“A flattering win”
The above phrase is handed out to give generous recognition to the performance of the opponent on the day. On the other hand, just as the league table doesn’t lie, rarely do match results. Sure, you get the odd contentious game decided on a decision one team doesn’t agree with, but the laws of football are simple; if you score more goals than the other team, you win. In you score four goals, therefore, you deserve a four goal win.
United learned this the hard way when we had to stomach three million 1-1 draws at Old Trafford last season. Including the one against yesterday’s opponents. United were ruthless and have been just as impressive as their noisy neighbours this season, despite the respective reaction to the results.
Last season his substitutions didn’t always seem to make sense; this season, not only do they all seem to make sense, you can almost see the tangible change in pattern when Mourinho imposes his influence on the game.
The groans on social media almost became tangibly audible when Lingard was brought on but that was to protect Young as Everton’s best openings were coming down the left. The discipline worked because United shortly got their second and secured the game.
It comes with the caveat that United could do better. How, you ask? Let’s begin with the repeated admission that Mourinho is getting it right so it’s hardly fair to really question him. But maybe it’s fair to say that with a stronger left side of defence from the start, maybe that protection of Lingard wouldn’t be needed.
On our youtube show this week, Nipun made a good point about Eric Bailly possibly being the underperforming one of the pair in central defence while Jones gets the criticism. Maybe so; but there was a moment in the game where Jones left his position and Rooney got space to attack. Bailly had to leave his position to cover and wasn’t able to do so before Rooney got an effort away. Thankfully it came to nothing but perhaps the counter point is that Jones’ rushes of blood to the head do nothing to help Bailly and end up exposing the Ivory Coast defender so that he looks culpable.
The good news, as we have said before, is that United’s issues do seem to have internal remedies. Hopefully Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof will provide the stability the team need in those roles.
Matic the incredible
Not since Eric Cantona has a player arrived at United and had such an instant effect so as to almost transform and elevate the quality of the side. Like Cantona, and Robson before, Matic’s influence spreads far and wide, protecting the defence so that they aren’t as jittery as they have been known to be in the past, and providing a solid base for the attackers to play without fear. On Sunday his tremendous awareness created the opening goal. Subsequently, his mere presence meant United could afford to be patient; in those circumstances last season, the opponent would get confidence and feel encouraged to get a result. United won’t win every game, let alone 4-0. Yet out of all the signings Mourinho has made, Matic stands to be the most important.
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