Football

Pace holds the key to Manchester United's title bid

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With the dust settling from what has been a whirl-wind couple of days for Manchester United, hazarding a guess to how Louis van Gaal will line up his side after the international break has become clearer.

And one particular word springs to mind when analysing the Dutchman's new-look team - pace. At left-back, the slim-line Luke Shaw's marauding runs down the wing are causing problems for opposition defenders, whom already had the speed and trickery of Memphis Depay to contend with.

Depay's compatriot on the opposite flank at right-back Matteo Darmian has also been using his haring runs to drag defenders out of position, leaving space for the albeit out-of-position winger Juan Mata to exploit.

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For good measure, United have two wingers, both capable of filling in at full-back, on the bench in the form of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, both of whom boast bags of pace.

Based upon the abundance of pace already within the squad, the addition of Anthony Martial to spearhead the attack might just be the missing link in their attack, with the young Frenchman largely known for his speed.

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In terms of the misfiring Wayne Rooney, he too boasts speed despite his stocky build, proven by the fact that, according to a FIFA study, the Englishman is the seventh fasted player in the Premier League.

Martial's arrival could potentially mean that Rooney will return to the role behind the striker - a position he has proven himself in recent years. As the number on his back suggests, the no.10 role is one to which the multi-talented Englishman is best suited; one where he can put his creativity and threat from long range to good use.

However, while we should not expect the 19-year-old Martial to score twenty goals in his maiden season in the Premier League, he could prove instrumental in helping Rooney come close to his goalscoring tallies of previous seasons.

United suffered last season due in no small part to their cumbersome attack, lead by the waning powers of Robin van Persie and big-name flop Radamel Falcao. To re-emphasise this point, between the aforementioned pair and Rooney, they managed a paltry 28 goals between them last season.

This season, however, the team as a whole appear to be much quicker, more energetic and fluent in their play. Their threat on the counter in particular has the power to punish teams as it had under former boss Alex Ferguson's greatest sides.

Their biggest deficiency at the moment remains to be their incisiveness in front of goal, but if Van Gaal can get the new boys to gel quickly, then the goals will surely come and a title challenge could be on the horizon.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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