Manchester United 1-1 Southampton: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

Disappointing but not dismal. Manchester United controlled large parts of the game yesterday and going forward, there was plenty to be positive about. On another day, the game would have been put to bed – we hit the bar twice and had a host of chances ruled out for offside when Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are usually so good at holding their runs.

Southampton kept on coming at United and fair play to them for getting the draw but our defence, De Gea in particular, will have felt aggrieved at not keeping a clean sheet given how well they had played.

In the attack, a front four of Nani, Januzaj, Rooney and van Persie was dynamic and it was refreshing to see us creating chances all over the pitch. especially given how one dimensional we have looked at times this season.

It may have been more points dropped but there were definitely some positives to take into the Real Sociedad game.

Adnan JanuzajHe was the talking point before the game and his performance is one of the main talking points after it. The 18-year-old has taken his phenomenally quick rise to the United first team completely in his stride as showed that once again with a very measured and composed performance.

It was his defence splitting pass that created the opportunity van Persie finished and his creativity was behind a lot of United’s good forward play. For someone with so little experience of Premier League football, he doesn’t look phased by the responsibility at all.

At 18, Januzaj is a boy but he is quickly becoming a really important player for United and if his performances continue to impress, he’ll make himself indispensable to the team.

The other side of Rooney. It was disappointing to see Rooney put in a poor performance against Southampton in comparison to how well he has played so far this season.

He continued his fine form during the international break with England but cut quite a frustrated figure yesterday. His touch had left him, his passing was wayward and his decision making was off. Too many times his runs were off and shoulders were stooped.

Rooney has looked in his best shape this year but Moyes has called for Rooney to be rested by Roy Hodgson if he wants to have him fully fit for the World Cup in Brazil. Maybe he suffered from burnout after a very busy start to the campaign.

Substitutions by Moyes. Yesterday’s substitutions were questionable from Moyes. Nani was one of our better performers on the day but he was taken off for Ryan Giggs. If Moyes wanted to take Nani off, he should have replaced him with somebody like Shinji Kagawa. Giggs brought nothing to the game and United then invited the pressure by not having Nani as an outlet.

But it was Moyes’ decision to take Rooney off for Smalling that left many scratching their heads even if Rooney was having a bad performance. It was a move that saw United sit deeper and deeper until eventually, Southampton scored the equaliser.

We have played quite defensive on a lot of occasions this season but it isn’t playing to the strengths of our side.

Attack, attack, attack.

Nothing is lost yet. United have only taken five points from four games at Old Trafford this season and be eight points behind Arsenal at the top of the table but it isn’t even November yet. The season has barely got started.

Liverpool were eight points ahead of United in January 2009. By the time they came to Old Trafford in March, United were seven points clear of them. In the end, we won the title by a four point margin.

United certainly have to improve but we are by no means out of the title race yet.

Image: Twitter/indomanutd

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