The response Manchester United have made to the 6-1 defeat against Spurs has been extremely impressive.
Ole has shown bravery and nous to change the team to get the results, which has shown United to be much more effective out of possession.
Seeing more of Fred and McTominay has added more bite and work rate to the midfield and given much more and much needed protection to the back 4 or back 3. Obviously at a club like United pressure emerges on the manager after every poor result but Ole has again shown the resilience needed at a top club to bounce back and pick a team to win games both in the Premier and Champions League.
United were electric at times against Leipzig – a team very much hyped up, and rightly so after their performances in last season’s competition; but the pace, control and energy made them look distinctly average on the night. It was the type of performance that will make the rest of Europe sit up and take notice and shows what the club is capable of against top teams. It also showed the strength in depth and the importance of having that with players coming into the team eager to prove a point and make the shirt their own for the next fixture.
I think Ole has shown great adaptability and tactical insight to pick an effective team and shape to produce a really good level of performance and results over the last 4 games. The high diamond with Van de Beek playing as a false 9 at times with Greenwood and Martial playing as wider strikers worked fantastically well to break Leipzig’s high press was particularly impressive as was the back 3 against PSG to deal with the huge threat of Neymar and Mbappe.
I think in this day and age it’s of utmost importance to be adaptable and the manager to be able to select a team and shape that’s effective against the opposition in front of them. I would imagine a similar shape to Wednesday night will be selected against Arsenal on Sunday as under Arteta they are a high pressing team which if United can play through effectively there is a magnitude of space to exploit beyond Arsenal high back line.
Like every team United have key players, the obvious ones that spring to mind are Rashford and Bruno, who of course both came on to great effect on Tuesday. You can see Bruno is desperate to play every minute of every game but I do feel that occasional breaks will do him good and freshen him up to get back to his very best form.
There has been a marked improvement in the back 4, with the emergence of Axel Tuanzebe being a massive part of that, although only starting the PSG game he has shown he is more than ready to start, adding competition for places which has in turn seen much improvement from Maguire and Lindelof.
Finally, we were dealt a blow with the news Alex Telles will be out after testing positive for COVID and it once again raised the question of what the best protocol is.
Lower down the Football League I believe there should be more leniency in games being postponed due to COVID with the squads being so much more smaller than those in the Premier League, also less testing available to the smaller clubs with obviously the be all and end all is the safety of the players and those around them.
But for me Premier League games shouldn’t be called off, with testing readily available and safety ensured, with the size of the squads, the clubs should be able to deal with this challenge and still get highly skilled teams out on the pitch.