First time since November 2013, United managed to win three matches on the bounce as they beat Hull City, Arsenal and Crystal Palace before the International break to retain their position at the top four. A season which started slowly for United, is now starting to shape up properly after their recent good runs. It was not alone the three points from the match, but United got plenty of positives from it too. Let us see the three talking points from the Hull City victory
Improving Home Form
Last season under David Moyes, the theater of dreams became theater of nightmares for the Red Devils as United lost seven matches in home, drawn three and won only nine. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, the home form has usually been the strength of United as they would take on any opposition head on in a given day at Old Trafford. Notably in 2010-11, of the 19 home matches, United drew one and won the remaining 18. Hence seeing the team fall like a pack of cards last season at Old Trafford would have left the Red’s faithful worrying. So when Louis Van Gaal was appointed as the manager this summer, his priority was to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.
However Van Gaal’s reign began in disappointment, as United continued last seasons misery to an opening day defeat against Swansea at home. Many feared the repeat of last season for the Red’s of Manchester. But,Van Gaal to his credit has turned the fortunes of the club. In the last six home games, United managed to win five and draw only one match and that was against the league leaders Chelsea, so not many would question that draw. The way the team has stood tall at home this season has started to bring back the belief to the fans. Especially in matches against Queens Park Rangers and Hull City, United dominated them both till the end. So the dream of making Old Trafford into a fortress again does not look far away for United fans.
Spaniards – Real heroes against Hull
United enjoyed around 75 percent possession in the first half against Hull City and most of the credit should go to the Spaniards – Mata and Herrea. The team not just about keeping the ball possession but, also made the most of the ball to keep the Hull City defenders on their toes. Mata despite scoring and regularly assisting for the Reds, his overall involvement in matches has been a question mark over his head. Since Rooney returned from his three match suspension for kicking Downing, the England captain has taken over the number ten position from the Spaniard thereby putting Mata in the bench. Despite Mata coming on as a substitute and scoring the only goal against Crystal Palace, he was an unused substitute against Arsenal. So when Van Gaal started him against Hull, Mata had all to prove and he did exactly that.
He played in a slightly deeper position against them but, was more influential in the game then any other player. He played a crucial part in both of the teams first half goals. The first came after Hull failed to clear the ball from Mata’s corner to let Smalling open the scoring. The next came following Mata’s well timed diagonal cross from which Herrera nodded down for Van Persie to set it up for Rooeny. He could have also had an assist if Falcao had managed to finish Mata’s set up from the six yards box later in the game. If he was to continue in this form, then it will be hard for Van Gaal to keep him out of the team.
Ander Herrera was the other Spaniard who lost his place in the team sheet without doing much wrong. It was a combination of his injury and Fellaini’s sudden rise, Herrera was unable to get a starting spot in the team. But Herrera who came very early in the match as a substitute to replace Angel Di Maria, took his chances well. He was virtually everywhere the ball was. His vision was second to none as he hardly put a pass wrong and was always there to win the ball back. Herrera intercepted the pass from Robertson and set up Van Persie to help the Dutch man finally get the monkey off his back to score the teams third. Both the Spaniards are working their socks off to cement a place in the starting line up.
Injuries list mounts for Van Gaal
After Manchester United’s record British signing Angel Di Maria was substituted in the 14th minute against Hull, it was the 41st injury United have suffered this season. With each match, the number of injuries for the Dutch manager is also mounting. The latest causality is the flying Argentinian. With him out now United have Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Johnny Evans, Phil Jones, Rafael and Lingard out injured. Also the situation looked far worse at the end when the man in form Rooney was limping off with an injury. However, Van Gaal wrote off any fears about Rooney injury.
“Angel shall be out for Stoke, I think,” Van Gaal told the club’s official website. “Wayne, I don’t know. He said he would be fit for Stoke. I hope he is because he is in great form.” Even though the news about Rooney would have pleased many, still the number of injuries suffered by Red Devils is a worrying sign. Many critics believe that Van Gaal’s intensive training method is the reason for the players getting constant injuries. So if it were true, then it is up to Van Gaal to make a call on his training methods.
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