Seven straight wins, more attacking football, another wonder strike from Marcus Rashford, this supporting United malarkey is turning into a right doddle.
The latest Reds’ win this time coming against Brighton – a team it’s worth remembering United have lost to twice in the past year – showed that under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer United can mix up their victories, it’s not just blowing teams away, it’s digging deep when needed.
A 2-1 home win against a mid-table team will hardly go down in history as one of the most memorable victories the Reds have ever achieved, but this could be yet another step in the Ole for permanent United manager campaign that’s gathering momentum quicker than a Jeremy Corbyn rally.
So what did we learn from the Red’s latest win other than the fact Paul Pogba has finally stopped with the pointless elongated run-up. Sort of.
Solskjaer and United the perfect match.
1. Marcus Rashford just keeps getting better and better. When Wythenshawe’s finest introduced himself to the Old Trafford faithful with a brace against European giants FC Midtjylland and followed it up with goals against Arsenal and an away derby day winner the sky seemed the limit. That huge expectation was tempered somewhat over the next two seasons as while showing that he was obviously a huge talent, the youngster also showed he was, human and capable of poor performances almost as much as he was capable of good ones.
Over the past few months though – even before Ole’s revolution – Rashford has reached a new level, he seems unstoppable at times and is now benefitting from a consistent run as striker in a team focused on attacking. Saturday’s goal was one of his best ever, a superb finish from a tight angle that gave the keeper no chance. The scary thing is at just 21, Rashford can get a lot better. Be afraid, be very afraid.
2. Luke Shaw can’t catch a break. News that Shaw had pulled out just before kick-off due to feeling ill to be replaced by Diogo Dalot was hardly the biggest worry for United fans. Dalot has looked impressive in a Red shirt this season and did so again on Saturday. There’s a growing clamour from many quarters among the fanbase for United to sign another full back with Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka top of the wish list. The jury still remains out among many fans as to whether Shaw really is the long-term answer at left back and missing games through illness while his replacement shines won’t do his cause any good.
3. Ander and Nemanja a match made in heaven. While Paul Pogba has received the lion’s share of the midfield plaudits and yet again found himself on the scoresheet on Saturday – albeit via the penalty spot – his colleagues deserve just as much credit. Herrera and Matic yet again did a superb job in allowing Pogba and the rest of the attacking players the freedom they need by breaking down the Brighton attacks. The Spanish/Serbian wall in front of the Reds’ defence is proving to be an integral part of Solskjaer’s plans.
4. Lukaku remains the -almost- forgotten man. Seeing Romelu Lukaku getting ready to come on then being sent back to the bench once Brighton pulled a goal back, seemed to sum up his season. He eventually did come on to the pitch but it can’t help his confidence seeing he’s not only substitute but also one who’s considered a bit of a risk if the game is tight.
5. Ole’s bringing back memories of Sir Matt Busby in more ways than one. As the collective players and crowd joined in a minutes’ applause to remember the great United manager, the father of football who passed away 25 years ago, it seemed fitting that a man who seems determined to carry on the great man’s ethos. Football should be entertaining, the players should be connected to the fans and Manchester United is a family, you could argue that Solskjaer is adhering to those principles.