale Carrick approximately four seasons to earn my trust as well. If he fits in to the category of ‘no catastrophes and quite busy’, that will be fine.
Schweinsteiger I have loved as a player for years and it makes me happy just to see him in the United shirt. If his colleagues feel as confident as I do when he is on the pitch, the money has been well spent already.
Tottenham were perhaps the nicest side Romero could have made his debut against. One casts the mind back to an early DDG game against West Bromich Albion in which they elbowed him at every corner. In contrast, Spurs allowed Romero to grow into the game and build his confidence in the meantime. He may even have been my man of the match.
An experienced eye suggests that Romero is the possible reincarnation of Fabien Barthez. He may produce a rubber chicken from his shorts at any moment before careering off into the sunset on a unicycle. Personally, I still hope LVG forgives Victor Valdes.
In all, it was a lovely day to be at Old Trafford. The sun was shining and the faithful are optimistic about the season to come. Van Gaal is more entertaining than his team at the moment but the process of going to the games, checking the table and reading the papers this week has been thoroughly pleasant. Long may it continue.
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