So it is the beginning of the new season and after a very thrilling pre-season, United fans everywhere were salivating at the prospect of a new-look United team blowing the Baggies off the park and lay down a marker for their Premier League rivals to aspire to.
Whilst United did justify their tags as favourites and secured the win, it was not easy by any means and alot of talking points were raised as to the flaws this young side possess and where we could be exploited further down the line by stronger outfits than West Bromwich Albion.
1. Another De Gea Howler…
A lot of United fans were hoping the claims of De Gea being poor with shots from long-distance were unfounded and that surely a keeper from the land of Casillas & Reina could hardly be found wanting with well-struck shots and that his clearly brilliant agility would not let him down in that part of his game.
Dzeko’s shot in the community shield, shattered those delusions and the next excuse offered was that he’s a young lad struggling with nerves and the pressure of having to deal with the burden of following Van Der Sar. Whilst that was a more than acceptable explanation, what transpired today at the Hawthorns can’t be explained by nerves solely. There is a technical weakness in De Gea’s game with grounded shots, he struggles to get down quick enough whereas aerial shots from long-distance, I don’t think he will have much problems with. Being such a young lad and with an able deputy in Lindergaard, one hopes this kink can be ironed out without necessary having to start him week in week out..
Aerially he struggled today as well and considering this was against WBA, a notoriously weak side from set-pieces, that is also a cause for concern although in my opinion its more of a strength issue rather than one of lacking judgement/bravery. I’m less concerned about this, I can see him improving in this area of his game quite quickly.. its the long-range shots along the floor, I’m more concerned with at the moment.
2. Young to the rescue
A fabulous display by Young, following his very impressive display against City. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a big fan of signing Young, I was more concerned with how we were going to strengthen the centre of midfield but he’s been an astute buy as that left-wing spot looks very solid now, he’s more suited to play on that flank than Nani.
His dribbling is one area in which he has progressively improved throughout preseason, which was to be expected as the more he got settled, the more confidence he would have in taking on players. Whether or not near the business end of the season he can produce killer runs against the big teams, is yet to be seen but his ability to keep the ball and deliver top quality crosses, is an attribute that can’t be denied.
3. Lack of Aerial Threat in the final third…
With our new look side’s desire to play fast attacking football on the floor, you’d think this isn’t much of an issue but with the likes of Young and Nani on the flank, dangerous crosses were being put in and there was no one in there that looked likely to score.
Thankfully we have Hernandez and keeping him fit could really rack up the assists for Young especially. His clever runs off the ball and his appreciation of space in the box, not to mention his sheer bravery when going in to head is a quality that is in short supply in United’s otherwise strong all-round stable of forwards.