Manchester United's Champions League group match against CFR Cluj had all the makings of a tricky affair. A clear favorite in United had to visit a smaller club that really had nothing to lose in the early stages of the competition. According to ManUtd.com, Cluj took an early one goal lead, and the possibility of a Red Devil collapse was real; however, in the end two goals by Robin van Persie were enough to Manchester United to the top of the group in a 1-2 victory.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had pledged to field strong sides for the Champions League tournament, and he made good on that promise. I was not surprised that David de Gea was back in his familiar role as keeper, but I was a bit taken aback that Sir Alex decided to give starting nods to Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. I was sure the United boss would unveil his starting duo at Old Trafford, but apparently he had other ideas. In any event the move paid dividends as the pair figured heavily on the attack with Rooney supporting both of van Persie's tallies.
One player who I think is continuing to transform is Javier Hernandez. Chicarito made a few quality passes and seemed to get into good position; I think he will see some playing time against Newcastle in the coming Premier League match. The other bit of bad news for Manchester United was the knock Jonny Evans picked up that ended up taking him out of the game. United has had enough problems on the backline this year, and things are getting serious relatively quickly.
The win put the Red Devils on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, which is a goal that escaped the club last season. I suppose the argument can made that the van Persie acquisition was the move of the year for Manchester United, and it could end up being the move of the season for the entire league once all is said and done. In the end, Sir Alex fielded a strong side and took no chances in a match that could have seen the home team play a bit more spirited.
I was impressed that the squad came off a tough defeat against Tottenham at Old Trafford to get a good result in the Champions League, but the matches will keep coming for United and Sir Alex is going to have to make sure the squad is focused as the competitions begin to really heat up.
Jason Gallagher is a long-time Manchester United fan, following the performances of the Red Devils since the days of Eric Cantona and David Beckham.
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