It can’t get much simpler than advancing to the semifinal of the League Cup, but Manchester United, in a season that hasn’t been going according to plan, need to try and cling on to any possible silver lining they can get, even if it comes in the form of Ashley Young, a player many would like to see the club getting rid of.
So a 2-0 in Stoke can’t be bad right? The weather stopped being impossible to play with during the second half, when Manchester United scored their two goals. One was Ashley Young, completely inaccurate and unstable the entire match and yet the most dangerous player for the Red Devils, the other came from Patrice Evra.
David Moyes was, as always, making changes to his lineup, but some of them were forced, with Wayne Rooney injured, leaving him with even less options than before to his attack. Danny Welbeck started, but without anything creative in the midfield (Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones as midfielders), the chances weren’t going to come from any kind industrious build up, rather from the wings, where the real danger lurked.
For Moyes, anything, any victory is important. During most years, the League Cup is nothing but an afterthought at Old Trafford, but with things going so badly in the league itself, especially when it comes to the home matches, anything goes. Manchester United didn’t look anywhere near brilliant or even dominant, but they also didn’t allow Stoke, a team they beat not too long ago 3-2 in a dramatic Old Trafford affair, any decent chance, especially in the second half.
What to take from this match? Except for Young, nothing much. Anderson got a rare chance to once again show he doesn’t belong, and didn’t disappoint. taken off after 58 minutes for another player who has hardly been felt this season – Javier Hernandez. Once the leading goal scorer per minute in England, the Mexican striker has become almost irrelevant this year, and the transfer rumors always trying to suggest he’s going somewhere might not be far off from the truth this year.
And Ashley Young? Is he back in Moyes’ good graces? Adnan Januzaj will still be the preferred option on the left side for obvious reasons, even though he has picked up a thing or two from Young when it comes to his diving habits. However, Young showed that he’s not that bothered by the decline in his form. It hasn’t hurt his confidence too much, and it hasn’t stopped him from carrying on with his tendency to fall with the slightest hint of a touch as long as it benefits him and his team.