Manchester United kicked off the English Premier League season with a 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Despite the satisfactory result, Louis van Gaal will not be happy with United’s overall performance. This stems from the fact that the Red Devils won the match on a lucky own goal.
With numerous talking points to discuss, here are three things we learned from this fixture.
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Daley Blind cannot play at centre-back
Many fans questioned Van Gaal’s decision to play Daley Blind in the heart of defence. It turns out that they were right to do so.
Blind struggled against Tottenham, a large part due to his shambolic positioning. At one point, the Netherlands international was caught so far forward that he looked as if he was playing holding midfield.
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His positioning is not the only problem, though. Blind’s small frame and lack of pace make him vulnerable during aerial duels and closing down.
Don’t get me wrong, Blind is a fantastic player in central midfield or even on the left-hand side of defence. But playing him at centre-back is like hammering a square peg into a round hole.
Patient passing is not creating chances
If you were to follow Wayne Rooney’s movement in the match, one would notice the number of times the captain peeled away from centre-backs, trying to get in behind.
What was even more noticeable was the number of times his fellow teammates neglected to play him in.
Manchester United’s patient short passing has become a norm at Old Trafford. Recycling the ball from side to side is neat and tidy but United need to start being more inventive in their play.
The absence of created chances will not fare well at all against the smaller teams that “park the bus” or the bigger teams that are can score numerous goals themselves.
Crafting a hybrid of Van Gaal’s possession tactics and Sir Alex Ferguson’s swift attacking style would greatly benefit United.
Memphis needs a wide berth
As was predicted, Van Gaal persisted with playing Memphis Depay in the No. 10 role - and, once again, he underwhelmed.
The Dutch star got was fairly involved in proceedings but was often facing away from goal. Playing in between the lines does not suit the young player as it does not allow him to run at defenders.
With his back to goal, Memphis’ goalscoring threat is neutralised. An easy solution to this would be moving Juan Mata into No. 10 and shifting Depay onto the right.
It's either that or waiting for however long it takes former PSV man to adapt.