“There are no easy games in the Premier League.” How many times have you heard that? I think we can truly debunk that myth after Saturday’s events at Old Trafford.
Everyone who turned up to the game knew that United would win and win with plenty to spare and that’s how it turned out. West Ham went 90 minutes without laying a glove on United. It could be a very long season in East London. But let’s not allow West Ham’s incompetence overshadow a very authoritative United display.
Nani won Man of the Match and understandably so. What was particularly encouraging was that when I spoke to him for MUTV after the game he was frustrated that he hadn’t scored more than once in the game. His emphatic finish to make it 2-0 and kill off the game rounded off a gloriously slick move. He was delighted with that but knew that he had the chances to score more.
In particular, that memorable moment when Giggs and Scholes both slid in for a tackle on the halfway line, Scholes then played the ball to Giggs who measured a glorious chip forward for Nani to run onto, but he lobbed it over the bar instead of into the net. That would have brought the house down. But there were more signs that Nani is going to produce more of the consistently excellent performances that we saw in the second half of last season.
Special mention too to Dimitar Berbatov and Nemanja Vidic. An MUTV colleague of mine described Berbatov’s performance as “Cantona-esque.” Praise indeed but you could see where he was coming from with the Bulgarian involved in everything. He popped up all over the field and produced some sumptuous moments of skill. His acrobatic volley for United’s third goal capped a performance full of imagination and vision. In the past, he’s tended to take a bit of stick on MUTV’s post match phone-in’s for some reason, but you didn’t hear a word of dissent on Saturday.
At the other end, more evidence that the most important piece of business United did over the summer was signing up Nemanja for another four years. He had Carlton Cole in his pocket. It was a dominant performance and contained a couple of perfectly timed tackles in the area when Cole had a sight of goal. The England striker must have been sick of the sight of Vidic who simply never left his side. Indeed, he was probably expecting Vida to sit next to him on the bus back to London!
Make no mistake though, as easy as it was against the Hammers, things will get a lot tougher after the international break with Everton, Rangers and Liverpool all waiting in the wings.
Have your say on United in 'The Paddy Crerand Show' on MUTV from 18:30 BST on Monday. Call 0845