Last night’s win away at Wigan was vital. With United taking three points against a Sam Allardyce side who decided to roll over (I think we may have seen that before in various guises), our win ensured we kept pace with them at the top of the table. It turned about to be a great night with the news that Chelsea, who looked so good in the early weeks of the season, dropped points at home to Fulham, with the discontent around the appointment of Benitez set to increase. But what did we learn from the game at the DW?
Garcia is struggling
We were fairly comfortable throughout last night’s win but this wasn’t a vintage performance by any means. It seems we are still not yet quite at the level we were last season. At half-time, Sky pundit Gary Neville mentioned our passing being laboured; less slick and natural than at certain stages last season. I tend to agree with him, with Javi Garcia proving the main culprit. He is yet to adjust to life in the Premier League and time and time again things slow down when he has the ball. I’m not quite sure what it is he does. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon.
We’ve seen it before with certain foreign players. They can come in and look lost for the first six months and then suddenly they adapt and become valuable players. Hopefully Garcia will be one of those. If not, I can see him shipped on well before his contract expires (the length of which is subject to much mystery).
Barry outstanding again
The man who played alongside Garcia, however, was excellent again. Gareth Barry, the man fans of other clubs love to mock, followed up his brilliant showing at Chelsea with another inspired display. I’ve said it all before, so apologies for repeating myself, but his knack of being in the right place at the right time, and the simplicity of his passing, works a treat in our side. There aren’t many players in our squad who are as important to the side as Gareth Barry.
Nastasic continues to impress
This lad is 19 and had only played 26 games in Serie A before moving to us. It’s rather unbelievable, given his limited experience, that he looks so calm and assured. He made his debut in the Bernabeu and looked unflappable and boy was that a sign of things to come.
In possession he is comfortable, and his positioning belies his age. He potentially has a huge future. I expect a blip, most talented youngsters have them, but I’ve seen enough already to know that his talent should ensure he has a great career.
Was Balotelli that bad?
In today’s MEN (I don’t usually read it but this piece was suggested by a friend), Stuart Brennan says this of Mario’s performance:
For an hour last night, he was dreadful. Petty, feigning interest, melodramatic, and pointless.
Now, OK Stu, this wasn’t his best game, but that sounds like cliched rubbish to me. He looked like a man frustrated at his lack of chances and overly-eager to impress, not ‘dreadful’, ‘petty’ or ‘pointless’. He got himself a goal, which will help him massively, and hopefully we’ll see the best of him soon. In the meantime, if Brennan et al could cut the crap, that’d be great.