Manchester United got their account open for the season with a nervy 3-2 victory against Fulham. After going behind inside 5 mins, the red-devils fought back to take a 3-1 lead into half-time. But some bad defending allowed Fulham to get back in the game. In the end United managed to hang on to earn themselves 3 points.
1: Van the Man.
Robin Van Persie opened his Manchester United account with a well taken goal on his home debut, something that will surely please Sir Alex. But the Dutchman found it hard to get into the game and wasn’t involved too much. His goal may show the quality he has but he surely needs time to gel with his team-mates, something that he will get to do in the next few weeks, especially with Rooney out injured.
2: Injuries – A Worry.
The Manchester United defence had an unsettled look to it, with 4 center halves out injured and the new signing, Alex Buttner, adjusting to life in England. With Michael Carrick filling in at CB, United didn’t have anybody to provide a defensive shield in the midfield and Dembele and Ruiz were allowed to by-pass the United midfielders frequently. Therefore, United need to get their defenders fit soon to allow Carrick to move back into midfield, where he was United’s lynch-pin for the whole of the last season.
3: Dembele – Sign him up.
Moussa Dembele was absolutely magnificent today. He was a part of everything that was good about Fulham. He was full of energy, drive, skill and robust in his challenges – something Sir Alex would surely have taken a note of today. Ferguson has come-out and stated that there won’t be any more arrivals but Dembele’s performance today might force his hand to place another bid for the Belgium star who has a year left on his contract (a previous 5m bid was rejected by Fulham).
4: Need to be more ruthless.
The great Manchester United sides of the past are known for their ruthlessness; their ability to get the job done even when they are not playing well. United conceded 2 late goals versus Everton last season and went on to lose the title, and today they were in complete control of the game. But instead of putting the game to bed they let Fulham back in it and had to hang on in the end to claim all 3 points. Ferguson will have to ensure that United’s young guns don’t get complacent this time around in order to wrestle the title away from the Etihad.
5: Strength in Depth.
Manchester United may have all their defensive options in the infirmary at present but their attacking strength on the bench was quite brilliant. Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Hernandez and Welbeck were some of the names on the bench. The likes of Nani and Berbatov couldn’t even find a place on the bench. With the young Powell, Henriquez and Macheda also among their ranks United have a plethora of attacking options that provide Sir Alex with a head-ache while choosing his starting eleven, something that he would love to have.