Squad depth, and certainly talent in depth isn't a problem often associated with Manchester United. But, a lack of wingers, and pace, might prove to be the reigning Premier League champions' downfall this season.
Whilst browsing some archived videos of United from 2006-2009, arguably the club's most dominant period, I noticed something about the style of play. Whether playing against a lesser Premier League club, or destroying Roma in the Champions League, there was a common denominator; the counter attack.
With Cristiano Ronaldo playing from either the left or right and either Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney or a then in-form Nani from the other wing, one thing United didn't lack is pace. Add to that Rooney or Tevez up top and you had arguably the most formidable front three in the world.
Seeing them tear Roma apart in the home leg of the 2006/07 Champions League quarter finals made for electric viewing. Especially Rooney's goal when United were at their counter attacking best. Turning a Roma attack in to a United goal in no less than 12 seconds was, in the words of Clive Tyldesley; "Magical Manchester United".
Watching United this season has made for tough viewing for a lot of fans. Conceding goals at will and scoring in patches has seen United have their worst start to a season in 26 years. In comparison to the team of 2006-09, the missing factor is that counter attack.
With Valencia not at his sparkling best, Nani frustrating, Kagawa playing out of position, Zaha not being given a chance, Young not at his best, the only in-form winger United have at the moment is young Adnan Januzaj. Whilst he is a very exciting prospect, he can't do the job of two wingers.
Watching United against Stoke this past weekend saw a style of play uncommon with the reigning champions, a slow build up. The ball going from defence to midfield to attack seems to take an age. Maybe Leighton Baines would have provided what United need in the width department, but we'll never know, at least not until January, maybe.
In my opinion they need to buy in January (obvious, no?), but they need to spend wisely. There are a few positions that need improving. While most fans will say it's a creative midfielder, I feel a winger that will strike some fear into the opposition is more needed. An outlet, someone who can turn defence into attack in seconds, then, maybe the creative side will come.
From watching Europe so far this season, my opinion would be one of the following: Marco Reus, Alexis Sanchez or Dimitri Payet.
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