Wayne Rooney continues his poor form to pull back United

Wayne Rooney

It’s an improvement on losing 2-1 to Swansea in your first match of the year, but the level of performance was only a slight improvement on the average display from Manchester United last year.

The problems this year are depressingly similar for supporters as they were the previous season: a disappointing campaign resulted in another round of serious investment, and now it’s time to effectively manage the exits and blend the arrivals, all while trying to find the best line-up and formation.

It took Louis van Gaal a full season to realise that Juan Mata and Ander Herrera were two of the best players that Manchester United had, and that switching between three and four at the back can only be pulled off with intelligent defenders, not the ones United possessed then and possess now.

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The new signings all impressed to some extent. Bastian Schweinsteiger was bulky but authoritative; Memphis Depay has confidence, pace, and the willingness to move the ball at speed; Sergio Romero surprised most spectators by not literally melting in the face of a trundling shot; Morgan Schneiderlin crunched into a few tackles; and Matteo Darmian reminded the crowd what a conscientious and competent full-back looked like. The inevitable lack of fitness and teamwork was apparent, but should be resolved if Van Gaal tinkers less than he has been prone to.

 The biggest problem remains Wayne Rooney. He played in slow motion for the goal, taking an age to line up his shot before Kyle Walker decided to do the job for him, presumably out of frustration, and thereafter seemed to be passing while wearing clogs. Pedro is rumoured to be arriving in place of Mata, but despite his short stature, he would likely help United by playing through the middle and actually controlling the ball.

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