By Larry Taylor
Attack! Attack! Attack! United came out of the blocks, displaying offensive intent as they hosted Leicester, who with a win, would secure the Premier League title.
The Red Devils’ were rewarded in the 8th minute when Anthony Martial was on the receiving end of an Antonio Valencia cross, placing the ball under Leicester ‘keeper Schmichael, giving United a 1-0 lead.
The Reds’ were in the ascendency and had a glorious opportunity to extend their lead in the 14th minute when Jesse Lingard had a shot thudded away by Schmichael, maintaining the pressure and having the United faithful applauding the antics.
To their credit, Leicester fought back and got a goal back when Morgan out-muscled Marcus Rojo and head the ball in to bring the game level. Unfortunately for United, they never recovered and outside of a header by Chris Smalling in the closing moments of the game, Manchester United never looked like scoring the goal they needed.
With Leicester needing a mere two points to win the league pre-game, the Foxes were happy to sit back while counter attack where ever they could. Leicester came for a draw and given United’s struggles to break teams down, it was no surprise they got the result they came for.
But this meant more for United. Considering a top 4 spot was touching distance and Manchester City had lost against Southampton later in the day, fans sat in anticipation of the proverbial kitchen sink to be thrown.
Sir Alex on the touch-line pulls off a defensive midfielder for a striker, tells Rio Ferdinand to push forward and give the opposition nightmares until we got the desired result. That’s Manchester United; that is what that emblem represents – or at least, represented.
Now, with 7 minutes remaining, Blind and Smalling interchange in passes while Herrera and Memphis are given 16 and 8 minutes respectively to make an impact. It is illogical and is the type of complacency that should see Louis Van Gaal lose his job at season’s end.
The Dutchman’s team selections were again maligned. Fellaini has played well in the last few weeks and probably deserved his spot; but he was ineffective; slowed play down and was an elbow graze away from a red card.
You also have to question why Argentinian international Marcus Rojo continues to be picked. The defender was at fault for the goal and struggled against PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez. He packs the composure and pace to be a consistent left back at Manchester United and is terribly out of form. Considering his bright performances and great crossing ability, it is surprising Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has not been afforded an opportunity as of late.
As it stands, Manchester United still have a mathematical chance to make the top 4. Realistically, Manchester United would need Arsenal to beat Manchester City with the hope they will drop points in their last two games. Even so, given Van Gaal’s 50% win rate and the inconsistencies, I sadly cannot see it happening.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.