If you can remember back to around this time of the year about nine years ago, you might remember that the Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill described one of his players as being “on a par with Lionel Messi”. That player was Ashley Young. As we know our lad Ashley has had quite a few ups and downs in his time with us at Old Trafford. His career with us started so brightly but within a couple of years he’d become very stagnant in my opinion. To me it just looked like he thought he’d made it and was just happy being here.
As we all know, if you’re a United player you always have to be seen to be making the effort, we have no time for passengers and I’m sure there must have been a few occasions where he has nearly been sold. Now, he is no Lionel Messi of course, but fair play to him he’s stuck at it and I think with age the penny has finally dropped. He’s cut out the diving, the moaning at decisions, whether they’re for or against him and is now getting the rewards. He is no left back but he’s doing a job there and working very hard at it.. Then when we do get on the attack, he shows he’s still got a brilliant cross on him.
As for yesterday myself, I had a quick couple of beers in The Quadrant before kick off with two lads who I’d not seen for a while. Then it was off to the ground via my usual route over the Stretford End bridge to pick up the latest UWS. Another beer in the ground before getting into my seat, to see Brighten start very brightly indeed. In fact it was down our left hand side and at Ashley Young they were getting the most success with a few good moves. Young had a good game but they certainly targeted him as weak spot but once he got into the game and settled he was fine.
Our winning goal of course came from Young’s shot but not after it took a huge deflection off Dunk, to loop up and over their keep Ryan and into the back of the net. The final whistle went, three points were in the bag so I clapped the players off, said my goodbyes to those around me that were still there and headed back to The Quadrant pub. Two beers consumed before I got my lift home.
As for last Wednesday, what a very annoying evening against Basel in the St. Jakob-Park. We should have been three or four goals up in that first half. Not that we battered them as such but we were fully dominant and created enough chances and half-chances to win the game after just 45 minutes. We didn’t though and with twenty minutes to go and with Basel knowing they realistically needed points from this before the final group game they went for it.
They finally got going and with us not punishing them when we should, it came back to haunt us in the 88th minute. A low diagonal cross was put in from the left and pretty much the whole of our back four had the chance of cutting it out. No one did and they scored to beat us 1-0. We’re basically still into the latter stages, unless we lose by a stupid amount of goals in the final game. The only downside, that final game is now a distraction ahead of the Manchester derby the following weekend.