First things first let’s start with a denial: Nothing is understood about Manchester United in 2020/21, it’s definitely a matter of writing a few hundred words about one more fun, irrational thing after 90 minutes of their season. Stay with us, though.
At the end of the first Saturday in December, United climbed to the top of the Premier League with two points, on the verge of escaping from a turbulent Champions League side and reaching the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup. They have a great season, don’t they?
The 3-1 win at West Ham on Saturday was probably United’s season at the Microcosm. Some bad moments, a terrific 45 minutes, but somehow unique enough to get the line up and claim three points.
The question for United and Soulskajer is whether it is sustainable. A team playing poorly and winning is usually a good sign but United are at a stage in their development where consistently good performances will be more encouraging. Some of their victories this season seem to have come down brighter than the clearly defined long-term plans.
Of course admitting the first goal and coming back victorious is not sustainable. It’s been five games in a row now, but sooner or later your luck will be out.
Fortunately for United on Saturday, West Ham did not capitalize on the myriad possibilities they had by leaving the door aisle for visitors. It took like a 15-minute jolt to turn the game around. The good news for United is that players like Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have people who are at a very high level and do not need a second invitation to bend the game at will.
Soulskazar did not rule out the need to improve after his team’s games. In particular, he mentioned op-ed, basic touches and passes in the first half that weren’t good enough. This week is summarized as his press conference to mark the seven-year anniversary of David Moyes’ infamous tweet that destroyed Old Trafford’s reign. “David Moyes says the #MUFC must improve in a number of areas, including passing, creating chances and defending.”
It wasn’t on stage from Soulsky, but some of it is just as early as that. Of course in the first half they looked like a party that wasn’t quite sure about the plan. After the game, Rashford made it easy, saying players knew what was going wrong, they often didn’t go back enough. He certainly helped solve it after the break, but a team designing to win the original trophy wouldn’t have to realize half-time that they weren’t in the game because of such a fundamental problem.
On Friday, Salsakazar stressed that his team was finding continuity and was tough to argue somehow. They have certainly been consistent in the results so far this season and only Liverpool have claimed more points in the Premier League since the January transfer window ended.
“It depends on how many games you want to go back to. Football is a game that people stay with and the games live their own lives,” Solskire said. “We’ve played some great games, 40 games back and we’re one of the most consistent in the Premier League.
“We’re getting less bad performances and becoming more consistent. You can never control the outcome in the end. It’s decided by margin.”
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But United are still inconsistent in the single 90 minutes. Right now they’re removing it, but it’s probably not a long-term strategy.
The first half of the capital was as bad as it got. United could have less of a complaint if they were three or four goals behind. Instead, they ended the day dreaming of a title challenge. Who knows where United will go from here, but the results should be concerned about some of his performances while satisfying Solskire in most cases.