After an atrocious season under the much criticized manager, David Moyes, Manchester United Football Club had a tough decision to make on who to bring in and fill the vacated spot of manager. Names such as Pep Guardiola, and Jurgen Klopp were tossed into the mix, put former Barcelona and Ajax manager, who was coaching the dutch national side at the time, Louis Van Gaal was appointed on the 19th of May, 2014. Go forward approximately three months, and you will hear chants of “Van Gaal’s Red Army!”, echoing around the St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton after a satisfying 2-1 against the high flying saints.
United’s season has not been all joy though, after crushing defeats such as 5-3 against newly promoted Leicester, and even losing 4-0 in the 2nd round of the Capital One Cup against League 1 (the third division of English Football) MK Dons. Although these crushing blows may seem to have left stains on Manchester United’s results, they are currently comfortably sitting 3rd in the Premier League, and are on a five game winning streak. These results are solely down to inspirational player performances from Angel Di Maria, Wayne Rooney, and David De Gea.
Angel Di Maria
Average Rating: 7.75
The World Class Argentinian midfielder joined Manchester United somewhat surprisingly after a British Transfer fee record of £59.7 million. He hasn’t taken long to adapt to the English game, with outstanding performances in most of his matches. Di Maria has blown away experienced defenders with his unbelievable skill, pace and power.
His most notable performance came in the recent 2-1 victory away at Arsenal. United looked “dead” for most of the game, but Di Maria’s pace kept them in it. The back line looked awfully shaky, the center midfielders couldn’t hold any sort of stability or consistency, which left United with no option but letting Di Maria loose. Both of United’s goals came from Di Maria inspired counter attacks, and the former Real Madrid Galactico made sure that United would take the train back up to Manchester with all three points.
Average Rating: 8.25
Probably Manchester United’s best player since Cristiano Ronaldo graced the Old Trafford pitch, Wayne Rooney has been extremely in form this season. Rooney’s performances have been key to United’s victories, with his composure, and excellent vision playing key parts. Over the past five games, Rooney has played the full 90 minutes in four, and was unfortunately injured for the reds for the clash against Stoke City, where United cleared the ball off the line three times in the last two minutes.
Without Rooney’s presence in the United starting XI, they have looked below average, and are lucky that David De Gea is in goal, blocking off all sort of shots. Rooney has not only guided Manchester United’s season, but has also captained and featured in every single one of England’s autumn internationals, and has scored six goals in the space of six games.
David De Gea
Average Rating: 9
Clean Sheets: 4
Although De Gea only has a mere four clean sheets, his performances has certainly raised a few eyes around the Premier League. The spanish international didn’t look good upon arrival from Atletico Madrid in the 2011/12 season, but has brushed aside his critics following his outstanding understanding of the game, and reflex saves this season.
Without De Gea in goal, United would have certainly lost at least half of the games that they picked up points from. De Gea has had a wide variety of saves, from a brilliant penalty save, to a one-on-one against Chelsea’s magnificent Eden Hazard, and even saving from a point-blank range header from Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf. De Gea’s performances have cought Spanish International coach Vicente Del Bosque’s eye, and was even set to start instead of the so called best keeper in the world, Iker Casillas, until he unfortunately Dislocated his finger.
Although United have been getting the results, their performances haven’t been good enough, and don’t look like they are headed in the right direction without the trio above in the lineup.
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, but raised in London, England, Jonny Sheves had no choice but becoming a Football (or soccer) fanatic. He has owned a season ticket at Chelsea since he was 6, and follows his team domestically and internationally, by going to all of the teams Away games. Apart from being an avid Chelsea fan, as well as following major European Football, Sheves has developed an interest in the ever-growing MLS, specifically, the new franchise, NYCFC. Follow him on twitter @jsheves.