Just over a month ago, Manchester United fans were criticised for ‘over-celebrating’ a last minute equaliser at home to Chelsea. At the time, United’s support wasvupbeat and optimistic, claiming Robin Van Persie’s 94th minute goal could spark a change in fortunes for the Reds.
However, United visited City the following week. Chris Smalling was sent off as United went down 1-0 at the home of their biggest rivals. An extremely underwhelming win against Crystal Palace then followed, meaning United had only scored two goals in their last three games.
Fast forward two weeks and United were seeing out a 2-1 victory away at Arsenal. It has been a long time since the team have won a big game, the last occasion was probably beating Arsenal at home over a year ago. So why was this win different? United probably didn’t even deserve a win on Saturday, yet fans and players alike really seem to feel that this is a turning point.
Two consecutive home games in the space of four days can give United a chance to really consolidate their place in the Champions League places. The matches against Hull and then Stoke, both at Old Trafford, are an opportunity for the side to gain some consistency and welcome back injured players.
Throughout the campaign, Louis van Gaal and assistant manager Ryan Giggs have spoken about how it has been difficult to put out a stable first XI, given the number of injuries. With Jonny Evans and Ander Herrera getting match fitness by playing for the U21s and the return of Radamel Falcao imminent, there is a real prospect of United finally figuring out their best team. Needless to say, this would be a huge boost for the side, considering the busy festive period is fast approaching.
Bearing in mind the vast amount of money spent by Louis van Gaal over the summer, it is extremely intriguing to see how United will perform once they can manage some stability within the team. It is still a mystery to supporters (and maybe even van Gaal himself) what United’s best side is. It could give an insight into what system Van Gaal wants to employ during his tenure at United once he has his full quota of players available.
It is obvious to see that United needed something to go their way. Performances have improved as the season has gone on, yet the team were not getting the results they felt they deserved. Against Arsenal, they got a result their performance probably did not warrant.
Could this be the change in fortune needed for a big push towards the end of the season? Many around Old Trafford certainly feel that this is the case. Only time will tell but with a busy festive period coming up, we’ll know sooner rather than later.