Last week I chose Nani as my Man of the Match for his performance in the Community Shield. This week my Man of the Match was the man on the opposite wing and scorer of the late goal which saw United beat the Baggies.
New boy Ashley Young looked bright throughout the match and set up Rooney for the first goal in the 13th minute. A flick from Rooney sent Young off down the left, collecting the ball before cleverly pulling it back to cut inside and throw the defence off to then slide it to Rooney, who expertly controlled the ball to then put it past Ben Foster.
Last season the left wing was usually shared between Nani and Park. Whilst both did fantastically when called upon neither stuck to the flank throughout a match, Nani particularly with a tendency to drift inside the pitch. Ashley Young hugged the left flank against West Brom, offering a different option on the left. Young sticking to his post meant there was almost always a quick option on the left side of the pitch allowing players to find him with ease, as Rooney did when linking up for the first goal.
Young showed his capacity as a set piece specialist with a tricky corner which Ben Foster could only fumble, allowing Nani a goal scoring chance. His ability to unsettle the West Brom defence and goal keeper throughout with his set pieces proved to be nearly lethal, creating various chances for United to score.
With the use of blistering pace, Young also looked deadly from a corner at the other end. Chris Brunt’s corner was cleared by Vidic. With Young sticking to his left flank Vidic was given the opportunity to clear the ball down the left to create an attack with the knowledge Young would be there to give chase. Give chase Young did. Outpacing any of his competitors from the opposition and cutting inside to lay the ball off to the overlapping Rooney to create another United chance. The positive attacking play Young showed from this break-away was one of the reasons he looked so at ease in United colours, following the counter attack fashion which is so popular at United.
Young’s quick and intelligent feet proved troublesome for West Brom throughout the match. He easily out-ran any challenger with blazing pace. His ability to turn the West Brom defenders inside-out by cutting the ball inside then changing direction again effortless was more than satisfying o watch, unless of course you were a West Brom defender.
There is a difficulty for any player when making the move to a club as big as Manchester United with huge expectations to play up to. However Ashley Young seems to have settled in instantly and showed an abundance of confidence when going forward, even curling a shot from outside the box coming very close as the ball whizzed just past the woodwork. Young’s consistent attacking paid off for him and United when Berbatov laid the ball out to Young deep inside the West Brom half. He again fooled a defender with a drop of the shoulder and a dummy cross to cut inside him, then was on his way into the box playing a dangerous ball across the face of goal which took a deflection from Reid of West Brom and past Foster in net.
A strong attacking performance for Young was topped off with a goal assist when Rooney put past Foster and then either another assist by playing the ball off Reid or a goal, an arguable matter. Young already looks very comfortable in the red shirt and seems very much to have been moulded just for Manchester United.