In my preview of this match the title read ‘United vs A Mid Table Team’. I think after yesterday’s match Southampton deserve more respect than what I showed them.
The Build Up
The day started off well, we arrived into Wembley Park at around 1pm and headed straight for The Torch pub. Unfortunately, United were given the West side of the ground so the Saints were lucky enough to have The Green Man. In any case, after a long queue for no reason and some fence hopping we were in and at the bar. There was a sheet of paper pinned to the wall behind the bar with the pricing for pints of lager, going from 1 pint, all the way up to 10 pints. It wasn’t because they had an offer on, as the pricing was all the same (£4.50 for one, £9 for two etc.), it was just because the bar staff wouldn’t be able to work out what 5 x £4.50 is!
After a few in The Torch we walked down to the ground and got in half an hour before kickoff, plenty of time for a shockingly overpriced drink and a chat to some mates who were in the block next to us. I paid £72 for my ticket to be behind the goal just to the right about half way up the first tier. It was worth every penny! The atmosphere was electric from both sets of fans.
A 3-2 win for United meant a 5th League Cup trophy was coming back to Old Trafford. Zlatan was superb, his free-kick and winning header were obviously highlights. Additionally, he was a real handful for the make-shift centre back pairing and the Saints really missed Van Dijk. The match was extremely even. Southampton exploited Valencia’s average defensive work at the right back position as well as Blind’s terrifying slow pace. With the likes of Bertrand and Redmond, they had a lot of success with getting wide and crossing balls into the corridor of uncertainty low enough for Gabbiadini to snake in twice. Luckily for United, one was wrongfully given offside.
It was 50/50 throughout and you couldn’t pick a winner. Overall I think 3-2 United was probably about right. Saints fans gave their team a standing ovation at the final whistle because they had given everything to come back from 2-0 down and I have a lot of respect for their performance and fight. My man of the match was Zlatan but I think Carrick replacing Mata at half time was a brilliant move. Despite Saints scoring early he dictated the tempo for much of the second half and provided security which was duly needed when Southampton were in possession.
All in all, a fantastic day out and a great game of football with the right end result (for me of course). United have won the last three cups up for grabs to English teams as well as Mourinho adding another League Cup to his collection. It was a Cup we should have won, and one which was important for us in this campaign.
Back to Premier League action on Saturday after a long time away. Bournemouth at home with the chance to break into the top four.