There was so much optimism around Manchester United at the start of the 2014/15 Premier League season. A manager who took his country to third in the World Cup, the record Premier League signing and a striker with a glorious reputation had all arrived and the gloom of the Moyes era was starting to clear. Fans, myself included, couldn’t wait to see which of the club’s incredible array of attacking talent would light-up Old Trafford and take the season by storm.
Very few, if any, would have thought that come the end of the season David De Gea would again be our star player, followed by Ashley Young and Marouanne Fellaini. It would be hard to say that Angel Di Maria, Robin Van Persie, Adnan Januzaj and Radamel Falcao, the players who were supposed to fire us back to the top, could even be considered amongst the top 10 best players at the club last season.
No club that has any title-winning aspirations can have a goalkeeper as their player of the season. Yes, to win a title you need a great keeper, but it demonstrates the kind of fundamental defensive flaws that champions just don’t have. Having your other two best players of the season being Young and Fellaini, also shows that it wasn’t a great year. I mean that with the greatest respect to both and I am very happy that they are enjoying a better time at Old Trafford, but that the club were unable to get more out of the other players in the squad is why finishing fourth was as much to do with Liverpool crumbling as United’s form. Young’s attitude and Fellaini’s ability to cause chaos kept them in the starting line-up but in all honesty, United are not going to win anything with them playing every week.
Limits in ability
Young and Fellaini both have desirable attributes. Young is capable of taking players on and works extremely hard down the wing and Fellaini’s velcro-like chest and ability in the air is almost unmatched. Unfortunately, Young’s delivery is very inconsistent, with only five assists all season to Di Maria’s 10, despite Young keeping the Argentine out of the team. For all Fellaini’s aerial prowess, his general play on the ground is very poor, with under-hit or misplaced passes slowing down attacks. He is slow and also has a temper that leads to stupid and pointless red cards like the one against Hull in the last game of the season.
Memphis Depay could already be the solution to adding the kind of killer instinct that Young is missing, but I also think that United need someone who can provide that something different like Fellaini, but who has much more to his game than the big Belgian. I certainly wouldn’t get rid of Young or Fellaini, they deserve another season at the club, I just hope that next season, our players of the season will be higher quality which should help us end higher up the table.
This article was researched and written by Patrick McCaul. You can follow him on Twitter.