By Mac Izu Nelson
Today’s 3 things we learnt takes a closer look at some of yesterday’s football action.
1. Manchester United Serve Up Masterclass;
Opta produced a well timed statistic yesterday.
In less than forty games, United under Mourihno have scored 4 goals or more in a single match on six occasions compared to on just four occasions in over a hundred games for Van Gaal.
That statistic says all that needs saying.
Under the bagged Dutch man, United were boring, linear, and predictable.
Attacks were typified by an hour of mind numbing, energy zapping sideways passing, then a thumping ball to Marouane Fellaini in the hope that the lumbering Belgian would somehow conjure magic in the final third.
The elbow accoutred assassin, more often than not was quite inept at whatever task the then listless United bestowed on him, the occasional bedlam in the opposition end (or his own 18-yard area, truth be told), respite for all his efforts.
Yet, under Mourihno, even Fellaini appears to be playing with some amount of swagger.
The Everton game aside, Fellaini has time and again proved his mettle in a forward moving Manchester United team.
And yesterday was no different.
Stuck in a limbo after moments of sustained pressure, United needed inspiration to break the deadlock.
And it came in the form of two much maligned players as Schweinsteiger provided the assist which Fellaini scored from.
From that point on, United coasted.
Under Mourihno, United appear to be playing that exciting brand of attacking football much revered by the fans.
Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Mata, Martial; examples players who were on song, playing with the type of electricity that the Manchester United teams of old were known for.
Wigan never stood a chance and this current crop of players look just a player or two away from being a force of nature.
In defence, the returning Luke Shaw was a revelation while the pairing of Rojo and Smalling was without flaw.
Fosu Mensah impressed on the right, and his injury was the only sour note on the day.
If United can keep playing like they did yesterday, then the horizon would be firmly in their sites come the new season.
2. Madrid Cement Top Spot; Was there ever any doubt?
This season, La Liga glory is Real’s to lose.
And after making light work of Sociedad yesterday, there is more truth to the claim.
After Barcelona, Sevilla, and Athletico Madrid dropped points, it became imperative that Real got all 3 points against Sociedad.
The team did not disappoint and now extend their lead at the top of the standings with a game in hand.
After an abysmal couple of weeks when they had won just one game in five, the 3-0 result must have come as a relief to Madridstas worldwide.
Christiano Ronaldo looked in the mood as he set up one and scored another, while Morata came off the bench to add gloss to the score line.
The score line was a repeat of the same score line last year but what impressed the most was the way the Madrid team ignored the jeers of their fans and got on with it.
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Ronaldo, in particular, must have felt quite relieved after his goal. So much so that he gesticulated at the fans when he scored as he was not pleased with all their booing up to that point.
The other teams in the title race would now try to catch up with Real who are already clear title favourites.
3. Monaco Fight Back;
Yesterday’s mouth watering clash saw sensation of the season Monaco, take on stalwarts PSG.
The first half was an end to end affair, with Monaco quick off the blocks.
PSG grew into proceedings as the game progressed, but the first half ended with no clear cut chance.
When Cavani scored in the 81st minute, the PSG faithful celebrated like they had just clinched Champions League glory.
But their hearts were broken seconds from time as a resilient Monaco team equalized.
The Ligue 1 season is shaping up to be a memorable one, as for the first time in a while traditional winners PSG are being challenged for the title.