The busy December period was, well… poor. Now we are in January with 97 million to spend, I have a few players in mind but it may be better to go after them in the summer. Harry Kane, Andrea Belotti, Lewis Cook are the 3 main players I’m interested in, but with Spurs and Torino both looking unlikely to get European football we can get them for less money in the summer. Anyway, on to the matches this month, away games at Chelsea and Tottenham are coming up and they’re the only fixtures I think we’ll have trouble with.
We start away to West Brom and after losing to Watford in the previous game we responded relatively well. We dominated the game and created good chances but again didn’t take as many as we should. Lukaku came back in for his first start in a while, in a 4-2-3-1. It was Lukaku who was played in behind, although a bit wide but fortunately he layed it across to Martial who had an easy finish.
A little transfer news before the next game and its a transfer out.
It looked as though Fellaini was going to leave on a free but after some negotiations, we managed to get 3.3 million for him, which…meh.
The FA Cup is up next and it was a rather routine win, Angel Gomes finds Mkhitaryan with a wonderful long pass, his cross is deflected in the path of Rashford who has a tap in. Scorer turned provider 5 minutes later when Rashford crossed to the near post for Lukaku to score his 1st goal since coming back. Just before half time Huddlestone, unmarked from a corner for some reason, volleyed past Romero. We sealed our path into the next round when Pogba crossed to the back post for Mkhitaryan to head in.
Back in the league, we manage to win comfortably against Southampton, Mkhitaryan again providing for Rashford’s easy finish at the back post. Scorer turned provider again when Rashford crossed for Lukuku to head past Forster. That’s 2 goals in 3 starts for him since coming back, so typically he went off injured late on.
It could be worse, but it could also be fucking better, these fucking injuries are getting very annoying. Especially with Chelsea and Spurs away being our next 2 games.
Away at Stamford Bridge was always going to be tough and it was. After only 4 minutes Pedro’s half volley was too much for De Gea. Chelsea went on to dominate the first half and we got lucky when David Luiz brought Rashford down in the box and Martial converted from the spot. 10 minutes into the 2nd half Marcos Alonso put Chelsea back in front scoring from an acute angle which De Gea definitely should have saved. We are performing much better in this half however and are creating more chances and probably should have equalized before the 94th minute. Martial put a high cross to the back post and Inaki Williams headed home to earn us a well fought draw.
I thought away to Spurs would be tough but I was wrong, mainly because it was the best performance from the team I’ve seen. It all started when Pogba’s free kick was headed down by Mkhitaryan for Matic to fire past Lloris. After 29 minutes it was 2-0, Rashford with some good hold up play, replacing Lukaku up top, found Mkhitaryan who fired a low cross in for Martial to score. Then Phil Jones, who was moaning about playing time so I played him, headed in unmarked from a Mkhitaryan corner. Brilliant performance all round but with Mkhitaryan getting 3 assists the Man Of The Match was obvious.
The FA Cup fourth round up next and we were drawn against Birmingham and after such a good performance at Spurs, I was confident. Despite making a handful of changes we still had enough quality to beat Birmingham. We even created enough chances to win but we were so poor defensively. So we’ve lost in the fourth round of both domestic cups, not good.
We rounded off the month with a win against Newcastle, Pogba found Rashford in the middle of the box and his first time effort was enough to beat Darlow. Decent performance, didn’t take as many chances as I would have liked but a win is a win.
A day after the game we had another injury.
Martial was in good form so it’s really annoying.
After 4 wins and 1 draw in the league this month we find ourselves back on top. 3 points clear as well, very happy with that, getting beaten by a championship side the FA Cup, however, not happy.
The only transfer activity was Fellaini out, we did make bids for Harry Kane, Belotti, and Lewis Cook but all 3 clubs wanted way too much so we’ll wait until summer. Van Dijk was transfer listed so I did go in for him. Tried a swap deal as well but no dice, he was listed for 75 million and I’m not paying that because he just isn’t worth it, seriously.
Only four games next month including the Manchester derby, I’d be happy with 7 points this month and a 1st leg win over Sevilla. See you next time.