For the first time Swansea completed a league double over the Red Devils with a 2-1 win at the Liberty Stadium. To make matters worse for United fans Van Persie left the stadium on crutches and they will no doubt be waiting with bated breath to see how long he will be out of the game.
Much is being made of the Swans win specifically with regard to United’s poor defensive showing, however it is important to not that this is only the second time Manchester United have lost in twenty games. It was way back in November I was last lamenting a United loss.
As for this game, it was the exciting Bafetimbi Gomis who grabbed the winning goal for Swansea. Ander Herrera had put United ahead with a low strike but almost instantly Ki Sung-yueng flicked one in response from an incisive Jonjo Shelvey’s cross.
Despite the loss, the Red Devils will look back at the game and be at a loss to explain how they lost the game. They dominated the second half but completely failed in front of goal. In fact, rather than United’s formerly shaky defence taking the flak from the press it will be the misfiring forwards who will have questions asked of them. The match stats support this and show that the visitors had 65% of the possession throughout the game but were utterly unable to channel that dominance into goals.
As a result, United now drop to fourth place in the Premier League! To make matters worse for fans, Arsenal have replaced them in third place as they halted Crystal Palace’s resurgence under Alan Pardew. This, after failing to qualify for Europe last season, is a hammer blow to United’s hopes of automatic qualification for the Champion’s League.
The pressure of European qualification is a heavy burden for players and the frustration of the United players began to show late in the game. A flourish of bookings were shown for ill-timed tackles, as tempers flared and frustrations boiled over, in the final few minutes of the game.
What now for Louis Van Gaal? It is safe to say that the honeymoon period is well and truly over and the majority of fans would be happy to see the team finish in the top four and have Champions League football next season. However, what most fans won’t accept from their team is below par performances against mid-table teams, too often this season the red devils have been found lacking in defence or up front.
Falcao, for example, is valued at £50Million but on his current form I cannot see Van Gaal buying him in the summer when his loan period is up. Not if he has £50Million to spend, he’d be better of making a grab for young Harry Kane at Tottenham for that sort of money, get someone who is scoring and due to his age has a reseal value. Then again, maybe he could do with a second season at Spurs just to show he is the real deal!