5 Points from Manchester United vs Leicester City
It was an happy weekend for a change as United got their way back into winning ways. Leicester City had shocked the football world, winning the EPL few years back and has smartly built a very good side around few English prodigies like Jamie Vardy, Ben Chilwell & James Maddison. Their manager, the former Kop boss, Brendan Rogers has really impressed by imbibing the team with his philosophy and making them one of the contenders outside the big six to challenge for the Top 4 slot this season. Even though United bagged 3 points, the game was definitely not won comfortably and unlike any other matches so far in the season, United was forced to defend for longer periods.
Looking back into the game, all fans would agree to the fact that David De Gea is back, doing what he does best. Those shots from Maddison and later from Chilwell were destined for goal, only to be deprived by the Spanish number 1. Five games into the season, United has already managed two clean sheets; Thanks to the summer reinforcement in Wan-Bissaka and Maguire. Both defenders has made their mark in all united games and has brought in a calm and stability which the team lacked for long time. Lindelof continued to commit one error per game but luckily this time, David De Gea was into the rescue. Make no mistake, this back four needs more time and understanding which will come into place as the season progresses and hopefully by Christmas, if the team can avoid injury to the back line, United will be seeing a very different and potent defense line which will play a pivotal role where we end this season.
Scott McTominay impressed the most and rightfully won the Man of the Match award. Without Pogba around, he looked like a player on a mission. He was all over Leicester Midfield trio Ndidi, Tielemans and Maddison. Along with Harry Maguire & Dan James, Scott McTominay has put up a very consistent performance this season however this weekend he was most noted to make an impact. There’s no doubt that McTominay is a fighter and I think we must provide him the platform to express himself and flourish further with his switch play long balls, ripper through balls and command the box to box role which we have been looking for Pogba to do. So far this season, there has been obvious signs of Pogba being a much better player when played at the tip of the triangle midfield and Scott coming out of shackles when he we have a third midfield player who takes responsibility of the defensive cover to Maguire and Lindelof. Matic is nowhere close to his best but he did assure McTominay of the display which impressed all. Is Fred up for such role? Do we need Garner to come in? Only time will tell what Ole thinks about it.
As Rashford continues to play as the number 9 is absence of Martial, United must and I say MUST realize that he is still a “Work in Progress” in that role and is a better player when he has more ball on his feet. Rashford is not the striker who appreciates defenders on his shoulder. His quick feet is full of tricks and that turns lethal when he makes a run from the wings, doing step overs and pushing the defender on the wrong side, gliding through them in to the box. We might have got away with a result due to the penalty but throughout the game, we missed a command in the box that a natural number 9 would provide. And there we are exposed! Are we too reliant on Martial? Shouldn’t we have had a backup number 9 player for the crucial games?
The most let down part of this season has been Ole and his game management against Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton. But he was spot on with Leicester, with substitutes & tactics. Well of course, he is learning and would only get better but it’s safe to highlight that injuries forced him to be without his favored players and that saw lot of unbiased judgement from the stands. Now many fans might have not been impressed about how United played to win but you got to realize that there’s a Yin to every Yang and United didn’t play to Leicester’s strength throughout the match and sometimes taking a step back and accepting the fact that the other team can hurt if we are adventurous takes a lot of courage. He played Mata & Matic, two of the slower players together to absorb and quick game play from Leicester. Matic played deep enough to provide the cover Lindelof and Maguire needed to deal with the foxes. Mata on the other hand made sure the build up were not fast enough for Foxes to win back and counter. As a result, Leicester was down to only two decent first half chances.
The Right Wing will remain as United’s Achilles heel unless Ole decides to play a proper winger in terms of Dalot or Mason out there. Lingard & Andreas are not natural wingers and they tend to shift to their natural position towards the center every time United has attacked from the right. We might have seen a better attacking performance from Wan-Bissaka against Leicester and Chilwell was well contained by Andreas for most of the first half, but we need an outright winger who would keep the ability to dribble past the opposition’s left back and put a darting cross in for Rashford to realize he must be seen more around the six yards box instead. I hope Ole puts Dalot and Mason into that duty soon and stretch the game even further to help the team create more goals than we are scoring now.