United’s jigsaw still missing its pieces (Match Observations)
Manchester United 2-0 Wigan Athletic: Match Observations
For years, Manchester United have done this. Win a game without playing necessarily good. Although, there’s cause for concern as United have been far too consistent at doing this one thing. Being consistently dull, that is, and lacking any real cutting edge. For a blog that usually oozes with optimism, this game was good for a couple of things: the result for one and some individual performances which will be covered later.
Perhaps, the result is the only thing that matters – especially as both Chelsea and Arsenal could not master the art of avoiding the metaphorical banana skin that the Premier League throws out every so often. On the balance of play, United were considerably better but that was maybe because they could only find some proper rhythm once the visitors were reduced to nine men. Prior to that, it was a struggle.
If United play like this and still get three points, then you wonder what they’ll be like on top form. There is still much to do to improve the current side, although I wouldn’t quite suggest signing in January. It is more of an issue of the system and how the team is organised. The 4-5-1 was very ineffective, as Kiko Macheda struggled to make much of an impact with little or no service. When Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez came on, United, albeit against opposition reduced to nine men, were much improved.
The jigsaw is far from complete, that we know. Looking at the positives, now, it was the full-backs who prospered. Rafael, with an assist to his name, was a revelation down the flanks and could have had a brace had Chicharito managed to convert his beautifully executed low cross with the score at 2-0. Patrice Evra, with his future at the club a talking point, was excellent again. He headed in the first and played in an almost advanced role which at least gave United something extra where they had little anyway.
But with everything that happened elsewhere, there is much reason to feel optimistic. United are somehow level on points with Chelsea, and will surely be boosted by the return of Wayne Rooney and an in-form Michael Carrick. A classic 4-4-2 might be best suited to United, too. It’s all a bit bizarre this season; it’s a wonder how United can play like this and be right up there in the title race. Say it again, imagine what they’ll be like on top form.