José Mourinho’s Secret Weapons – Ashley Young And Marouane Fellaini As Manchester United Attempt To Confuse Liverpool Into Submission

Posted: October 17, 2016 in Arsenal, European Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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So United’s starting eleven included Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini for the first time in a while. In fact, in Young’s case, it was the first time since last January when he played against? That’s right, Liverpool at Anfield!

The idea was that Young would provide more accurate crosses for the likes of Ibrahimović and Fellaini. In order to do so he would have to improve on his normal performances which, I seem to remember, involved one out of every four crosses being reasonably good whilst the other three went miles out of play!

Given Liverpool’s susceptibility to dead ball situations and the long ball, it made sense to bring Fellaini into the team.

Unfortunately, it meant a return to the bench for Juan Mata, (recently voted as the player most supporters would like as captain in a poll on this website), where the expectation would be that he would come on later in the game if required. He didn’t as he wasn’t!

The first half belonged, just about, to United. They had more of the possession but did little with it. The game was a cut and thrust affair with a few mis-timed tackles and no real opportunities to score from either side. The only talking points really were two yellow cards given to United players.

The first was to Eric Bailly for, apparently, not tackling Daniel Sturridge, who fell over. Then Ashley Young was booked because he has as much trouble keeping his mouth shut on the field as he does off it!

The bookings were totally out of context in the game as Ander Herrera had escaped a booking despite two tackles which could have been deemed yellow card offences.

Anyway, the first half ended goalless and United were halfway to achieving their first objective which would have been not to lose.

Jürgen Klopp obviously wouldn’t have been happy and would have had something to say at half time but it made little difference as the second half began in much the same way as the first half ended.

It wasn’t until just short of the hour mark when Liverpool decided to play. This coincided with Adam Lallana coming on for Daniel Sturridge although it had little to do with him. Liverpool now produced some of their best football but still only managed one half chance from Emre Can, which was saved by De Gea and a long range shot by Coutinho which was also well saved by De Gea.

After 77 minutes Rooney was brought on in place of Rashford who had been largely ineffective. Rooney appeared to be continuing the largely ineffective theme and did nothing between his arrival and the final whistle.

Liverpool brought on Origi and Moreno for Firmino and Milner but it was too late for them to have any impact on the result of the game.

Luke Shaw then came on for United in the 92nd minute to replace Ashley Young in a typical Jose Mourinho time wasting exercise. He also didn’t have any time to make a telling contribution.

The game, as expected, petered out into a 0-0 draw. Neither team had done enough to win it and so, naturally, neither team deserved to win it and a point each was a fair result.

Man-of-the-match:  Ander Herrera (Manchester United)

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