Manchester United’s comfortable victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon was the latest indication that Louis van Gaal’s men are ready to challenge for the Premier League title.
The Red Devils were comprehensively beaten by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago, yet responded in emphatic fashion to temporarily leapfrog the Gunners into second place.
Though their style of play has seen scorn poured on Louis van Gaal, United have now won six of their first nine league games and lie just two points behind fierce rivals Manchester City going into the derby next weekend.
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Prior to Saturday’s match, United had failed to score at the home of the Toffees since 2011 in a miserable run that had seen them defeated in three consecutive games.
But from the start Van Gaal’s side looked hellbent on ending that run, with Morgan Schneiderlin scoring early to set them on their way to another league win.
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The majestic Ander Herrera, who missed the drubbing at Arsenal through injury, doubled the lead with a neat header before captain Wayne Rooney ended his six-game goal drought to complete the rout.
Performances from David de Gea and Chris Smalling also caught the eye, and the win will now give United renewed hope of winning a first Premier League title since 2013.
Though their squad is weak when compared to City, United appear to have found a winning mentality previously absent under Van Gaal last year and David Moyes the season before.
Much will be learned from when Manuel Pellegrini’s men visit Old Trafford next weekend, with the Chilean’s side eager to get revenge for the 4-2 drubbing dished out by United last season.
The decision to prioritise possession-based football over the searing pace of which the club played under Ferguson has often irked supporters but its effectiveness is growing with every game.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin were meticulous with the ball at their feet and Herrera, whilst reportedly viewed as too gung-ho for the club’s liking, continued his elevation into fan folklore.
Sustaining their form throughout the season is a hard ask but, with victories now coming in increasing regularity, the ribbons on the trophy could yet return to red at the end of the campaign.