Flat, tepid, lukewarm, Manchester United. The pre-season bubble is well and truly burst for Louis van Gaal‘s side.
Swansea last weekend was very disappointing and Sunderland followed suit. After losing last weekend, fans expected a response from United but were only treated to another poor performance.
It’s all been very Moyes-esque from United so far. Uncreative in the final third with no confidence in their own abilities, the players are clearly struggling with the expectations.
Something needs to change, pronto.
More injuries. Chris Smalling ran straight down the tunnel after being hooked off before half-time today and Michael Keane came on in his place.
United had nine injuries for the Swansea game, seven in the build-up to Sunderland and now Smalling has seemingly picked up a knock.
This is a pattern which is worryingly repeating itself.
Groundhog day in central midfield. Plenty of players underperformed at the Stadium of Light today but the central midfield duo of Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley were particularly vacant.
Neither took the game by the scruff of its nick and Lee Cattermole was made to look like a world class central midfielder.
United’s weakness in central midfield is not a new problem, it has been existent for years, and the fact Adnan Januzaj had to play in central midfield after coming on speaks volumes of the lack of quality in United’s squad.
Goal. 1-0 Juan Mata
Captain Wayne Rooney. When the chips are down and the team needs to dig in to find a result, a captain leads by example but Rooney didn’t do that today against Sunderland.
The intensity from Rooney wasn’t there. In possession he was slow and out of possession he didn’t have the hunger to win the ball back.
Rooney’s appointment as captain was a controversial decision among a lot of fans, performances like today justify those concerns.
Will Angel di Maria change this?
Nobody can question Di Maria would be a world class addition to United’s squad but he is far from the solution.
United are desperate for a world class addition, or two, in central midfield and Di Maria’s arrival wouldn’t change that.