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May 072014

Manchester United 3-1 Hull City
74678936 74678792 Vidics Eight Year ItchImpossible to know for sure, because he’s going to get a lot of interesting offers during the Summer, but it seems Ryan Giggs may have made his final appearance as a player in a Manchester United kit at Old Trafford. With only 19 minutes remaining the crowd rose to is feet to collectively acclaim the 40-year-old’s entrance for his 963rd match in the red shirt. Giggsy arrived with the score at 2-1 and put in a lethal little shift, including a shot, a superb jinking signature burst down the left flank,and the coup-de-grace, a silkily delivered reverse pass for Robin van Persie’s late goal to seal victory.

The sentimental valedictory feel of United’s final home match began before kick-off when the club’s captain, Nemanja Vidic, was presented with an album of photographs from his eight supremely successful years at the club by Sir Bobby Charlton. The hard tackling Serb is leaving Manchester for good in the summer to play in the Calcio for Internazionale after a supremely successful spell at United during which he won five Premier League titles, the Champions League, and three League Cups. I, for one, have always been grateful to him for holding firm and avoiding his lovely wife’s ministrations to move to warmer climes. She gets her way in the long run,but I’m certain we, as fans, got the best part of the deal.

As caretaker-Manager for the third time, Giggs surprised the pundits by dropping two minor surprises, giving strikers James Wilson, 18, and Tom Lawrence, 20, stars of United’s Under-21 side, their debuts. The two were comfortable from the get-go. First, in the 16th minute, Lawrence took the ball and jinked across the penalty area-before letting rip with a rocket which was deflected for a corner by Maynor Figueroa.

31 minutes in, after much hard set-up work by the relentlessly brilliant Adnan Jauzaj. James Wilson was there, ready, waiting and cocked on the six-yard-line. A cross by Adnan Januzaj to the far post was headed down by the big, strong Marouane Fellaini. and Wilson was ready and waiting to clip the ball home with a left-footed shot.

Man United v Hull Manchester United Caretaker 3136979 Vidics Eight Year ItchAlthough United moved the ball around with much energy and passion, finishing touches kept going awry, especially at the hands of Shinji Kagawa and Fellaini. And when Phil Jones Jones got into a hard collision with Hull’s left-back Maynor Figeroa, he was by far in the worse shape afterwards, probably incurring a broken collarbone in the 22nd minute as Giggs brought Vidic into the fray as a substitute. Jones’ tendency to come off the worse for wear and teat in these kind of clashes is definitely a sign that he needs some superior positional coaching from someone with acumen of Bryan Robson or Roy Keane. He is definitely getting injured too often and needs to make some better choices. It was a fine excuse to say a long goodbye to Vida anyway.

Lawrence began the second half by bursting straight towards Eldin Jakupovic’s goal to draw a foul from David Meyler and a free-kick. He always looked dangerous, but wasted a couple of chances after being nicely set up by Januzaj, who also had a weak 25-harder smothered by Jakupovic. it was the newly declared Belgium international who created Wilson’s second goal, however. A minute past the hour mark, Januzaj ghosted along the right before supplying a perfect pass for Fellaini. Fellaini’s awkward shot was saved by Jakupovic, but Wilson coolly slotted home.

Still, only two minutes later, United got a reality-check moment they deserved. Constantly slow and lazy at the back, Büttner whose night was littered by a series of awkward errant passes picked off by the opposition, had the ball whipped off his feet by Matty Fryatt. Fryatt, who rarely gets the service his deadly goalscoring talents deserve, fired off a fine 30-yard finish that gave David De Gea no chance.

It wasn’t much of a game, truth be told. It was more like a cynical money-grabbing North American tour exhibition than a PL game. Still, for Giggs, despite the polite, hushed crowd, three points was enough and his post-match speech, along with that of Vidic, was charming. We will all truly miss Vidic, too. And the blogs are rife with sad rhetoric about his departure and the Moyes regime. Such is life. The player and the club will both move on. We wish him well!Man United v Hull James Wilson celebrates sco 3136972 Vidics Eight Year Itch

Last but not least was the sparkling arrival of the 18-year-old, James Wilson. Good to know, after such a poor season that a player so young could jump into the senior side and notch a brace so confidently. Of course, Kiko Macheda looms large enough in memory for us to give ourselves a reality check. Before the club embarks on a promiscuous spending spree (Umm, before it burns a hole in the Glazers’ pockets!), it’s comforting to know that our academy’s infrastructure is in excellent, blooming health. Aside from Vidic, we may not know exactly who is coming and going. We may even see the return of Anderson, the Brazilian buffet boy, as he has flattered to deceive at Fiorentina. Still, if the copiously talented but physically weak Javier Hernandez heads for the club’s exit door after four years, United already own a highly capable replacement in Wilson. I wish Chicharito all the best, too. He doesn’t really understand what a good thing he has going at United because of the long shadow left behind by Ole Gunnar Solskjer. ¡Ten cuidado, dude!Manchester Uniteds James 014 Vidics Eight Year Itch


Ivor Irwin

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