I think today we got a glimpse of pure Emeryball, effort and commitment first, artistry and style second,or even third. We will have to get used to it and in fairness, if we get three points, that won’t be a chore. For those that think winning is everything, Yipee, we one. Now you can stop reading.
Emery had a clear game plan, the players executed it and we got all three point. That in itself is great. We started well and United started very sluggishly. However, we could have been one down very early if Lukaku had not done an Ozil bounce ,onto the bar, when he should have been sliding it home.
We then got a gift when David de Gea stood and watched Xhaka’s strike go in the middle of the goal. It may have looked like a terrible error from the United stopper but in fairness to him I think it was just a freak shot. Xhaka struck the ball well from about 35 yards, The ball was flying straight ,and him being a left footer, de Gea would have expected any swerve to go to his left. However, Granit had struck across the ball and it veered violently to his right at the death, leaving the keeper flat footed and looking rather silly. Unlucky for him, but great for us. As in some 80% of PL games, the first goal defines the outcome and this proved to be the case.
For the last hour of the game it was and even game but with United having most of the big chances, fortunately , they missed them. After halftime I thought we were organized and solid and Emery had great tactics in that he left 3 up front, which kept them honest and left us with a threat. Our manager has to be complimented for this as it would have been easy to introduce a defensive minded midfielder and try to shut the game down. But he didn’t and it was a brave for the second time today, the first time being when he started both Ozil and Ramsey. They both had very good games by the way.
Now, for the penalty. Many say it was soft,but given how Lacazette does everything to stay on his feet, even when he should go down, I’m in no doubt it was a penalty. Lacazette won the penalty and was down to take penalties, but he gave it to his friend and strike partner , Aubameyang, who dispatched it. A great bit of class from Lacazette but I’m not sure how well it would have gone down if Aubameyang had missed.
This was a fine result and sets up up well for the run in. But it was hardly us battering them. We could just of easily have lost, given the chances both team created. It was workman like with fine individual performances from many players,Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil and Lacazette all did very well. Oh , and Leno, he had a stormer.
Perhaps United were a bit off their game? Or perhaps we were good enough to knock them off their game? It’s always a good idea to look at the overall performance and seperate it from the score.
All that said, Emery got just about everything right today and we got 3 points against the runaway train.
Enjoy the win and the rest of the week.