Manchester United show improvements in Everton win

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Things aren't so bad at Old Trafford after all, are they?

Louis van Gaal's team picked up their second league win on the bounce against Everton at Old Trafford, with a debut goal from Radamel Falcao and another striker from record buy Angel di Maria doing the trick.

The win, which came after the victory against West Ham last week, means that Manchester United, for all the doom and gloom that has surrounded Old Trafford since the start of the season, now sit in fourth place in the Premier League. If that's where they are come May, then generally speaking fans and players alike will be pretty content with life.

Normal service

So are Manchester United back? Well, not quite. The game against Everton represented their toughest challenge of the season to date - even if Roberto Martinez's men have struggled this season and went into the game on the back of a long Europa League trip. A team containing a £28 million striker and perhaps the best full-back duo in the league were kept quiet, especially in the first half, so there's little to complain about, right?

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Wrong. It's hard to shake the feeling that, although Manchester United are growing in confidence with each win, they still lack the cohesion required to be a proper team. Everton's late onslaught that left the Red Devils hanging on shows they are still short on confidence too. They will be thanking their lucky stars that they can call upon probably the finest goalkeeper in the Premier League - David de Gea - who not only spared Luke Shaw's blushes with a fine first half penalty save, but also kept Everton out when the pressure was applied late on with a string of fine saves.


Of course it is easy to blame the lack of unity on the fact that Van Gaal bought more than half a new team in the summer - they still need more time to gel despite some, Di Maria in particular, taking to life at Old Trafford like a duck to water. But it's not just that. Manchester United's players are adapting to their boss too who, if reports are to be believed, is really starting to exert himself.

That has left his team looking a little awkward. They are still having trouble playing out from the back - simply because they don't have a ball playing centre-back which should have been resolved over the summer - while their lack of width is an issue. No fan would like to see a return to the Moyes era style of blind crossing but it seems to be an area missing from their game. Di Maria, for all his gifts, is a greedy player with an eye for goal, and would much rather get inside rather than offer an option out wide. Valencia is capable of doing just that, but is a class below his fellow team-mates in the Manchester United attacking unit.


Di Maria's one-eyed nature could certainly cause problems down the line. He's picked up two assists this season from errant shots that have turned to neat passes, but his willingness to shoot on sight is unlikely to please the likes of Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao, who took up some good positions against Everton but were frustrated on a couple of occasions when the Argentine chose to shoot. The balance just isn't quite right yet.

However, given their early season struggles, that seems like a small complaint. When they spring forward Manchester United are a joy to watch - how could they not be with so much attacking talent on the pitch? They will be tested further down the line, and if their defence is as porous against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City as it was against Everton, then even two De Gea's in goal wouldn't be able to help them out. But the progress on the pitch is evident. Now all they have to do is change from a group of talented individuals into a cohesive, balanced team. 

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