Cleat Geeks

Manchester United 1 CSKA Moscow 0 : Three Significant Events, Chanting Fans and A Homegrown Hero

In the heavy Manchester rain the other night at Old Trafford, three significant events happened during a match of high importance which could be portents of things to come at Manchester United.MarouaneFellaini

In chronological order the first event pertained to Manchester United’s new wonder kid, Anthony Martial. Whilst not having a particularly bad game Van Gaal substituted him in the 66th minute for the Belgium ace Marouane Fellaini.

This evoked the second significant event of the night which was a deafening chorus of boo’s from around the ground aimed at Van Gaal and his decision to not only take off Martial but also conversely allow Wayne Rooney to stay on the field of play.

Van Gaal acknowledged Manchester United fans unhappiness over his tactics but said they would “not be disappointed after the 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow”. Van Gaal said, “Of course I hear that (the booing) I am not deaf. That is the opinion of the fans. But after that (the win), they shall not be disappointed with the decision of the manager.”

In the 79th minute came the third significant event, as the Bob Dylan lyric proclaimed it was “a simple twist of fate” Rooney scored the only goal in the match and in so doing secured a valuable three points in the group stage of the Champions League. He also vindicated Van Gaal’s decision to leave him on the pitch heading home a glorious cross from the right side of the penalty area from Jesse Lingard. It was not only a good goal but also a good team goal, something which has been in short supply of late. With this goal Rooney achieved another milestone in his Manchester United career as he drew level with Denis Law on 237 United goals.

International Champions Cup 2015 - Manchester United v San Jose EarthquakesUnited started surprisingly with a 4-4-2 formation something Van Gaal has rarely used in his time in charge at Old Trafford. Martial as a main striker with Rooney a second striker just behind directing play was the opening gambit which many a United watcher have been waiting patiently to see if not fully believing that they would. Perhaps in light of recent matches and growing fan disenchantment Van Gaal redressed his philosophy of possession in favour of a more aggressive approach. Whether it will be a new policy is difficult to judge as Van Gaal is not one for taking on board criticism or change easily.

From the start of the match it was very obvious that CSKA had come for a draw as they drilled their packed defense and rarely came near the United goal except that is when defensive blunders allowed them a chance against David De Gea, all of which the goalkeeper handled superbly.

DavidDeGeaIf De Gea had left United in the summer and got his wish to sign for Real Madrid it is doubtful the United team would be in so favorable a position both in the premiership and the Champions League. As if to highlight the situation De Gea was called on a minute or so before the United goal and made a superb low one handed save down to his left from Seydou Doumbia the CSKA forward who surprisingly had not been in CSKA’s starting eleven.

With the other results going their way on the night Van Gaal’s side are a point clear at the top of the group with two matches left after Wolfsburg, who had led the standings before kick-off, were beaten 2-0 at PSV Eindhoven.

Another positive on the night was that it was noticeable that with all the stars on show the man of the match award went to Jesse Lingard a player who has come through the ranks at Old Trafford with both ups and downs in his short career. His immediate future looks promising if he continues his progress and takes his opportunities when they come along.

So United move on to the next premiership match at home on Saturday 7th November to West Bromwich Albion. This is another match they will be expected to win to keep the pressure up on the premiership leaders before the International break.

The goal against CSKA was Manchester United’s first in 404 minutes of open play, United will be hoping it is the first of many and that the awaited avalanche will begin at the weekend.

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