Our Manchester Correspondent, Andy Hyslop of SirAlexFergusonWay.com, gives us his analysis of yesterday's disappointing result against Everton.
After the recent run of results that has seen Manchester United outplay and beat Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City, many United fans were dreaming that they could make a late charge for the Premier League Title. I myself never believed this but felt we could get 2nd position in the league and then push on next season with a few additions to the squad. After the run that saw United win six straight I felt we weren’t that far away from challenging for the League Title next season. Manchester United and their fans were going into the games away to Chelsea and Everton high on confidence. Despite losing 1-0 at Chelsea, the confidence should have still been high having outplayed Chelsea on their own patch and been unlucky not to come away from Stamford Bridge with at least a draw.
United went into the game at Goodison Park yesterday looking to get back to winning ways and move into 2nd position in the league and put the pressure on Arsenal ahead of their game against Chelsea. Sadly United were beaten 3-0 in a game that they dominated the possession in but were unable to create any clear cut chances and were caught on the break several times. Daley Blind returned for this game after missing the game against Chelsea and returned to the defensive midfield role he had occupied earlier in the season with Michael Carrick once again missing through injury. In the recent run of wins Blind had been playing at left-back and built up a good understanding with Ashley Young. I think Daley Blind can struggle in the defensive midfield role especially away from home, he gets overrun in that position far too often.
The last two games have highlighted how important Michael Carrick is to Manchester United, especially in this current formation that they are using. Carrick is a top class defensive midfielder, he doesn’t dive into challenges because he reads the game so well and just intercepts the opponents attacking plays and sets United up on attacks of their own. He offers the perfect shield for the Manchester United defence, whilst also looking to move the ball forward as quick as he can when he gets the ball. He is calm and doesn’t panic. Michael Carrick is now 33 years old and suffered several muscle injuries this season and has been clearly missed during these absences. United surely will be signing another defensive midfielder in the summer because when Carrick has been out injured, Van Gaal has used Blind or Rooney in that position and they are nowhere near the player Michael Carrick is in this position.
I think the last two results have also shown us Manchester United fans that we have to wait a little long to win back that Premier League Title. I expect to see several players going through the exit door at Old Trafford in the summer, with Louis Van Gaal bringing in the players he feels can play in this system. After finishing 7th last season, Louis Van Gaal has done a good job in getting United back into the top four this season. The next step is to have them challenging for the title next season. As long as United put up a challenge for the title next season I will be happy. Manchester United need to improve gradually and fans need to see this, I’m sure many fans will be happy as long as they can see an improvement in the team.
Andy is a Manchester United fan whose dream of being a season ticket holder was finally realized last season. He loves writing about our great club, whether it be match previews and reviews, current events or the history of Manchester United. He also has his own Manchester United Blog called siralexfergusonway.com