As Manchester United finally ended their 8 game winless run in all competitions with a hard fought 2-1 win over Swansea City with a goal from Anthony Martial to put the Red Devils ahead before Gilfi Sigurdsson tied it up 1-1. Then finally Wayne Rooney connected with a sublime left footed flick to score a 77th minute winner which sent the Old Trafford crowd into raptures and put United only 2 points behind the Champions League qualification spaces.
As has become the norm this season United fired blanks in the first half leaving the United faithful in their usual highly frustrated state after another toothless display in tbe first half in front of goal where LVG’s men flattered to deceive and rarely genuinely really threatened the Swans goal. The Swans had their moments but the new tactical formation used by LVG seemed to really work where he used Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Daley Blind in a rare back 3 which worked well and allowed Ashley Young to be deployed as a part of an attacking midfield which payed off big-style as he supplied the assist for Martial’s opener.
Although United allowed Sigurdsson to equalize for Swansea, United were not to be denied and Rooney went on to score the United winner with a sublime left footed flick from behind his body which restored the advantage and secured United’s first win since 8 games ago in November vs Watford away. Wayne Rooney’s goal was shockingly just his third Premier League goal this season, but his 238th for Manchester United, leaving him a mere 11 short of the club’s record scorer Sir Bobby Charlton.
As the BBC reported Van Gaal was full of optmism for the remainder of the season, he said, the 2-1 triumph over Swansea could be a “fantastic starting point” for United to build on. He went on to say, “Now we are playing much more matches but still it is an achievement, said Van Gaal as he reflected on Rooney’s place in the club’s history.’ He added, “It’s amazing that you can perform the game plan like we have done, in a risky style, under this pressure,” he said. “I hope this is a fantastic starting point for us,” he added.
Van Gaal said that the victory – the 1st win since the away win to Watford on 21 November – should bring some calm to his critics.”We are still near the top of the league and the gap is less. So that’s football,” he added.
“A season takes eight months, or something like that, and not one month. We are sitting on the bench in a more relaxed way.”
So hopefully LVG is right and this is just a sign of things to come as injuried players return and the club gets the rub of the green a little more than in the 1st half of the season, leading us to at least a top 4 finish and maybe even some silverware but this does seem a little out of reach now. A run of winning games would be a good starting point along with a string of solid performances.