Another sloppy first half. Louis van Gaal took no chances by putting out a strong Manchester United team to face Yeovil Town today but they were very poor in the first half.
United struggled to even string together a set of passes and only had one shot on target through James Wilson. Given how strong United’s starting XI were, it was not the first half United fans expected to see.
Were the players simply being complacent? Potentially. Either way, they certainly underperformed and would have got an earful from Van Gaal at half-time.
Change of formation. Given that United really don’t have many defenders, it still comes as a surprise how much Van Gaal uses the 5-3-2 formation. It wasn’t working for United. A counter-attacking formation up against a League One side who were happy to sit on the edge of their own box was almost doomed from the start.
A half-time double substitution saw United switch to the 4-4-2 diamond which has proved so fruitful at times this season. Although it didn’t make a big difference straight away, United took more control after Ander Herrera‘s wonderful goal gave them the lead.
With four at the back, United had a much better shape and it would be good to see that formation back again now that Angel di Maria has returned to fitness.
Angel di Maria makes a big difference. Di Maria was introduced just after the hour mark for Radamel Falcao and the Argentinian winger was influential.
Willing to run at Yeovil’s defence with pace and no afraid to take a shot on himself, Di Maria attacking some attacking impetus which United lacked in his absence and his goal at the end sealed the victory.
United may have gone on a fantastic unbeaten run without Di Maria but he has been missed and it’s great to have him back in action.
Ander Herrera‘s thunderbolt. The Spaniard made his return to the starting line-up today and although his first half performance was slightly underwhelming, it will all be forgotten thanks to his superb goal.
Hitting a half volley on the turn, Herrera’s shot was unstoppable and was the turning point in the match for United who had struggled to control the game up until that point.
Herrera didn’t need to give United fans another reason to love him but he did today with that strike.
Results are what matter, not performances. Time and time again during United’s current unbeaten run, performances have left a lot to be desired and today was no different.
Van Gaal will have plenty to point out to his players but at the end of the day United are in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup which is what matters.