One week down, 37 to go. Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspurs, and Chelsea managed to grab opening day wins and Everton settled for a 2-2 draw. On the other hand, Manchester United suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Swansea City as the pressure piles on Louis Van Gaal’s shoulders to keep up with six other competitors.
Manchester United fell to a surprising loss on the opening day against Swansea City despite a great pre-season campaign in the US. The same mistakes, the same issues that the club had last season are still present. Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand are gone and no real name arrived to bolster the defensive line. Instead the club insisted on keeping the same names that failed under Moyes. Today’s question is not abot Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system. As the system proved it can work with Holland and other clubs but the problem at Manchester United is the players who aren’t at the level that United should aspire to reach.
Louis Van Gaal needs at least three more players before the end of the summer transfer window. Angel Di Maria is one of the names who could easily improve United though the 3-5-2 system means that new signing Luke Shaw who originally plays as left will have to compete with Di Maria for the left wing spot. This would mean that Two of United’s three signings are competing for one position in the starting eleven, it doesn’t seem to be logical unless Van Gaal decides to adopt a 4-4-2 formation where Luke Shaw plays behind Di Maria. Di Maria’s arrival can be quite important for a team like United especially during the transition phase between trying to gain possession and trying to launch an attack. Also Angel can give United another dimension of attacking threat as he offers a different style of play from that of Mata, Rooney and Van Perise. He is a world class player of the highest level, he has already played under Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, thus playing under LVG will not be hard for him.
As much as Di Maria improves Manchester United, the club still seems to have two weak spots. The team needs a central defender and a central midfielder. Ander Herrera needs a better partner than Tom Cleverly or Darren Fletcher. While the back-line was catastrophic last season and they won’t suddenly become top quality players even if the manager changed. Mehdi Benatia is the best possible option but with Di Maria arriving, the Red Devils won’t be able to sponsor a move for Roma’s Moroccan defender. This leaves United with to realistic options: Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon and Ajax’s Daley Blind. Are such players ready to face all the pressure that will fall on their shoulders when playing for a top Premier League club? Playing at Manchester United isn’t like playing in the Portuguese or Dutch league, a player has to constantly give 100%, he has to win every single duel, every single challenge and not only that but he has to be able to kick-start a counterattack every single time he snatches the ball. Perhaps Rojo and Blind are good signings but not the right ones especially at this time for a club that is under pressure to perform and get results as soon as possible. Rojo has already signed for Manchester United as Nani went the other way, but can really Rojo be the man to hold a back-line of three players against Premier League clubs?
There is no doubt that the Premier League is the most competitive and entertaining league in the world, the title race will be down to the wire and the big clubs will have no mercy on each other. Manchester United must aspire to reach the top four this season, but is their starting eleven anywhere near those of their rivals? Besides their attacking duo, arguably not a single player could make it into the starting eleven of their rivals.
Which position will Manchester United finish this season? Tell us what you think in the comments below