What Man Utd really need right now is Park Ji-sung in his prime
6 days ago, 17:39
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12 points on Arsenal v Man Utd
If you take the result in isolation then 2-2 against this incarnation of Arsenal, especially after being in a losing position twice, is a good result. It certainly felt like a positive result at the end of the game. But the problem is that it leaves us in 8th place, 8 points behind Arsenal. We desperately needed to win last night and because we couldn’t we’re now closer to the bottom than we are to the top (in terms of points). Making it into the top four would genuinely be a miracle at this point.
To be honest, I thought that the starting eleven last night were all pretty good. Some were better than others – Rashford, Martial, Lingard, Herrera, and Bailly were especially praise-worthy – but there were no notably poor performances from them, which is about as good as it gets for us at the moment. I would be pretty happy for us to continue on with that 11 for every game, with the exception of switching Shaw for Darmian on the left.
Dalot started off well but he, like Bailly, was clearly struggling for fitness by the end – which is hardly surprising given how little football they’ve played this season so far. But he’s certainly cause for optimism, so I hope he starts to feature more regularly.
Herrera was excellent all game and looked far more like a captain than Smalling did, constantly communicating with and organising those around him. He’s the closer thing to a leader we have, so I don’t understand why he has featured so infrequently this season.
The defence itself was much improved – which feels daft to say, given that both Arsenal’s goals were down to mistakes – but we looked far more solid in open play aside from those two incidents. Rojo and Bailly were impressive, the latter more so, and looked really suited to the formation we used. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means but it was one of the better I’ve seen this season, so it’s at least something to build upon.
I actually thought the 5-2-3 (ish) formation we used was pretty much spot on. Having Martial, Lingard, and Rashford as a fluid front three really worked and you could see some understanding developing between those players. The wing-backs offered a bit more of an outlet out wide, and with more practice that could be the formation that suits our players best. I would still prefer to see us play with out-and-out wingers, but in the absence of a true right-winger then this would be a good compromise.
There were a couple of frustrations though. While Matic is a good reader of the play and does make a number of key interceptions, he is just so painfully slow to release the ball. He plays so deep that when he dithers in possession – which is happening far too often for my liking – he inevitably ends up putting us ...
Category: sports football