Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Crystal Palace v Manchester United - Selhurst Park

(Louis has just realised he was supposed to buy a striker during the transfer window, and didn’t!)

So, after nearly one third of the season who has been a success at United, who hasn’t, and who hasn’t been given a chance?

Of the players brought in by van Gaal in the summer, I would say they have all been given a reasonable chance to stake a claim for regular first team football, (or as regular as you can expect with rotation these days).

Firstly, Daley Blind. A sensible signing as he is a very versatile player shown by his willingness, (and ability), to play at left back, centre back and in midfield. Known by van Gaal from his days with the national team of Holland he has already proven to be a shrewd acquisition.

Marcos Rojo has been in and out of the team mainly through indiscipline. Losing his passport seems to be one of his main failings and van Gaal has had to punish him, (privately, of course), on at least two occasion. He is, however, a steady defender and, if he can get his off the field act together, will prove to be a very useful signing. He needs to stop upsetting his boss though.

Matteo Darmian. A somewhat surprising signing when most people’s favourite for the position was Nathaniel Clyne, who went to Liverpool. Darmian started off as though he was born to play in the Premier league and has only tailed off in the last couple of weeks. This loss of form is not particularly worrying as it would have been almost impossible for him to play at the level he started for a whole season. He will return in the near future, of that I am sure.

Morgan Schneiderlin was another slightly surprising one. Originally strongly linked with Arsenal although Southampton refused to let him go at that time, he then appeared on United’s radar, was bought and has yet to hit top form, although he has played well in his first few games. Another one who will prove to be a good buy over the coming years.

Bastian Schweinsteiger. Many people questioned two things with the German. One was, would he come to England? The second was how, at 31 years of age, would he adapt to the Premier league? The answers are yes, and quite easily! The other query with Schweinsteiger was, did United really need another player in midfield? Particularly one who likes to play a role very similar to Michael Carrick. When a player like Bastian Schweinsteiger wants to come to your club, then you take him and worry about fitting him in afterwards. It all seems to be working quite well at present.

Memphis Depay is another one for the future. Too much expectation can be placed on these players when they are young. Having said that, he needs to concentrate on appearing on the back pages of the press not the front. There can be a lot of diversions in Manchester but, actively looking for them whilst wearing fake gold teeth will not help his cause.

Anthony Martial was another surprising signing. A relatively unknown youngster at Monaco he came to United for a rather large fee given his circumstances. Apparently Arsenal were interested and told he wasn’t for sale, so United appear to have gone in with a large enough offer to force the sale, something Wenger either didn’t think of doing, or didn’t want to do. My guess would be the former. When Martial is played out of position on the wing he looks good and can beat defenders with ease. When he is played in his position he looks VERY good and scores goals. There is a pretty obvious message here for van Gaal.

The last new signing to mention is Sergio Romero. He was never, in my opinion, signed as the first choice goalkeeper and was always destined for the bench as soon as the De Gea situation was sorted out. Whether that meant De Gea stayed and reverted to first choice, or he left and a new goalkeeper was brought in. Romero did nothing wrong in the few games he played, (well, not much anyway).

Temporarily gone from the club are Januzaj and Blackett. These are two of the younger players who seemed to have a chance of first team football at Old Trafford. Januzaj’s loan to Dortmund is slightly strange as he had just scored the winner against Aston Villa before being sent out on loan. Hopefully he will return better than ever. Blackett is definitely one for the future.

Of the regulars, whatever anybody says including van Gaal, Rooney is not playing well and can only be persevered with for so long. I don’t agree that, as captain, he deserves special privileges. He has to pull his weight like everybody else and, at the moment, he is not doing it.

Chris “Mike” Smalling has been a revelation this season and it has all coincided with him changing his name. There is a theory on this topic which is discussed at greater length here.

With De Gea happy again, Mata blogging his cheerful notes every week and the team in fourth position in the league and top of their Champions league group, the picture doesn’t look too bad at this early stage of the season.

Onwards and upwards!

  1. I fear for Mata and Lingaard. With Van Gaal’s continuous quest for more pace on the wings and his stubbornness to play with two holding midfielders, I think they (or one of them) will be out of the team if we do manage to get some faster wingers in the January…


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