Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Southampton was a just another long line of disappointing results that we have seen dating back to last season. Now this season so far has been an improvement compared to the last one of course. But the team is still suffering from some of the same problems that plagued United last term. Now we have a few new issues that have emerged.
Last term the team was lacking consistency, poor finishing, lack of creativity, the quick passing and movement on and off the ball was almost non-existent, a poor defense and a lack of motivation by the players. This new season has already shown that United needs a quality striker or two. Our poor finishing is again a problem, and Martial is injured right now. I hope that he returns for our next match, a home game against Leicester City. Marcus Rashford gave a decent effort, but nothing seemed to work well for him.
Our lack of consistency is raring its ugly head again. In United’s first four games we have a record of 1 win, 2 draws and a loss. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem as though this inconsistency will change anytime soon. They are some players that whose form is poor or don’t have the right attitude towards the game presently. Many players were guilty of giving the ball away to the opposition and being too slow in transition from defense to attack. Its one of the reasons why that prevented us from creating more opportunities to score goals. Our passing and movement on and off the ball is still substandard.
Firstly, Andreas Pereira has looked out of sorts or lost in midfield. He can’t seem to cope with pressure at this high level as yet. I believe that his inexperience as a young player is the problem that I see with him. Especially when the midfield isn’t organized or compact he doesn’t seem to have figured out how to play effectively.
Secondly, there is Paul Pogba who can be an enigma at times where he can go missing in games, or he can have brilliant performances. In this match he showed some flashes of brilliance and he also didn’t produce much either. He conceded possession at times, he made few driving runs forward until in the last half an hour of the game. The Frenchman should be running forward more often and using his size, speed, height, and dribbling skills to unlock defenses. He is a great passer of the ball when he uses his defense-splitting and diagonal passes against opponents.
Then there is Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic who lack pace because of their age, and aren’t going to win battles in midfield. Mata isn’t the type of player that will the ball back because he’s an attacking midfielder and that’s not his type of game. But also because he doesn’t have the pace, size or height that are physical attributes which is needed to win balls from bigger and faster opponents. His small frame isn’t ideal for battles in midfield.
Nemanja Matic seems to lack the motivation and the pace to win back balls or win loose balls in the middle of the field. He just isn’t the force that he once was. In previous posts I was hoping that Matic would have been sold in the summer. Solskjaer didn’t replace Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini after they left and if both of them were there things in midfield would of looked a little better for us.
Scott Mctominay is a player that I like personally, because he is a hard-working player. He fights to win the ball back when he loses it, wins loose balls and tries to win aerial battles, and tackles. But sometimes he has a tough time doing that especially without help from someone else in midfield. He does have decent pace, but sometimes he can’t win back balls against faster players. We need him anyway because he brings these aforementioned attributes that no one else really has in midfield.
Jesse Lingard’s form has been quite poor and hasn’t added anything in the middle of the park for United. He isn’t showing any real spark or energy and just seems to be going through the motions at times. Mason Greenwood needs more time to mature. Although he looked lively coming on late in the game.
I thought our defense of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Ashley Young looked fine. Our defense has been quite solid except for the Crystal Palace game where we looked disorganized and not compact. David De Gea came up with a few good saves. He usually is excellent, although last term was a bad one for him. The only mistake that he made so far this season was when the ball slipped through his fingers at the near post when Patrick Van Aanholt scored. He didn’t get down low enough with his entire body behind the ball.
Daniel James was one our of our few bright spots along with Wan-Bissaka. James was excellent again on the wing and he put in some dangerous crosses which no one got on the end of. His pace, trickery, crossing and his scoring ability are his standout qualities and he now has three goals in four games. He’s our leading scorer right now. The energy that he has gives the team a big lift.
United needs to start playing at a higher level than they are presently if they want to get into the top four. Let’s hope that we can get in a good striker or two during the January transfer window.