Manchester United 2.0 – The fire rises!!

Lately, being a Manchester United fan meant that you wouldn’t have much to brag about. After a long spell of success under Sir Alex, times had changed. Moyes’ plan did not work right away, adding to the misery, new players wouldn’t come. Louis Van Gaal seemed the right choice. His philosophy didn’t work though. The upside was that he attracted a lot of players. Good players. The German warhorse Bastian Schweinsteiger decided to join Utd and the lost enthusiasm returned. After a tacky campaign and a FA Cup win, he was ousted.

José Mourinho was appointed the manager of Man Utd. He had always enjoyed a rapport with Utd fans – some good some bad. All the images of José came glaring back – Him excitedly racing down the sideline at Old Trafford after Porto scored an away goal against Utd, his nonchalant demeanour when Ronaldo netted the winner for Real Madrid against the Reds, and his anger when Robin Van Persie scored the equaliser for Utd against his Chelsea. His story is also one to tell – A decade of success, everywhere he went. Then, the crumbling at Chelsea which got him fired for a second time at the club. Now, he is eyeing success again at Manchester United. José is most famous among the Red fans because of his confrontation with Messi, the main rival to the prolific Ronaldo, who is still the God here. That confrontation can be compared to when Rafael stood up to Tevez during the derby. So the stage was set for José to start rebuilding his winner image. The first thing he did was sign 4 players. And what signings they have turned out to be. 

Eric Bailly was his first signing. The Valencia defender has been tormenting Premier League attackers with his towering presence. With 3 Man of the match awards in 6 games, he has announced his arrival loud and clear. The interceptions, the headers, the slides – he is perfecting everything, and as a defender, I know how an important role he is playing. 

The second signing was the best ever. Zlatan Ibrahimović. The King of Sweden decided to go Red. The stats speak for themselves – Broken records during training, 3 goals in first 3 games, winner in the community shield and a charisma which he carries around himself. He has been the only player to start all games this season, barring probably only De Gea. Enthusiasm is reaching new heights and Utd raised 120 mil just by his shirt sales. His free signing had the desired effect. and to Zlatan I say, “Welcome Home.” 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan followed Zlatan. The player who had the most assists and the most key passes in La Liga has shown what he is capable of. 

The last signing wasnt the least though. It was a homecoming for Paul Labile Pogba. The Utd youth player rejoined the ranks for a second spell with the club.

Youth talent was promoted so that Rashford and Lingard played major roles.  

The transfer season was awesome. It was time for the main season.

United started strongly. Zlatan grabbed the spotlight by scoring in his first 3 matches. They needed a boost against Hull city and Rashford provided it. After a dismal display against Man City, first blood went to Guardiola in the latest installment of the Guardiola-Jose rivalry. Europa league opener was literally an eye opener for Utd as they fell to Fayenoord. Another abysmal display against Watford left them 3 matches down in a span of 8 days. For the last match against the Champions Leicester, Jose dropped Rooney and the effect was magical. A fabulous win! Easily the best 45 minutes of football from United in recent years. Slick, fast flowing football full of confidence and goals galore. Been years since we had seen United destroy a team like that in the first half. Arguably Pogba’s best performance in a United shirt. The dab duo seem to link up well.  Pogba dominated the game, got a brilliant goal and his link up play with Zlatan looks like it could be something special. All it took was a single decision to make. But as Rio said, This isnt the end of Rooney. He will play an important role. 

So what are my thoughts? Firstly, the appointment of Jose was a master choice. Nobody knows more of how to win than Jose. And i still maintain my position that his teams are dismantled after some years, the immediate success is what is needed right now. Zlatan and Pogba can destroy any team if their styles match. Even City can be destroyed. Bailly is good. Mkhitaryan needs to explore and cement his role in the first team. And Rooney’s below average performance? In my opinion Rooney is not a player, he is a national institution, and has been ever since he broke into international stardom at the tender age of 16. He has been the focal point of his country’s landscape for almost 14 years now. He is the ‘Boy Wonder’ or the ‘White Pele’. During every international endeavour, the nation’s hopes are projected onto him and he is also the scapegoat who has been blamed every time Eng suffers a setback. He is a part of the furniture, a load-bearing wall. He cannot be relegated to the sidelines like this forever. He has a right to take some rest and give some respite to the legs wearied by servicing the club and country for exhausting years. So to those who say that he is over, think twice. Rooney maybe slower and less sharper than before but nobody but him has the right to lead the United side out of the tunnel wearing that Captain’s armband. Zlatan is at his best. Hererra and Mata show their class everytime. Lingard and Rashford are the perfect mix of youthful spirit and awesome skills. De Gea, our Spanish saviour looks as sharp in the goal. Fellaini looks like a player reborn and is playing pretty good. All in all, this team has the ability to challenge any team in Europe. 

We should start believing in them a bit more. Every time we lose games, we shouldn’t abandon our team. We should stand behind them, proud as ever. Believing is the philosophy that Sir Alex brought here. We have been defying critics for over a century and we aren’t stopping now. The season looms ahead. Do not judge. Do not celebrate wins jubilantly and do not mourn the losses. Keep a calm focussed mind and most of all, believe in the team. Keep that Red flag flying high because Man United will never die. So just Keep Calm and watch what they do because, whoever comes challeging us are gonna get a lot from us, more than their expectations. Lets keep cheering for United! Best of luck for the remaining games to the team! Glory Glory Man United!

Manchester United 2.0 – The fire rises!!

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