December’s Manchester Derby brought was an eventful game, to say the least, both on and off the field. And in the aftermath of the game, their has been plenty of negativity from fans and pundits alike regarding ‘boring Manchester United’.
Let’s be brutally honest, Manchester City are unbelievable this season; the football being played over at the Etihad is great to watch and it is a team that has so many different points of attack that the goals are literally coming from everywhere. Derby Day arrived and when the Manchester United line up was announced, with all four of Lukaku, Martial, Rashford and Lingard announced, it really did look as though José’s men were going to go for it. But never really materialised.
Whilst it is always disappointing to lose to your city rivals it is even more disappointing that United wasted the first 40 minutes of the game not really doing anything, they sat back, invited pressure and never really went at Manchester City until David Silva scored the opener. The second half was not much better, while United tried to get into the game, Manchester City was just too comfortable, something that no one should ever be when coming to Old Trafford. There was Paul Pogba missing due to suspension if he would have played, would the outcome have been any different? Who knows. Unfortunately, we will never now know.
Since the defeat, Manchester United have got back on track with two wins from two against Bournemouth and West Brom respectively, I think there needs to be an element of perspective for some of the so-called fans on social media in the wake of this latest setback.
This is Manchester United’s best start to a season since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season at the club and the current points haul of 41 would have United either top outright or joint top in four of the last ten seasons. The only problem, or everyone’s problem this season is Manchester City. Manchester United are in the EFL Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, Have a kind FA Cup tie at home to Derby County in January and are also still in the Champions League with a cracking last 16 tie against Sevilla in what will be a fantastic away day for the travelling reds.
The numbers also back up the progression under José Mourinho. Second highest scorers in the League (behind City of course), joint best defensive record along with City and Burnley. They have also scored four or more goals in a game on eight occasions this season. Hardly parking the bus.
They have also kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season, ten in total, and David De Gea has only enhanced his reputation as the world’s greatest with some stunning displays, notably against Arsenal.
The football being played from Manchester United is easily the best since Sir Alex Ferguson left. The David Moyes era is best left alone and the turgid, possession based, slow football from Van Gaal was arguably some of the worst seen.
The team is organised, especially at the back and going forward there is enough firepower to trouble anyone. This squad is not a Mourinho squad by any means. The squad will be trimmed, possibly in January, and new recruits will arrive. Names like Griezmann, Özil and Alex Sandro will only further strengthen the reds, should any or all sign. Mourinho probably needs two more windows.
There will no doubt be busy windows too with some United players out of contact in the summer. Fellaini, Herrera and Shaw all notable names and it looks as though Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be on his way out after disappointing too often for Mourinho when selected.
There are also players coming through the youth ranks in true Manchester United fashion. Scott McTominay is now a first-team player, while he still needs to develop, the early signs are good. Axel Tuanzebe will also feature over the next few weeks and Timothy Fosu-Mensah has impressed on loan at Crytal Palace. Mourinho doesn’t give youth a chance though, does he?
Realistically Manchester United are not going to win the league this season. 11 points behind Manchester City is a huge gap, but if anyone can make it up, it’s Manchester United. Finishing 2nd and winning a few trophies would certainly be good enough.
Manchester United supporters, be patient, José will get United there. Get behind the team, the support is essential to help United be as successful as possible.