November is a crucial month in Manchester United's season. They come up against their bitter rivals Manchester City in the derby at the Etihad Stadium and later on in the month face Arsenal, also away from home at The Emirates. Can they face up to the challenge?
United vs Chelsea
United's performance against Chelsea at the weekend would suggest so. They had glimpses of the old United at certain points in the game, closing the ball down with intent and frightening the Chelsea back line with pace on the attack.
Saying this, glimpses of the old United under David Moyes last season were also witnessed, but these moments never really stuck around and it may be the same story again.
You'd have to think being at home with the Old Trafford faithful backing their team all the way gave The Red Devils an advantage against Chelsea, but they wont have the benefit of a home crowd when they come up against Man City and Arsenal.
Nonetheless they proved they could battle it out against the best in the league against Chelsea, and it's doubtful United will come up against tougher opponents all season, so this should give them a boost of confidence that is so desperately needed.
Van Gaal disappointment
Louis van Gaal is a fantastic manager with an incredible CV, but there is no arguing that he hasn't done well enough since he came to the Premier League. You look at the fixtures they have had thus far and to be honest, a team of United's quality should be at least in the top three.
Then you turn your attention to the fixtures Moyes had when he took over the reigns from Sir Alex Ferguson; the teams he faced were much more challenging. The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and City had already been played at this time last season.
Despite this, United managed to get fourteen points on the board at this point, compared to this season's thirteen, and, unlike Moyes, Van Gaal has no Champions League football to place blame on.
Van Gaal's strengthening
The recruitment's of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind looked to have strengthened the team going forward but in a league like this, you can't expect to get away with the intent of scoring more goals than your opponent; especially with the back four United have.
Yes, they brought in the likes of Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo in the summer, but what United needed was a leader, someone who could grab the game by the scruff of the neck and really get stuck in.
Of course we cannot ponder on the what ifs; the fact is that they haven't brought in someone of that calibre for their defence, which I think could be a more costly mistake than people are making out.
If this United team had balance, considering the embarrassment of riches they have in attack, I truly believe we could be looking at a side that would challenge for the Premier League title and go on to challenge for Champions League glory
So, can United battle through November? Yes, I think they can. They'll give City and Arsenal a run for their money just like they did Chelsea and, with the return of Wayne Rooney from suspension and Radamel Falcao and Phil Jones from injury, you never know, United could surprise a few and come away with all three points in both games, we'll just have to wait and see.
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