Worst home performance in a long time. Manchester United usually reserve their toothless performances for away games but that wasn’t the case today.
A disciplined and determined Southampton defensive set-up completely blunted United in attack. With such little creativity coming from between the lines, United relied almost exclusively on pushing it wide to the wings in the hope of a cross splitting Southampton open but it wasn’t until Daley Blind starting sending crosses in that they caused Southampton any problems.
Angel di Maria is wasted up front – It was great to see the Argentinian back in Manchester United’s starting XI but it was an ultimately frustrating performance from him, thanks in no small part to his position.
Playing up front, Di Maria was wasted. You can have all the attacking talent in the world but if you don’t have a midfielder who is playing well enough to find you, then it’s a fruitless exercise.
That being said, Di Maria was as rusty as nails anyway and didn’t add much attacking threat himself either.
Louis van Gaal needs to take some of the blame. Using a 5-3-2 formation again? Resting Radamel Falcao and leaving Adnan Januzaj out of the squad so United didn’t have much attacking threat from the bench? Using Di Maria up front and persisting with it?
David Moyes would have been lambasted for this sort of performance, Van Gaal deserves the same treatment.
More Ander Herrera frustrations. Why does Van Gaal continue to overlook Herrera from the starting XI? Rooney and Carrick were both completely off form against Southampton today, so United offered very little from midfield. Herrera didn’t change much after he came on but by United’s confidence had dwindled by that stage.
The Spaniard is United’s most all-round creative central midfielder and he should be getting more game time from the start than he is.
The wrong time to rest Radamel Falcao. When Robin van Persie walked off with a grimace, Falcao would have been the perfect player to come on as a direct replacement but he couldn’t. Instead, United had to bring Fellaini, Herrera and Blackett on to try and inspire an attacking improvement.
They didn’t. United had no presence up front at all today and could really have done with Falcao’s hold-up play because it would have allowed United’s midfielders to overlap and create the sort of runs which can cause the opposition so many problems.