Saturday Night Takeaway & Highlights: United 4-0 Palace
Points to take away from United’s latest 4-0 home win, this time against Crystal Palace, as well as a video of all the goals.
Goals Four Good
Forgive the lazy sub-headline, it was just a way to reference yet another four goal victory for United. Following identical scorelines against West Ham, Swansea and Everton, this was the fourth time Mourinho’s team had won 4-0 in the League. Louis van Gaal’s United team only scored four goals twice in the entirety of his reign. September is too early for ultimate conclusions and it has to be remembered how Mourinho happily allowed United to peter away in the League last season but we can at least say something for certain — those reservations about Mourinho’s style of football which were aired prior to his arrival have been unfounded. United are playing as well as they have any time in the last six years and maybe even longer.
Perhaps United have not been at their most cut-throat thrilling as a collective but it would be disingenuous of onlookers to continue to say they aren’t playing well. When Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford (more on that in a moment) can thrill the crowd as they did today, and United are disposing of opponents with ease, then really we are talking about objectively differing perceptions of what entertains you at football matches. In that respect, Mourinho is doing as well as anyone.
Survival of the fittest
Last season the question was whether Zlatan’s arrival would hamper the progress of Martial or Rashford, or, both. If you were being hyper critical you could certainly say that both didn’t progress as much as one would have anticipated. How much of that was down to the Swede? Well, it’s an easy link to make. Maybe it’s just as fair to say that they both had a difficult second season, as cliché as that is. There was some suggestion Martial might have been on his way out. Some knee-jerkers in the support were happy when they saw the Frenchman linked with a move away, with Perisic being a shiny new thing they could hopefully enjoy.
So, what’s the reason for their upturn in form? Hard to say, right now. Rashford started the season sluggishly and Martial impressed from the bench. It was a case of vice versa against Leicester. That Leicester game seems to have been a turning point, and the other now generally plays well from the off. Can both be kept happy in such a role? Probably not. But while it exists as it currently does, with one player inspiring the other to be at the best, United have an in-house competitive rivalry akin to Ronaldo v Messi, so, long may it continue.
It started as a joke meme with Fellaini’s head photoshopped onto Pele’s body. It was an affectionate mickey take about a player with supposed limited ability whose unlikely positive contributions were comically received due to their unpredictability.
Okay, so Brazilian fancy footwork he might not have, and, despite that magnificently manipulated video doing the rounds which show him doing all the same things as Zidane, those such comparisons are best kept tongue-in-cheek, but there was nothing ironic about the Belgian getting most votes on our Twitter feed for man of the match (and no, Dave didn’t hijack the poll).
He might not be the best midfielder or even the most talented and obvious Pogba replacement but he serves a purpose, he can do the simple things well and can cause havoc off the ball. He’s probably enjoying the best spell of his career.
Lukaku made it four and thankfully there was no airing of ‘that’ chant. Hopefully that will be the last we hear about it — it made for a nasty socio-political debate where some supporters hijacked it to try and justify their right to sing offensive songs, as well as further their own agenda. The guys covered it well in the UIF show last week — it was simply wrong, and should be condemned and erased.
We should be talking about his goalscoring exploits and that alone — well, that, and our concern about his composure given more than a second. Today he made it seven goals from seven league games which equalled the record set by Andy Cole. Cole is a bonafide legend but it’s worth considering that in his record, five of those goals were in a single game against Ipswich Town. Lukaku has been more prolific in general. Today he wasn’t at his best but showed the sign of a good striker with his instinct to get the fourth.