Following a disappointing result midweek in Eindhoven, Manchester United seemed to have come back with a vigor and eagerness to put the result and Luke Shaw’s injury behind them. After falling behind to a Graziano Pelle strike, the Red Devils seemed to have woken up and thankfully for them, the ‘Martial’ law was in effect with the teenager scoring a brace in only his second Premier League appearance.
Although the match seemed to have shown that the new lot of united players are adjusting to Van Gaal’s Philosophy (refer Mata’s finish at the end of a 44 pass move), there are still some area’s that need to be addressed if United are to pose a serious threat of winning any competition that they’re involved in.
Starting with the issue addressed by Van Gaal himself, United players seem to have been a bit lethargic in the last 20 minutes. A top team playing twice a week is expected to wear out and this is where the depth of the squad along with player rotation comes in. United players even commented during post match interviews that the away support were like their 12th man during the closing stages of the match. Unwavering support and belief is the luxury that Manchester United have, and the team capitalizing on the same in the long run will be great to see.
Add to that, some of the player’s individual form is still a concern going in to the bigger games this season. Unfortunately United skipper Wayne Rooney tops that list along with Memphis Depay and Marcos Rojo.
Another issue that has been raised by many over the past year has been the lack of attacking intent by Manchester United. United seem to be content with keeping the ball and opposition teams are looking to exploit the lack of creativity by holding back and hurting them on the break. In both the match against Liverpool and Southampton, United scored three goals with three shots on target. This is a rather worrying figure unless United can keep it up on a consistent basis.
Ronald Koeman mentioned in his pre-match interview how Southampton would be looking to exploit the lack of pace and power at the heart of United’s defense and Graziano Pelle seemed to have obliged with pleasure. He dominated Daley Blind aerially and even seemed to be half a step ahead in most situations. All managers looking at the tapes of this encounter will certainly not miss out on this and United will have to prepare for such a tactic used regularly against them.
Manchester United sit at the 2nd position in the league table and a string of consistent performances both domestically and in Europe will be something every United fan would want to see from their team. Lately, signs are there for a significant improvement from last season’s performances, however, one cannot discard the fact that there are indeed issues that need immediate attention at the Old Trafford club if they want to have a successful 2015/16 campaign.
Image credit: getty