Manchester United defeated QPR 4-0 at Old Trafford yesterday, with their new signings making a vital contribution to the victory.
It seems like the Red Devils have now started their season, after failing to win in their first three Premier League games.
The first thing we need to get out of the way is the quality of QPR’s performance. The Hoops were woeful.
Hoops boss Harry Redknapp has stated that does not believe that his side did much wrong. I think he must have been watching a different game.
Just like United, QPR were fielding a number of new players in their team, with midfield trio Niko Kranjcar, Sandro and Leroy Fer all making their debuts for the Hoops, although Kranjcar had enjoyed a previous spell with Rangers.
Everybody connected with the club will be hoping for better performances when the new players get settled, because if performances do not improve then Redknapp’s team could be in major trouble this season.
Last season and for the first few games of this season United’s play completely lacked any pace. Yesterday the Red Devils produced a far better display of pacey, attacking football as they moved QPR around and once again looked exciting to watch.
The change of formation to a 4-1-2-1-2 worked well, even if the change was forced upon United boss Louis van Gaal with centre-backs Phil Jones and Chris Smalling out injured. The Dutchman usually does not deviate from his favoured formation of three at the back.
United now have the personnel to play either formation, although at the moment United are slightly short of centre-backs, quality ones especially.
United started with a diamond in the centre of the park and all four midfielders produced an impressive display. Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria all got on the scoresheet, as United strode to victory.
Di Maria was particular impressive pulling the strings in midfield and adding an assist to his goal. The Argentinian has already become a crowd favourite at Old Trafford after just one game. He is likely to play a major part for United this season.
Defensive midfielder Daley Blind had a very solid debut. The versatile Holland international shielded his defence well and used the ball well when in possession. The former-Ajax man looks like he could prove to be a very useful signing.
He is not just a spoiler in midfielder, he can actually play, which for a defensive midfielder these days is a major plus. With doubts over United’s defence Blind could be a vital player for Van Gaal’s team.
There has been plenty of speculation about the future of Spanish playmaker Juan Mata, but he started yesterday’s game and made a big contribution. If he continues to perform the way he did against QPR then it is unlikely that he will be leaving the club.
Louis van Gaal now has a very good selection dilemma up front. The Dutchman decided to field Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney as his front two, with new signing Radamel Falcao coming off the bench.
Rooney scored and also set-up a goal, which probably guarantees him a start in the next match. However, Van Persie’s lacklustre performance could leave him in danger of being benched for United’s trip to Leicester next weekend. Falcao must be raring to go after he was eased into English football from the bench.
It is a good problem for Van Gaal. He could always drop Rooney into the number ten role, but with Mata playing pretty well at the moment that looks unlikely. The veteran Dutchman has a decision to make that most Premier League bosses would envy.
The United team that started yesterday’s game looked very well balanced. QPR were very poor, but United fans will be encouraged by the shape and balance, which was quite frankly missing for most of last season.
Manchester United fans will be hoping that this game is the start of United’s recovery from their recent nightmares. People will say they were only playing QPR, but last season United may even have struggled to get a result against the Hoops, they were that poor.
It is probably just the start of the recovery and there will be setbacks along the way. However, the way that United played against the Hoops was a big improvement on recent displays and all signs suggest United are in for a far brighter campaign.
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