Two wins, two goals, two clean sheets. Manchester United may not be sparkling under Louis Van Gaal but they have shown enough to suggest they possess the steel and character to be champions in May.
There are 36 games left to play but United are already ahead of the chasing pack. Slip-ups from Chelsea and Arsenal on the opening day of the season coupled with Friday’s narrow 1-0 victory over Aston Villa see them looking down, rather than up, on their title rivals.
Question marks remain over the form of Wayne Rooney, who touched the ball just once in the opposition area at Villa Park, and the ongoing goalkeeping saga involving David De Gea and Sergio Romero, but for the first time in years the belief of old is back.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
Many questioned Van Gaal’s decision to start with Adnan Januzaj given the lacklustre nature of the Belgian’s performances last term, but the 20-year-old scored the winner to give United maximum points from their first two games.
The player had earlier taken to social media to play down talk of a loan move to Sunderland, yet has now staked a claim for a starting berth.
Memphis Depay missed the chance to open his Red Devils account, firing wide of Brad Guzan’s goal, but after another bright performance showed he could be the spearhead of the attack for years to come.
Despite the performance lacking attacking intent, the new signings Van Gaal has brought to Manchester played their part and already have the team looking more solid than they did last season.
Morgan Schneiderlin was the star, breaking the play up around the pitch and going close to converting a Depay delivery, whilst Matteo Darmain was solid again at right-back.
Bastian Schweinsteiger made another half-an-hour cameo and instantly oozed class, keeping play ticking over in the way only a World Cup winner can, and Sergio Romero was untroubled despite worrying fans in the build-up.
So far so good for United, but more pace and urgency is needed if they are to race away from the chasing pack and secure a first league title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement two years ago.
Pedro would bring experience and pace to the side, making him the ideal replacement for the departed Angel Di Maria, whilst Nicolas Otamendi remains a must-have for many of the club’s supporters.
Old Trafford now boasts a new-look side with a new-look playing style but, as long as the victories keep coming, few will complain about the manner of the victories if the ribbons turn back to red at the end of the season.