So my prediction about the Manchester derby was wrong but hey, I wasn’t to far off! Well, that painful but ironically entertaining derby ended 2-1 to City’s advantage with the help of some inspirational performances like the one by Kevin De Bruyne.
Back to broader Premier League matters, though: Arsenal had to force a win against Southampton through a penalty while their North-London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur put on a solid display to subdue Stoke 4-0. It was also a very happy week for the Merseyside as Everton crushed Sunderland 3-0 (thanks to my man Lukaku’s hat trick) and Liverpool destroyed Leicester City 4-1.
Overlooking the loss at home and the embarrassment of losing to City, United fans can and should actually be proud of their team’s performance that day! There are in fact many signs of improvement in comparison to last season, be it whether they were losing… or drawing… or winning… y’know, it doesn’t matter–we all know how it went…
Chances Created Even with the mere 40% possession that United had in the match, the Red Devils were still able to create 14 chances in the match! Honestly, judging from previous seasons, that is a pretty positing stat! They couldn’t manage 3 shots even with 70% of the ball prior to this season. So that’s one good sign!
Penetration Football Everyone is familiar with the possession style football that LVG implemented with United last season, which isn’t a bad thing. However, we also knew that possession style football was useless, as it didn’t have penetration. It is always boring and frustrating seeing a team move from left to right and back again, whip panning more times than the cameraman of a Wes Anderson film! Penetrate! Take some risks and get your midfield to beat a man or two and test the keeper!
Fortunately, we did see players like Pogba, Rashford and Valenica trying those out on Saturday. Running pass defenders, trying shots and getting crosses in!
Never Give-Up Mentality! In my opinion, this is the main reason why Manchester United have been England’s most successful football club in the past 25 years. After Fergie, we have hardly seen United’s players have the desire to grab a goal when they’re down at half-time or go all out to get a winner.
Saturday’s derby saw United give a much, much stronger performance in the second half. Even though they didn’t get the equaliser in the end, the amount of times they threatened City in their box just showed that desire and hunger to not back down was back at United!
Also, causing a Pep Guardiola team to park the bus in the last few minutes has to be a good sign.