United left tit late to wrap up a deserved 1 0 win against a reasonable Sociadad side on a Awaykitwet afternoon at St James’.

A win is a win and it’s nice to carry some momentum into the new season, even if there were few chances on the pitch in the 90 minutes and the game looked destined for a 0 0 draw.

United lined up with what would be considered our first choice 11 minus the again injured Siem De Jong.  Haidara filling the left back position with home debutant Janmaat on the right, the CB pairing was as expected with Colo & Williamson.  I’d like to see Mbiwa given another go with Colo – I don’t dislike Williamosn but I’m of the opinion you can’t compete at the right end of the Premier League with any player who is terrified of the ball – as Williamson clearly is.  Colback and Anita got the midfield go ahead with Sissoko and Goufrann once again out on the wings. That left Cabella to play behind Riveire in a 4 1 1 formation.

The game began brightly enough with the Spanish sides crisp and fluent passing becoming quickly evident.  I wouldn’t say they dominated but they definitely threatened more than United in the opening 45.  Apart from some slick football and a couple of half chances there wasn’t much to write home about for United.  Cabella struggled to get in the game playing behind the striker and we struggled to create much – a real worry at the end of last season.

The second half was a big improvement despite the changes made to both sides.

Cabella moved to the right of midfield and was far more involved in the game showing plenty of nice touches and pieces of skill.  He’s very flamboyant and has pace and ability – but he’s no Ben Arfa.  He gets stuck in and is willing to approach the physical side of the English game.  Watch out for him hoying himself to the ground a lot though.  Sissoko was very effective through the middle and we seemed to be playing  a 4 2 3 1 formation in the second half.  Sociadad’s attacking threat totally subsided and we controlled the game as the half went on.  Williamson forced an acrobatic save from their keeper and Aaron’s shoed a number of great moments of pace and purpose.  The lad needs to learn to get his head and pass but he seems like a great prospect.

Daryl Janmaat was superb.  If anything I think he has the potential to be even better going forwards than Debuchy and is certainly defensively more astute.  A great signing.  Colback was solid and showed a great range of passing. I like him.  Riviere has pace to burn and will be a handful but he may struggle with the fact we’ll be asking him to play outside of the box a lot of the time, something Cisse has struggled with since the glory days of 11/12.

Sissoko’s winner was an excellent finish after great work from Obertain who’s had a great pre-season.  I like him. He has great pace and occasionally an end product – let’s give him a chance this season.

Overall a decent run out.  Pardew didn’t get booed the couple of times he had the ball and we played good passing football.  We have to create more in Premier League games or we’ll really struggle this season.  I think we’ll do okay but we need another striker either now or in January,

Colo was excellent. Sociadad aren’t Man City but I believe rumours of his decline to be premature.  This is a bloke rushed back from a serious injury last season (probably to try and make the Argentinian WC squad) and fell below his usual high standards. He’ll be fine and on the evidence of pre-season, so will we.

MOTM: Daryl Janmaat



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