Yes!!!!! We’re finally out of it. The curse is over. Come back now Arsenal fans, just a few of the headline making tweets on Twitter as United finally came out of the dreadful 6th place. A win over Middlesbrough has now finally taken Manchester United out of sixth place, a win which marked United’s 600th Premier League win, the only club so far to achieve the feat and in hindsight no other club is going to reach that milestone soon.
But moving on from the world of Twitter, numbers and stats United got a much required win which, as Jose Mourinho said in his post-match presser, “keeps both doors open for the Champions League”. The win puts them in a good position for the fight for the top four as they have a game in hand over City and two in hand over Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho named pretty much what was the only eleven available due to injuries and suspensions as a desperate Middlesbrough waited. Middlesbrough started the game much better as they dominated possession and tried to create an opening which didn’t quite occur. Then came what’s now become a usual thing for United supporters, a golden chance missed. Not one but two as Marcus Rashford was the culprit this time, firstly missing a one on one against Valdes and then shooting straight at the keeper from point blank range. Though United missed chances, there were signs of positivity as United looked dangerous every time they had the ball.
And they soon got their reward as Marouane Fellaini headed into an empty net from a superb Ashley Young cross. Middlesbrough looked to go again as they tried to go forward time and again against a United backline that looked a little bit shaky with Jones often flirting with danger and Bailly often being caught out of position as Boro looked to exploit the left wing. But United held on and went into the second half with an advantage.
The second half began with play moving from one side of the pitch to the other as Boro creating half decent chances. Then came the moment of magic as Jesse Lingard, who put in a man of the match performance, took the ball from Mata in the center of the park and ran towards Middlesbrough’s goal unchallenged before unleashing a wonderful strike into the top right corner as a static Victor Valdes watched the ball bamboozle into the back of his net. And although the celebration wasn’t quite the best, the goal certainly was a peach from a man who is underrated but is used to creating such good goals.
A Middlesbrough onslaught followed as they started playing more physically with Rudy Gestede on, the man who brought some hope back for them by scoring an easy goal which was a result of defensive errors from United. The game got nervous for United fans as Boro started pumping balls into the 18-yard box and as Adama Traore started creating problems. A fight between Bailly and Gestede followed as Gibson and Young got involved. But the nerves of the United faithful were soon calmed as Valencia pounced on a silly mistake from Valdes, or a gesture of love from the former United man as some would say.
As Valencia scored, a rampant Mourinho went back into the tunnel in celebratory mood fisting and punching in the air. And why shouldn’t he be delighted? It’s a win that puts United in good stead for a top four fight, a win that would instill a lot of positivity in supporters and players alike and a win that saw three different goal scorers for United. Although without our best players for the game, we took home what was an important three points, and as Jose said in his post match presser “we are united”.