What We Learned: Things are getting better with Manchester United’s perfect three

It didn’t completely catch the attention, but one can hardly complain at three goals scored and an overall dominating win and drawing level on points with Spurs in the league table. No clean sheet, but an all-important three points. Here is what we learned against Sunderland this Boxing Day.

The perfect three

The midfield triad of Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, and Ander Herrera is absolutely spot on. It has absolutely everything there that a midfield needs. The control that Carrick offers is poetry, he just sits there and covers his defenders so well, all the while dictating the play and creating opportunities for his team mates. The dynamism of Herrera then adds an extra spice to things. When things get difficult he sits in with Carrick almost seamlessly, and then explodes forward and gives another outlet in attacking positions as all box-to-box midfielders can do. Then there is Pogba. A waste of money many have cried, but as every game passes by he just gets better and better. He is the attacking force of the three and the showman. All three showed their talents at various times today and it was just fantastic to see.

Jesse Lingard tries, but shouldn’t start

It isn’t a criticism of Lingard, because for all his deficiencies he really cannot be faulted for his work rate and passion he brings to the side, but ability wise he really isn’t up to scratch. However, his inclusion in the side is more than likely down to Mkhitaryan being fresh back from injury, United did suffer from the lack of finesse that the Armenian brings. One chance in particular sticks out when Lingard had the opportunity to play in Paul Pogba and his pass held far too much weight, a more subtle Mkhitaryan certainly would have fed the midfielder. Lingard is Manchester United through and through, but a substitute role is best I feel.

Things are definitely improving

Stoke City, Burnley, Arsenal, all games United should have emerged from victorious and came away with a mere point. But today at 1-0 you never thought it for a second wouldn’t finish with three points. And then to go on and score three to really drive home the dominance was just brilliant to see. The passing was better, the performance was better, and all in all everything is looking a lot brighter than this time a month ago.


There can be no complaints at all today. Not the most exciting at times, but no one stood out as poor and Sunderland’s goal was really very good. Mkhitaryan showed a glimpse of utter (and 30 yards offside) genius with his finish, Ibrahimovic was phenomenal in his hold-up play even if sometimes his first touch was lacking. Happy fans this festive season and with every right to be. With three games in such a short space of time, the table could be looking a lot more prosperous come the New Year.


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