Oh have I missed putting 4 in the title! Manchester United came back flying after the international break with a beatdown on a very organised Newcastle side, so let’s go through the usual 5 talking points.
The return of Pogba
We’ve missed him so much. The big Frenchman has been our most important player this season. Our time without him showed how much we need him. He gives us that arrogance, character just some real quality. In five starts this season in the league, he has scored 3 and assisted 3. That is just insane. Not only that, he’s also made 2.2 key passes per game. He’s only played 5 games and it’s so obvious how good he’s been. Let’s just hope he stays fit and our title challenge should continue.
Many will criticise him for the first goal, but I don’t blame him. A player slips every once in a while, it just happens. Personally I thought Matic was to blame for not tracking Gayle’s run. But one thing I did notice was Lindelof’s quality on the ball was finally on display. There were a few occasions where I saw the other big Swede run with the ball and hit a good ball forward. Hopefully this is him regaining his confidence, trying more ambitious moves. Having a defender like Lindelof, a player who can pass the ball very well, would be useful. It’s just a shame he still can’t defend.
Another number 10
After many poor performances from Mhiki, many fans (including myself) thought it was time to give another play a go in that number 10. It was definitely needed. I think Mata adds something different to Mhiki. The Armenian loves to run with the ball and drag the ball further forward. But the issue is he gives the ball away too much and started to fade out of games way too much. Mata is definitely more a playmaker, and with Pogba in the squad to make those runs, Mata is able to look for pockets of space to give an option to Lukaku and other forwards. He also lead the press. An odd move but seemed effective. I hope this is the start of Mourinho switching his players more often. He needs to use the squad to its full capacity, instead of playing players when they’re out of form.
Oh what a season the Frenchman is having. With 5 goals in a small amount of appearances, it seems Martial is back to his best. He’s getting into great positions and most importantly, scoring goals. There has been a consistent discussion who do you start, Rashford or Martial. The answer now is clearly both. The front three in general were given free roles, with Rashford and Martial constantly switching sides. It’s a perfect tactic because they both like to beat players differently. Martial likes to cut inside while Rashford likes to run to the corner flag. Rashford is more selfless while Martial is more selfish. They’re both so different that it gives Mourinho such tactical fluidity when approaching games.
A difficult start
For the first 30 minutes it looked as if Newcastle would score more than the one goal they scored. Rafa’s approach made it difficult for us to keep hold of the ball in general. Newcastle are definitely staying up. It could be 10th or 17th. They’re quite unpredictable in that sense. Merino has been one of the signings of the season and defensively they’ve looked fine. Going forward they’ve seriously been struggling. Joselu plays the way Rafa wants to, even with his lack of goals. It explains why he played Joselu and Gayle together. Both aren’t good players, but excel in one area. Joselu as a target man and Gayle as a finisher. They need some serious investment in January if they need to guarantee survival.