So it was a peculiar 90 minutes really, wasn’t it? Pre-match the confidence was hardly inspiring, their weren’t many that fancied United’s chances. But throughout the game it proved naive to have ever been worried. Whether it was Swansea with a lack of quality or United being totally dominant I’m not sure, but here is what we learned.
Michael Carrick is vital
35 or not, Carrick was absolutely fantastic this afternoon. He controls every aspect of the game when he plays and is just calmness personified when he’s in possession. He brings out the best in Paul Pogba and penetrates the lines of the opposition with such ease its hypnotising to watch. He may not have the legs he used to, but sat deep in the middle without the need for much movement and running he would be the answer to all United’s various issues of late. It’s a change many have been calling for a while now, and with Herrera and Pogba either side of him would ensure a fast tempo was upheld consistently and make United a much more attractive prospect to watch.
Form is temporary
Between the two goal scorers and the player assisting them, criticism has been rife to say the very least. But for 90 minutes all of that was forgotten as Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba were all phenomenal today. As a collective anyhow. Rooney in general play was poor, and that’s a fair statement I believe, but his work for all three goals should never be ignored. He even had a few flashes in between that are worthy of noting down and was very unlucky not to have his name next to the goalscorers. Ibrahimovic again wasn’t the greatest in open play, but his link and hold up play were both very good and his two goals were really very well taken and a much-needed confidence boost for the recently beleaguered Swede. And then there is Pogba’s immense strike and overall performance. Finally the best of him was seen in a United shirt and it felt almost liberating.
You can’t find too many complaints with a 3-1 win away from home, and I’m not going to complain too much. But it would be lying to say everything was perfect. The tempo dropped significantly in the second half, and United left the door ajar for Swansea who were fortunately poor enough to not take advantage. Phil Jones completed 90 minutes with (as it stands) no injury concerns to report and even Marouane Fellaini was worthy of being on the pitch (well, for him anyway). Possession finally converted itself into goals and proper dominance. You can’t pretend everything was perfect, but it was a damn sight closer than United have been in a while. A confidence boosting win pre international break is exactly the medicine the doctor ordered. Now we wait two weeks, yay…..