Sunday, 2 September 2018

Game by Game - 10

With the A United View Editor sunning himself overseas, 26,030 fans basked in the sunshine at BDTBL and a majority of those in attendance basked in the glory and unbridled joy of what many have described as the best 45 minutes of football they have seen from a Blades team. Amongst them was Tyrone Hoyland, who we welcome to AUV with his take on yesterday's game.

Game 10 - Aston Villa (H), Championship - 4-1

After three successive victories against Steve ‘The Fraud’ McLaren’s QPR, perennial shithouses Norwich City, and hoofball’s finest - Bolton Wanderers, I expected a much tougher test against last season’s Play-Off runners-up, and current under-achievers Aston Villa. 

A small sense of revenge was in the air too. Last season’s 94th minute winner by Robert Snodgrass ensured United tasted defeat in a home game they really ought to have won. Having thankfully returned back to his parent club this season, there’d hopefully be no repeat of that drama today. 

United made one change to the starting eleven that had given Bolton a proper footballing lesson last week and the return of Paul Coutts, albeit named on the bench, was a welcome sight. Villa lined up without Bolasie, Abdomah and loan deadline day signing Tammy Abraham, but despite those three absences Steve Bruce named a team loaded with talent. 

Kick-off came and for the second time in a week, United were ahead within the first five minutes. An outstanding ball from Oli Norwood met by the head of Jack O’Connell. For a bloke used to heading bricks left and right, it was a fine finish.

Norwood could, and should have made it 2-0 five minutes later, hitting the inside of the post after some lovely inter-play between him, Fleck and Duffy. Incredibly, it was 2-0 within half an hour. In a game dominated by the Blades, the bounce-killer himself Duffy hit a sweet shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner of the goal. What a start.

The referee, not to be outdone, soon decided he needed to be the centre of attention for a while, dishing out a few bizarre decisions both ways, including waving away the assistant’s flag for a foul on McGoldrick that could have ended up being a red card for Villa.

I’m struggling to remember the last time we went into half time 3-0 up (Bradford City at home in the title winning season - Ed), but we soon were. That man Norwood again involved, but this time on the scoresheet himself. I’m still not quite sure what happened. Another perfect delivery from United’s number 16 somehow nestled in at the near post. Jubilation. Dean Henderson almost in the Kop with us. Chants of “Easy! Easy! Easy!” ringing out from three corners of the ground. Unreal.

The remaining minutes of the half took a bit of a backseat as the Villa fans in the away end decided to make themselves the centre of attention this time; by knocking seven shades of shit out of each other. It seemed everyone wanted to take the attention away from just how good we’d been. In truth, it had been a first-half masterclass from United. 

An early second-half goal for Villa would’ve made things slightly interesting, but it was game over just minutes after the restart. Fantastic work again for United’s fourth, with star man Norwood winning the ball back brilliantly in the Villa half, giving it to Freeman who slid the ball into Sharp. A smart turn and finish in the area ensured the Blades hero’s fourth goal of the season.

United were largely in control for the rest of the match, and we could have, and probably should’ve had a couple more in truth. A consolation goal after an hour for El Ghazi took the gloss off the scoreline a bit, and the relentless baiting by United fans of pantomime villain Jack Grealish was fun to watch, but how Villa fans put up with his antics every week is beyond me. Such a talented player wasting his time falling over and generally making himself look a bit of a tit.

4-1. Full time, happy faces and beers all round.

United. Outstanding. The first half blitz of goals was enough. Sweeping aside a fancied Villa team as easy as we did today surely bodes well for the remainder of our season. So much for quietly going about our business. 

A final word on Aston Villa. Too early to tell if there’s a touch of second-season syndrome about them yet, but they looked a shadow of the team I saw twice last season. Steve ‘Spendalot’ Bruce should be worried. 

MOTM: Norwood, obviously. The next time the wife goes bargain hunting she’s taking Chris Wilder with her.

Three final thoughts:

Where on my body should I get the tattoo of Oliver Norwood?

How big should the statue of Wilder at the Lane be?

Is Jack Grealish on medication for the Vertigo he currently suffers with? 

No comments:

Post a Comment