Manchester United 2-1 Saints
Shaw missed out on a start at Manchester United, which interested the rumour-mongers amongst us – but a bigger surprise came after just three minutes, with Rodriguez finishing coolly after De Gea didn’t fancy being brave enough to rescue a situation caused by Carrick’s poor back pass.
Taking likely added time into account, that was a good 87 minutes too soon, and it didn’t take long for United to hit back, Rooney scoring after being put through by Kagawa. The Japanese might have had a goal of his own just after, but his shot came back off Boruc’s near post. There hadn’t been much Saints’ defence could have done about either situation, which rings alarm bells usually sounded during some of our embarrassingly heavy defeats.
That we emerged from the first half with only a single goal deficit was fortunate, although Rooney’s second could well have been prevented by someone stopping Evra’s decisive far post header.
When Sr. Pochinetto lined up Lallana and Steve Davis for Puncheon and the disappointing Ramirez, it seemed like the Titanic’s deck chairs were being re-arranged again, but his rearranged team produced one of the best sustained periods of Southampton football we’ve seen at Old Trafford.
In retrospect, we may even have been too good for the modern game when defences are best broken down on the break, and indeed it was the home side who came closest to adding to the goal tally: Boruc saving well from Rooney and brilliantly from Van Persie, who was also denied by a linesman’s flag.
MotD highlights didn’t really do justice to the second half performance, though, and De Gea made some amends for his early flop by keeping out a Lambert free kick. It isn’t often that Fergie has to make two unforced defensive substitutions at home, so the amount of possession suddenly enjoyed by Saints must have had hime worrying, but we didn’t quite cause enough problems for the champions-elect.
LSSC Man of the Match: Morgan Schneiderlin, but that might have been different had Lallana played the full match or had Boruc’s wonder save been worth a point or three.