With so games being played, it’s time to look over the busy period with some key talking points.
Set Piece Defending
Easily the one thing that we need to improve on. On the top of my head I can remember conceeding 4 goals from set pieces. Mourinho has this reputation of being great at organizing a defence, but with all these goals being let in from set pieces, it’s incredibly worrying. Most of the time when we conceed I usually say it’s from individual errors, like the Stoke game early on was full of them, but recently I just think it’s our organisation. Mourinho recently has sorted this out clearly, with United keeping clean sheets against Southampton, Derby and Everton. The defence seems to be improving, but Mourinho to make sure that these players are not letting the opponent leave them for dead at corners. It’s seriously concerning and it could ruin all this work that can clearly be seen this season.
Easily our most improved and our best performer, not including Pogba and De Gea of course. Lingard has just been sensational. He has finally added end product to his game, while still keeping his great work rate and quick passes. It’s something so small to love but since we struggle to break teams down that sit back, having someone who will play a quick pass to move us further up the pitch is exactly what we need. And most importantly of course, he can only score screamers. It’s as if he’s competing with himself for goal of the season, and he’s winning. He’s been the main reason why we haven’t let Chelsea keep second place. He saved us points against, Arsenal, Burnley, Everton, West Brom and Derby. He gets important goals. Even if he drops off he will be thanked for performing so well in December and going into January.
An Unsure Rashford
It’s clear to see Rashford is not in the greatest of form at the moment. In certain areas he’s been unlucky but it’s clear to see it’s just an error in his game right now. When he first broke onto the scene anything he hit went in. But now Rashford can’t even hit a barn door in the form he’s in. When you watch the moments he misses in more detail it is clear to see that he is overthinking the whole thing. The obvious one is the chance he missed against Leicester. He was one on one with the keeper and didn’t know weather to shoot or try and get a penalty. He took so long to decide the keeper eventually intercepted him. This is all just immaturity in his game. He needs to work on his under pressure decision making and literally the only way to work on that is to keep getting in those positions when given the chance. The fans just need to keep supporting him and hopefully he keeps it up and eventually this drought will end.
Resurgence of Luke Shaw
Shaw has started four out of his last five games. His most consistent amount of appearances for a while. He is also playing very well. He just looks so much sharp and most importantly, much fitter. It seems that Mourinho has had issues with his fitness recently and he seems to be proving the manager wrong. I’m glad to see Shaw playing regularly again. It’s been so long and he deserves this. I still think we need cover at left back. If Shaw continues to perform this regularly until the end of the season, then I might change my stance on that.
I’ve made this clear so many times in the past. The 4-3-3 is our best formation because it gets the best out of one of our very few world class players. When we play in a 4-2-3-1 we always seem to struggle, with Pogba having to do so much defensive work and come so deep to get the ball. Pogba is great at playing those long passes across the pitch. I like them but it bothers me because he is so much more. He is a one of a kind footballer that can do just everything, but especially he is great at running into space and beating opponents. He is just such a unique player that forcing to make those long switch passes just is a real shame. If we had 3 in midfield it will enable someone else to drop deep to get the ball from defence and give it to Pogba. With Herrera just not performing this season, it will have to be a new player to fill this whole. On the top of my head I can think of a few names. Milenkovic-Savic, Allan, Jao Mario, Rabiot, Fabinho and Goretzka come to mind. All these players could do exactly what we need. Of course if I could choose anyone it would be Luka Modric. But we can’t always have what we want.