- Both Ole and Maguire said in mid-week that United needed to bounce back from their defeat to Sheffield United on Wednesday with a win against Arsenal at the Emirates. Well, it’s never easy to play a resurgent Arsenal side, which are difficult to break down defensively, work hard and press high up the pitch consistently. United failed to break them down and even though Cavani had a couple of gilt-edged chances which he missed – albeit narrowly but still should have scored – trying to be unbiased, I would say that a draw was a fair result. Today was a test of how close this United team is to be able to challenge for top honours. After the loss in mid-week, a win today would have re-established the momentum to get on a run again. The result of the test is that this United team is close but not close enough. From a year ago, this team got stronger mentally, they can manage games and although the team is relatively young, they show maturity as a group. The team still lacks quality in a couple of positions but we will be good value if we finish in the top three again this season. Some critics say that this United team do not put enough of a fight and they don’t have it in them to grab a match by the scruff of the neck when they need to win, like today. I personally think that’s harsh. If Cavani had taken his chances, we would be here speaking about how United controlled the match, did not give many chances to their opponents and at the end took the all-important three points. Results set the agenda though and the result against Arsenal keeps the pressure on United, who certainly need to get back to winning games as quickly as possible.
- The most valuable assets in a club are its players and Managers need to make the best out of those assets at their disposal. Ole has been fantastic to do just that with the United players and most players have been put in a position to perform. Pogba is one example, Fernandes another, certainly Shaw and also Fred. One player though who I feel is not being used properly is Rashford. Marcus is one of the best talents in the Premier, arguably in the world. He cannot win every match on his own, although occasionally he does but these are rather sporadic for a person of his quality. He was absent again today, which follows a flat performance against the Blades. I think that contributing to his lack of consistency is the continuous changing of his position. Without doubt, Rashford’s ideal position is on the left of a front three, where he can cut in onto his preferred foot. So, he has to play there and even though he can possibly still do a good job on the right, I fear that Ole is not exploiting adequately the threat that Rashford could be. It might be time for Ole to put the pieces in the right positions rather than trying to fit square pegs in round holes.
- Never change a winning team, some wise men say. Others are advocates of establishing a winning system in a team and instil it in the players’ minds. Once you do that, no matter who plays from one game to the next, everyone has the ability to perform the task at hand. Hence the manager can rest players in a bid to keep his players fresh over the season. Ole appears to favour the latter school of thought and I am on the same page also. In a season where the players had a very short break from last season and they practically skipped pre-season training, rotation will become an important factor as the season reaches March. There will be more injuries for players and the main reason is going to be fatigue. United have a big squad and they will gain from the rotation system that Ole is executing. We might lose points in some matches presumably because Ole will rest players, but I still think that it is the right policy. I might be wrong. Time will tell.
Looking forward to receiving your thoughts on the Facebook page. GGMU
Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.