Rampant Reds Run Riot in Leverkusen.
Well that was fun. That’s right – fun. A word we’ve very rarely, if ever, associated with anything to do with Manchester United this season. Dinks were dinked, flicks were flicked, and it all felt like finally the genie was out of the bottle.
Misery has cloaked the club in recent times. Failure to win has been greeted like relegation, whilst the biggest positive of the season – Wayne Rooney’s resurgence – has been easier to acknowledge than celebrate. Our Club’s over-enthusiastic efforts to welcome back the black sheep into the #MUfamily has left our manager appearing more like Winston Smith than Alex Ferguson. Even our triumph over the league leaders was achieved through gritty character than superior play. Functional football was here to stay.
Then came last night’s tricky trip to Deutschland. The signs were good when Moyes finally listened to the people ‘telling him how good a player he is.’ A specialist restored to his rightful place at the controls; soon we were treated to the sight of Shinji sharking through Teutons trudging through treacle. Flanked by wingers reborn, the repetitive model of get-it-wide, get-it-in was reborn as we attacked from a multitude of angles seemingly at once. Giggs guided proceedings; at his best in a side set up for cavalier counters. It was something of an injustice for praise of the man to be constantly accompanied by references to his age. Last night was a masterclass in intelligent movement, crisp passing and limitless stamina and would be worthy of acclaim regardless of the years of the exponent. At the focal point of attack was a Rooney on the rampage. Love him or hate him (and we all know where I stand) on this form he is as devastating as all but the very finest earning a living from the sport.
The defence was okay too; coping admirably despite the handicap of a centre back who looks depressingly ready for pasture. Paddy and Jonny rediscovered their scoring touch and even Big Chris the non-fullback fullback found himself amongst the goals. Before the game I had accepted that a defeat was in the offing. One does not simply go to the second placed side in Germany without the spine of your team and expect to return with anything to show for it.
From the lowest of expectations came the most exhilarating of victories. It was the first time under Moyes we have looked brimming with menace and a force beyond taming. Let’s hope it’s the start of something special.