There has been a lot of negatives about this team this season that l and many soccer writers have highlighted. However in the last two games against Liverpool and Partizan I see a few positive developments in the team.
Firstly, young Brandon Williams was excellent in his performance yesterday against Partizan. For a 19-year-old player to produce that great performance in a very hostile atmosphere away from home was very encouraging to see. He was confident throughout the game and his performance was consistently high. The youngster kept running down the left flank and gave the home side a lot of difficulty in containing him. He was just sensational and who knows he may start in the Norwich game.
Secondly, it was good to see Anthony Martial score in his first start back for United. He dispatched his penalty with confidence, but had a poor game which was to be expected. He came off the bench late in the Liverpool game and replaced Marcus Rashford. So I wasn’t surprised that he gave a subpar performance.
He scored the winning and only goal of the match that now puts us in a stronger position at the top of group L. If Martial can show more energy, mobility, and use his pace and dribbling skills against Norwich, then he could be our match winner again.
Another positive is that Solskjaer has seemed to have found one of the solutions to our offensive problems. His new 3-5-2 formation has yielded positive results after he used it against Liverpool and now Partizan. This formation works better for the type of players that we have. Ole played the 4-2-3-1 formation in every match since the start of the season, and it only worked really well for us once and that was our 4-0 win at home against Chelsea in the league.
Having 5 players in midfield can help us win the midfield battle. That additional player or two can also help us keep possession of the ball better and it gives a little extra support to our two strikers upfront. I don’t understand why Ole didn’t start experimenting with different formations earlier in the season. We could have won more games by now. The constant use of the 4-2-3-1 system became boring and predictable for opposing teams and their managers.
Another system like the 4-4-2 may be one that may work depending on the type of players he selects. It’s a good system that is balanced and is solid. In the past this formation has worked really well for us. Our club’s DNA has always been attacking and entertaining soccer. Any system that is more defensive and is used in a counter-attacking sense many or most times never really has worked well for us.
Whenever we used attacking formations that allowed our players to express ourselves offensively most of the times has worked great for us. I hope that Solksjaer will continue to make the right decisions so that the team can improve in each game.