5 points to take from draw against Chelsea

1. Can’t say that I’ve been looking forward to this one, so I’m delighted it’s out of the way and we didn’t lose. Monday night saw David Moyes’ first real test as Manchester United boss. We lost at home to Chelsea last season, so on the positive side you can see the draw as an improvement. I said before the game that I’d take a draw.

2. The most reassuring thing from the game was Tom Cleverley’s performance; man of the match by quite a distance. I’ve been a critic of his for sometime but last night he kept possession, made important tackles, and moved on play whenever called upon. The transfer window is near an end for the summer and we still haven’t signed a midfielder. Does that mean we’ll show a large sum of faith on the likes of Cleverley and gradually introduce Nick Powell? A small part of me wants that, but we realistically need a consistent and experienced midfielder alongside Michael Carrick. Cleverley is yet to fill me with that amount of confidence but I would love to be proven wrong.

3. Wayne Rooney started the game. It was a bold yet brave move by Moyes, who looked relaxed before the game. Both sets of fans chanted Rooney’s name all night and as Daniel Taylor from the Guardian pointed out, neither should have been. That aside, he performed brilliantly and worked hard. I couldn’t ask for more from a player that’s head been turned by Jose Mourinho and Chelsea. In terms of a man of the match performance, he wasn’t too far off Cleverley.

4. A quick observation I made throughout the game was how solid we were at the back. Moyes’ teams were always difficult to beat and despite starting without a single out-and-out striker, Chelsea really struggled to break us down. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were superb and both full backs did reasonably well, especially Patrice Evra. Defensively I cannot complain about Phil Jones as tonight was a clear indication that he is a centre back. We missed Rafael da Silva when bombing forward from right back.

5. Shinji Kagawa didn’t feature at all tonight. I thought in the last 5 minutes he could have made a difference, but it wasn’t to be. I know it’s only the second week but I do hope we see more of the Japanese midfielder this summer. If played in the hole behind Robin van Persie, we’ll see Kagawa at his best. And at his best we’ll be an even greater force going forward. If you saw him in his Borussia Dortmund days, you’ll know why.


Watch our Google Hangout with SWOL following the game where I gave a live reaction alongside respected writers Thomas Atzenhoffer and Tom Sunderland.

Credit to Jamie Russel to for taking control of the live blog. Follow @JmRssll555 on Twitter.

More Stories Chelsea David Moyes Manchester United Michael Carrick Nick Powell Tom Cleverley


  1. What is it about the blinkered views on Rooney? Last week he happened to be involved in two goals in a very minor way, yet everyone wants to wax rhapsodic about his two ‘assists’. Today he played like garbage, putting on one lame shot after another on goal when on at least two instances he should have laid it off to RVP. His passing was also up to its usual dreadful standard, killing one attacking foray after another with his awful disposal. Watch the replay closely if you doubt – for the few decent passes he pulled off you could count at least a dozen that went completely astray, often putting United under pressure. Between Rooney’s lousy passing and his abysmal and selfish shooting, is it any wonder that RVP had such a quiet game? It’s shades of Berbatov all over again whenever Rooney is on the pitch – or for that matter just about any strike partnership he’s ever been involved with other than Heskey some years ago. I for one would LOVE to see United accept the latest offer from Rooney and move him on, especially as the money could prove useful in finally landing a high quality midfielder to complement Carrick.

  2. @timbo – Thanks for you input, but I don’t entirely agree. Before I get started I still think Rooney’s a prat (I could pick a better word, but I’d like to keep this as clean as possible) for his episode in 2010, never mind the drama this summer. You said he played like garbage when he one of our better players in a team that all performed well.

    When talking passes, it would be a good idea to check the statistics. They’re average to be fair at 75% but that doesn’t say a whole pile. His first touch was superb and he broke on the counter attack quite well throughout when you consider the lack of football he played during the summer.

    Whether you want Rooney gone is a different story. We share a similar, but not exact same, view there but there’s no way he put in a “garage” performance tonight. Harsh.

  3. A good performance by Rooney today and I think the fans really showed him some love today. I also thought Cleverley played well and so did Valencia, who is looking more like his old self since giving up the number 7 shirt. The guy is a workaholic and he is important for the shape of the team. The defence was terrific today, especially Ferdinand and Vidic.

    I think Moyes got a good result today, but with some more creativity in the midfield we could have got the win. Welbeck is a talented lad but I think if we had a real match winner in that position today then it would have made a difference. We have been linked quite heavily with Mesut Ozil and for me he would be a terrific signing. A silky and technical player who creates goal scoring chances in his sleep.

    I think Moyes should also make moves for Maurrone Fellaini and Luke Shaw before the window closes. I would prefer we spent £15 million on Shaw ahead of Baines because he is young and had great potential. I also believe Evra has some legs left in him and would act as a good mentor for Shaw, but will also be challenged heavily for the left back role. Fellaini is a good box to box midfielder and would provide us with another option in central midfield.

    …………………….De Gea………………




    …………………Van Persie……………

  4. @Tom – Agree with what you say about Ozil. There’s no doubt that he would improve our side. Not an out and out central midfielder but I’ve seen him play there comfortably. As you said, he’s a silky and technical player but I we could say the same about Kagawa.

    Fellaini, I also agree with. We published this about the Everton midfielder yesterday – http://strettynews.com/fellaini-would-be-ideal-for-united/ – and it got a positive reaction by the majority. Shaw is an interesting one. He’s young and has a promising future and I’d argue the same for Fabio too. Get in Baines for under £15m (seems like a no-goer at the minute with the scousers overcharging) and we could keep him at his current level for 3/4 years. Doesn’t rule out Fabio’s chance of becoming a first team regular.

  5. I was at the match last (East Stand) and our main weakness was our right hand side. I thought Valencia and Jones made a terrible partnership. Whilst Valencia was his usual self, sheer quality at times but mainly very frustrating, one of our main weapons over the years was the full backs creating an overlap and delivering great crosses and that just didn’t happen last night.

    The team didn’t have much confidence in Jones crossing the ball and because of that, Valencia, Cleverley and Carrick often turned back inside to pass centrally. Personally, I thought Vidic was our man of the match, he was solid and nothing got past him. With Rooney, I’m not sure whether that was a message to us to say that he wanted to stay or whether he was flirting with Mourinho to tempt him into making a third (and surely, final) bid for him.

    Totally agree with you on Shinji, I said the same to the guy next to me that he could have been the difference because we lacked that bit of creativity last night. Still, a point is better than nothing and on we go to Anfield…..

  6. @Karlosb – Valencia, in my opinion, was one of our better performers. Saying that he’s nowhere near the player he once was and this is a defining season for his future career. He will want to get 2012/13 out of his mind because the majority of his performances were appalling.

    Last night was a clear indication that Phil Jones is not a full back, but that doesn’t mean he played poorly. He didn’t. He did quite well out of position. Jones is a centre back. He’s solid in the air and he’s able to play with the ball at his feet. That’s not to say he can bomb up the line and swing a perfect cross. His priorities are to defend and he did that well last night.

  7. Agree with you about Clevs. I just wish he would take more chances in the final third. He never really plays that killer pass you need him to. Instead he passes back to Carrick or to one of the wingers to keep the ball moving. I thought he was great last night and am rooting for him, but I wish he would gamble and make a run or two into the box to create space for the final pass.

    Also, really want Shinji to be an important part of the team. I think he would be great either on the flank or in a center role. I think if we get Fellani it would help Shinji’s playing time increase because there would be an extra level of protection since Shinji does not track back for defense. I really want to see a front four of RVP, Rooney, Welbz, and Shinji. Think it would be great. Can also throw Nani, Powell, Lingard, Adnan or others in the mix as well.

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