One match. Three points, three goals and no new injury concerns meant the new era at Manchester United was off to a successful start. Credit to the new coach & squad response. My predicted squad selection was off by three players with Herrera, Mata & Fellaini getting the nod over an injured Lingard, Carrick & Mkhitaryan.
It was far from pretty in the first forty five but a fortunate break saw United take a 1-0 lead into the half thanks to special Juan Mata, sticking with the play and capitalizing on a gift of a back pass from Simon Francis. Defensively, the team looked relatively solid and Eric Bailey continues to be a revelation in the back four. He helps me sleep better at night & I’m sure de Gea shares my sentiment. Daley Blind also had himself a game and rarely got exposed for his lack of speed. His high football IQ bails him out of a lot a problems and partnering with Bailey doesn’t hurt either. Our wing backs were able to fly down the flanks and hopefully that will continue as the season progresses.
The midfield is still a bit too slow in attack for my liking but I also expect that to get remedied over time. There are more than enough speed options for the new gaffer and he should be able to figure out the best system for the squad. Everything from Captain Wayne & the bruiser Fellaini needs to be quicker & more fluent. My fantasy team is riding on it. While Martial did appear frustrated at times, he still had a lot of influence on the game & I hope he improves on his form from last season. Zlatan is Zlatan and he commands such a presence on the pitch. A quicker playing midfield should more than capable of supplying the big swede with the right service for a goal rush over the course of the season. Both Rooney & Zlatan opened the scoring accounts their season debuts which should yield positive returns if you believe in stats like momentum and attackers scoring goals to build form & confidence.
Except for the one lapse on defense that Bournemouth made us pay for, the overall team performance left a smile on my face. A truly nice feeling after the Moyes nightmare & brief tour with the LVG army. We seem a better defensive unit & this should hopefully kick start our offense. Everything should get better as the season runs its course & we should be back in the top 3 come season end. i.e. if the new manager has benefited from any soul searching that he endured during his coaching hiatus.