Keep it going.
That should be the feeling as the lads return for a well deserved hero’s welcome tomorrow.
We’ve hit a sweet spot and look a cohesive unit. Smart game plans, good organisation and collective effort – all simple in theory but not so easy in practice.
I was disappointed we didn’t produce our best at the Hawthorns but ultimately the group managed their way through a difficult game with a degree of comfort, another sign of a good team.
These next two games against underachieving sides that (theoretically) have better players will be another interesting test. And of the two, this is probably the more winnable.
I keep expecting Utd to hit their stride and it doesn’t happen. Every week they lurch from one bad news story to the next and despite some key players returning to fitness it still feels like they’re treading water.
They avoided calamity at Newport but Marcus Rashford ensured the headlines were all about his ill discipline and not the team’s progress in the FA Cup.
Funnily enough, he was in hot water the last time this fixture rolled around, left out of the starting XI for turning up late. He then came off the bench to score the winner. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself in that regard.
They’re just about hanging onto the coattails of the European places and a top six finish is probably considered the minimum requirement internally. I still think they might get it.
But 10 wins and 9 defeats underlines the problem. If they don’t get a maximum, they usually get nothing, which isn’t conducive to building momentum and reflects their stuttering campaign.
Erik ten Hag is definitely on the chopping block. They have had to cope with an abnormally high number of injuries, but even allowing for that, the quality of their performances hasn’t been good enough.
Joao Gomes and Rayan Ait-Nouri will both be considered for this one I would have thought, as will Pablo Sarabia, if available. This is just one configuration.
It would be harsh to leave Doyle and Doherty out who’ve done well in recent matches, but with two games in the space of 72 hours, there’s bound to be some rotation and with our tiny squad, everyone will get a chance.
You’re losing some quality in possession by taking Doyle out but Gomes gets around the pitch more and is one of the best ball recoverers in the league. I’d lean more towards him tomorrow.
Still hoping we get a striker before the window closes, but things seem to have gone quiet as we approach D-Day. If the deadline comes and goes with no new faces I think we’ve left ourselves one player short, but we’ll see.
Nobody thought it would finish goalless in our last league game at Brighton so that’s nice and easy.
Tough one to predict tomorrow. I think a neutral would probably consider a draw the most likely outcome and I’m moving that way myself.
Our home form makes this an intimidating fixture for them but I can’t shake the idea they’re going to get it together at some point this season, so I’ll go for a 1-1.
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Up The Wolves!