Manchester United finally delivered a decent performance against Sunderland. After the terrible display against Swansea, Louis van Gaal knew he had to change things immediately.
And, that's exactly what he did after deciding to take out Marouane Fellaini from a central attacking midfield role and opting to play Wayne Rooney in there instead, with Radamel Falcao operating as a lone striker.
Another key issue is that the Red Devils have not been as effective from the wings as they were under Sir Alex Ferguson. Therefore Ashley Young and Angel di Maria were deployed out to the wide roles where both were given the freedom to cut in and cross.
The opening minutes showed promise as United had a sense of urgency in their play that they had been missing for a very long time. However, this did not last very long as they were still quite shaky at the back and their passing allowed Sunderland to break several times.
United were showing major improvements upfront, though, as Di Maria and Young were able to get crosses in the box and Rooney was very pivotal in a lot of the play.
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The second half then came and United burst straight into action as Adnan Januzaj replaced the struggling Di Maria. The Belgian winger kept on finding gaps through Sunderland's defence.
Then at the 63rd minute Ander Herrera's pass was brilliantly controlled by Falcao where he was fouled in the box. It led to a red card for former United man Wes Brown and a goal for Rooney as he converted from the penalty spot.
Januzaj once again slithered through and took a shot which was saved but the rebound was converted once again by Rooney. The full-time result saw United win 2-0 in what was a long awaited decent performance from the players.
Why did the 4-2-3-1 work so well for Manchester United?
As we all know, Manchester United's main struggles in the beginning of the season was their defence. However, it later turned out their attack couldn't seem to score. Therefore Van Gaal needed to drop two upfront and focus more about the creativity behind the striker.
In the current line-up you have Rooney or Juan Mata in central attacking midfield being able to pick passes anywhere in attack and players like Young, Di maria, Januzaj and even Antonio Valencia being allowed to cut in and allow the full-backs to overlap for the cross if necessary.
Not only is the attack supported, the two central defensive midfielders are crucial in protecting the back four which makes sure they wont concede as many goals as well. Therefore I think the 4-2-3-1 really focuses on United's weaknesses and helps fix them but also allows their strengths to be used.
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