By Imran Kardar
What an exciting game this turned out to be! Though it proved to be a tense affair and not for the faint of heart! United with their injury crisis had to field a make shift squad with Young substituting at right back and Memphis having to play as the striker as even Wilson picked up an injury in the Friday training session. That left United with NO recognized striker for this game. The situation was so dire that young academy player Rashford was on the bench as a backup!
The Red Devils started the game well and with an attacking intent. They soon went ahead when Memphis Depay cushioned a sublime cross from Ander Herrera in to the back of the net. A much needed goal for both player and club. The confidence level seemed to improve and United kept the ball well and looked to fashion another chance to score. Unfortunately Herrera picked up a hamstring injury that forced United in to making an early substitution. On came Rojo and United went to three at the back. I must say many United fans would have been highly concerned that the manager chose to go back to this dreaded formation that led to United’s poor start last season. If I were LVG I would have brought on Darmian at right back and taken Young to right wing and pushed Mata inside to the No.10 position. But then I’m not LVG! However, the change didn’t seem to stop United from playing attacking football.
The second half was a totally different story. Watford really took the game to United and created many chances. DDG made 4 saves in the game, one of which was absolutely world class as the shot came through a body of players and took a deflection on the way. The save even surprised DDG at the time! United did have their chances in the half with two falling to Lingard but he seemed off his game and couldn’t finish. Then injury struck United again with Phil Jones picking up what looked like an ankle injury and he was replaced by McNair, who himself was making a comeback after a ruptured liver. The rhythm of play and the team kept on getting disturbed and Watford tried to take advantage and score. They finally did when Rojo gave away a stupid, unnecessary foul in the box which resulted in a penalty for the opposition. The penalty was converted and it seemed that United would drop points and do with a draw as 87 minutes had passed. However, after the goal we saw the once famous never say die attitude of Manchester United. The players really went on the attack and then in the 90th minute a shot at goal was parried away by the keeper, at that moment Bastian Schweinsteiger seemed to be the only player switched on in the box as he took a shot at goal from an extremely tight angle, the ball was helped over the line by the penalty scorer Deeney for an own goal. Though I would give the goal to Schweinsteiger as the shot did look like it was on target. The players went ballistic, they had just snatched victory!
So United got off the hook and bagged three points from a game that they should really be bagging three points easily. But given the number of injuries you can forgive the players for making a tough fight of it. As the other results on the day went United’s way with both Arsenal and City losing, United overtook both on the table and sit 2nd. On to the next game in the Champions League for the Red Devils. Hopefully till then the injury crisis would have improved. GGMU!