Have United finally found their best team?
The start of this season wasn’t looking good for Manchester United; however three of their last four most recent matches, against Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City, produced strong performances aided by some very well-executed tactics.
Following David Moyes’ sacking near the end of last season, Louis Van Gaal was employed as the Red Devils’ manger, with ex-player Ryan Giggs as his No 2.
United are currently in 4th place, 5 points ahead of Liverpool and 6 points ahead of Southampton and Tottenham, who are both on 63 points.
I’ll start at Tottenham, four weeks ago, when Man Utd produced a convincing 3-0 win, in front of the home fans.
United started well, pressing high and not allowing Tottenham any space. Soon after, Carrick played Marouanne Fellaini in to finish on his left foot, after just 9 minutes.
10 minutes later, Fellaini played a corner into Carrick’s path, who then scored a header from the middle of the box.
(If you read Eleanor’s article on Rooney’s friendly boxing match with mate Phil Bardsley, you will know how he celebrated after he burst through the Tottenham defence!)
United held on to the 3-0 lead and were already preparing for the threat of Liverpool.
On the back of that win against Spurs, United went to Liverpool in confident mood. They got their tactics spot on, pressing high and not allowing Liverpool to have any space in midfield, which is, ironically, classic Liverpool play!
Juan Mata opened the scorings for United, with an amazing finish from the edge of the box, to the far corner of the net. United carried that score on till half time.
Steven Gerrard was a sub for the first half and must have been very frustrated at the sight of Liverpool scarcely making a tackle. The former England skipper made a great challenge straight away on Juan Mata. However, when Ander Herrera slide tackled him, Gerrard over reacted and stamped on his leg deliberately. After being on the pitch for only 38 seconds, Gerrard duly received his marching orders!
Juan Mata then a give and go with Angle Di Maria, who set Mata up to score a spectacular overhead kick! Sturridge tried to make an impact but it was too little too late for him and Liverpool as Daniel only managed to score 1 goal. The game finished 2-1 United.
‘Match of the Day’ pundit, Alan Shearer is a fan of the tactics Van Gaal played:
“Just as they did in the first half against Tottenham last week, United got on the front foot early on in their win over Liverpool and dictated the way they wanted the game to go.
“The most impressive part of their performance in the first 45 minutes at Anfield was their intensity when they did not have possession. Liverpool could not build momentum,” he said.
Now for Man City at the weekend in the Manchester Derby. The biggest derby in English football.
City started well with Sergio Aguero scoring after just 8 minutes! United however, came back scoring 4 goals from Ashley Young, Marouanne Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling by the 73rd minute. Now Manchester City are sat all the way back in fourth after being considered title contenders just 3 weeks ago!
Man Utd have won their last eight whilst City they have lost their last 4 away games.
After these great results, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has now said that The Red Devils’ target is to finish in the top 3. United are currently 3rd, 4 points ahead of Manchester City but they have still got to play Chelsea and Arsenal, in first and second place, so it is still a tough ask but is definitely do-able.
Dylan, YJA Football Correspondent (Primary)
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