By Imran Kardar
Every manager at a top club has that one bogey team that has their number. It’s safe to say that Van Gaal’s bogey team is Swansea. The Dutchman has come across Swansea three times in his career at United and he has lost all three games! You wouldn’t expect that but that’s the beauty of modern day football. United came up against Swansea needing a win to remain unbeaten and close the gap at the top with City but they succumbed to their first defeat of the season with a poor showing at the Liberty Stadium.
The first half was the usual from Untied, keeping possession, no pace, slow tempo and no clear cut chances, though Rooney was through on goal but lacked the finish. Mata also had a chance when the ball was played wide to him but with no defender in sight he shot wide of the mark. The second half was pretty much the same till United got the goal courtesy Mata. It looked like United would grab a hold of the game when Shaw crossed from the left and Mata blasted the ball in on the far post. Swansea responded with a change in their shape and Untied couldn’t cope with the change. Gomis had been a handful for United’s defense all day and was instrumental in Swansea getting back in the game. The equalizer came from Ayew when United shut off defensively and he headed the ball in. A few minutes later Gomis went charging through the defense and Romero’s uncertainty led to the ball going in through the keeper. Another defensive mistake on the night by United. These were truly 5 minutes of total madness from United and the entire game was turned around.
United responded by sending on Young and Carrick for Mata and Schneiderlin but the changes had absolutely no impact on the game. United could hardly put an attack together or create a clear goal scoring chance. The only chance that came around was a penalty appeal by Rooney where he was clear on goal again and nudged out of the way by the defender. For me that’s not a penalty, however Wayne thought otherwise and gave the ref an earful. That takes us on to Rooney, who had another poor game. He seems to be under too much pressure being the Captain and being given the burden of being the main goal scoring option for the team. He is off his game and it’s just not working for him upfront. Okay, the service to Rooney hasn’t been great either but still you expect better from Wayne. Hence, the cry from the fans for a striker signing. I’m pretty darn sure that United will be buying a striker with Chicharito his way out. A true No.9 will also allow Rooney to drop back into his most dangerous position, the No.10. He has always performed there when he has had a main striker up top. Just look at the history with Van Nistelrooy, Saha, Berbatov, RVP, etc. Rooney needs help, United need goals, Van Gaal MUST sign a striker!
Interesting couple of days ahead for Manchester United and other clubs in the EPL as the transfer window closes on 31st August in most countries in Europe (Italy, France, Germany, and Spain). The window closes in the 1st of September in the UK, however deals are expected to be done a day before. United will have to be active in the window and hope that they can add to the squad and have not left it too late and miss out on signings.