Sunday, 30 October 2016

Deja vu for profligate Reds in 90 frustrating minutes

United's front six was the same as the profligate attack that started against Stoke and again a lack of cutting edge proved our undoing, 

It's hard to be critical of such a dominant performance as the only thing missing was a goal but this was a frustrating carbon copy of the Stoke game.

Two points from a possible six against the Potters and Burnley is hardly a crisis and the performances have been positive but an inability to make dominance count has left everyone frustrated.

The visiting keeper had the game of his life in both games but we're going through a dry spell in front of goal that has co-incided with the longest drought of Zlatan's career. 

Jesse Lingard had one good chance but was largely anonymous, Juan Mata- again our best player- was taken off and Zlatan cost the team with some flimsy finishing. 

Tom Heaton added gloss with that incredible second half stop from the Swede but Zlatan has become a liability in front of goal and- just like against Stoke- he squandered an early chance that would have given us a far easier afternoon.

Jose perhaps tried to prove a point by retaining his favourites, he even overlooked Michael Carrick and again kept Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the stands.

Having watched him regularly for Dortmund last season, Mkhitaryan oozes class and we're crying out for the pace, ingenuity and guile that he brings to the table.

The Armenian's absence is all the more baffling when set against Jesse Lingard's recent form- anonymous at Chelsea and only marginally better against Burnley.

Our attacks regularly broke down when he was on the ball and despite being occasionally capable of the spectacular, that and intuitive movement are not enough to earn a regular place in a forward line such as ours.

Lingard's inclusion ahead of Mkhitaryan is as mystifying as the Armenian's continued absence from the squad. 

In the first half, Paul Pogba seemed uninterested as he ambled around in a deep-lying role and at times not even bothering to keep up with the pace going forward.

After half time, however, he looked every inch like the midfielder we hoped we had signed- having moved to the left of midfield.
Pogba's vision and link-up play improved immensely and his whipped crosses were right on the money as United mounted siege. 

His positioning should not pose a problem when it's patently clear- just as with Angel Di Maria- that he has to start on the left of a midfield three. 

Once we start turning these chances into goals- and draws into wins- everything will look a lot rosier for Jose and the team but that's easier said than done.

If that means the boss has to bite the bullet and drop his marquee signing then so be it. 













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