Merry Christmas, everyone.
Today, we are talking about the upcoming match, as Manchester United are heading into the Boxing Day with just 25 points from the opening 18 rounds of the season. They will host Newcastle United at Old Trafford in a match that will be a great opportunity for both sides.
For Man United, to finally show they can play against weaker sides who are set to defend deep and allow you the initiative. For Newcastle, to show they can continue winning points regularly even if their squad is a limited one visiting a bigger side.
First time these two sides met this season, Man United lost 1-0 at St James’ Park. That match – as many others, to be completely frank – encapsulated pretty well all kinds of problems that Solskjaer’s side has. Hopefully a win against the Magpies would be a step in the right direction, showing that United can be a more than just a one-dimensional side.
So, here are the things we would like to see happen on Thursday.
Show Clear Attacking Plan
This is something that Man United have been seriously lacking in recent months whenever they were facing a team they were favourites against. It is a strikingly clear pattern that needs to be stopped and United must show they have a clear attacking plan and some sort of a playing style when they have the majority of possession. It is not a coincidence United won just one match this season in which they had more possession than their opponents.
Without a clear, incisive plan that is precisely executed, United are a very predictable team. Against sides like Man City and Liverpool and Tottenham, they are not that kind of a side, because they have a clear plan and way to make the opposition suffer.
The thing is that it is simpler to rely on the speed, pace and moments of brilliance from your individuals when you are counter-attacking than it is for your side to have a strong positional play against set defences. Showing the latter of the two would be a good step forward.
Get The Best Out Of Dan James
The reason why we say this is not simply because we really love Daniel James and he is our favourite. No, obviously that is not the reason. The fact that Daniel James has only occasionally in recent months done really well is because of the way United are playing. Against set defences, Man United do not know how to use his speed and his runs. Couple of times this season – like that match against Bournemouth – it was obvious that United were lacking that final pass when he was making runs behind opposition’s defence. Hopefully Paul Pogba can help with that.
Press Them In Midfield
Newcastle will want to defend deep. And United will want to press them. But United should try and go for a press in areas closer to the centre of the pitch. If Newcastle at least try to start their counter-attacks and transitions, they wil be more disorganized when those attacks are stopped in that area of the pitch. It might give United a better chance of creating the chaos and getting the best out of it.