Manchester United sit top of the Premier League after two games. But the only really impressive thing to come out of tonight’s game for United was the continuation of their record in Birmingham.
A tepid performance brought their 20th league game without defeat when visiting Aston Villa. Will United fans really care if they win every game 1-0 with few really good performances?
Sir Alex Ferguson’s ghost still looms large around Old Trafford and the fans are used to seeing an attacking Manchester United take the game to teams, with their players using their flair and skills to confuse and defeat opponents.
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After the Red Devil’s win against Spurs much has been said about the slack and slow performance, lacking in any real attacking threat or purpose and the form of Wayne Rooney in particular. The match against Villa asking more questions than answering any.
Louis’ way or the highway
Louis van Gaal has a much more pragmatic and structured approach to the game whereby every player has a strict role to fulfil and any deviation from this can, and will, lead to less game time, as Angel di Maria found out and Juan Mata found difficult at first to deal with.
Everyone's place in the starting eleven seems to be up for grabs with one exception: Wayne Rooney.
Much is being made of Rooney’s poor form and supposedly continued decline, and how this correlates to United’s poor form, and last was no exception.
He was sluggish, his touch let him down on numerous occasions and never looked like a real threat with the ball. More often than not, he was to be found nearer the half way line than the Villa 18-yard line.
Rooney is an instinctive player, who plays much better when slightly wound up and on the edge of his temperament rather than trying to be a cool, calm head.
Perhaps as captain and the undisputed main striker, playing in van Gaal’s slower framework he doesn’t have the permission or opportunities to be as instinctive and hot-headed. Making him far less effective than he could be.
Results over performances
Managers nowadays always seem to say they wanted a better performance from their team, almost seemingly regardless of the result, but behind closed doors, with three points in the bag, it’s surely a matter of job done - who’s next?
In a footballing world, where result is king, few can complain about the start United have. In a world of constant coverage and analysis, people will always complain about some aspect of performances. But 38 1-0 wins would win any side the league.
With a Premier League crown to wrestle back from Chelsea, few could disagree with that statement.