Hey there and welcome back to yet another issue of Manchester United Monthly! In this particular issue, we will be reporting on what is one of the biggest fixtures in the Premier League, the Manchester Derby. We also will be reporting on the other three games that took place this month, with two home games against both West Brom and West Ham and the trip down to London to face Tottenham for a second time in the space of three months. United have been in good form of late, with an impressive October helping them climb up the table, making this month even more vital if they want to secure a Champions League place next season.
Games: West Brom(H), Tottenham(A), Man City(H), West Ham(H).
Game 1: Manchester United vs West Brom
United's first game of the month saw them tackle West Brom at Old Trafford, with both teams heading into the fixture in good form making the scenario for a highly interesting game. United opted for a more direct approach, with van Gaal naming Antonio Valencia on the right who would add lots of pace to attack with. West Brom decided to name a similar starting eleven to their previous game against Burnley which they won 3-0, with Berahino, who score against United in this fixture last season, getting the nod to start upfront ahead of Ideye, who misses out with an ankle problem.
The game started with a huge cheer around Old Trafford which made for some good play by Ander Herrera, who flicked the ball over the West Brom defence but Radamel Falcao failed to latch onto the pass, allowing for Foster to claim the ball. West Brom tried to play around the back which paid off against Burnley but the high pressing from the United players made them feel uneasy and opted with a more direct approach out of defence, which mainly gave possession back to United.
United got the first goal of the game to no surprise. Positive play from Phil Jones allowed the ball to be played forward towards Angel Di Maria, and the Argentine was able to turn on the spot and head towards the West Brom defence, chipping the ball through a gap towards Juan Mata
, who confidently hit the ball on a half-volley which sailed past Foster and into the back of the net. A great goal from a team which are improving every game, and another assist from Di Maria who has already adapted to the BPL.
Juan Mata latched onto the loose ball and struck a beautiful half-volley past Foster and into the back of the net..
West Brom were now struggling to cope with the pressure, making needless and silly mistakes which allowed United to regain possession of the ball multiple times. Herrera again picked up possession and knocked it forward towards the feet of Mata. The attacking playmaker was able to sneak a pass through the challenge of two West Brom defenders that Falcao
took control of and the Colombian showed his clinical nature as he tucked the ball past Foster to double United's lead.
Not much happened after Falcao's goal, with United probing the West Brom defence but failing to make their chances pay. van Gaal however was not worried as West Brom couldn't get the ball out of their half for the majority of the game, with the only half chance falling to Graham Dorrans but the midfielder took his eye off the target as he blazed over from 20 yards, which mainly summed up the game that West Brom had. United's defence held a high line which kept Berahino at bay everytime West Brom tried to attack.
The game finally finished with a simple but effective victory for Manchester United over West Brom. Juan Mata was the stand out performer after his wonderful goal in the first half but also his vision in creating Falcao's goal. Mata has really cemented his place behind the forward and is improving every game. United's win gave them even more confidence ahead of their trip to London to face Tottenham where van Gaal hopes to carry on his undefeated streak since the loss against Chelsea in the first game of the season.
Game 2: Tottenham vs Manchester United
United's next game was a trip down to the south of England where they would face Tottenham at White Hart Lane. United, having won their last game against West Brom, named the same starting eleven, meaning that confidence should be very high after the same team performed brilliantly against West Brom. For Tottenham, they named a much changed starting eleven from their last game, naming a much stronger team on paper that were bound to give United a run for their money. It made for a very interesting game.
Spurs got the perfect start as just three minutes in they took the lead. Great play from Townsend on the right allowed him enough space to measure up a cross but Danilo made a hard challenge on the winger which earnt Spurs a free-kick in a dangerous area. Eriksen stood up to take the free-kick and whipped a low cross towards the back post where defender Vertonghen
was waiting and the Belgian had no trouble flicking the ball underneath De Gea and into the back of the net. United failed to cope with the fast wing play of Townsend which was the ultimate factor to Spurs taking a deserved lead.
United hit back though ten minutes after Spurs took the lead. Fellaini won the ball in his own half and played it on to Fletcher, who made his first start of the season as van Gaal wanted two ball winning midfielders playing today. Fletcher punted the ball forward to Di Maria who brought the ball down perfectly and the Argentine curled a low pass towards the oncoming Falcao
, and the Colombian had no trouble passing the ball past Lloris to level the game up at 1-1. Some great attacking play from Di Maria on the left but you have to credit Fletcher on finding Di Maria in space.
Antonio Valencia struck the ball into the back of the net to rescue a well-deserved point for Man United.
Spurs however found themselves back in-front in the second half, as Townsend
again was giving Danilo all sorts of nightmares as weave past the Brazilian full-back multiple times before passing the ball to Lamela, who controlled the ball well and played the ball back to Townsend who made a smart run into the box and the England international had no trouble taking the ball around De Gea and putting the ball into the back of the net. Poor defending from United but you have to question what Danilo was doing on the right and he lost concentration a few times allowing Townsend into the box.
And just as the game was drawing to a close with Spurs looking to be the eventual winners, United mounted a very fast attack which won them a corner. Mata put the ball down and swung in a pearler of a cross into the box which Falcao headed at goal but Lloris was able to get down low and use his foot to divert the ball away, however the closest player to the ball was Valencia
and the experienced winger had the simple task of stabbing the ball into the back of the net to level the game up yet again at 2-2 which Spurs were very angry at as they believed the winger was offside, but replays showed he was clearly onside.
The referee finally blew to whistle with the final score being 2-2. Some would say that Spurs were the better side and United got lucky, but luck always plays a part in football matches. Another good performance from Falcao and Valencia, but some disappointing defending, especially from Danilo who will not be able to sleep for a few days after Townsend tormented him down the right. Overall a point is a decent result for us given the circumstances in the game. Next up, the big one, the Manchester derby!
Game 3: Manchester United vs Manchester City
Here it is, the first Manchester derby of the season which this time is held at Old Trafford. There was lots of anticipation for this game due to the starts both teams have made this season. City did the double over United last season, beating them at home 4-1 and away 0-3, making them on paper favourites for this game. However van Gaal has started perfectly at United, with The Red Devils currently at the top of the Premier League and are scoring for fun. Both teams named their strongest starting elevens which was to be expected, with Radamel Falcao leading the lines for United and Sergio Aguero for City.
United got the game under way which was evenly balanced for the first ten minutes, then the game started to open up more as City committed men forward as they were on the attack but a strong challenge from Martinez allowed Herrera to gain possession and the creative midfielder played the ball forward to Di Maria, who had lots of space to advance into, seeing himself being able to run at the City back four due to the players they pushed forward. Di Maria saw Mata
open on the right and played a short pass to the Spaniard who hit it first time and saw it smash into the back of the net to give United an early lead.
Mata's goal was the catalyst for United as in the next minute, they got their second goal. City gave away possession again as Fellaini intercepted a pass from Toure and advanced forward, playing the ball to Rooney in the centre of City's final third and the skipper played a world class pass over the City defence to Falcao
who brought the ball down perfectly and had enough time to measure up his angles and curl the ball around the sprawling arms of Hart and into the back of the net. A quick fire double from United who have blown City out of the water with their quick and decisive play.
Radamel Falcao scored a superb solo effort, curling the ball with the outside of his boot into the back of the net.
got his second of the game and United's third with what was described as the 'best solo goal in the past few Premier League seasons'. The Colombian gained possession of the ball in his own half from Rooney and started running, he evaded a lazy challenge from Toure and continue his run, increasing his speed with every stride he took. He then found himself just outside the box with two City defenders infront of him, but the brilliance of Falcao allowed him to turn past both defenders, advance into the box and curl the ball with the outside of his boot around another City defender and Hart which struck the top corner of the net. A superb solo goal from Falcao who had achieved his brace in his first Manchester derby.
rubbed salt in the wounds of City as he got his second and United's fourth. Rooney played a short one-two with Herrera and the skipper was taken down by a rough challenge from Fernando. Mata placed the ball down 30 yards from goal and measured up his angles. The attacking midfielder ran up and hit the ball with the inside of his foot, curling it up and over the wall and beating Hart at his near post. A wonderful free-kick from Mata who like Falcao, has started to register more goals in the last few games. That free-kick summed up Mata's perfect performance today.
The final whistle was blown soon after which saw Manchester United humiliate their 'noisy neighbours' Manchester City by four goals to nil, with a brace from both Falcao and Mata. This result proves that Manchester United are back and now they are starting to mount a serious title challenge as they brushed aside the current league champions. This result also proves that Manchester is RED
and always will be! A sublime performance from the whole team who will not let the opposition forget about today!
Game 4: Manchester United vs West Ham
United's final game this month was against West Ham at Upton Park, and after the brilliant Manchester derby win, United looked like clear winners on paper as their confidence is sky high. van Gaal named the same starting eleven which performed perfectly against City with Falcao starting yet another game up front on his own. West Ham opted for a more defensive approach, bringing Song back into midfield to tackle Fellaini and Herrera. If United win this game, they would go four points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table.
And in the opening minute of the game, United were ahead, and yes, you guessed it, Falcao
was the scorer. West Ham failed to close down Herrera and the midfielder played yet another quality through ball past a few West Ham midfielders allowing Falcao to take possession of the ball. The Colombian exchanged the ball nicely with Di Maria, who played it back to Falcao and he struck the ball low and hard under Adrian and into the back of the net. A superb start from both Falcao and United.
And after Falcao's goal, it was one way traffic as United got their second soon after, with this time Herrera
getting the goal. Some positive play on the wings from Di Maria allowed Herrera to advance from his usual deeper position into a more attacking one and Di Maria saw that the 25 year old was in some space, playing the ball just in-front of the midfielder which allowed him to run up and thumb it past Adrian to double United's lead. Another quality goal from United who are unstoppable right now.
Radamel Falcao celebrating his second goal as he struck the ball at Adrian's near post.
then got his second goal which was perfectly worked. Fellaini found Rooney, who then turned and knocked it forward to Januzaj, who was brought on for Mata and the young Belgian had enough space on the wings to drill a near post pass to Falcao, who improvised by flicking the ball over Adrian's shoulder using the side of his foot to make it 3-0 United. Falcao enjoyed that one as he celebrated with lots of emotion. Little did he know he'd be taking the match ball home...
The Colombian was now trying his hardest to get his first hat-trick for both Manchester United and in the Premier League, and generous play from Rooney allowed this to happen. The skipper ran past a couple of West Ham defenders and had enough space to hit a shot, usually, Rooney would do this, however he saw Falcao
advancing forward and Rooney teed off the forward who smashed the ball as hard as he could into the back of the net. He ran over to Rooney to celebrate his first hat-trick with emotion, and the away fans were singing his name around Upton Park.
The referee finally blew for full-time with United winning another game by four goals to nil. Falcao was by far the best player today, as proved by his remarkable hat-trick which he enjoyed scoring. This result also finishes up the month for United, making it 3 wins and 1 draw which sees them four points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table. A great month for the players, management and fans!
Another great month sees us now four points clear of Chelsea at the top. We've really improved since the opening day and confidence is so high now and now I see the old Manchester United who played so well under Sir Alex Ferguson. van Gaal is doing a wonderful job, especially when it comes to scoring goals as our goal difference now stands at 29 in just 13 games played, and with Falcao getting into his old goal scoring form, I wouldn't be surprised if that doubled in our next 13 games!
Player of the Month
Where do I even begin with Falcao? He's had by far his best month in a Manchester United shirt and has already proven to us how lethal he can be leading the line upfront. His goals have proved vital, with two tremendous goals in the Manchester derby and a hat-trick against West Ham, he may see a full contract soon if he keeps scoring the goals. Well done Radamel for your fantastic month!