Solsjær Exorcises Demons as Red Devils Crush Cardiff
This was definitely a day where there was lotsa solskinn på Solsjær.
If Harald Hardråda hadn't taken that arrow to the throat back in 1066, all of Britain might well be speaking Norwegian these days, and sunshine on Solsjær could well have been the headline for this match.
In any language -- except maybe Welsh -- this was an afternoon of happiness and joy for Ole Gunnar Solsjær after leading the side where he gained fame as a player to a 5-1 ka-bonging over the side that fired him as their manager.
So were the Red Devils.
After seeing the back of José Mourinho and his inexplicable devolution to mechanical football, Solsjær turned his charges loose to run rampant all over the pitch in a free-flowing display of the game Sir Alex Ferguson himself used to manage.
It didn't hurt, of course, that this pillaging came at the expense of the just-promoted Bluebirds for the second time in their history. Cardiff's in danger of relegation again, just like the first time in their history, when the nifty Norwegian picked up his first pink slip.
In essence, then, more was taking place here than just a basic mauling of a have-not. This was a live scrimmage for United dressed up as a Premiership match with a pinch of redemption sprinkled in.
Solsjær couldn't have asked for a softer landing in his new role.
From the kickoff onward, it was clear this was a different United. They were creating football plays instead of navigating orienteering courses. They showed flow instead of stilted movement.
They also featured Paul Pogba in a starting role.
It was a wonderful performance that came together quickly. With only three minutes gone, Pogba was fouled and Marcus Rashford stepped up, firing home a free-kick straight into the bottom far corner:
Then, in the 29th, Pogba was again involved.
Although hopelessly outclassed, Cardiff did get a gift in the 38th minute.
Rashford got caught with a hand ball inside the box. Victor Camarasa strode to the spot and slotted home:
Cardiff supporters couldn't even celebrate it properly, because only three minutes later, their crew conceded another.
United was well and truly cruising.
And they took every opportunity to revel in it.
After the break, it was more of the same because why not?
In the 57th minute, The Devils earned their fourth goal. Lingard got the ball, drove forward, and was fouled inside the box. He did the honors himself:
United supporters were surely satifised with a daytrip like this, but the Devils still put a cherry on top.
It was the 90th minute, and Lingard scored his second of the game when Pogba picked him out:
One oddity of the Viking Age was that the Northmen never made much headway with their forays into Wales.
Neither was one of their descendants. Until now.
Solsjær had double reason for joy on the day.