United 3-1 Leicester… After a reasonably comfortable victory for Manchester United at Old Trafford, John Murphy runs through some of the major talking points.
1. Twitchy Ass Time?
Having reverted to a 3-5-2 formation in early December, Louis Van Gaal has seen United’s performances dip from one week to the next. Speaking of a title challenge only last month, United’s slump coupled with a surge in form from Southampton, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool means that a top four finish is once again the major focus (and concern).
For the majority of United supporters, The Iron Tulips persistence with a 5 at the back approach has been the route cause of their concerns. However, after banging the drum for the past few weeks and even chanting “4-4-2!” at QPR, today LvG finally gave the fans what they wanted.
And it certainly paid off.
Van Gaal spoke recently of a four man defence giving him a “twitchy ass” with the Dutchman believing United concede too many chances without the extra man at the back. Today, those concerns were emphatically dispelled. Forget about your arse Louis. Just let the boys play ball.
2. Firing Falcao
The start of his United career hasn’t exactly been explosive, however with each passing week he seems to be improving and is finally getting some appreciation from his manager. His movement for the second today was excellent and with West Ham, Burnley and Swansea lined up as United’s next three fixtures, one should expect plenty of goals from the Colombian in the coming weeks.
3. Staring Into The Abyss
Having beaten United 5-3 back in September, Leicester now sit rock bottom of the league table staring into fixtures against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City in the coming weeks. They scraped a late consolation goal in the final minutes today but they look far from a side who can claw their way out of their current predicament. No one likes to see anyone go down but it sadly looks like The Foxes are borderline certainties for the drop.
4. Jazz Jazz Januzaj
Referred to as “Boy Wonder” by many United faithful, last season saw an unprecedented amount of hype gather around the young Belgian. The summer saw this excitement gather even more momentum as the talented winger was handed Ryan Giggs’ number 11 jersey. However, this season has been another story as Januzaj has fallen further and further out of favour with his Dutch manager and first team appearances have been sparse.
Rumours at the beginning of January suggested that Adnan was on his way out for a loan spell with former manager David Moyes’s Real Sociedad hotly tipped as a likely destination…
Not at all.
Van Gaal threw Januzaj back into the frame against Cambridge last week and although the team’s performance was dismal over all, Boy Wonder stood out as the potential difference maker. He looked sharp again today, frequently causing problems for Leicester’s Danny Simpson. It’s probably too soon to say that he is back in United’s starting 11 but Januzaj is certainly one to watch in coming weeks and months.
5. Mark Schwarzer…Mate
Having signed for Chelsea back in July 2013, the Australian spent the past 18 months warming a Stamford Bridge bench. What a waste. He signed for Leicester on the 6th of January to emotional exclamations of gratitude from Jose Mourinho which was oddly nice to see. But it was nicer again to see him back in the sticks today. At 42, he just became Leicester’s oldest ever player. Fair play Mark, welcome back.
John Murphy, Pundit Arena