Since the football season resumed, everything seem normal a friend mentioned; a bad week at the office could be forgotten at the sight of...
Since the football season resumed, everything seem normal a friend mentioned; a bad week at the office could be forgotten at the sight of the fixture table. Only 2 of 38 matches have been played… while it would be ok to say we're still getting to know the performing cast, we can pick out a few early protagonists.
Manchester United for a second week in a row kicked off weekend proceedings at Villa park, a widely publicized hunting ground for the team in red.
Wayne Rooney in particular had scored more goals against Villa (11) than he has against any other side in the division although his performance through 90 minutes had to be up there with the best of the worst in a United shirt.
In a bid to not over flog Wayne Rooney’s poor showing in the striker role, I've decided to take a different route and give the Red Devil’s third top scorer of all time breathing room and do what he's had to do all his career which is prove the critics wrong.
Come on Wazza!
Van Gaal’s men won 1-0, certainly an upgrade on the first game against Spurs where they hardly mustered a shot at goal in the entirety of the game.
They had better movement, created more chances and ultimately took more risks. It was the first time we've seen a side under Van Gaal play with so much freedom on and off the ball. The players were allowed to be more expressive which means the team didn't always keep possession for long periods as they are usually accustomed to.
Creative players like Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata and Memphis Depay irked their manager by losing the ball on numerous occasions, something he didn't hesitate to point out in his post game analysis. You can expect the keep ball sessions in this week's training to intensify and quite rightly so.
The midfield weakness that had over the years become a recurring point of criticism looked solid although there may now be a combination problem in the long run of who pairs who to great effect in center midfield; a position where there are six players battling for two slots.
Morgan Schinderlin old has been superb in his first two games for the Reds backing this claim with the most success in passes and tackles amongst any of his team mates.
Stationed beside Micheal Carrick to provide extra layer of cover for the makeshift defence that sees the rather fashion minded Daley blind.
Playing beside Carrick can be good for any new midfielder as his calmness, composure and reading of the game unconsciously rubs off you.
However going by evidence of the opening fixtures Carrick and Schneiderlin don't seem a totally effective pair in center midfield.
Van Gaal has stated his preference for a two striker system which inadvertently negates the inclusion of a third midfielder.
A look at the latter stages of last season though contradicts this system as the team played with Rooney as the only striker in a 4-3-3 system albeit with Marouane Fellaini as a deep lying target man whom different sections of the media saw as an outright striker.
The Dutchman’s preference for wanting to line up with two midfielders can be backed up by the acquisition of the Frenchman who possess the energy and brut of presence required to implement his "philosophy".
In one press conference last season, he explained Fellaini’s inclusion explaining further that the Belgian gives him more body in midfield.
By now the United support would do well to recognize that the manager is all about team balance and with the former Southampton man, he believes he has a player who is a thoroughly sound to give the team the balance an extra midfielder would've provided..
In the wins over Aston villa and Tottenham hotspur, Schweinsteiger has been brought on for Micheal Carrick who seems to be easing his way back to full fitness and why not, at 34, Carrick needs to be well managed; an art we saw perfected by Sir Alex in his time at the club with older players Giggs and Scholes are stand out names.
On both occasions where Carrick has been taken off Schinderlin, has slotted into a more comfortable role the type we are used to seeing with Nemanja Matic at Chelsea.
This is not to say that the English midfielder has played badly adversely affect the Frenchman’s game but it doesn't necessarily bring out the best in the man from Southampton.
This bring us to Bastian Schweinsteiger; a willing runner, an all action midfielder who's ability to make those runs from deep into the opposition's area have seen him over the years a not so prolific but decent amount of goals for both country and former club Bayern Munich, 23 and 69 respectively.
Beside the veteran, Schinderlin reverts to a more commanding defensive role, stroking the ball comfortably and diagonally across the pitch.
At one point he slotted into centre back when makeshift centre back Daley blind went pressing an opponent high up the pitch.
He screens the back four brilliantly and his good with the ball at his feet, like Matic every once in a while he could traverse into opposition territory because he's got the fitness levels and the physique to do so.
All of these combinations and tactical twitches seems to ignore the ever so talented Ander Herrera who scored with 6 of his 7 shots on target last season; a player very much taken to by the supporters of Manchester United.
Although there can be a tendency to get rattled and drawn out of position when united are withstanding a barrage of attacks from opposing team, he's the second best passer of the the ball bar Carrick and for all of LVG’s moaning about a lack of creativity, the team play their most devastating football and look more scintillating when the Spaniard is in the playing cast.
The 24 year old started 14 of the last 15 matches last season and it was no surprise that his inclusion in the starting lineup coincided with the best performances of the post-Fergie era; a run that that defeat Liverpool, Man city and Spurs in quick succession.
A perfect scenario for Herrera would be an inclusion in the number 10 role that would see him dovetail perfectly with childhood pal Juan Mata.
In the real sense, he will play on the inside of the right midfield position allowing the Italian Darmian to overlap him to good effect while also providing defensive cover albeit momentarily. This is a tactic we've seen deployed by Jose at Chelsea often at times with Oscar playing on the right even when the official lineup sees him in a number 10 role.
Herrera and Mata when allowed to play off each other do so to devastating effect. This seamless combination cannot be horned or coached as such pairings are simply an art of telepathy.
The United support would give anything to have the talented midfielder and Juan playing off each other.
In the meantime, the Dutch tactician, is more likely to stick with the selection that has got him six points and two clean sheets from two matches when they face Club Brugge; a team from Bruges in Belgium as the bid to navigate a first leg of their champions league qualifier at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
It's still early days and surely they will enough game time for the manager to find the best combinations as each fixture demands.
The writer if this article Yubby Nduonofit is a Manchester United correspondent on wolexis.com and founder of the Counter Attack Ng.
Football performance analyst.