Anybody who doesn’t get excited after a 4-0 win is downright bizarre. It doesn’t matter who you play, winning comfortably always derives confidence and belief from a team. Louis van Gaal made it clear that 20 new relationships in a dressing room requires some ethereal patience and nurturing. Winning, and winning well pushes those currently fresh relationships in the right direction. That much was exemplified on Tuesday when all the Spanish-speaking players were out having a meal together, which I can only presume led to them all heading back to Mata’s house for a kickabout and a sleepover.
Last Sunday was a genuinely uplifting experience. The energy in that stadium was honestly something else, the expectation and renewed feeling of belief amongst fans corresponded onto the pitch. Manchester United’s season kicked off in earnest last Sunday and it wasn’t a bad way to get things moving. The pace and precision from all areas on the pitch provided glaring contrast to last years ‘bad dream’
I’m doing what I can to not get carried away, but when Rooney, Van Persie, Herrera, Di Maria and Blind are tearing teams apart along with the knowledge that Falcao is still to make an appearance from the substitutes bench then you can’t really blame a naïve 16 year old for clearing his schedule for a title party on May 24th.
That being said, Manchester United are still far from what they can be. The game this weekend will provide us with a slightly more accurate barometer as to how good (or bad) they are. Visiting a newly promoted team is always a laborious task, especially early in the season. The home team this Sunday will go out with a menacing absence of trepidation. Leicester may not be blessed with world-class talent, but the energy and discipline they possess can harm the very best in this division.
The team from the Midlands can be very proud of the start they’ve made this term under Nigel Pearson. An encouraging draw at home to Everton, a spirited loss at the hands of Chelsea, a comfortable point at home to Arsenal and a hard fought victory against Stoke leaves them in good stead for Sundays lunchtime kickoff.
Striker Leonardo Ulluoa has made an impressive start to life in the Premier League; the Argentine has netted 3 goals already this term and is supported well by an exuberant midfield including ex red Danny Drinkwater, who I rated highly. They have a generally well organised and compact defence who like to play narrow, another ex red could feature at the back on Sunday in the form of Richie De Laet, who I didn’t rate at all.
Nigel Pearson will have to make do without two rather important names; Kasper Schmeichel, son of United legend Peter, is set to miss out due to a knee injury. Matt Upson will also not play a part due to an ankle injury.
Their injury list is nowhere near as daunting as the one Louis van Gaal must peek through his fingers at, although players are returning it seems that there are still 7 players unavailable for Sunday; James Wilson and Ashley Young are both sidelined due to knocks, Phil Jones’s injury whilst on International duty is set to keep him out until the Everton match, ditto Michael Carrick. Marouane Fellaini is still suffering from a foot injury and Jesse Lingard’s knee injury will keep him away from action for some time.
Apart from that, everyone is available. The roster of talent that Louis van Gaal has at his disposal is quite mouth watering and should be enough to topple the likes of Leicester. That being said, a team going through a slight purple patch will always provide a tough test for a team still in the early stages of its transition.