David Moyes can blow a sigh of relief as Manchester United sealed a valuable three points from a struggling Sunderland side this weekend to claim his third win of the campaign.
GMS contributor Christopher Robins looks back at Manchester United’s top five talking points from Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sunderland.
1. Adnan can
It seems like young Adnan Januzaj is the talk of the footballing town after what was a sensational full debut performance by the 18-year-old, and rightly so.
Right from kick-off Januzaj looked like to be the creative spark Manchester United had been missing all season long. Composed in possession the teenager looked without nerves with the ball at his feet, beautifully gliding past his opponents and spreading the ball seamlessly around the pitch and making everyone else look average.
But In the second half Januzaj took things to a new level with two fantastic strikes that rescued David Moyes from yet another grilling from the media and secured Manchester United the three points.
His first showed signs of his intelligence when he made a crafty move into the box slotting away Patrice Evra’s cross and his second a pure technical masterclass in how to strike a volley.
Januzaj is a special player and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to state that United have probably found a potential future owner of the illustrious no.7 jersey. There are few players in the same ilk as Januzaj. He’s truly is a sensational talent and Manchester United must make offering a new contract to the player a top priority.
2. Nani far from canny anymore
How many more chances will Nani get at Manchester United?
Here’s a player who was once touted as the natural successor to Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo but six years on and Nani is yet to fulfill his true potential.
The Portuguese international once again failed to impress against Sunderland showing only glimpses of his £17 million price tag. Nani was wasteful in possession and scuppered plenty of great opportunities throughout the 90 minutes.
On the night Nani was overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of Adnan Janzuaj and never really got into the game. The 26-year-old must consider this a warning sign because it won’t be long before he falls down the pecking order at Manchester United with the likes of Wilfred Zaha and Januzaj emerging as fantastic talents.
3. RVP not so MVP
Last season Robin Van Persie was made for games like Saturday’s match against Sunderland; a game in which Manchester United looked unconvincing and were in need of a stroke of genius. Van Persie was there to carry United through scoring the pivotal goals that led them to a 20th league title.
However that was not the case against Sunderland with the Dutchman looking lacklustre and lethargic in front of goal, being far short of his usual razor-sharp self. Van Persie couldn't get into the game and was easily isolated by the opposition's defence.
His performance was summed up late when teammate Antonio Valencia played a neat through ball into the path of Van Persie who went one-on-one with the keep to slide it past the post.
4. “David De Saviour”
Adnan Januzaj will rightly get the back page headlines, but if it wasn't for David De Gea’s athletic diving save 11 minutes before halftime things may have not been so rosy for David Moyes’ Manchester United.
David De Gea's one-handed save in the first half at Sunderland was one of the best ever seen in the Premier League, according to Peter Schmeichel. It was a pivotal moment in the game which helped keep United in the game and enabled Januzaj to shape later events so spectacularly.
Manchester United went onto secure a vital three points that could kick-start the clubs lacklustre campaign, and all thanks to an exquisite reflex save from De Gea.
5. Manchester United’s defence far from immense
In the modern game rotation is key to the success of a football club over the course of a long season but that might just be the problem for Manchester United’s centre back pairing options. This season we've already seen various combinations of Manchester United’s centre backs and David Moyes needs to find a stable partnership at the back that can provide the authority and brawn that the club needs on a consistent basis.
Sunderland exposed Manchester United’s defence with ease in the first half with Patrice Evra and Phil Jones being badly at fault for the opener; while Neminja Vidic looked a shadow from his former self struggling to handle the presence of Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore.
Moyes faces a perturbing test as to whether he should remain patient with the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to become seasoned campaigners, or bring in an established player, like Neven Subotic, who could walk straight into first team with valuable experience.
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