- Stamford Bridge has not really been a fertile ground for United over the last two decades and given the form of the two teams of late, it is fair to say that few expected anything other than an easy Chelsea win today. Chelsea have been in a rich vein of form this season and even in the absence of Lukaku through injury in the last weeks, they have continued wiping out teams especially at home. United started the match in tenth place and it was the first – maybe the only – match with Carrick at the helm. As if that was not enough, United had to do without three of their back four for today’s match, apart from other injuries. What we experienced though was a resolute performance by the Reds and even if Chelsea were the better team in the majority of the ninety minutes, United dug deep and after going in front early in the second half when Sancho pounced on a mistake by Jorginho and slotted the ball in when one on one with Mendy, they soaked in the Chelsea pressure and the latter only managed to score via a penalty kick late in the match. Maybe it was not the most magnificent performance from United from an attacking sense but there is no doubt that Carrick set them out to get a result and they fought hard to achieve just that. We were not exciting but we were gutsy.
- Gegenpressing has been a term that United fans around the world have heard maybe for the first time this last week. The term is attributed to Ralf Rangnick, a German coach who is expected to sign as interim manager for United imminently. The term gegenpressing means high pressing by a team on the opponent’s defenders and despite Rangnick has not been installed as yet, United certainly started the match against Chelsea using the same type of pressing which is synonymous with the German tactician. Indeed, while not always successful against Chelsea, the signs are positive. In activating his plan, Carrick decided to start with an extra midfielder and sacrificed Ronaldo, who was relegated to the bench. Certainly a bold move and one which could have been damning on the Manager. At the end, the result proved Carrick right but one question remains. Can Ronaldo operate in a team that is set to press high and constantly? Has he got the legs to do that? I am not sure and it will be interesting to see whether the new manager structures the team to accommodate Ronaldo or whether Ronaldo will need to adapt to earn a starting place in the team.
- Special mention today goes to McFred for their relentless pressing, chasing down opponents and putting their body on the line. Scott and Fred have frequently been the target for critics and maybe they are not the best midfielders across the globe but they are no push overs and give everything for the team.
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Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.