HERE was no grim reaper in evidence like United’s last visit to Goodison – this was just grim.
ThThThThThThThe skeletal fifififigure of death that haunted David Moyes in the crowd 12months ago in the last throes of his Reds life wasn’t brought out of the closet to taunt Louis van Gaal.
Had this kind of performance been going on for the last couple of months instead of an encouraging renaissance then the costume and scythe could well have been making a comeback.
ThThis was a backward step display from United which brings the prospect of a Champions League qualififififififififififififier early next season ever closer.
From cementing a comfortable place in the top three on the back of a six- match winning run, United’s position has been weakened after the wheels came offff at Chelsea.
Old Trafffffford boss Van Gaal curiously argued that his side’s Stamford Bridge display was one of the best of the season.
Was there a Fergiestyle piece of kidology in
defeat London then miserably.
If he just read it difffferently to most then he couldn’t fail to misread this one.
It was a return to the old days of Moyes’ visit last Easter in his fifinal game and also a throwback to early season when United’s possession football got nowhere and defending was fragile in the extreme.
You thought Van Gaal had consigned this kind of struggle to history.
But as well as some laboured build up returning, so were the calls from the visiting section at Goodison for United to ‘attack, attack, attack.’
But it was the lack of a decent creative pass and a solid rearguard backbone that brought somany haunting memories of Van Gaal’s initial six months. It was the kind of mix of imagination and calm thatMichael Carrick brings to Van Gaal’s structure. ThThThThThThThThThey missed
it at Chelsea and again at Goodison.
But an expensively assembled squad shouldn’t be so derailed and disjointed without one 33- year- old fifigure – nomatter how on John
United’s defence didn’t cover themselves in glory either for the third as they stopped, arms raised enmasse, for an offffside that Kevin Mirallas neatly avoided.