Manchester United have secured a victory over the underdogs, Watford, in their last match away from home. United’s performance in the first was quite good. They dominated the game during the first 45 minutes and were able to score 2 goals. Their performance after half-time was disappointing, but David De Gea was unbeatable as he managed to save all the shots but one, which led United to get a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road. The thing that surprised the fans was the amazing performance by Chris Smalling.
He is quite infamous among the fans, as they would never rely on his performances and would often consider him as a poor defender. But Smalling defied all odds and put up a spectacular show. He might not be the ideal center-back, but he was playing like one at Vicarage Road. He was strong and sturdy defensively, and his left-footed volley was one of the best goals scored in this season so far. He played like the player United needed at that moment and was undoubtedly the man of the hour.
During the post-match interview, Smalling said:
“You are just hoping it falls to you and I just chested it quite high and I thought why not?”
“I just lashed at it and luckily it went in.”
“We have been working a bit on set plays, not volleys, but I think we have a lot of height in our team and I don’t think we threaten enough at set plays so it was good that we caused a few problems.”
He even lauded De Gea’s brilliant performance, saying:
“Ultimately for most of the game he didn’t have much to do, but what makes him one of the best in the world is that he doesn’t have much to do and you stand up in the last minute where it is a crucial time and that’s where the best goalkeepers are. They don’t switch off and David’s always there.”
Chris Smalling’s role at the club had been quite unstable. Jose Mourinho was desperately eyeing a defender during the transfer season but had failed to acquire one. I think Smalling could take this to his advantage and prove that United do not need a defender after all. Although we cannot judge Smalling’s future just by considering this single game, I think he could prove to be a really good defender, if not the best. If he is able to be consistent in the rest of the games, United might not need to go scouting for a defender.
It was astonishing how players like Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling rose to the occasion and gave their best performance so far. Mourinho made a wise decision by playing them as the results clearly show for that.
It was a good win for United, three more points on the table and they are edging closer to the top five. Their next fixture in the Premier League is against Wolverhampton. I think it could be an easy win for the Red Devils and let’s hope that they keep up their winning streak.