Well, who could've seen that coming? After weeks and weeks of terrible football gaining results, Manchester United put in a slightly improved performance against Swansea City and came away with nothing to show for it.
We use 'improved' with caution, however. This was a better performance, and at 1-1 United were pressing and harrying and looking good for a winner, but a Shelvey strike on the breakaway sowed panic and United soon reverted to type, whacking long balls up to Fellaini. This time, it didn't quite come off.
Ander Herrera finally got picked to start, and put in another good performance overall, called in to clear Bafetimbi Gomis' header off the line early on. The big Frenchman then missed a second decent chance as United started nervously, but the Reds soon picked up.
It was Herrera on the scoresheet, improving an already-impressive goal tally, as he finished off a nice team move with a laser-guided finish into the far corner. The lead was short-lived, however, as just a couple of minutes later Shelvey's ball into the area was diverted beyond the grasp of David de Gea by a smart finish from Ki Seung-Yeung.
The hugely disappointing Paddy McNair was hooked at half-time for Antonio Valencia, and United began to force Swansea back, but Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie were unable to get much in the way of a clear chance. Against the run of play, Swansea struck themselves ahead when Shelvey unleashed a 25-yard effort at goal which took a minor deflection off Gomis, with De Gea failing to reach it.
From then on, United panicked, and a familiar routine occurred. Long balls were launched in the vague direction of Marouane Fellaini. Set-pieces were overhit. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie thumped crosses and shots into defenders shins. Juan Mata came on and did the square root of bugger all. Ander Herrera faded. Marcos Rojo himself into the ground. Fellaini gave away and received cheap fouls in every direction, and our £60m signing was again one of the first ones to be hooked off. Oh, and Falcao watched on from the bench.
Whether Herrera was reponsible for our better play or not is difficult to judge, but he faded badly after 60 minutes and United joined him. His record of creating and scoring goals is still outstanding, but United seemed absurdly reliant on him for it here given all the other talent available. This is still a weird team, defying judgement, but had we not played such dire football in recent weeks we probably would've pointed to pretty much every area of this performance as not being good enough. There's still a long fight for fourth ahead.Uni