Manchester United left the mark of frustration on yet another away game against Bolton.
The Reds needed to twice come from behind in order to rescue a point from a Bolton Wanderers side that showed a less traditional physical style and more attacking style as can be expected with Owen Coyle in charge.
A fantastic opportunity to capitalise on the failings of Chelsea and Arsenal had gone astray in familiar fashion to last season when United paid the ultimate price of sacrificing the Premier League title.
You can argue it’s still very early days and you would be right to do so, but in order to stay one step ahead of hindsight for next season it’s important to view these games in a similar light to the slip ups of last season.
United’s defence needs particular attention after leaking nine goals in six league games so far which amounts to almost one third of goals conceded last season. But you have to take into consideration the absence of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Both Vidic and Ferdinand have endured spells on the treatment table, so disrupting the delicate rhythm established in the defence two seasons ago and since then the defence has struggled to find form.
With Rio back in training and after completing a 90 minute cameo against Scunthorpe United last week fingers are crossed that the pair will reunite and capture that old magic.
Manchester United face arguably their toughest opponents this season away to Valencia on Wednesday. ‘The Bats’ sit pretty at the summit of La Liga despite predictions they will become a weaker side following the sale of David Villa and David Silva to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively.
Sir Alex Ferguson initially faced a selection dilemma ahead of the clash: should United go for the traditional 4-5-1 formation for tough away opponents especially in the Champions League it means he plays either in form Dimitar Berbatov or out of from but world class Wayne Rooney. But the decision was made for him after injury to the latter saw him remain in Manchester.
One things for sure, United need a positive result against Valencia in order to ease the burden and to draw ever closer to the desired ten-point threshold set out to qualify from the Champions League group stage.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.