Following a poor performance and a deserved defeat at Bournemouth, it was imperative that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side bounced back with two wins. They had just started to build some momentum and an impressive win over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup which seemed to have turned the tide for United.
However, it looked like it was back to square one at the Vitality Stadium as United returned to their usual lacklustre form that we have come to expect, unable to raise the tempo and struggling to create chances. The following week was an important one for the Red Devils. Two wins would put them in the driving seat in their Europa League group as well as allow them to climb to 7th in the league table, putting them back in striking distance of the top six (BBC).
Six crucial points against Partizan and Brighton saw them achieve both these goals and Solskjaer will be a much happier manager going into the international break with the pressure being relieved on him and his side. It will allow him and his coaching staff a chance to analyse a busy and significant period of football leading up to Christmas, starting with a trip to Bramall Lane to take on high-flying Sheffield United.
United fans can look back on the past three weeks of football and be happy with how their side have progressed. They have won five of their last seven in all competitions as well as becoming the only team to take points off of the European Champions Liverpool in the league this season (Man Utd). There are plenty of positives for Solskjaer but we have highlighted three in particular that United fans will be delighted with heading into the international break.
Rashford and Martial on fire
The return of Anthony Martial has been a huge addition to United and he looks back to his best with Marcus Rashford firing on all cylinders alongside him. The Frenchman’s inclusion as the central striker has allowed Rashford to move back out to the left wing where many believe he is more effective, receiving the ball to feet and driving with pace at the opposition full-back.
Since Martial’s return in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool, the dynamic duo have scored 9 of United’s 13 goals and look to be bringing the best out of each other. Their link-up play has gone from strength to strength and United fans will be hopeful they can fire their side back into top-four contention.
With Daniel James consistently performing on the other wing and Andreas Pereira scoring his first of the season against Brighton, United fans will be confident of securing all three points against Sheffield United when the squad returns from international duty.
Brandon Williams giving Solskjaer a good problem
With the injury of Luke Shaw and suspension of Ashley Young, Williams was given another chance to impress at left-back against Brighton and he didn’t disappoint. The teenager was assured and tenacious defensively, offering width and pace on the overlap when attacking. He utilised his speed to get beyond Rashford and found himself in positions to create chances on numerous occasions. His first Premier League start was an impressive one and United fans will be excited for the future of the England U20 international.
Brandon Williams' game by numbers vs. Brighton:
88% pass accuracy
1 chance created
1 shot on target
A solid first Premier League start. 👏 pic.twitter.com/9ZC39QBuaN
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 10, 2019
Fred is improving and building a partnership with Scott McTominay
After a difficult start to his United career, there have been a lot of doubts over whether the Brazilian is good enough to be a Premier League regular. With a sustained injury to star man Paul Pogba, Fred has found himself as a temporary first-choice central midfielder alongside academy graduate McTominay. Whilst the Scot has received most of the plaudits and has arguably been United’s player of the season so far, Fred has gone about his business and done his job to varying degrees of success.
His form of late has drastically improved as he seems to be settling into the role and Solskjaer is reaping the rewards for giving Fred a lengthy run in the first team. In their win against Brighton, no United player completed more passes.
With Pogba still a little way off from returning to first-team action, the Brazilian and Scottish partnership is blossoming nicely in the middle of the park and United fans will be confident of kicking on after the international break and putting themselves back in the battle for a Champions League spot.