Manchester United’s fortunes seem to have changed over the past six weeks or so. They have won six games in a row for the first time since before David Moyes’ reign and things are starting to finally look up for the Reds.
After spending an enormous amount of money over the summer, Louis Van Gaal would have expected form of this nature but it hasn’t been one of the new acquisitions to spark this revival. Instead, one of United’s stalwarts is the one bringing back the good times.
Michael Carrick’s return from injury has coincided with United’s recovery and there seems to be a direct correlation between him playing and United winning. His simple passing game is something United missed dearly at the start of the season. They struggled to keep hold of the ball despite new signing Daley Blind attempting to command the midfield.
Carrick proved his worth in the 2012/2013 season when his performances led his side to the title. It was the year the footballing world really stood up and took notice of the Englishman and he hasn’t faded away since.
After overcoming his ankle injury from the summer, Carrick has completely changed the way United play. Since his return, they have been the leagues highest average passers, the most accurate passers and had the most possession. It’s starting to look like the Dutch model of total football that Van Gaal likes. At a time when the manager has been trying to instil his philosophy throughout the club, it seems there is one player in particular who has taken to it like a fish to water. No player has embraced the philosophy like Carrick and now that he has started to tick, so have United.
There is a lot of talk of United being in the market for yet another central midfielder. Speculation of Kevin Strootman coming to the club to join his old national team boss is rife but why should United look elsewhere when they have the perfect man already at the club? Even though they have signed Ander Herrera and Daley Blind only recently, Carrick remains the most crucial player to Van Gaal and his recent form has proven that.
In a period of time when United have desperately needed some midfield stability, Carrick has come forward time and time again. He is easily one of the most underrated players in the Premier League who goes about his business on the pitch in a quiet manner. It’s clear that if United can keep Carrick fit and firing, the team’s chances will surely dramatically improve. At times, it really is hard to believe he’s not Scholes.