1. Whilst entertaining to watch, I have never been an advocate of Bielsa’s style of play. The mantra of ‘we will outscore you’ embraced by Bielsa’s teams could work if his team had players with technical abilities to match anyone. In the absence of that, when the opponents match a Bielsa team in effort and has better players, then it’s a recipe for disaster. That’s exactly what happened to Leeds today in the game against United. Ole selected a team that could match Bielsa’s Leeds step by step in terms of effort and running, surprising a few people by leaving out an in-form Pogba. And that’s exactly what they did. United players were up for it and ran as much as their counterparts over the whole match. At that point, United’s more skillful players shone through and our forwards had a field day. Hats off to Ole for hatching up a plan which was well executed by his players and hence exposed the flaws in Bielsa’s tactics.
2. What a performance by Scott McTominay. I was tempted to spend a few comments about him during the last few weeks because I noticed that he had cut back on his forays forward with the ball at his feet during the last matches that he played. Indeed, that is one of Scott’s best qualities, the way he uses his strength to come out with the ball from defence and either plays it forward or induces the foul. Against Leeds, Scott was imperious. His two goals in the first three minutes were both expertly taken, reminiscent of the best Bruno Fernandes. Those goals gave him even more confidence and it was admirable to see him surging forward to get a teammate’s pass in the space behind the Leeds defence in the 88th. Absolutely fantastic attitude and fitness levels. With him and Fred in front of our defence, we all know that they can do the defensive job. If they can add more quality in their attacking play from midfield and possibly a few goals on top, it will be difficult for Ole to break that partnership. Pity that Scott may have picked up an injury late on, with the frantic Christmas schedule at the door.
3. Marcus Rashford is currently in the best form of his life. He did not manage to find the net against Leeds today but his runs with and without the ball are a concern for all opposing teams and one can rest assured that he will start getting special attention from defenders, more than ever before. His strength, technical abilities, dribbling and shooting range makes him one of the best strikers in the world, without doubt. One thing is however worrying me slightly. I might be wrong but sometimes I feel that he is taking the mickey out of his opponents. He is so good on the ball, feinting one way and going the other and making defenders looking like fools that I am concerned that he will be kicked more going forward and also, that the success in his trickery may derail him from coming up with the end product, namely goals and assists. Ronaldo was a bit like that in his early days with United until Walter Smith joined the club to assist Sir Alex in 2004. And he stopped calling fouls on Ronaldo in training which meant that he was getting kicked repeatedly by his teammates, until he started passing the ball quickly to avoid being fouled. Hopefully I’m wrong, maybe.
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Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.